Dog Product Reviews

Top #23: How to Budget and Save Money on Dogs

When adopting your dog, you’ll have to factor in the yearly costs that come with it – vet bills, grooming, food, and more. Some of the predicted prices of pet ownership out there may seem scary to future dog owners, but it doesn’t have to cost an arm an a leg if you know how to budget.

Most often, pet owners unknowingly waste money on things and in places where they could’ve saved, so in this podcast episode, I’m going to talk about how to save money on your dog budget. We’ll discuss emergency fund, food and supplies, vet costs and more.

Listen to the episode in the video above and find the full podcast transcript below. For more, visit this episode’s post on the official Theory of Pets website.

How to Budget and Save Money on Your Dogs?
(raw podcast transcript)

[00:00:19] This week I am talking about the most commonly asked question that I am ever asked by pet owners and it is how do you save money caring for your dog? Everybody is on a budget. We’re all on a budget, summer tighter than others but everybody wants pets. They want to have the companionship, they want to have the fun of having a dog and being able to go out and explore and walk your dog have that companionship, with that love and that just that furry family member that really adds to your family. There’s no other way to explain it.

Having an animal whether it’s a cat or a dog, a horse, it adds something to your family that you can’t get any other way. So, I am always being asked how can I save money? How can I cut money out of my pet budget? How can I stay on top of my pet budget? What can I do to make this more feasible for our family? And I’m often asked this by first-time pet owners, I’m often asked this by seniors who are on a budget. I’m often asked this by families, who want to have more than one pets. You know having more than one pet can be very beneficial. They you know enjoy being around each other sometimes there’s you know if you have multiple say kids in your family and you want to get a couple of dogs. So, you know there’s responsibilities for every kid.

[00:01:44] You know you have two kids, you are two dogs. So, that they each have their own dog. They can each take a dog for a walk and do that stuff. Whatever the case may be there’s so, many reasons that people are looking to cut budgets. Right now, you know the economy’s tough, people are losing jobs, the jobs that are out there aren’t paying as well as the jobs that some people have lost. So, they need to make adjustments in their budget. But nobody wants to have to get rid of a pet to make your budget work and make ends meet every month. So, let’s jump right into it.

I have six things that I want to talk to you about. So, their brief overview here is we’re going to talk about your budget. You need to find and maintain your budget. Number 2: is going to be to set up an emergency fund for your pet. So, when those things come up like veterinary unexpected expenses; you’re not having to max out credit cards or borrow money. Number 3: you want to look at ways to save on pet supplies, which would be things like bedding, toys, that kind of stuff, leashes and collars. 4: you want to look at ways to save on treats. 5: We want to look at ways to save on food. And then 6: is the dog care expenses or the pet care expenses, things like grooming, pet sitting, stuff like that. So, let’s jump into it.

[00:02:57] Number one: your budget you need to be thinking about your budget when either if you are thinking about adopting a pet or if you have a pet but it’s not fitting into your budget. You know the caring of the pet. So, the first thing you need to do is really sit down think about your budget; look at the things that 1st, look at the things that stay the same every month. Things like your rent or your mortgage, car payments, things that are the same every month. You have to pay them and you know 100 % exactly what that cost is going to be. So, list all of those things, then you’re going to list the things every month that you have to pay but you are not sure exactly how much they’re going to be. Things like electricity bills, those you know change every month but you can kind of figure out an average ballpark of what they are.

So, that’s what you’re going to do next is that things that aren’t always the same but you can ballpark it. And what you want to do with those things is go on the high side. So, if your electricity bill sometimes is down around $60 but some months it’s up around 100. You want to go with that hundred dollars every month because you don’t want to underestimate. And then that’s going to add; you’re gonna have to take some money out of another area of your budget to make up for that. So, if you can go on the high side on those months that it’s $60 you’re going have an extra $40, that you can tuck away into an emergency fund, savings account something like that. But you know on those months that it’s $100, you’re not going to have to be making up for that.

Look at your budget, figure out those things that you need to pay every month the things that are always the same. The things that aren’t always the same but have to be paid. Things like credit card bills, need to go on their cell phone bills. Any loans that you might have whether it’s a vehicle payment or personal loan, anything like that that has to be paid every month needs to go down on a piece of paper. You figure out how much you’re spending every single month on these things that absolutely, have to be done. And then you want to take into consideration the things that you have to buy like groceries for your family, gas for your vehicle, things that you buy every month that don’t have a set expense.

You don’t necessarily have to pay them you don’t necessarily have to buy groceries. You know if you have stuff leftover from last month you can you can make it work. But you know things that come up that aren’t 100 % have to pay. But you do they do pop up and you do have to pay them. So, you take that into consideration and then what you’re going to do is you’re going to have pretty much a ballpark figure of what your expenses are every month. And think about every little thing if you change the oil in your car every month and you drive through one of those places that cost you 30 or 40 dollars to drive through. If you buy lunch for work every month think about that stuff while you’re making out your budget.

[00:05:52] Think about things can you cut certain things, can you cut buying lunch every day and bring your own. So, think about that get your budget under control and then you figure out how much you make every month, subtract what you have to spend out and you’ve got this discretionary income we call it. So, that’s money leftover that you can use to go out to dinner, to go to the movies. It’s the money where your budget is going to come in. So, you obviously don’t want to use every dime of your discretionary income. Look at it. Figure out can I spend $200 a month, can I spend $100 a month, can I spend $500 a month, whatever it might be. You want to figure out what you can comfortably spend on a pet or multiple pets every month. And that becomes your pet budget.

This pet budget now don’t say you know; why have $200 of discretionary income. So, I’m going to spend $20 a month on my pet, you’re not going to be able to be a pet owner for $20 a month. You need to consider food supplies, treats, care for them. $20 month isn’t going to cover it. So maybe, you need to rethink things if you don’t have a pet already. This is the time to look at things honestly and say this isn’t the time for me to have a pet. I don’t have the money in my budget right now. So, then go back to your budget look at what can I do? Maybe right now, maybe in the next three months, six months, one year, I want to be a pet owner.

[00:07:18] These are the things I need to do. I need to pay down credit card debt. So, I’m not having to spend that much every month. You know next year I’m going to be paying this car off. So, I need to be you know looking at that how long can I drive this car? How long am I comfortable driving this car? You know before I’m going to I have to take out another car payment? Can I look at a car payment that’s cheaper thing? All of these things that you can look at but in order to responsibly take care of that you need to think about your own budget and figure out what you can realistically spend on your pet every month. So, that’s your budget. You’ve got that down.

Now, let’s talk about a pet emergency fund because every single pet owner whether you have a cow, a horse, a pig, a dog, a cat, a hamster. You need to be thinking about a pet emergency fund. Now obviously the pet emergency fund for a hamster or a bird or a rabbit is not going to be to be nearly as much as an emergency fund for a dog or a horse. So, take that into consideration. What pet Do you have? What’s a reasonable emergency fund going to be? Now let’s just say dogs and cats because that’s those are the most common pets that people have. So, what’s you’re probably thing yourself Samantha. What, should I have? What ballpark figure should I have for a pet emergency fund because nobody knows? You could take your dog or your cat to the vet and they might need a $1500-$2000 surgery. You might take your pet to the vet.

I’m going to give you an example one of our cats had to just go to the vet a few months ago. He is double pawed and one of his paws is actually right in the middle of two toes. It is how it grows in and it grows and it curls in and around and grows back into his pocket. Something that is totally random. It’s not very common. It doesn’t happen often but it happened to our cat. It costs us. He had one of those claws on each of his front paws that needed to be removed. So, they had to sedate him and remove those claws. That was a $650 surgery that we never would have imagined.

One of our cats would have needed because I’ve never known a cat that needed that type of surgery before. So, I comfortably we feel like a thousand dollars for a cat is a good emergency fund. If something like that comes up you know you can dip into your emergency fund for things like spaying and neutering. You can dip into your emergency fund for things like you know a broken leg or in our example a claw growing into a paw that you never thought coming. It can be for things like if your dog or cat maybe is not eating maybe, there is a tumor growing and you need to have that tested to find out if it’s cancerous or not. So, for me, a thousand dollars is a good comfort a good buffer as far as our cats are concerned.

[00:10:06] For dogs it really should be up more up close to that $2000 Mark. You really should have a couple thousand dollars just sitting in that pet emergency fund. And then you know if you’re talking about say okay, we’ve had a dog in the past that had torn his ACL and needed that repaired at three years old. This Labrador tore his ACL and that was a $2000 surgery and his recovery and all of the medication was about $2000. We had that in our emergency fund so, we didn’t have to go charge it on a credit card and pay interest. We didn’t have to scrounge and look for family members to borrow money from. We didn’t…


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