Pet Budgeting Exercise

By Monday, November 28, 2011

Caring for your pet without losing your tailI’m preparing to do an interview on WTVT FOX 13 and Daytime on WFLA Ch. 8 in Tampa on Wednesday about my new book, Pampered Pets on a Budget.  As I outlined my talking points, I realized this would be helpful to my blog readers!

We don’t always factor in the annual pet spend when we are deciding to bring a pet into the family.

The key is to save on supplies and services so that you have enough in your budget for proper veterinary care. A lot of people are cutting preventative veterinary care to “save”, when in reality, those visits are very important and can save you money down the road.

Start your 2012 pet budget off on the right paw with this exercise:
1. List your pet’s “need to haves”
2. List your pet’s “nice to haves”
3. Eliminate what your pet doesn’t need from “nice to haves”
4. Find ways to save on the remaining list

Save on veterinary care: (more tips are in the book, available at

Estimate annual costs for routine care (depending on age and type of pet, this can be anywhere from $200-500/year). This is health care that you should budget for as part of your role as a responsible pet owner.

Factor in unexpected emergency or illness ($250-$1000)

Consider a pet health insurance plan (ave. $25-30/month for unexpected exp) Read reviews and ratings of pet health insurance companies at

Talk to your veterinarian about a payment plan or Care Credit (for emergencies)

Start your own pet health savings account

Save on consumables (food, litter, liners, etc.)

Buy in large quantities, store in sealable plastic containers. Join rewards programs at local pet supply store or boutique (they all have them, and a great way to save on expensive items like food and litter). Clip coupons, shop dollar stores or join daily deal pet sites.

Diet is important. Buy the best quality pet diet your budget will allow.

Save on supplies

For crates, litter boxes, cat condo’s etc., look to dollar stores, garage sales, animal shelter shops, even eEbay and Craig’s List! Ask friends if they have a crate or cat condo they are no longer using (use enzyme sprays to eliminate previous pet odors). Ask an animal shelter if you can purchase a used crate.

Make toys or rotate toys, buy from dollar stores or use rewards points.

Save on services

DIY grooming or less frequent visits. Instead of a pet sitter or boarding facility, ask a friend or family member to barter favors to watch dog/cat, etc. Group training at shelters or pet centers are more affordable than private lessons. Spend more time with your pet! It costs you nothing and rewards you with lowered stress and a healthier heart.

Adopting a pet vs. purchasing a pet saves money and saves a life!