Pets and Money

Having pets and saving money don’t really go together — we all saw the news stories about pets that were abandoned when the economic crisis hit in 2008. How do thrifty people balance finances with the companionship that a pet can provide? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Getting a new pet? Unless you can afford to bring that pet home in a diamond-studded crate, cross a breeder off the list of places to find your new friend. Check out some area shelters or even pet stores that have adoption centers. Think hard before picking up a stray puppy or kitten — these special cases may require medical attention that’s outside your budget.
  • Shop around for a vet. The best vet’s office I’ve found is Lakes Animal Clinic in Antioch, IL. Animals are seen on a first-come, first-served basis so arrive early and be prepared to wait. The vets are knowledgeable and your pet will get good care, all at a great savings over a traditional vet’s office.
  • Toys don’t have to be expensive! I learned the hard way that my cat doesn’t care how much money I spend on toys – he loves table tennis balls, wine corks, balls of string, and cardboard boxes more than the Martha Stewart toys I shelled out a bunch of money for.
  • Know when to spend a little extra. If you ate the very cheapest food you could find, it might make you sick and then you would have to visit the doctor. The same holds true for your pet. Spending a little more on good-quality food will allow your pet to live a longer, healthier and happier life.

By applying the same thrifty principles to pet ownership that I apply to other aspects of my life, I’ve been able to add a pet to my household without a major impact on my budget. There’s no question that he’s worth every penny I spend on him!