This post was originally published on Financial Gym, and was reposted here with permission. Check out the Financial Gym on Instagram to stay updated!
You might be dreaming of getting a puppy as your newest addition to your family. You already know the breed and have the perfect name picked out. But before you go out and get a puppy, you want to be financially prepared for the cost of owning a dog. Like children, dogs, and especially puppies cost money. Here’s how to prepare.
Start a puppy fund
When it comes to things you want, you have to save for them. You save up for vacations or the next iPhone and the fact is you have to save up for a puppy too. Whether you’re buying a puppy or adopting, there are still startup costs associated with getting a dog.
You may have to pay an adoption fee, you will need to buy a kennel, food, a leash, toys, and more. All of these things cost money and are additions to your budget. You don’t want to put all of this on a credit card if you can’t pay it back! Definitely don’t go into debt getting a dog. So save up for your four-legged friend now.
Be realistic about the cost of owning a dog
Like anything else you spend money on, you need to add it to your budget. You may not think that a puppy will add too much to your budget, but the costs can add up.
According to the ASPCA, the annual cost of owning a dog can range from $1,471 – $2,008.31 in that first year, depending on the size of your dog. This includes everything from food, medical bills, toys, spay/neutering, leash, and more.
Take these numbers and divide it by 12 to project how much you might need to budget each month for your pup.
Understand hidden costs
You know the obvious costs of owning a dog like buying food and getting a leash. But you need to prepare for hidden costs that aren’t so obvious.
Let’s say you get a puppy and they have a chewing fixation. You realize they’ve chewed your computer chargers, socks, and your favorite sweater. All of those things need to be replaced.
You replace them and it keeps happening. Maybe you need to invest in some puppy behavior training or buy special items to help prevent chewing.
It’s important to realize that your puppy will likely ruin some things. They’ll chew something, knock something over, make a mess, get sick on a piece of furniture, pee when they’re not supposed to. All of these things have financial repercussions.
To help prepare financially for this, you want to add an extra buffer in your budget for stuff like this. Even if it’s just $25 a month, you want to have a cushion for incidents like the ones listed above.
Create a puppy emergency fund
You know you should have an emergency fund but did you know that your puppy should too? Yep! Aside from your monthly budget, you should be setting money aside each month into a puppy emergency fund. You can start with something small like $10 to $25 per month (if you can do more, great!), with automatic withdrawals to a targeted savings account specifically for your puppy emergency fund.
It’s important to have a puppy emergency fund so if something happens to your furry best friend you don’t have to think or worry about it.
Being in a situation where you have to get an unexpected $1,000 procedure and worrying about whether you can pay rent or care for your dog is terrible. Of course you want to do whatever it takes to keep your dog healthy and alive. But you don’t want to go into debt for it or worry about meeting your own basic expenses.
Consider pet insurance
If you want to worry less about the cost of owning a dog and be super prepared, you might want to consider pet insurance. Pet insurance, like any other type of insurance can help pay for costs so you’re not covering everything out of pocket.
The insurance could cover exams, behavioral treatments, etc. You will want to compare and contrast plans and make sure it’s actually something that will benefit you. It may not be worth it but if you have a dog that needs special care it could be. You can check out plans on PolicyGenius.
You might be so excited about getting a puppy. It’s a long-time dream fulfilled! We get it. There’s nothing like (wo)man’s best friend. But the cost of owning a dog is an extra expense that you need to prepare for. Make sure you are still reaching your other financial goals too while preparing for a pup.
The Financial Gym is a personal financial planning company that takes a fitness-inspired approach to your finances, teaching you to make smarter money decisions that add up over time. Train with us, and discover what’s possible.
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