Adding a pet to your family may seem like a great idea. A pet can be a great way to experience responsibility and companionship. But, it should also be an exercise in research, reflection and personal budgeting.
Even if your pet is initially “free” from a shelter or as a gift, there are significant costs involved. Before you bring a pet into your family, understand the costs you could face, and examine your ability and desire to prioritize them.
Many costs go into caring for a petEach animal is different and the costs of pet ownership can vary significantly depending on the species, breed and lifestyle. Responsibly caring for a pet involves much more than daily meals and occasional chew toys.
There’s the cost of spaying or neutering your pet and regular vet visits and vaccinations. And, just as with any other living creature, unanticipated illnesses or accidents are to be expected.
There are also pet-related expenses you might not anticipate, such as the costs of occasional dog walkers, training, grooming or boarding fees, and even an extra security deposit if you rent your home.
Preparing for a pet involves examining your budgetBefore bringing a pet into your home, take a critical look at your finances. Assess your ability to cover regular costs like food and grooming. Determine your ability and willingness to manage pet-related emergency expenses without relying on credit. For, as much as your new pet will snuggle its way into your heart and become a beloved member of your family, even your pet wouldn’t want you to compromise your family’s financial well-being for his or her care.
If the costs of pet ownership are more than expected, but you remain firm in your desire to bring one into your family, consider postponing your new addition while you build up savings earmarked specifically for your new pet. Realize that the initial purchase or adoption expenses represent only a fraction of what your pet will cost over his or her life and plan accordingly.
Continue to set aside money throughout your pet’s life, so that when an emergency arises, taking good care of your pet goes hand-in-hand with taking care of your family’s financial well-being.
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. © 2013 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.