People tend to underestimate the cost of pet ownership by up to seven times according to CNBC. This is worrying, but unpleasant surprises can easily be prevented if you do your research and work to keep costs low. A tight budget should not be a reason to avoid getting a pet, but it should affect the decisions you make when you are selecting your new best friend.
Research Your Preferred Breed
Many people already have a preferred breed in mind when they look for their first pet. Maybe you’re obsessed with corgis on Instagram, or you’ve always wanted a ragdoll cat. Before deciding on a given breed, look up common expenses specific to it, such as extra grooming for hairy animals or particularly high vet bills.
If the costs look intimidating, reconsider your first choice. Proper grooming, medical care, and upkeep are not things you can skimp on if you are going to be a good owner. You may also want to look into low-maintenance breeds when looking for your first dog. These tend to be cheaper to maintain and are overall easier to deal with for a first-time pet owner.
Adopt, Don’t Buy
There are many reasons to adopt instead of buying from a breeder, with the main one being that you get to give a home to an animal that needs one. However, cost is also a good incentive to head to your local shelter. The average cost of adopting is about $100 for dogs and $50 for cats, which is a huge savings compared to the thousands of dollars you’d spend buying them.
If you do decide to get an animal from a breeder, make sure you know how to identify a responsible one. The American Kennel Club offers some good advice on this, most of which applies to cats as well as dogs.
Shop Smart For Supplies
Supplies and food are some of the biggest expenses of pet ownership, so it pays to have a saving strategy for them. One great way to save is to buy these items online, which means you can use things like Amazon coupons to cut costs. You can also get free delivery with Prime, making the whole process of stocking up things like pet food and litter a lot easier.
For one-time expenses like a leash or bed, remember that it may be a good idea to spend a bit more for a durable and high-quality product. For the more part, pets aren’t particularly careful with their stuff, so you’ll save money in the long run.
Do Some DIY
Toys don’t seem like a very big pet expense at first, but as most owners will know, it’s very easy to develop somewhat of an addiction to getting your pet new toys. Avoid the toy aisle at the pet store altogether and make your own toys with items from around the house.
DIY skills can also come in handy when creating a welcoming environment for your pet. For example, if you are getting a cat, you can transform your home into a challenging and fun place for it by making a climbing system. This can be as simple as a few shelves on the wall or a complex obstacle course with games and scratching posts.
Thinking about money when getting your first pet isn’t just about making sure you don’t overspend. It also forces you to do your research, consider the long-term impact of pet ownership in your life, and think about how you are going to take care of the pet as best you can. In other words, it helps you to be a responsible and conscientious pet owner from the get-go, which is the best thing any animal could hope for when they join a new home.
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