Bad news for all the wannabe grandmothers out there: Millennials are more focused on their future dogs than their future children.
When a recent SunTrust survey asked millennials why they were buying their first home, 33 percent said they wanted more room for a dog. Only 19 percent cited the birth or expected birth of a child.
There’s no doubt about it; our generation is dog-crazy. If you’ve been pining for a pup — and want to take the leap in a financially responsible way — here are five moves to make beforehand.
1. Think about the costs
Stopping to pet every dog you see and owning a dog are two different things.
The former is something I’ve been doing my entire life, no matter where I live and how broke I am. The latter is a 10- to 20-year commitment that doesn’t care if it’s snowing or if you’re sick or if you have a hot date.
Not only does dog ownership require time and love, but it also requires a significant amount of money. If you’re struggling to, say, pay your student loans or rent each month, you might want to reconsider your decision.
As much as it seems like you need a dog right this second, it’ll be less of a strain if you wait until you’re financially stable.
2. Opt to adopt
Each year, approximately 670,000 shelter dogs are euthanized because they can’t find homes. That’s nearly 2,000 dogs per day.
If that’s not reason enough to adopt, consider this: When a puppy is purchased from a breeder, it can cost anywhere from $500 to more than $1,000. And that’s just for the dog itself; the cost usually doesn’t include anything else.
In comparison, adoption fees range from $25 to $300 and often include shots, spaying or neutering, microchipping, and flea and tick treatments.
That being said, before you proceed with an adoption, it’s important to clarify what’s included in the fee, as it varies between shelters.
“When I rescued my greyhound, Odin, the agency charged me $250, which included all his annual shots and the foster care he received,” said freelance writer Jamie Cattanach. “But I quickly learned I was on the hook for the dose of flea meds he’d need that week, which would cost $135 for a six-month supply.”
3. Create a budget
Now that you know how much a dog from your local shelter will cost — and what it’ll come with — it’s time to budget for everything else.
It’s wise to save up enough for the first year of dog ownership so you’ll have a buffer in case something costs more than expected.
Here are some yearly expenses you might face for a medium dog, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA):
- Medical expenses: $235 (exam, shots, heartworm preventative, topical flea and tick preventative)
- Food: $319
- Toys and treats: $55
- Pet insurance: $225
- License: $15
Add up everything — including the adoption fee and other capital costs (initial medical care, collar, leash, crate, training class, pet deposit) — and create a savings goal around that number. The average cost of the first year of dog ownership, without the adoption fee, is $1,779, according to the ASPCA.
If you round up that amount to $2,000 and are able to save $200 per month, you’re looking at taking home a dog in 10 months.
To keep yourself on track, create an automatic monthly transfer from your checking account to your savings account. You can even use an app like Mint or Qapital to track your progress and make it fun.
4. Maintain your doggie savings
When you finally reach your goal and bring home your new best friend, keep your savings account open.
Once you’re in the habit of saving, it’s much easier to continue. And you’re going to need that money for both ongoing and unexpected expenses.
Ongoing expenses can include not only food and vet bills but also boarding. Although the cost of boarding varies depending on the location and level of care, you should expect a minimum of $12 to $26 per day, according to CostHelper.com. If you’re gone for two weeks per year, that adds up to between $168 and $364 annually.
Unexpected expenses are hard to predict, of course, but they could include replacement sneakers and medical emergencies.
5. Buy pet insurance
Speaking of emergencies, many seasoned dog owners recommend purchasing pet insurance.
“I’m a huge fan,” said artist and dog owner Adina Marguerite. “It’s an extra $50-ish each month, but it’s got a reasonable annual deductible of around $300. It’s still a reimbursement situation, but it makes emergencies less financially scary.”
Student Loan Hero writer Kat Tretina agrees. She spends $40 per month to insure her dog — a move that saved her thousands when her dog needed surgery. To her, pet insurance has been worth the cost.
“Without insurance, I would have had to use a credit card or dip into my emergency fund to handle the vet bill,” she wrote.
Her story shows that it’s important to prepare for your dog before it comes home — and every day after that.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.23% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
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|2.47% – 6.23%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
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|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|