How to Budget For A New Pet

Girl hugging a pet dog

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Are you considering getting a pet but concerned about how to budget for the expenses? Are you not sure if you can actually afford a pet? Adding pets to your budget ensures that you can provide them with the best care since they are great companions. You don’t want to get a playmate to not be able to afford them. Here are a few things to consider when deciding if a pet is right for you and your family.

1. Budget for the Essentials

Start by making a list of all pet related expenses. Include recurring expenses such as food,  grooming, toys, treats, supplements, and even bedding. Consider the amount and type of food needed to accurately estimate monthly expenses.  You can even see if buying in bulk or buying through websites that specialize in animals like Chewy would be a good deal for you. Research reputable grooming facilities and their pricing for grooming sessions if your pet requires grooming. Do they have packages you can buy? Will that save you some money? This will help you see how much it truly will cost you each month.

2. Veterinary Care

Vet bills can be EXPENSIVE. I’ve spent around $10k on vet bills in the past few years (had some major things happen) but if I didn’t have sinking funds I probably would’ve gone into debt. Look into vaccinations, dental check-ups and preventive medication. See how much a routing check up is for the vets in your area. Go ahead and ask questions to people who have pets in your area to see who the best vets are in town. You want to see what people think about them. Ask the vets if they give discounts for using cash instead of credit cards.  Also, see if it is possible to buy preventive medicines like heartworm pills in bulk. Many times buying in bulk can save you money and keep you from forgetting to buy those much needed medicines. 

3. Pet Insurance

Take this time to look into pet insurance and decide is it worth it and will it save you money.
Pets, like family members, require care, including veterinary expenses. Research various pet insurance options online to understand their coverage. Assess factors like copay and deductible; a high deductible may not be worthwhile. Ensure the insurance offers reliable coverage for veterinary visits. Consider potential breed-specific health issues; for instance, pugs often face respiratory problems. Evaluate if insurance can mitigate these expenses. Confirm coverage for breed-related health issues to avoid unexpected costs. Take the time to ensure the chosen insurance meets your pet’s needs.

4. Sinking Funds

Accidents can happen or even an unexpected illness can occur. You want to avoid being in a situation where you’re unable to care for your furry friend. Consider setting aside a small amount each month to contribute to this fund so that it will gradually build up over time. You can include vet visits, dental cleanings, grooming or even any types of training you may get for your pet down the road. It is better to have some money put away instead of trying to find money to help pay for an unexpected expense. Download my financial refresh workbook for a free sinking funds tracker (plus a ton of other worksheets!)

5. Training and Boarding Expenses

I think this category is something that is often overlooked. If you go out of town on trips you will need someone to watch your pet. Whether someone comes to your house or you put your pet in boarding, this is an added expense and depending on how long your trip is it can add up. If you are getting a puppy or even adopting a dog from a shelter, you might want to look into obedience training. Trainers or even a doggy day care can be good to help with socializing your pets. 

6. Pet-Proofing Your Home

I know you are thinking, WHAT? But how many people do you know have had their houses or furniture destroyed by their pets? Look around your home and think what can you do to help keep them from using your couch as a chew toy or your new pair of shoes. If you have kittens, you might want to think about some scratching posts to give them a place to scratch. Maybe you invest in some good, chew resistant materials to prevent damage to your furniture and belongings if you have puppies. 

7. Renting Rules

If you are renting, make sure to check your lease or with your landlord because many places have pet fees that will be included into your rent. You want to avoid being surprised or finding yourself in a situation where you have to rehome or potentially relocate because your pet is not allowed. You also want to check if there are extra fees for having pets and what they are so you are aware before you get a pet.

8. Long-Term Planning

Puppies and kitties are cute but think about how long is your animal’s life span. Are you prepared to have them through moving, having children and possibly longer. Is there someone who can take care of your pet if needed. What could be the long term care cost as your animals get older? Think about being able to commit yourself to your animal for as long as they need you aka their entire life.

9. DIY Pet Care

Decide if you can learn some basic things to help you with the care of your pet so you do not always have to use professional services. Can you learn how to do some grooming for your pet that may stretch out those visits to the groomer? Can you learn how to trim their nails and the best way to brush their coats? 

Pets are a wonderful addition to the family but they do come with financial responsibilities. By making a plan and budgeting for your new companion,  you can ensure a happy and healthy life together. Being proactive with their veterinary care and having an emergency fund will make it easier to take care of your new furry friend. Thinking about the financial side of getting a pet will make it easier in the end when you have to make decisions about care for your new friend. 

Want to make sure you can afford a pet while still paying off debt or saving for other goals? Check out my best-selling managing multiple money goals workshop!

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Alli Williams

I’m the CEO of FinanciALLI Focused LLC and our mission is to you get rid of financial anxiety, build wealth & reach your big money goals. You can pay off debt, save, and spend at the same time (I’ve done it, you can too). 


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