When you get a new pet, you want to give him the world. Unfortunately, all those treats and toys can get expensive really quickly. These tips can help you build a budget that allows proper pet care with a healthy dose of pampering built in.
Be Realistic About What You Can Spend
Building a budget is difficult if you aren't willing to be realistic about your finances. So, if you don't have a budget already, planning for a new pet can be just the motivator you need. By coming up with a plan, you can provide proper care for your new furry family member without worrying about how to pay for it.
Be aware that this will most likely not be a fun process. You'll need to sit down and get to work to build a realistic budget. However, it can be relatively quick and straightforward. The first step is to gather a list of all of your income and expenses. Then, set aside amounts for emergencies and a rainy day fund. Your discretionary spending will be left, and that's where you'll need to carve a pet care budget from.
Take Steps To Lower Monthly Obligations
While you are designing a budget, take a good look at your regular monthly obligations. You may be able to lower or eliminate some of these with a bit of extra work. Take your car payments, for example. By restructuring your auto loan to one with more favorable terms, you can potentially save enough to pamper your new pet in style.
Another area to look at is auto-renewal services. These charges can easily get overlooked, so you may not even realize you are still paying them. Always check credit card and bank statements and ask questions if you don't recognize a charge.
Finally, consider using balanced billing for utilities where it's offered. This service lets you pay the same amount every month so you can better plan for bills. Most companies use an average amount based on your use over the past year.
Consider Locking Prices In Where Possible
Prices for goods and services are continuously rising. Sometimes it is hard to keep up with them, which makes planning very difficult. However, you may be able to lock in today's prices at some places you take your pet.
One approach to this is to purchase packages at places like the groomer or your boarding facility. You'll usually need to pay for several sessions upfront to take advantage of discounts and guaranteed fees. However, it does mean a lower per-service rate and, if you know you'll use the service, it can be a good deal.
Monthly subscriptions for toys, treats and food are another way to keep prices consistent. You pay a set fee and get deliveries according to your pet's needs. Many larger pet retailers offer this service with special discounts and free shipping. Specialty subscription boxes are also very popular with pet parents.
If you are looking for a great way to save on pet healthcare, consider enrolling your pet in a health insurance plan. Depending on your chosen plan, monthly premiums can cover everything from dental care to emergency visits. Be sure to ask about exclusions, deductibles and co-insurance amounts when deciding on a program.
Leave Room for Training
Dog training is an absolute must, regardless of the age of your pup. Unfortunately, this is one area where you can easily spend thousands of dollars. While some pet parents can handle training on their own, for most, it's a job that requires professional help.
While it's easier to start when your dog is still a puppy, even older dogs will benefit from proper training. Talk to friends, family and your vet for trainer recommendations. Most people are more than happy to share positive and negative experiences, so you can get an idea of who to contact and who to avoid.
Pets can be expensive additions to your family. However, with proper planning, you can build a budget that allows you to afford pet care and pampering.