Do you want a dog? 4 Steps to Prepare Financially

Although it’s not a topic of my blog, I’m pretty interested in Personal Finance and genuinely enjoy personal financial planning. There are many expenses that come with getting a new dog family member, as well as ongoing expenses!

1. Start Tracking Finances

I use Mint.com to manage my finances. You link all of your bank accounts and can see all balances and transactions in one place. To be honest, it’s my favorite thing to log-into in the morning. I poke around in trends, learn from financial mistakes, and can see my progress month over month.
Mint.com Logo
It’s so important for you to know where your money is going. You may want to have a budget for ‘Pets’ so that you don’t spoil your fur-baby too much! Mint.com also has a tool for tracking savings and tracking your progress towards savings goals.

2. Create Ear-Marked Savings Account

For a while, I was saving into one generic savings account. I found that un-motivating. I love to visualize the goals I’m saving for. Make sure you are finding a free savings account (I think most are). I personally use Ally Bank and can easily open a new savings account in minutes.
My separate ear-marked savings accounts in Ally.com.

My separate ear-marked savings accounts in Ally.com.

Through creating separate savings accounts, you can set up Goals in Mint.com associated with these accounts with pictures to represent the goal!
My Mint.com goals tied to my savings accounts.

My Mint.com goals tied to my savings accounts.

3. Do your research before your fur-baby arrives! Decide how much you want to save.

Depending on your area and life-style, there might be different things you want to plan on buying based on your new dog’s arrival. Although I don’t even know when I’m getting a dog of my own, I’ve researched different things I’d need to purchase in my area. I’ve bookmarked all of the websites and forms I’d need to a folder in my browser, and when the time comes, I’m READY!
  • Adoption Fees (which usually includes transport, all vaccinations, spaying/neutering, etc) – $500
    • Adopt! Don’t Shop. If you “purchase” (ick) your dog it will be more expensive with some of the above things having additional costs.
  • My Local ASPCA Dog Training. Level I and Level II Obedience at MSPCA – $450
  • Off-Leash Dog Park License (annual cost) – $60
  • Town Registration – $40
  • Vet Sign-Up and Initial Check-Up – $100-300 (depends if they need anything special, like teeth cleaning, etc)
  • Assorted things like Bed, Collar, Crate, Toys, Food, Heartworm Medications, Flea Prevention…whatever else is needed!
Based on the above things, and all the likely incidentals and spoiling, I chose to create a “Fur-Baby Fund” of $3,000 for when I get my dog(s). Given the numbers above, maybe that’s quite high. My sister just adopted a dog in April 2015 and didn’t have nearly as much. However, I also just want to be prepared for emergencies therefore even if you calculate exactly what you need…
FurBabyGoal

4. Don’t stop there. Re-Build Your Fund After You Get Your Dog

You never know what kinds of emergencies might come up with your pets. You know what dogs eat… food they shouldn’t get into… a squirrel’s thigh from the sidewalk…. an entire carpet…
They could get injured or sick, and as they get older, the risk of unexpected expenses will increase.
Just like you have an Emergency Fund for yourself (~6 months of living expenses), you should have an additional Emergency Fund for anything unexpected that could occur for your pet. I’ve read recommendations of having $2,000 set-aside for unforeseen pet emergencies.
sick-dog2

Image Source: http://buzzaboutanimals.com/

Have you done everything on this list?

Adopting dogs already out there without homes is so important. Explore PetFinder.com to see available dogs across many rescues.

If you’re in New England, I also have a soft-spot for Sweet Paws Rescue which seems to be a wonderful organization with really great dogs. I follow them on Facebook, and can’t wait until it’s actually the time in my life to get a dog. I’m tempted with every post I see.23

If you have any other recommendations for dog adoption financial prerequisites, I’d love to hear them!