Owning pets can be extremely expensive. Adoption and breeder fees can be costly enough, but once pet ownership truly begins so do the real costs.
The cost of quality food, litter, pet supplies, toys, and veterinary expenses can add up quickly, making pet ownership difficult and not accessible for everyone.
As the cost of living continues to grow, more and more people are trying to find lives to cut costs and live frugally.
While some expenses are worth shelling out the extra cash (quality nutrition for dogs and cats is worth the price and vet care is a must), there are some expenses incurred from owning pets that can be easily cut down or eliminated altogether.
If you’re a dog mom or cat dad looking to slash their budget, check out my tips below for budget friendly pet ownership.
1. Cut out unnecessary expenses
Food, litter, vet care and medications are all necessary expenses when owning pets, but we are all guilty of spending money we don’t need to spend on our pets from time to time.
Perhaps you are tempted to buy new toys every time you go shopping, but your dog already has a huge bin full of toys they don’t play with or maybe you are paying someone else to walk your dog.
While outsourcing some tasks to others can help save time it can also be expensive. It is up to you to determine if the time you save is worth the cost you incur, but if you are looking to reduce your spending it may be a good idea to walk your own dog more often.
Not only will you spend less, but walking your dog is a great way to grow your bond and find time to exercise.
In addition, when you are looking for a pet sitter for a day or two, see if you can recruit family members or friends to watch your pets at a discounted rate.
2. Make your own treats or toys.
Buying treats and toys from pet specialty stores and grocery stores can get expensive fast. Instead, opt for making your own treats. Not only will you get more bang for your buck, but you will know the ingredients going into each treat to ensure that your dog is getting nothing but quality nutrition.
Making your own treats is also a good way to ensure your dog is kept safe (there are recalls on store bought pet products all the time!)
You can also choose to make your own dog toys with things you already have lying around the house. For instance, you can use old t-shirts to make a rope toy for your dog. Check out how in this awesome post from Bark Post.
3. Use free training resources.
Training your dog is such an important piece of dog ownership now, but training can be expensive. When I was looking for a trainer for Bean, I came across companies that charged over $1,000 for in home training.
Thankfully, an organization I volunteer for in Pittsburgh called the Proper Pitbull offers scholarships for bully breed owners to attend training classes at a discounted rate. I was able to enroll Bean in a seven-week course for only $25.
Check to see if there are any scholarships or discounted training services near you. In addition, take advantage of the age of internet. There are tons of free training resources for dog owners online. There are YouTube videos, guides, and groups on Facebook as well.
4. Weigh the pros and cons before purchasing pet insurance.
Vet expenses are arguably the most expensive aspects of pet ownership. One way to help combat the cost is through pet insurance.
Pet insurance helps to cover the cost of any unexpected treatments for your dog. Some plans will also cover routine visits. The more your insurance will cover the more you will pay each month. It is up to you to decide if the extra money each money is worth the peace of mind in case of an emergency. Take a good, hard look at your budget and determine if there is wiggle room for pet insurance or if you feel it is necessary.
5. Have an emergency savings.
Because emergencies can happen, it’s a good idea to set aside some money each pay period. Having an emergency fund will ensure that you aren’t severely set back if your dog or cat ever gets sick or injured.
6. Scour thrift stores and yard sales for discounted, gently used pet products.
You never know what you will find at thrift stores and yard sales. If you get lucky you may be able to find some gently used toys, beds, blankets, or other products for your pet at a lower cost.
7. Avoid spending money on doggie fashion items.
I am guilty of spending more money on my dog’s wardrobe than I should. She has a ton of collars, tags, bandanas, bows, and more. While they look cute, I know it’s not a necessary expensive and it does tend to add up quickly. While it’s okay to splurge on these fun products occasionally, avoid purchasing so many that your dog needs his own drawer in your dresser.
8. Remember that quality > quantity.
One of the best pieces of advice for budgeting, minimalism, and frugal living is to purchase fewer high quality items instead of several cheaper items.
Invest in higher quality products that will last such as proper collars, leashes, and harnesses. In addition, keep in mind that while quality kibbles tend to cost more you also have to feed your dog less over time.
Owning a dog or cat can be expensive, but if you follow these tips and tricks you can certainly help to to lessen the financial burden.
What are your budget friendly tips for pet ownership?