3 Low Cost Pets You’ll Love

Posted by Steph Perine on Aug 03, 2018

puppy sitting on money

It has been said that people who have pets are often happier than those who do not.

Whereas traditionally, cats and dogs have been the pets of choice, as the cost of purchasing and caring for these pets continues to rise, many are fulfilling their dreams of having a pet by choosing a less-expensive option.

The Cost of Cat and Dog Ownership

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the initial cost for the first year of owning a cat is nearly $1,200 and from $1,500 to $2,000 for a dog (depending on its size). Thereafter, annual costs for a cat are approximately $800 and for a dog from $740 to a little over $1,000 (again, depending on the size of the dog).

Inexpensive Pet Options

A Parakeet (Budgie)

The swings, branches, mirrors and toys in their cages make parakeets fun to watch, especially when there is more than one sharing a single cage. These birds have beautiful singing voices and they can also let you know when they are less than happy with a subtle squawk.

You can purchase a beautifully-colored parakeet for less than $25. First year ownership costs are around $400. These costs include purchasing a cage, toys, food and treats. Instead of bird cage liners, choose one of the inexpensive litters available. The litter that is made from ground-up corn cobs lasts for a long time, is very absorbent, eliminates odors and is easy to change because it does not stick to the bottom of the cage.

According to the ASPA, annual costs after the first year are approximately $300. If you plan on having your bird out of its cage, you need to have its wings clipped: Talk with your veterinarian about your wing-clipping options: Some vets will teach pet parents how to clip their bird’s wings at home.

A Hermit Crab

While some of these little guys remain in their shells when you pick them up, if you take your time, you can find a curious critter who enjoys a bit of attention. Although the pincers look intimidating, there are hermit crabs that will not pinch the hand that feeds them: In fact, some crabs enjoy being held and will nearly come all the way out of their shells if you hold them just above your hand! These animals are extremely low maintenance, needing only a warm, humid environment with plenty of sand (changed monthly). Other necessities include water, sponges for drinking and humidity, food, climbing wood and extra shells.

Each hermit crab costs around $10, you should purchase at least two, a habitat starter kit costs less than $15, the habitat itself costs approximately $35; therefore, initial costs are about $70. The yearly food cost is around $125, as your crabs grow, you may want to purchase a larger habitat.

A Guinea Pig

If you are looking for a cuddlier pet with fur, consider a guinea pig. Guinea pigs offer personality: They show their excitement with high-pitched whistles and, like a cat, they purr. The pitch of the purr determines how the guinea pig is feeling: A deep-pitched purr typically means that he is content, but a high-pitched purr may signal that he is annoyed. Guinea pigs are social animals; therefore, unless you plan on spending a lot of time with your pet, you may want to consider purchasing more than one.

Guinea pigs cost approximately $40 each. Due to the need for a cage and the expense associated with purchasing the pet, the first year will cost about $415, with subsequent years costing a little over $300.

There you have it: Three inexpensive pets that will surely bring joy to you and your family!