I am becoming a terrible blogger. Can I blame work? I blame work. With my shifted position at work, I’m incredibly happy, but also incredibly busy. Putting in a lot of extra hours, and once I get home, the last thing I want to do is get back on the computer. I’m trying to figure out somewhat of a schedule so I can get more out of the limited hours I have in the day. We’ll see how that goes.
This weekend, I volunteered with a Great Pyrenees rescue. I love big dogs, but with my schedule, I just can’t have a dog. I’m barely home. There is a great doggy daycare near my apartment complex, but it’s $20 a day, and well, an extra $400 a month PLUS all the normal dog expenses just isn’t in the budget. Plus I just don’t think I would have the time to properly give to a dog. So instead, I volunteer with a rescue and help out where I can. One thing that was very sad was all the dogs who were abandoned for financial reasons. I think we can all understand the current economic climate, and sometimes people have to give up their pets because it comes down to feeding your pets or feeding your kids. But many times, these people gave up their pets because they simply didn’t realize the financial implications of getting a dog.
First off, there’s food. I hate to tell you, but cheap dog food typically isn’t great for your dog (or cat or whoever). It’s just like human food – if it’s super cheap, it’s probably full of junk that’s just going to make you fat. That’s not to say that the most expensive food is the best – but do your research.
Next, you’ve got “preventative maintenance,” as one of my friends calls it. Annual vet exams, vaccinations, heartworm prevention, flea prevention, sometimes even teeth cleaning (depending on your dog). You should also get your dog spayed or neutered unless you plan to breed (which is a whole different financial situation).
Then there are grooming costs. These could be minimal (buy a brush and some shampoo and toss the dog in the bathtub) or not so minimal (taking the dog to the groomer). Again, do your research. If you’re getting a giant furry dog, chances are that grooming is going to be very time consuming and you might want to consider paying a professional. If you’re getting a small short haired dog, it might be easier for you to do yourself.
What happens to the dog when you go out of town? Do you have to board the dog somewhere? Do you have to pay a house sitter to come in? Can your dog stay with a friend for free (maybe you reciprocate and care for their dog when they’re out of town).
Those are just the normal expenses. You have to be prepared for any illnesses or accidents as well. Vet bills can be expensive and you need to be prepared. Even a minor issue, like a chipped tooth from when your dog decided to gnaw on a rock (it happens) can run you a few hundred dollars.
Now, with all these expenses, is it worth it? I think so. I wish my life allowed me to have a dog, but it wouldn’t be fair to the dog. My cats are perfectly content to have the apartment to themselves all day, but a dog would need a bit more attention. But if you are going to get a dog (or any pet), be aware of what you’re getting into. Don’t let your dog be another dog at a rescue.
And if you’re looking for a dog, check out the local shelters and rescues! Lots of great dogs out there who desperately need homes.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.