So you love Frodo or Bobo or whatever you called your pet dog/cat/snake. You're pretty sure they love you. Great! Good for you but now lets get down to serious business. If you are in debt then that great big ball of fur could be keeping you there. The costs associated with keeping a pet can be huge depending on your level of attention to detail and how much you want to keep up with the Joneses.
Pets are often treated as another member of the family - a very expensive member of the family. Even the smallest pet is not cheap. When they look up at you with their big loving eyes little do you realize that they are eating away at your budget.
Now before we go on I want to point out that I am not some cold hearted monster that is going to recommend that you leave Frodo at the side of the road. Far from it. I love animals. I'm more of a dog person but I have to admit that I admire the way cats can fend for themselves and give a collective two fingers to the world. I also have a soft spot for turtles but who hasn't? Spiders and snakes are not really my buzz but I can see the appeal of an ant farm. Oh and fish, I really like tropical fish.
Now the thing is this website is about debt and your relationship with debt. The unfortunate thing is that most pets are expensive. As a pet is almost always seen as member of the family it is generally the case that you want the best for them. The clever marketing people know this and charge you accordingly. Pet expenses can be unpredictable and costly and this makes them hard to budget for.
So what's the alternative?
Well there a couple of simple things you can do to allow you to properly budget for your pet expenses.
The first is to buy pet Insurance. I know this is an extra cost each month but the way I look at it is it will help smooth out the annual cost of your pet. Each month you know that you have to pay a set small fee and as a result you can incorporate this into your budget. If you have to take your pet to see the vet then the insurance should cover most if not all of it. For an idea of what is available in pet insurance please click here.
The second step is to buy your pet food in bulk and online. If your pet is like 9 out of 10 cats and prefers a particular brand of pet food then shop around for the cheapest offer on it. The good thing about pet food is that it is usually long dated and it is a long time before it goes stale. This will allow you to buy in bulk and buy cheaply. Amazon is a good place to start but I highly recommend that you shop around.
Budgeting for a pet?
Yeah I know it does take a certain amount of the fun out of having a pet and it does add to the list of tasks that we need to do when we have a pet. I would put budgeting for a pet in the same category as cleaning up dog pooh. Not a nice task but something that needs to be done. The fact is that if you don't budget for your pet and you it gets more expensive to keep them then you will begin to resent them.
Another way to think about your pet is look at them from the point of view of cost of keeping them versus the benefits that they bring. Homes with pets in them seem to be filled with more joy. There seems to be a lot more going on if there is a dog or a cat running around. Studies have shown that the mood of people who are depressed improves when they have a pet. The pet takes the persons focus away from themselves and their problems.
The simplest way to increase the benefits of having a pet is to reduce the costs of having them. This way you get the same benefit but for a lower cost. Pets are great. They can be a little hard work and if you want to reduce the cost of having them they may require a little more hard work but the benefits far outweigh the costs involved.
Article by Mike Leonard. To read more articles by Mike please visit his website http://www.untildebtdouspart.com/ this website contains articles on debt management, free financial calculators and a free ebook relating to Personal finance and particularly debt management