Pets are an important part of many people’s lives. They provide love, companionship, and a sense of purpose. As much as we love our furry friends, they can be expensive to care for, especially when we’re already struggling with debt. Managing pet care expenses while trying to keep up with living expenses can be challenging. With careful planning and budgeting, it is possible to provide your pets with the care they need.
What expenses to consider
When managing the care of your pet, it’s important to consider all the costs associated with pet ownership. This includes the essentials like food and veterinary care, as well as, discretionary expenses like grooming, boarding, and pet supplies. The best way to handle pet care costs is to know what you’re getting into before getting a pet. Pets vary in terms of how much care they need, so it’s important to find one that fits your budget. Consider the breed, age, and activity level of the pet, as these factors can all affect their expenses. Older pets can cost more as they are more likely to have health issues. Larger and more active pets will, by nature, cost more to care for.
Why pet insurance is a good idea
Pet insurance is a type of coverage that can help you manage the costs of veterinary care. It works like health insurance for humans, with different levels of coverage and deductibles. By paying a monthly premium, you can avoid unexpected veterinary expenses. Should your pet’s care needs suddenly change, you’ll have coverage to pay for it. Pet insurance can be especially helpful for those who are in debt, as unexpected expenses can make it even harder to get back on track financially.
Tips for keeping expenses low
Make an initial pet budget
A pet care budget will help you get a clear idea of what you can expect in terms of monthly expenses. It’s best to create a budget before you take in a new pet, so you can be sure you will be able to afford their long-term care. This budget should include food, veterinary care, grooming, and any other expenses related to your pet’s care. Once your pet arrives, keep an expense tracker to ensure your expenses incurred match up with your original budget. Finally, reviewing your budget each calendar year is key to effective expense management.
Cut back on unnecessary expenses
If, after creating a budget, it looks like money will be tight there are a couple of options. You can hold off on getting a pet. If you really don’t want to hold off though, you can look at ways to boost your income or see how to cut back expenses. This might mean cancelling subscriptions or memberships you no longer use. Reducing your grocery bill by meal planning and couponing is another option. Or, it could include taking public transportation instead of driving. Every dollar you can save can be set aside for pet care expenses.
Shop around for pet supplies
Like most things in life, it pays to shop around. Check out different pet stores, discount stores, warehouses, and online retailers to find the best deals on pet supplies. Consider buying in bulk, which can often save you money in the long run. Online stores often offer coupons to entice first-time buyers. You can also sign up for loyalty programs that offer discounts on pet supplies.
Prioritize veterinary care
Veterinary care is essential to keeping your pet healthy, but it can also be expensive. To manage these costs, prioritize your pet’s care needs early on. This means scheduling regular check-ups, keeping up with vaccinations, and addressing any health issues as soon as they arise. By catching health problems early by way of preventative care,, you can potentially avoid more costly treatments down the line.
Find low-cost veterinary options
If pet insurance isn’t an option, there are other ways to find affordable veterinary care. Many animal shelters and humane societies offer low-cost vaccination and spay/neuter clinics. Some veterinary clinics also offer payment plans or financing options for larger bills. Community pet care programs, which offer discounted or free veterinary care for low-income pet owners are becoming more common. If you’re in a really tight spot, vets usually have free-trial pet food available.
Grooming your pet can be a fun bonding experience, and it can also save you money. Some grooming tasks (like nail trimming) might be best left to professionals. Others, like bathing and brushing, can easily be done at home. Invest in a good set of grooming tools, and learn how to groom your pet to keep them looking and feeling their best.
Consider pet-sitting or dog walking
If you’re struggling to afford pet care, consider offering dog walking and pet-sitting services to your community. This can be a great way to earn extra income while spending time with animals. You can advertise services on social media or community bulletin boards, and set your own rates.
Tips for managing expenses
Setup an automated pet care account
Besides keeping expenses low, it’s also important to manage pet care expenses effectively. One way to do this is to automate an allocated amount to an account specifically for any pet expense. Setting aside a certain amount each month makes budgeting and handling unexpected expenses much easier.
Create a pet emergency fund
Another effective way to manage pet care expenses is to set aside a pet emergency care fund. To make things really easy, add a little extra to the amount you allotted to go to your pet account each month. Unexpected expenses can arise, even with the best planning. Having an emergency fund provides peace of mind and helps you avoid going into debt.
Managing pet care expenses while in debt can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Pets bring joy and companionship into our lives. Don’t let the benefits of owning a pet be diminished by stress related to the cost of taking care of them. With a little forethought pet care expenses can be managed easily.
Struggling with debt because you maxed out your credit cards to pay a vet bill? Let us help. Our trained Credit Counsellors can put you on a plan to get out of debt.