Having a pet means additional expenses for you, ones that need to be rolled into your monthly budget. Plan ahead to be sure you can cover all the predictable expenses for pet care, and those you didn't count on.
Setting up a pet care budget begins by figuring out how much it costs to feed your pet. Do you have a regular brand of pet food that you buy? Whether it's from the neighborhood grocery store or from your vet, estimate how often you purchase the food and put this figure in your budget. Include costs for pet treats, as well.
Pets, like people, can run into significant and chronic health problems. Allergies, for example, can be an issue for some animals. Your pet may have to take regular medicine for a chronic issue. You may also have to pay for regular heart-worm and flea and tick prevention. Calculate your current cost and figure in some reasonable padding for unexpected medications.
Vet expenses for your pet will likely add up to some of your most significant costs. Plan for regular check-ups and vaccinations, and figure that you may have to take your pet in to the vet at least once a year for an ailment.
It may be worthwhile to consider health insurance for your pet, which is an expense that you can predict and budget for. There are many different plans that are available, and your choice may depend on the age, breed and overall health of your animal. Your veterinarian can help you decide what kind of coverage might be best for your pet.
Just like daycare expenses for families with children, paying for those who can watch over your furry friend when you can't will be a significant part of your pet care budget. If you leave town and need to board your dog, make sure to budget for the cost, even if it's an irregular occurrence.
If you have your pet groomed professionally, calculate the monthly cost. If the cost looks prohibitive, perhaps you could save some money by washing your pet at home and having it groomed professionally every other month. In this category you'll also want to include the cost of brushes, combs and pet shampoo.
If you have a cat, you'll need to calculate the cost of litter, after the initial outlay for a litter box and accessories. For a dog, allow for the small, but regular, expense of those handy bags that you follow your furry friend around with on walks.
Having a pet also means the possibility of it biting someone. Though it is difficult, and probably impractical, to budget for legal costs should your pet injure another person, renters insurance may cover many of the costs for you and is a budget-able expense. However, dogs with an aggressive history or breeds that are considered dangerous may be excluded.
If you have a young or disobedient pet, you'll want to consider obedience classes as a part of your expenses, though these should have a finite cost. If, however, you want to train your dog extensively, you might put continuing education into your budget.
Under this category, budget for the things you won't replace often but will be rotating expenses, such as pet toys, leashes, collars, sweaters and food/water bowls.
Pets bring incalculable love and companionship to our lives, and plenty of calculable expenses as well. Don't be caught off guard by unexpected costs for your furry friend so prepare your pet care budget today.