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Choosing a Cheap Pet

Pets can be a wonderful addition to the family, but they can also be an expensive imposition on a tight family budget. Fortunately, there are many ways to choose a cheap pet without getting less love and enjoyment from the relationship you will have with your new friend.

Factors Affecting Pet Cost

There are many different factors that influence how much any particular pet will cost. The most common things to consider, and those that are easiest to adjust to your budget, include…

  • Type of Pet
    Whether you are interested in a cat, dog, bird, reptile, fish or any other type of pet, the more exotic or pure bred it is, the more expensive it will be. More common breeds or hybrids, however, are generally cheaper as well as easier to find.

  • Age
    Younger pets have a "cute" appeal that retailers capitalize on, and young pets – puppies and kittens especially – are often more expensive than adult animals. Older or senior pets are often the cheapest, but they are just as loving.

  • Alterations
    An unaltered pet – one that has not been spayed or neutered – is often more expensive than a pet that has already had its reproductive capabilities removed. Conversely, if a pet already has vaccinations, it may be more expensive than a pet that still needs immunizations.

  • Condition
    If pets have any acute deformities – such as being blind in one eye, having a less than pedigree shape or missing toes – they may be cheaper than pets without those types of conditions. Pets that are already trained can also be more expensive than untrained animals.

  • Retailer
    Pet stores and pedigree breeders are often the most expensive places to buy pets, while shelters and rescue facilities have much lower prices. If you know someone who has a pet they will breed or if you check the classifieds, you may even find a new pet for free.

Consider Other Costs

Depending on which pet you choose and where you purchase it, you may spend just a few dollars or several hundred dollars – even over a thousand dollars – to add your new pet to your family. The cost of the pet doesn't stop there, however, and it is important that you factor in the cost of its care to be sure the pet will fit comfortably in your budget. Consider…

  • Veterinary care, including checkups and regular vaccinations
  • Food and treats, as well as any special dietary needs
  • Boarding, day care, walking or pet sitter costs if needed
  • Toys, leashes, collars and other accessories
  • Beds, bedding, a tank or other appropriate housing if needed
  • Grooming services, including toenail clipping, flea baths, etc.
  • Training classes or private instruction
  • Licensing fees or increased apartment rental fees if applicable

All of these costs should factor in to your pet purchase to make sure you will be able to give your pet the best possible care for a long, happy, healthy life. With careful budgeting, however, it is possible to find a cheap pet that will be a priceless addition to your family.