Owning a pet can be wonderful, as a whopping 67% of US households (approximately 85 million families), would tell you. They are associated with lower stress levels in a household and can be a wonderful and delightful addition to your family. But while we’d call our relationship with them priceless, they still come with some hidden costs. The 85 million US families, for example, spent over $75 billion on their pets in 2019.

Before you choose to adopt a pet, a prudent decision would be to look into the financial implications that come with owning one, and the recurring costs for maintaining the well being of your new furry friend. Here’s how you can financially prepare yourself before you welcome a pet to your family.

Remember to lay out potential expenses

Laying out potential expenses is one of the most important things to do before you have to do before you adopt a pet. These expenses include several costs – medical bills, diagnostic testing, pet insurance, pet food, training, pet registration, and several other miscellaneous costs that might seem small but do add up to a large amount. You’ll be able to plan your finances in a more realistic and better way and help ensure that your new family member is attended to and taken care of. 

Save up for the first year’s expenses

The first year’s expenses are the most critical and arguably the biggest ones. A prior fund can assist in a smooth transition to your new life with a pet. These would include:

  • One time expenses such as any adoption fees, the cost of vaccinations and neutering, diagnostic testing, cost of setting up a kennel or pet furniture, and 
  • Recurring expenses such as pet food and supplies, pet insurance, and many more depending on the type and breed of the pet you get.

Strongly consider an emergency fund

Setting up an emergency fund for your pet is something all pet owners should practice. Unprecedented expenses might come up above and beyond the usual outflows. Accidents, illnesses, or even vet appointments are all possibilities. As a pet owner, you’d want to ensure that you attend to your pet’s needs in the best way possible. 

What other tips should you keep in mind?

You can minimize your expenses, and maximize value on your spends, by some of the following practices: 

Adopt instead of buying

Adopting a pet instead of buying is one of the many ways through which you can cut your costs significantly. Adoption usually costs less, whereas buying a pet can often lead you to shell out a large amount. The adoption price often includes the cost of spaying or neutering, first vaccinations, and sometimes even microchipping. 

Moreover, the idea of adopting a pet that arguably needs it, and tending to life by reducing the number of euthanized animals, is one that appeals to many of us.

Keep your finances in check

Owning a pet comes with recurring costs. Before you get one, make sure you have adequate financial resources to afford the monthly and annual expenses that come along with your little furball. Keeping your finances in check will help you determine whether or not you can afford to keep a pet, along with the breed that is most suitable for you. For example, according to a study conducted by ASPCA, owning, and raising cats is cheaper than dogs, however, small dog breeds can cost even less than owning a cat.  

Pet insurance

Pet insurance is a relatively new concept, but an important one to consider before you welcome a new furry member to your home. Pet insurance can help in reducing ongoing medical bills and vet expenses. Moreover, through this smart financial planning tool, you are less likely to give up your pet to a shelter if your pet is injured and beyond your financial means to treat. Hence, pet insurance is one meaningful investment that must be made when adopting a pet. 

Like most financial decisions, planning is one of the most effective ways to keep your pet spending limited and well within a budget. Building a monthly budget for your pet will ensure more insight into the costs incurred and help you spend your financial resources in the best way possible. At the end of the day, the objective is your pet’s well being as well as your financial health. 

Pets often become our family, and it’s important to recognize this when we start out to save for one. Educating yourself about the financial implications that come with owning a pet will help you prepare better and aid you in providing the best possible care for the newest member of your family!