Can You Afford a Pet?

Can You Afford a Pet - Quicken Loans Zing Blog Even the toughest, burliest guy has a soft spot for those cute little puppies and kittens at the shelter or the store. I know I absolutely melt when I see those tiny balls of fur napping in their cages. That’s kind of how I ended up with my cat, Dexter. I rescued him from a deplorable pet shop near where I went to college. He just looked so sad in his tiny cage filled with newspaper all alone. I kind of just jumped in when I bought him without thinking about how much he’d cost on my already tight budget.

After buying Dexter from the store, taking him to his first vet appointment, getting a prescription to ensure he didn’t have any bugs in his digestive system, and purchasing the litter box items, food, treats, and toys, I had probably spent close to $250. The little four pound kitten absorbed about 2/3 of my rent in one day!

At the time, I was renting an apartment, and when I let the landlord know, I had to pay an extra $25 a month for my pet to live with me. A few months later I returned to the vet for a checkup, which cost another $100. Even though I love my cat, I wondered if it was worth the extra money. All the expenses I incurred by taking him in started to add up.

Mint.com partnered with Quicken and created a great infographic providing more information about the long-term cost of having a pet.  From a dog to a goldfish, it illustrated the breakdown of how much each animal costs over its lifetime. Petfinder.com also provides some basic information on annual costs for various types of pets. These sites can give some great initial insight into the annual and lifetime financial commitment you need to make to your animal.

While the infographic provides averages for each type of pet, the animal you decide to buy may cost more or less. For example, if you opt for a larger dog or cat breed, you could be spending more money on food or veterinary care. Smaller animals often require more care as well.  If you opt to buy a longhaired animal, you’ll have to think about grooming costs. Do you want to get insurance for your pet? Where will you purchase your pet—from a shelter or a pet store? Do you want to buy a more expensive pure bred animal from a breeder?

The cost may also fluctuate depending on where you live as well. In places where the cost of living is higher, like New York City or Los Angeles, having a pet will probably be a bit more expensive than here in Detroit where the cost of living is much lower.

When you stop and think about it for a minute, buying a pet conjures up a lot of questions. However, these are important questions to ask yourself when considering if a pet will fit into your home and lifestyle.

Many shelters have now become overwhelmed with animals that people can no longer take care of due to financial restrictions. Don’t put your family in a position where you have to return your beloved pet to a shelter because you can’t afford to keep them.

Before buying your first pet, consider the long-term financial commitment. Talk to your local pet store, veterinarian, or animal shelter to find out more specific information regarding the breed you’d like to purchase. Make sure you get all the information you need before buying your furry (or non-furry) friend to ensure their health and happiness but to also ensure you don’t drain your bank account either.

How much do you spend on your pet each month? Share with other Zing readers!

 

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