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Written by Jessica Brody of ourbestfriends.pet
A Guide to Getting Your First Pet on a Budget
Pet ownership has many benefits: companionship, comfort, contentment, cuddles. However, one of the biggest drawbacks is the expense. Owning a pet is not cheap, and no one should undertake it before taking the time to evaluate whether they can actually afford to keep a living being healthy and happy. That said, it is possible to keep a pet on a budget, and those tight on cash don’t necessarily have to forget their dreams of pet ownership.
Choosing a Pet
Of course, some pets are more expensive than others. According to the Balance, some of the cheapest pets to own include hamsters, gerbils, and rabbits. These animals make wonderful, loving, cuddly pets, and they are a great budget-friendly option to consider.
However, many people want a specific pet, usually either a cat or a dog. If this is the case, the best thing you can do to save money is to adopt. Buying a cat or dog from a breeder can cost between $500 and $1,000, whereas adoption can cost as little as $50. This also comes with the knowledge that you are saving a life and giving a home to an animal that really needs it.
Another thing you can do is choose the right breed, especially if it’s a dog you’re after. Affordable dog breeds tend to be smaller, requiring less food and fewer medical expenses. Hairless or short-haired breeds also require less grooming and can be cheaper in the long run.
Getting the Supplies
Once you have chosen your pet, it’s time to start getting the supplies you need. This is usually one of the biggest upfront costs of ownership, as everything starts to add up very quickly. One easy way to save money (and on the ongoing costs of keeping up with food, cleaning, and toys) is to order from somewhere like Target. By using Target promo codes and taking advantage delivery, you can have affordable items shipped directly to your front door.
Another thing you can do is look for secondhand pet supplies. Things like pet furniture, bowls, crates, and leashes can be easily and safely purchased secondhand. Dogster has some great advice on finding high-quality secondhand items for your dog.
When it comes to buying food, remember that more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better or healthier. “Premium” pet food often contains very similar ingredients to the cheaper stuff and is just marketed to seem better. Stick to a cheaper product from a trusted brand — neither the pet or their bodies will know the difference.
Preparing Your Home
Before your new pet arrives, you should make sure everything is ready to receive them. It’s a good idea to limit their space for the first few days, keeping them in a closed room or crate so they don’t get overwhelmed. You also need to make sure you are ready to clean up the mess that comes with owning a pet. For some pets, this doesn’t mean much, but if you’re getting a furry dog or cat, then you at least need to make sure your vacuum cleaner is up to scratch. A good vacuum from a trusted brand like Shark will keep your home clean and save you some serious time, so it’s worth the investment.
A Note About Healthcare
Many owners do not get pet insurance because it feels like a pointless expense, especially while the pet is young. However, younger pets will usually incur cheaper premiums, which means you won’t have to overpay when they get old. Carefully consider the pros and cons of getting pet insurance, and remember that vet care can be a prohibitively huge expense.
If you have gone through these steps, congratulations! You are the happy owner of a new pet, but more importantly, you are a responsible owner of a new pet. Taking the time to consider the financial implications of pet care means that you are fully prepared for all the realities and that you are ready to make your new pet very happy. Now, go enjoy those cuddles.