The Frugal Pet Owner- What to Do before You Bring Home a Furry Friend

Awhile ago I started collecting list of the top ten money-wasters. They were all different, and all subjective. But one of the most foolish was the one that included having a pet as a categorical money-waster. While it is true that sharing your life with the critter of your choice does have a price tag, but so does having a child. This is one of the reasons we are frugal to begin with-so that we can have kids and pets and other wonderful thing that complicate our lives while they make our lives worth living.

Orange the Cat-Once a Stray, Now a Pet

That being said, there are a few things you need to ask yourself before you make the leap. Are you prepared to pay all of the maintenance costs of your chosen companion? And what are those expenses?  All pets need to eat everyday (well, maybe not reptiles, but you get the idea.)But it doesn’t stop there. What about veterinarian bills? Behavior training? Toys?  Bedding? It varies depending on what you have in mind, but there will be maintenance costs no matter what. If you really can’t afford it you should reconsider the whole project.The one exception is the homeless stray that you rescue from the feral life. In that case, even if you can’t really afford the best care possible, you are sharing what you have and the animal is still better off than before. I have seen homeless people with cats and dogs that are very committed to their pets, but the animal shares a rough and tumble life.

Bringing home a pet is a commitment to a living thing that you will care for it properly. This takes thought. There is a time commitment as well as a financial consideration. Our pets need attention and love. If you work eighty hours a week or are a first year law student maybe you should get a fish and leave it at that.

So, what kind of pet should you get? You likely already know what you want. There is not much anyone can say to influence what tugs at your heartstrings. This is about love. It is easier to answer the question of where to go for your new household member. Be kind and start with the animal shelter. Even if you have your heart set on something exotic like a parrot you might check there first. Or go online and see if there is a rescue organization for your chosen breed. You will be saving a life.

Here are some resources to help you choose: a wealth of information on animal adoption another great source. Includes an adoption link.

To find your local Humane Society and/or ASPCA, go online or check the yellow pages. an online clearing house, matching homeless animals with loving homes Or look for this at the library If you are considering a kitty. If you are considering a bird. List of bird adoption links by state.

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