Man's (Budget Friendly) Best Friend

Are your parents hounding you to give them grandchildren? Do you need a wing man that will help you find a significant other so you can deliver your parents said grandchildren? Do you aimlessly talk to yourself when you're home alone? Do you live in constant fear of cat burglars? Well, you're in luck - we have a solution to all of these problems, and some other problems you don't even know you have yet. It's time for you to take the first step into semi-adulthood and get a dog.

According to the ASPCA approximately 44% of American households have a dog. That amounts to an estimated 78 million dogs in U.S. households. There are also studies that show that having a pet may help you live longer. So what keeps American's from getting a dog? Perceived costs, allergies, commitment issues. These are all valid concerns. We're not doctors or therapists. But we can help you pick up your new child substitute without breaking the bank.

The American Humane Society declared October adopt-a-dog month. According to the ASPCA, roughly 3.3 million dogs end up in an animal shelters each year. Of those, approximately 1.6 million are adopted, 700,000 are returned home, and 700,000 are euthanized. In our attempt to save you some money, we're also going to try to get you to save a life. We know. We are the worst.


Dog wearing glasses and a plaid tie, holding blue piggy bank with money.

The Math

Dogs from a breeder can cost anywhere from $500 - $10,000. That's right. $10,000. There are people out there paying more for a dog than our first 3 cars combined. Adoption fees are going to vary from $0 - $250, but those fees will also typically cover a spay/neuter and make sure that your new pal is up-to-date on shots and other medical treatments. These are additional expenses that wouldn't be covered by a breeder. Petfinder is a great place to start researching available dogs near you and to compare adoption fees. Shelters will routinely do free adoption events to help make room in their facility when they start to reach capacity so keep an eye on local events. One last thing to consider when you start your search is whether or not the shelter has a no kill policy. You'll definitely be doing a pup from a kill shelter a solid if you chose to adopt.

Here's what we would consider the bare minimum for puppy adoption:

ItemFirst Year Cost
Adoption$125
Dog Bed$32
Crate$20
Shampoo$15
Collar$15
Leash$18
Dog Food$450
Preventative Medication -(Heartworm,Flea,Tick)$180
First Year Vet$100
Total$955

Keep in mind this doesn't cover the cost of the treats you will certainly want to buy, or the ridiculous pet costumes you will start to buy. You will obviously not want the other neighborhood dogs to look better than your precious Spot. You will fight it at first, but before you know it your dog will be dressed as a lion. It happens to the best of us. On the bright side, Ikea has launched a line of pet furniture. This means your pet will sleep in style in a matching Malm bed set.


Additional Savings

The best part about a dog? You get to use it as an excuse to get out of whatever you want to. Don't want to go to the bar tonight? Oops, can't go my dog has a thing. Can't find a place to board your dog for that 3 day music festival? Boom. Spot just saved you $500. You'll find yourself taking more walks, playing more fetch, and generally being more dog-centric. Most of these things are free. That's a win. You also get to convince your parents that dogs are basically like grandchildren. The average cost of raising a child is roughly $11,000 a year. You just saved $10,000 by getting a dog. Nice work!

Unplanned expense - the significant other Spot is going to fetch you. We hear those things are expensive. Buyer beware.


Things to Consider

What will that money be worth to you in 30 years when you retire? If we were to take that $955 first year expense and invest it in the market today and also add an additional $75 a month to that investment for the next 13 years, your ending balance would be an estimated $21,002. At an assumed 7% rate of return, you'd be expected to earn about $8,347 in interest. Leave that to grow for another 27 years while you wait to retire and your initial investment of $12,655 has grown to $130,504. Compounding interest is your friend, which is good, because you just went 30 years without one. Wondering why we chose 13 years? Unfortunately, Spot will not live forever. The good news is that we have learned that all dogs go to heaven.


Additional Considerations

Waking up to this face every morning. Who's a good girl?



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