There are all sorts of gifts that can leave a lasting impression. Your first bike, the nice sweater from your parents, a new set of golf clubs and the latest tech gadget are all examples of presents that remain etched in your memory. Pets can easily fit into that category as well, especially for one reason that might be surprising to some.
While nearly everyone melts at the sight of a fuzzy kitten or a playful puppy under the tree, it’s the pile of money that they will require for their care that is not yet in the picture when they appear on the scene. The average cat costs between $350 and $400 a year, and small dogs can put a $400 to $500 dent in your budget each year. Larger dogs can cost even more than that. Sometimes, givers of such presents are not really thinking about the financial impact a pet can have in the long run. So while you are teaching your pet some new tricks, remember that there is one trick it already does quite well, like making your money disappear.
This doesn’t mean that having a pet is all negative. Quite the opposite, having a pet is a vastly rewarding experience, offering hours of companionship and enjoyment for the whole family. Although it may be too late to consider whether having a pet is a smart financial decision or not, there are ways to cut costs and save money on care as well as budget for the predictable pet expenses.
Ways to Save Money on Pet Care and Maintenance
-Buy food in bulk. All foods cost less per pound in bulk, even though it may appear the small bags are the least expensive.
-Make your own pet toys. A cardboard box with a cat-sized hole can create a little condo. Throw in some catnip to make things more fun. For dogs, an old sock filled with tennis balls is an inexpensive but great toy for teething puppies.
-Check out monthly fee-based, routine pet care in local SPCAs and pet stores.
Find Ways to Cut Spending in Other Areas
Any pet owner should budget properly so they have the financial resources to give their pet the proper care it requires and deserves. If you need help crunching the numbers, this free online budget planner is a good place to start. When entering a figure in the “Pet Care and Supplies” category, use the figures mentioned earlier as a guideline. If you want a more detailed estimate of pet care costs, reach out to a licensed veterinarian or your local ASPCA.
If you find that you need more help creating a workable budget the NFCC can help you locate a trusted Certified Financial Counselor near you today! Call us at (800) 388-2227 or check out our online locator here.