Most people would say they love pets. I know growing up I had Rabbits, Fish and Dogs. As an adult I had dogs also until I was in my mid-thirties. My first dog was a Black Lab called “Flash” and he was a fun dog but I had to leave him with my folks when I moved out of the house to an apartment. My next dog was a female Golden lab called “Mariah”, she was a great dog also but tore up the yard. Our boys would love to have a dog I know but it just doesn’t fit in our current situation.
Too Busy for a Pet
For us the boys are busy with work and school for one thing so I would be taking care of the dog. Plus, our backyard isn’t ideal for a dog since it is a Golf Putting and practice area. My last dog would have torn it apart. Another reason a dog isn’t for us now is we travel a lot so we would have to find a place for it to stay. Also, some of our relatives are allergic to pets so they wouldn’t be comfortable staying with us. The last reason is that a dog or a pet doesn’t fit into our current budget and plans for financial freedom. But I know some of you may be saying “they are so cute”, yes, they are but there are too many reasons why not to have a pet in our situation.
I have worked with families in the past that had anywhere from one to four pets in their house which they couldn’t afford. They weren’t saving for retirement; they weren’t saving for their kid’s college and they were all in major debt problems. A pet to most people is a “want” not a “need” like we covered before in rule 38 of the Mills Way to Financial Freedom Rules.
For those of you that track your expenses you will know that they can get very expensive. One of my dogs averaged us around $1,800 a year or $150 per month. I know that number can change depending on the health of the pet and how much you pamper them. I am sure there are some people that drop a ton of money a year on their pets.
Some people have Dogs, Cats or even Horses as pets. The cost per year is going to be a lot different from a Dog or Cat to a Horse. So, I will give some examples of possible Dog expense below.
To get started – One-time expenses (estimates)
- Buy the Dog – $500
- Dog carrying crate – $100
- Dog Medical Exam – $120
- Dog Spray or Neutering – $225
- Dog Collar and Leash – $40
- Dog Bed – $40
- Dog Training – $500
One Time Cost – $1,525
Yearly Possible Expenses (depends on the size of dog)
- Food – $360
- Medical Exam and Bills – $240
- Dog Toys and Treats – $150
- Dog Grooming – $175
- Dog License – $20
- Dog Health Insurance – $250
- Dog Boarding Stays – $300
Total Yearly – $1,495
So, let’s say that your dog lives to be 12 years old in human years it could have a total cost of around $19,465. You can see how expensive they can be. This doesn’t include the damage they do to your shoes, clothes, house or yard. LOL
If you want a Cat the expenses are pretty similar and some additional expenses like a Cat Scratching Post, Cat Littler Box, Cat Litter and more. If you have Fish you have other expenses from a Fish Tank to maintaining the Fish Tank and more. So, depending on which pet you are looking at or how many pets the cost can be a quite different.
The main thing for those in search of reaching Financial Freedom is to make sure they are able to fit the cost of owning one or more pets in their budget. Pet’s can be almost as expensive as having a kid so I suggest people take a hard look at the numbers before diving in. I know pets are cute and loveable but so is Financial Freedom. We may own another dog someday but it won’t be until we reach our Financial Freedom goals.
Do you have any pets? If so, what are they costing you a year? Are you actually tracking all the costs of your pet each year? If you aren’t you may be surprised how much they are costing you. Let me know your thoughts.
Remember that a Pet is a “Want” and not a “Need”. You can live without a Pet if you are not in a Financial position to afford one. Please do research on the costs of owning a pet before you purchase one.
Here are two positive quotes I like; “There is no way to happiness; happiness is the Path.” By Buddha
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” By Peter Drucker
“Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life” by Wayne W. Dyer
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