Owning a pet is great but are you budgeting with pets or do your furry friends sneak through your budget unknowingly? According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA), the first-year cost of pet ownership can exceed $1,000. For most pet owners, their furry friend is considered part of the family and even carry the family name at the vet’s office. Caring for a healthy pet can be very costly and caring for one that isn’t healthy can be even more costly. As a pet owner, I pray you’re never in a position to choose your pet’s life-threatening care over the need to pay a bill. Budgeting for pet care will help you avoid having to make that hard decision.
When Coach JP does budgeting with clients, pet care is easily overlooked and when it is part of the budget, the expense is generally limited to just pet food. Be sure to include ALL your pet expenses in your monthly budget. Food, treats, grooming, annual exams/shots, tags, daycare/pet sitting, pet health insurance, prescriptions all add up and can easily cost you $700-$1000 per year with just one pet…..Lord have mercy on you if you have more! If you don’t have a pet and considering adding one to your family, remember to consider the responsibilities that go along with being a good pet owner and be sure to count your cost before deciding.
Top 3 Ways to Save Tips to Budgeting With Pets
Here are 3 ways you can save on some of the most common pet care expenses:
- Cost Comparison – Do comparison shopping before making pet purchases for veterinarian services, medicine, pet food, supplies, and pet insurance. Many online retailers offer pet supplies at a fraction of the cost of pet chain stores.
- Preventive Care – If you take diligent care of your pet and ensure they have their annual visits with the vet, you will likely have fewer expenses for emergency care. Be sure to follow your vet recommendations for check-ups so that you can get a jump start on any potential health problems. Vaccinations should be an automatic budget expense, and if preventive medicines such as medications for heartworm, fleas, tics, and special diet foods are recommended by the veterinarian, try and include those into your budget as well.
- DIY Care – If your budget doesn’t allow for you to get professional health and grooming services, you can do them yourself until your budget allows for such expenses. Check your pet out regularly to ensure they are free of unwanted critters…aka fleas and ticks. Also look for potential signs of illness. Give your pet a bath at least once every couple of months. Many self-service car washes offer equipment for pet bathing at a very minimal cost. Most pet health care plans offer dental cleaning for pets, but if your budget can’t swing a pet healthcare plan, then brush your pets’ teeth regularly. Remember, just like humans, dental care is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems.