Cutting down on pet ownership costs

Category: Family Budget


Being a pet owner can truly bring joy to your life, and pets provide companionship and comfort, but it also means factoring another expense into your budget. Not only does a pet require a significant time commitment, but pet ownership costs can quickly add up. Not only do you have to consider the initial cost of purchasing or adopting your pet, but there are the continuous expenses to keep in mind, such as feeding and vet care. Even though there is no getting around these expenses, there are some ways you can keep them down:

Carefully consider the choice of pet

If you don’t have a pet just yet and you’re still deciding on what type you want, there is a lot to consider, but you’ll also want to consider the ongoing expense. Dogs, cats, and exotic animals tend to cost the most to care for throughout their lives. Smaller pets that are kept in cages, however, (like bunnies and hamsters) are much less costlier to care for.

Veterinary expenses

When it comes to caring for your pet, veterinary care can be some of the most significant expenses you face. Whether you’re talking annual exams, routine vaccinations, or emergency care, even just a single vet visit can you cost several hundred dollars. Major emergency surgeries or treatments can cost even more than that. There are quite a few ways you can cut down on vet costs, but one way is to invest in pet insurance plan. For a small monthly premium, you can get health insurance for your pet, which can significantly lower your veterinary bills.

Boarding expenses

There will eventually come a time when you’ll need to leave your pet behind—whether you’re going on vacation, or you need to take a business trip. Pet sitters can be expensive and boarding costs can be significant as well, so try asking a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member if they can watch over your pet for you. If the person you’re asking is hesitant about bringing your pet into their home for whatever reason, offer for that person to stay in your home. You can also offer to return the favor, if needed, and if that person has their own pet. If you don’t have anyone who can watch your pet for you, ask your veterinarian about boarding services. Many vet offices will board patients’ pets, and for a fraction of a cost as other boarding services.

Food and treats

There are ways you can cut down on these costs without sacrificing quality. Cheaper food might not be the solution, especially if your pet has food sensitivities or allergies. You’ll want to choose something that your pet enjoys, but also provides all the essential nutrients. Purchasing your pet food in bulk is one way to cut down on costs. Although larger bags can be a little inconvenient to handle, you can simply store the food in smaller containers. And as an added bonus, buying in bulk also allows you to make fewer trips to the pet store. You can also use coupons for pet food and treats; many store and manufacturer coupons can be found in the Sunday newspaper for pet food and treats, or you can go directly to the company’s website to see if they are offering any coupons or promotions. If you like to cook and bake, you can also cook up some delicious, healthy treats and food for your pet. Just be sure to buy a recipe book that includes recipes for food that is safe for your pet to eat. Not only can this be more cost-effective, but it can be fun, too!

Don’t purchase things you don’t really need

Your cat already has tons of toys at home, but you just can’t help but get one more while you’re at the pet store. Or maybe your dog has a collar already and there’s nothing wrong with it, but you want to replace it with a more novel (and expensive) option. These items that you don’t really need can easily add up, so always think about purchases carefully before you make them, and avoid buying what you don’t really need.

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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.

Tags: pets, travel, vet expenses

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