Pets cost more than we think

Donna Willan Latest, Money cents

As you know by now, I am always trying to work out why my monthly spend is more than my budget. This week I looked at another ‘silent spend’ and realized that our pets cost more than we think! How many of us have a line item in our budget for our pets? I certainly don’t, but then I thought about the fact that I have three cats that eat twice a day, have a few treats at bedtime and need flea treatment every month. And those are just the planned expenses; under the monthly emergency fund they may need emergency vet care or annual shots, none of which are cheap.

So I have two critical reflections this week: firstly my budget needs a line item – when I looked at the costs I realized its around R16 a day for food, which adds up to R700 a month once you include the flea treatment! That is a significant ‘invisible expense’. So that is now in the budget.

Secondly, when we are thinking about any new pets I need to remember that our pets cost more than we think. So decisions cannot be based purely on “ah sweet” or “poor kitten needs a home” or “every home needs a puppy”. I need to do the numbers and see if we can actually afford another animal!

In my next column I am going to discuss my plans to avoid becoming bankrupt over all the long weekends and school holidays in March and April.


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