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For many of us, there’s nothing better than coming home to a furry friend at the end of a long day. After all, pets are companions that love us unconditionally, keep us company when we’re down, and never complain when we’re in a bad mood. That’s more than a lot of us can say about our spouses and our children, right?
While it’s undoubtedly true that pets add joy and fulfillment to our lives, it’s also the case that they take something from us, too: money. Adding a pet to your family is a costly venture that you need to be prepared for. Thousands of pets are turned over to shelters every year because their owners can’t afford to keep them, a heartbreaking event for both the person and animal involved.
While you can’t completely eliminate the expenses related to caring for a critter, the good news is that there are some simple ways to keep your pet care costs in check. Keep these tips in mind as you’re budgeting for the care and keeping of your four-legged friend:
Set Up a Pet Savings Account
Just as you have a dedicated savings account for your car repairs and summer vacation, setting up a savings account to pay for annual shots and vet visits can go a long way towards reducing your stress about paying for your pet’s healthcare. Take a look at last year’s vet bills to get a sense of what you spend annually, then divide that total by 12 to figure out how much to set aside each month. That way, you won’t go into a panic about how to pay for checkups with the vet.
Join the “Club” Program Offered at Your Local Pet Supply Store
Your club card saves you money at the grocery store, and the club card at your pet supply place serves the same function. Get a card as soon as possible, then stick to that store for all your pet’s needs; that way, you’ll rack up rewards faster. These cards also usually offer additional bonuses, such as freebies of featured products or coupons for toys or obedience classes.
Reconsider Professional Grooming
While it might be really cute to have Fluffy washed and clipped by a professional, the cost of this service really adds up over time. And let’s be honest, it’s not strictly necessary. Roll up your sleeves and recruit a helper, then bathe your pet and trim her fur yourself. This simple step could save you hundreds of dollars per year. Plus, it’s kind of fun!
Think About Pet Insurance
Pet insurance is a controversial product, so think carefully about whether or not it’s right for you and your family. If you’re not prepared to pay for a major healthcare emergency for your pet, it might be a good idea to purchase an insurance policy for her. Pet insurance is relatively cheap (usually $15-$30 per month) and could end up saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars if your pet gets seriously sick or hurt. This is especially important if you don’t have a lot in savings to cover an unexpected vet bill.
Talk to Your Neighbors About a Dog-Walking Club
Hiring a dog walker is pretty pricey, so why not talk to your dog-loving neighbors about joining forces and starting a dog-walking club? Everyone picks one day per week to walk the club members’ pets; in exchange, the other members walk your dog on your “off” days. Again, this could save you big bucks over the course of your dog’s life if you can get your neighbors on-board with the plan.
Owning a pet doesn’t have to break the bank – remember these tips to raise healthy and happy fur baby, while at the same time keeping your wallet full!
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