Are you thinking of getting a pet, or maybe you already have a pet? One of the biggest concerns pet owners experience with owning pets is the finances. Let’s face it, owning a pet is very similar to owning a child, except pets can be less expensive to have- sometimes! I have three dogs and a cat, and I was lucky enough to be blessed with two of my three dogs having severe allergies. This means expensive limited-ingredient premium pet food, medications, and paying close attention to them not getting into anything (including the other dog’s food or the cat’s food).  And of course, they still must have treats like every other pet, so it’s the constant search for limited ingredient treats, chew toys, and things I can stuff their daily medication in so they will take their medication easily.

As I mentioned, owning pets can be kind of like caring for kids, right?  If I didn’t include my pets into my financial plan and budgeting, I would be in a world of hurt.  So, what does it mean to budget for your pets? What kinds of items should we consider budgeting for? What do pets need? Let’s discuss a few items that should be in your budget for your furry babies.

If you’re looking into getting a pet, be prepared for the up-front costs within the first few months:

Are you looking at a purebred dog or cat? Will you be adopting from a shelter? Or maybe adopting online from a social media posting or a classified advertisement? How much will it cost for you to get that pet- the adoption fee?  My own opinion here- as harsh as it sounds, if you can’t afford the adoption fee (or the fee the breeder is asking for that amazing purebred pet)- you can’t afford to have a pet! Over even a few years of owning the pet, that adoption fee will seem small compared to the cost of keeping the pet and properly caring for the pet.

Why are you considering getting a pet? Or, with your current pets, what activities and hobbies do you share with them?

Will you be getting the pet to compete in pet-related sports such as agility, flyball, dog/cat shows, or something else? Don’t forget to include the cost of training/items needed to compete in this hobby.

Tips and tricks for minimal stress with budgeting

How do you budget currently?  Do you have a monthly budget or a weekly/biweekly budget based on your income? Whichever way you budget, factor the costs of regularly purchased items into however you break down your budget time-wise. Example: If you organize the budget monthly, calculate the monthly cost of all the pet items for the month, even if you use them over a longer period than a month. That way, when it comes time to buy them again, you already have the money saved up. An example would be a six-pack of flea/tick/heartworm medication- you buy six months’ worth, but wouldn’t it be nice to have the money already saved up when it comes time to get that next six-pack?

Other ways to budget and save money with pets

A happy budget and happy family/pets

Now you have some tips and tools for creating a killer budget when it comes to pet expenses. To summarize, start with a list of your pet expenses, break the list down by order and frequency of spending, and plug them into your budget accordingly. Give yourself a comfortable length of time to save up for larger expenses, and make sure to work that emergency fund in your budget as well. Add in the small occasional items when you have room in the budget and preferably when you can get them on sale.  Owning a pet brings so much joy to our lives, but without a budget, it may feel very daunting with the upkeep and proper care of your pet!  Don’t get caught without having included your pet-related items in your budget!

Do you have any great ideas on including your pets in budgeting or saving money with your pets, that I have not discussed? Let me know in the comments!

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