AdviceArts and CultureShopping, Style and Beauty

Broke-Ass Guide to Owning Pets

Whether you consider yourself a cat person or a dog person, chances are you’ve considered becoming a proud pet owner at one time or another. Pets can serve as awesome best friends, silent therapists, or surrogate children, but what many don’t realize is how costly these furry/feathery/scaly friends can be. From expensive puppy chow, to outrageous medical bills, being a pet owner can be accompanied by many hidden costs that can end with sad animals and poor humans. To try and ease the financial burden of our animal pals, here are a few easy ways to cut costs and still be a responsible pet owner. And hey, on the plus side being broke means not having fancy shit that the little rascals can chew up or poop on. Just remember to hide your shoes!

1. Adoption fees
Ok, I’ma be strait with you. If you can’t afford the adoption fees for your puppy or kitten, you might want to rethink your ability to responsibly care for this animal at all. I’m not talking about awful puppy mills/pet stores that charge you $1300 for a dog either. Legit adoption agency fees, while usually reasonable, can still be higher than you think, so do your homework and make sure you can offer your future pet a good home. Sites like Petfinder or your local SPCA will help you find great pets who need a home and won’t cost you an arm and a leg to adopt.

2. Food
I have it on good account that Costco has cheap dog and cat food. Shocking. I have also heard of some pet supply stores that give discounts if you got your pet from a rescue organization, so always ask. This is also a situation where a bit of research goes a long way. Talk to the adoption people, your fellow pet owners, and Dr. Internet to get the skinny on whether or not your pooch or puss actually needs food fortified with the blood of baby unicorns, or if they’ll be fine with the generic stuff. My guess is the latter. They do eat their own shit after all.

3. Medical Billz
You definitely can’t skimp on your pet’s health so you might just have to shut the hell up and pay the bill, but you can find a way to get deals or only pay for what is necessary. Keep an eye out for clinics and pet stores that specialize in vaccines because they will sometimes have cheap shots without hefty exam fees. If your pet is a baby, chances are by the time you get them they will have already been spayed or neutered and have had their first exam. Emergency costs and other unexpected happenings are what will hit your wallet the hardest, so make sure you have enough money saved to cover those.

4. Comfort and Entertainment
Get creative! Make your own toys and beds. There is really no reason to buy fancy pet toys when they are just going to be destroyed in the end. Many people have made bank on convincing pet owners that they need things like this, but trust me, Fido or Fluffy will appreciate anything if it is given with love, and can be chewed or chased. Also, mooching pet supplies is always a good idea. As one of my puppy-owning-pals put it, “Just live in an area with free dog poo bags.”

Photos from:,,,,

Like this article? Make sure to sign up for our mailing list so you never miss a goddamn thing!
Previous post

My Awesome Invention

Next post

FREE OCD Lecture: The Secrets of Jet Propulsion

Alison Lambert - Half Price Headliner

Alison Lambert - Half Price Headliner

Ali was born and raised in the Wholesome/Creepy capital of the world, Salt Lake City, UT. Once she was old enough to blow that pop stand she escaped to the place that was the anti-SLC: The Peoples Gay-public of Drugifornia aka San Francisco (holla 30 Rock!). You can now find her throughout this glorious city slurping Pho and scheming with her best friend Pinky doing what they do every night; try and take over the world.


  1. February 22, 2010 at 9:33 am

    The best place for shots is Petco. They have an uber-cheap shot clinic every other weekend and don’t charge you those “examination fees.” You just pay for the shots. It’s usually pretty quick too. I’ve never been there for more than 20 minutes.

    And I highly recommend pet insurance for anyone who has a mischievous dog breed. There’s a get-up out of Canada that has cheap monthly rates and, believe me, when your dog swallows that bottle Advil, you’ll be glad you had the insurance. A night at the vet can cost thousands compared to the pennies of minimal pet insurance.

  2. Albert
    February 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Pet insurance is, generally speaking, a scam. You’ll pay for the benefits many times over.

  3. Linda Bartlett
    February 24, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Cats are cheap to keep, especially if they are kept indoors. I buy mid-range dry cat food (no canned), generic clumping litter and that’s it. Most shelters already spay/neuter the cat prior to adoption and is included in the fee. My cats are better entertainment than stupid reality shows, and offer unconditional love and companionship.

  4. Transister Sistor
    July 13, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    For cat owners (maybe dog owners too?) who live in The East Bay:
    If you are a resident of the City of Berkeley,and you have a driver’s license or CA ID card with your Berkeley address on it as proof, you can get your pet spayed or neutered for a sum of $15.00. You go to the animal shelter at 2013 2nd Street in Berkeley, during specified hours, and they will then check your ID and issue you a voucher that is good at certain Berkeley vet offices where you can make an appointment for the discounted procedure. This is a good deal- the cheapest price I had found before I heard about this was $60.00 for spaying a female cat.
    Here is the info number to call for the exact details:
    The SNIP Program for Berkeley residents
    (510) 981-6600