Owning a pet is expensive. Unless your idea of a pet is a goldfish bowl, pet ownership necessitates a lot of extra spending each month.

A recent research study carried out by Nuwber looked more closely at pet owners’ finances. The Nuwber research found that people earning more than $100k a year were more likely to own a dog than a cat. Dig a little deeper and we discover that dog owners typically earn more than $75k per annum and cat owners usually take home in excess of $50k a year.

Of course, you don’t have to be a Kardashian to afford a pet, but there’s no getting away from the fact that owning a pet is a significant financial commitment. Pets have to eat, which can soon add to your monthly grocery bills. Then there’s the cost of medical treatment. One visit can cost several hundred dollars, and if your pet breaks a leg or develops a serious illness, the vet bill will likely exceed several thousand dollars.

Fortunately, there are ways and means to cut the cost of pet ownership, and even people living on modest incomes can afford to own a cat or dog if they are willing to tighten their belts.

Adopt Not Shop

Do not underestimate the cost of purchasing a pedigree cat or dog. Some breeds are ridiculously expensive to buy, especially so-called designer dogs like French Bulldogs and Pomeranians. For example, if you have your heart set on a fawn French Bulldog from exceptional bloodlines and bred by a top breeder, expect to pay about $10k for a female puppy.

The best way to slash the cost of pet ownership is by adopting a dog or cat rather than splashing out on a pedigree breed.

There are millions of abandoned pets in shelters all over the US. When you adopt, you get a pet that has been neutered, vaccinated, and is often more robust health-wise. Many pedigree animals have genetic predispositions to serious health problems such as hip dysplasia. Don’t assume you can save money by buying from a backstreet breeder either. These animals will almost certainly cost more long-term.

Pet Food

Pet food is a significant monthly expense, but the larger the pet, the more they eat. The best way to reduce the cost of pet ownership is to choose a smaller pet. Instead of buying a Pyrenean Mountain Dog with an appetite to match your husband, look for a small dog with a small appetite, or better still, a cat that likes to scrounge from all the neighbors when it’s feeling peckish.

Take advantage of coupons to save money on your preferred brand of pet food. Stores like Amazon offer savings for repeat purchases on a subscription plan – make the most of this.

Pet Insurance

Don’t put your finances at risk – invest in pet insurance to cover those unexpected vet’s bills. One small monthly payment could save you a fortune if your excitable Labrador runs in front of a car. In addition, sign up for the healthcare plan if your vet offers one: these save you money on routine healthcare items, such as worming and shots.

Pet Accessories

Don’t splash out on expensive designer accessories if you are on a budget. You can pick up pet accessories relatively cheaply from your local supermarket or online from sites like eBay or Amazon. Why spend more than you need to? Your dog or cat won’t care if their collar isn’t genuine leather with diamante!

Finally, don’t buy a pet if you can’t afford the cost of taking care of it. This isn’t fair on them or you.