Can we be frugal and still have a dog? Save Money on Pets

Can we be frugal and still have a dog?

Save Money On PetsYES!

End of post.


Just kidding!  This is a debated topic on whether pet ownership is worth the cost.  Well, I must admit that this is an individual case by case answer.  But in our case…the answer is a solid YES!


We had been in the process of watching our budget for 6 months when we had the opportunity to foster a wonderful border collie/Terrier mix.  She entered our home and our hearts, and we haven’t been able to let her go.  So, my husband maybe would have a different opinion on this topic.  He has never been an animal lover and sometimes finds it hard to understand why someone would want an animal in their house that they need to take care of.  Well, the kids and I couldn’t disagree more with him.  We love Daisy and she has been a source of entertainment, love and warm snuggles on so many occasions.  She has also been my walking buddy and gotten my butt out of my chair more often than not.

So let’s look at the cost of a pet.


Daisy was adopted from an animal shelter, so we did have to pay the rescue fee of $350.  Once we had her, we did have to do some additional vet checks which cost us an additional $150.  In the 4 months since we have had her, we have had no additional vet bills, but I would estimate that this may be a yearly cost of $200.  We also spent a one time cost of $300 for the initial set up of food, toys, kennel, etc.  I also have built a line item in my budget for pets for $60 each month.  This takes care of purchasing food approximately every 6 weeks and any additional toys or treats that I want to get her.  This seems a little high, so after one year, I will perhaps adjust this line item.


One time costs:


Additional ongoing costs

$920 a year.

Life expectancy of the dog: 10 years

Total Lifetime costs:  Approximately $10,000

The Return on Investment in warm snuggles, licks and unconditional love:  Priceless


Now I know that some of you may be thinking, what about the costs of grooming, boarding, unexpected costs?  That is true. But we do our best to find frugal alternatives to this as well.  All grooming takes place at home and materials are purchased within that $60 monthly limit.  We often bring Daisy with us on trips and we have friends who will dog sit for us, in exchange for us to dog sit for them in the future.  And yes, there will be unexpected costs, but for our family, we feel that Daisy is another child.  We wouldn’t give up one of our own children if they suddenly became too expensive.


That is why the cost of pet ownership is completely individual and you must make that decision on your own.  How much do you want a dog or need to have a pet as a member of your family?  As you can see the numbers are large, so time should be spent on this decision.  And you may be wondering about my husband and whether he would agree with this post.  He has seen the joy that this brings to his wife and kids and he understands that this is truly something that makes his family happy.  So, he does agree with the decision to have a pet, and Daisy is slowly finding a place in his heart too!

Simple steps to make pet ownership affordable:

  1. Foster with a move to adopt…then you know you are finding one that fits your family.
  2. Set a budget for pet supplies every month.
  3. Find another family to exchange pet sitting services.
  4. Just like with family doctors, you can call and get a quote for vet services too! Shop around.
  5. Shop at Garage Sales, Good Will Stores, Craigslist, etc. for pet supplies.


A family pet is an investment.  We hope you find your fur-ever friend too!



    1. Thanks! It’s amazing how many people have extra pet supplies stored away or that their own pets have outgrown. Kind of the same with baby stuff!

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