Should I Just Give The Vet Access to My Bank Account?
By Shaun Somers
I had several ideas for what to write in this month’s newsletter, but at the last minute I changed my mind due to something closer to home for me right now. By closer to home, I mean in my home. Not just in my home either, but taking my home and making it hers. On Saturday our family picked up our new puppy. We got a (currently) little brown dog that we have named Murphy. She is five-eighths Labrador retriever, and she is a great little puppy. Eventually she will give us trouble, of that I have no doubt, but for now I can’t really complain.
I can’t complain about her behaviour, that is. What I can complain about is how much this pet is going to cost us! The cost of a pet (particularly the ongoing cost) is something most people don’t take into account when they are deciding to bring home a new friend for the family. While every pet has some expense associated with it, of the standard household pets surely the dog takes the title for most expensive.
I did some quick calculations regarding our new little puppy and stopped in at the vet’s office today for research purposes:
We’ve already spent:
- Dog – $150 (not nearly as expensive as what some people spend!)
- Little bag of food that she was on – $6
- Dog training book – $20
- Various chew toys – $10
- Leash: $12
Coming up soon:
- Shots – $254
- Bigger crate – $50 (a guess, we’ll probably get this on kijiji)
- Spaying – $235 + whatever meds will cost based on weight
- License – $25
- Bigger bag of better food – $40 (eventually every month)
And with most of that having tax added on to it, that’s over $900 in the first six months of this dog’s life with the Somers family. Then there’s the ongoing monthly food cost, and each year there’s worm medicine and another license and vet trips and more. We plan to groom her ourselves, but if we didn’t that would be an additional amount every few months.
When it comes to pets and expenses though, it is the unexpected that can hurt the most. In the Financial Peace class that I just finished up facilitating, one member shared that she was very close to completing her Baby Step 1 $1000 Emergency Fund when her dog caught Lyme disease and got very sick. The dog actually ended up dying, but not before his care almost completely drained the Emergency Fund. Introducing a pet into your family will mean taking the time to assess the financial risk to your emergency fund and finances in general.
Am I saying you should never get a dog or cat? Do I really recommend “putting the dog on eBay”? Of course not! I think a pet is a great addition to the family if cared for and prepared for properly. I do believe that part of preparing for a pet is to take the monetary cost into account. We will be spending over $1000 this year on this dog. If we weren’t following the Dave Ramsey plan we might either be going into debt further for most of that, or more likely just not getting out of debt as quickly as possible. The average American owes over $10,000 in credit card debt – choosing to wait a few years to get a furry family companion will make the debt free date come much more quickly.
If you’re desperate for a dog but don’t know if you’ve got the dough, call one of our Financial Coaches today at 877-58-PEACE. We will help you make a plan that gets you debt free as fast as possible, or helps you plan for pet emergencies better than you do now.
Now I’m not sure I should add this, but as a favour to the nice farm family that sold us our Murphy…her sister (brown) and one or two other siblings (black) are still for sale as of May 14th. I trust that the readers of this newsletter are more financially responsible than most and will be fully prepared!