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What is the Realistic Cost of Adopting a Pet?

What is the Realistic Cost of Adopting a Pet?

When you see a cute little puppy or tiny kitten, it’s so easy to get swayed into becoming a pet owner. After all, what’s not to love? Pets are loyal, are sweet, and can give you great company. Of course, people who have their own pets will be the first to tell you that owning one is a very big decision. Pet ownership has great perks but it is a big step, and you have to be emotionally and financially ready for it.

When I rescued my dog, Julep, I was so excited. I had wanted my own dog for as long as I could remember and couldn’t wait to get one. I looked for a rescue dog for a long time, and as soon as I saw her, I knew she would be mine. She was the tiniest puppy in her litter and was neglected. I found her in what was obviously a puppy mill and was determined to save her.

As a recent college graduate, I had no clue what a dog would cost (it’s amazing how much I’ve learned in 4 years of reading and writing about personal finance!). As I mentioned, she was pretty sick, so it cost me a few hundred dollars in vet bills to get her back in good health. In addition, there was the cost of vaccinations and spaying.

Now, I’m happy to report that she’s a very, very healthy girl. She went from being the runt of her litter to an absolutely spoiled princess dog. If you are thinking about getting a new pet, below are several factors to consider before becoming a pet owner. These considerations are each important, but are also marginal when compared to the joy of owning a pet.

Pet Accessories:

Treats ($2.00-$25.00)

Standard Treats: $2.00

Intermediate Treats: $10.00

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Luxurious Treats:$25.00

Treats are a necessary part of having a pet. They are great when you are training your new friend and are perfect when you want to give them a little sweet reward. There are many different kinds of treats that you can get, so try a few at first to see which one your pet prefers.

Beds ($17.00-$83.00)

Standard Pet Bed: $17.00

Intermediate Pet Bed: $56.00

Luxurious Pet Bed: $83.00

Most animals will need a cozy place to sleep that’s all their own. Dogs probably want their own dog beds, and cats would probably appreciate a nice pillow!

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Bowls for Food & Water ($7.00-$53.00)

Standard Bowl: $7.00

Intermediate Bowl: $32.00

Luxurious Bowl: $53.00

You’d be surprised at how much pet bowls cost, especially if they are raised off the floor or are electronic machines.

Vacuums ($48.00-$480.00)

Standard Vacuum: $48.00

Intermediate Vacuum: $160.00

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Luxurious Vacuum: $480.00

If there’s one thing most pet owners can agree on, it’s that pets definitely shed (even if they are short haired!). It’s very possible that you will have to purchase both a good vacuum cleaner and pet brushes to keep the shedding at bay.

Pet Health & Care:

Above, we discussed all of the different accessories and add-ons that you can purchase for your pet. Below are the costs that will vary by region. For example, your sister might watch your pet for free, while a kennel might charge you $300 for the weekend. Be sure to check with your veterinarian on costs like emergency appointments, microchips, spaying or neutering, and monthly heart worm medications as these will all fluctuate depending on where you live. However, ballpark estimates are included below.

Pet Sitters/Pet Walkers ($30.00-$300.00)

It’s imperative to find someone who will take good care of your pet while you are at work or on vacation.

Microchip ($25.00-$75.00)

These days, you can pay to have a small microchip implanted in your pet so that you can always find them if they get lost. Be sure to talk to your vet about this as there are certain medical risks involved.

Emergencies ($200.00-$2,000.00)

While I hope it never happens, you have to be prepared for a pet emergency. For example, if your pet accidentally swallows something and needs emergency surgery, it’s important that you have the funds to pay for it.

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Monthly Heartworm & Flea Medication ($20.00-$50.00)

To keep your pet healthy, it’s smart to invest in monthly heartworm and flea treatments.

Overall:

Overall, the average cost of owning a pet including their introductory vaccinations, food, accessories, long term medical care, and emergencies will be anywhere between $1,000 – $6,000 over the course of your pet’s lifetime. The cost of owning some pets might be lower than that, while the cost for others might be much higher, especially if the pet becomes ill towards the end of its life.

However, when you spread out this cost over a period of 8-15 years, it’s actually quite minimal. My dog, for example, has only been sick once in four years, and her yearly vet checkups and food are very affordable. Plus, I truly could not imagine my life without my dog. She’s been with me through several ups and downs and has moved with me literally all over the world. I wouldn’t trade her for anything and know she’s worth every penny I’ve ever spent on her.

How much do you usually spend on your pet per year? Do you have a favorite product or toy that your pet loves?

 

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Catherine Alford

Catherine is the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions.

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Last Updated on June 26, 2020

25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

“How to save money fast?” This is the question asked by all of us not in the top 1% of rich people.

If you are looking for ways to drastically reduce your expenses immediately, first look at what you need to spend money on every week. And I mean really need.

You don’t really need to order in food. You don’t really need to buy expensive perfume.

Building from that, you can work out how your regular expenses can be reduced.

As for irregular expenses, they can also be deceptively costly in the long run. Once-off buys can also be tackled with some prudent planning and a little extra research.

And remember: a budgeted lifestyle does not mean a bad or boring one!

But first, understand what budget you can cut down on daily:

  • Regular expenses for the average adult (can be trimmed but not eliminated):
    • food
    • rent/mortgage
    • cell phone
    • insurance
    • socializing/entertainment
    • transportation
    • hygiene products
    • household bills
  • Irregular expenses for the average adult (can be eliminated or cut down a lot):
    • travel
    • clothing
    • medication (*depends)
    • grooming (hair, nails etc.)
    • gifts

Now, let’s dive right into the 25 ways to save money fast:

Save Money on Food

1. Bring a stock of food to the office/work

Instead of popping out for an overpriced salad and a smoothie, leave a set of basic utensils at the office as well as a stock of non-perishable goods such as tinned fruit, tuna, rice crackers and so on (try to avoid the junk food and this can turn into a pretty great diet!).

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Stocking up means you won’t forget or say “I didn’t have the time” when you rushed out to work in the morning.

2. Buy the store-brand version

Many basic foods, such as bread and milk, will taste exactly the same as their branded alternatives. Go for stuff with minimal additives and preservatives. Meat in a tube is probably insanely unhealthy!

3. Eat cheaper cuts of meat

Learn how to tenderize and flavour cheaper meat and fish, and save on the (typically) most expensive item on your grocery bill.

4. Have group dinners

If 10 friends put $5 each in the kitty, it’s pretty easy to make a giant lasagne and get refreshments, as well as hang out with your favourite people.

Save Money in Transport

5. Get a bicycle

Save on gas money and bus/metro fares with this underrated mode of transport.

6. Use public transport and/or don’t get taxis

Some places can only be reached by car. But as a good practise, check your public transport website and see if any routes pass nearby where you need to get to. Walk as much as you can.

7. Find the cheapest gas

Regularly check out where the cheapest gas can be bought.

Save Money in General Shopping

8. Shop online

Not only will you save on the gas or transport fares from going to the shopping mall but you will also find better deals

9. Sell your old stuff

Get your unwanted belongings up on eBay ASAP and earn a few dollars.

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Here’re more ideas for you: 25 Things to Sell to Make a Lot of Money

10. Bulk buying stores

For regular non-perishable/slow perishable purchases such as toilet paper, cat food, pasta, washing powder and so on, do an epic stocking-up trip to a co-op or equivalent (my mum used to go to a place that restaurants buy from).

Be wary of supermarket “deals”, as some have been found to be fraudulent after working out a simple calculation.

11. Become a flea market/car boot sale/street market guru

You can find original gifts and develop good negotiation skills at these places.

12. Generic brand medication

More often than not, the generic version of paracetamol and other basics work the same as the branded version.

13. Choose deodorant, not perfume

It blows my mind when someone drops $70 on a bottle of spray. Stick with a nice deodorant, and not only will you smell just fine but you’ll be sweat-free as well!

Cut Down on Household Expenses

14. Printing

Ink is one of the most expensive substances in the office and coloured ink is doubly so. B

e more efficient and choose black and white, and if your printer doesn’t have a print-both-sides options, just print odd pages first, re-insert the paper and print even pages.

Expand the margins of what you are printing as often as you can to save on paper.

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15. Minimize SMS and phone calls

A combination of a free chat service such as WhatsApp and a free call service such as Skype can reduce your bill to nothing (so long as you have a decent Wifi connection).

16. Shop around for insurance

Most people don’t spend enough time searching for the best insurance deal.

Keep a watchful eye out for deals and new competitors in the market.

17. Try re-negotiating your rent/mortgage

If you have built up a good credit history or a good rapport with your landlord, then chances are a frank chat about needing to tighten your spending could result in lowering your payments. You’ve nothing to lose from trying.

18. Don’t get a TV

Invest in a computer/laptop and an internet-only package. You can watch more (and often better) entertainment on the web, and skip the advertisements as well.

19. Pool your internet bill with a neighbour

My apartment building is basically a big old house split into three apartments. There are five of us in total. We pool the internet bill, making it crazy cheap.

Save Money in Socializing, Entertainment And Travel

20. Have house parties

Instead of paying for overpriced drinks, set up a series of in-house get-togethers with your friends. Everyone takes a turn, so it’s not always your house that needs cleaning.

For sound insulation, hang heavy drapes on the walls and windows. For music, invest in a good second-hand set of speakers which you can connect to your computer. Let Spotify or Grooveshark playlists do the rest.

21. Open festivals, meetups and events

It never fails to surprise me how much underground stuff goes on around me for free or for very cheap. Find out who runs the blogs and websites that list all the less well-known cultural activities.

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22. Volunteer

If you can’t pay for a ticket, volunteer and get to be there anyway.

23. Housesit

There are multiple housesitting websites offering you the possibility to avoid paying hotels and skip the discomfort of crummy hostels.

Save Money on Hygiene and Beauty

24. DIY beauty

French manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyebrows… pretty much all of these can be achieved at home (and done well) with some practise. There are plenty excellent blogs and YouTube tutorials to help.

25. Fewer haircuts/volunteer at a trainee hairdresser

If you can’t bear the risk of a trainee touching your locks, learn more ways to manipulate your hair as it grows and get haircuts sparingly. Women’s haircuts are outrageously priced in many cities.

Bonus: Effective Money-Saving Tips for Everything

Here’s a summary of what you can generally do to save more money:

  • Share/pool resources. Organize a neighbourhood sharing scheme, common resources for your apartment block or with your friends. Not everybody needs an individual lawnmower.
  • Buy energy-saving everything. The easiest way to lower your bills – replace those lightbulbs!
  • Buy in bulk. Be sensible about it (i.e. make sure you have space!), and drastically reduce weekly expenditure.
  • DIY. Skill up using YouTube tutorials on plumbing and many other essential services so you never have to pay for simple problems again.
  • Research a lot before making a decision. Most money-wasting is the result of poor preparation and planning. Don’t shirk this part just because you don’t like it!
  • Use your network. Your network is full of resources that can ease the pain of budgeting. Ask for help.
  • Stop and think. Do I really need it?

Unfortunately, there are some things that require plain ol’ giving up for the time being. This can include high-cost sports such as skiing, the latest versions of some technologies, the finest brands of food/drinks, premier seats at the opera and most other indulgences.

What is important to remember during lean times is that when you look back on your life, it will be the experiences that stand out, not the extra comforts.

Living on a budget can teach you a lot about how much you can really get out of your paycheck. We only live one life, so make the most of every penny you earn!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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