At our house, the pitter-patter of little feet isn’t limited to our two sons. We also hear the clicking of claws, thanks to our dog, a schnoodle named Sam, and our cat, Khi Khi. If you have pets or are preparing to add a four-legged friend to your home, budgeting for your pet is important. Did you know dog food alone could cost more than $200 a year? This week, I want to share some tips about caring for your fur-babies on a budget.
If you’re adding a furry family member to your brood, consider adoption first. https://www.petfinder.com/ Dogs or cats adopted from a shelter are typically less expensive than a pet purchased from a breeder or a pet store, especially since many shelters’ adoption fees cover the extra expenses such as microchipping, vaccinations, licensing, spaying or neutering, and even training. If you’re looking for a particular type of dog or cat, there are rescue groups dedicated to specific breeds. Do your research and you’ll save money, and possibly a life!
There are, of course, more upfront costs when you bring a pet home.
http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/budgeting/5-tips-budgeting-pet-care-costs.htm#page=1 Provisions such as food and water bowls, leashes, toys, and a crate or bed need to be considered. Try sourcing these supplies from friends or family. If you’re bringing home a small pet, such as a hamster, rabbit or fish, check out Craigslist. People give away cages and aquariums frequently.
Keeping Up With Upkeep
To feed your critters, buy the biggest bags of food possible and use coupons, if available. Sign up for emails from your pet food manufacturers and join the free pet store programs for the best deals. Search online for flea and tick treatments to get the best quality for the best price.
You’ll also need to budget for annual checkups and vaccinations. Start a small “pet emergency fund,” too. http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/spending/T063-S001-9-costs-every-dog-owner-should-budget-for/index.html For instance, you’ll be happy to have a little extra cash around when the dog eats the stuffing out of a toy and has to be hospitalized overnight. I speak from experience. Oh, and let’s not forget what happens when your pet chews up ALL your shoes (hey, if that doesn’t count as an emergency, I don’t know what does).
Lastly, factor in the costs of boarding if you and your family travel frequently. Trusted neighbors or family members will work in a pinch but for extended trips, you’ll probably want to take your pets somewhere. However, boarding your pets can be expensive. After looking at the costs of boarding both the cat and the dog, we switched to paying a house sitter. http://dogvacay.com It was far more cost-effective to pay a poor but trustworthy college student to watch the animals (and mind the house and water the plants) than to try and bend our schedule and budget around the kennel.
These are just an example of some of the additional costs you’ll need to add to the monthly budget when you add a furry friend to the family. In my house, the companionship and comfort our pets provide us make Sam and Khi Khi worth every penny (and penny loafer).
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens.