How Getting a Dog Saves You Money

People try to tell me how expensive having a dog is. I don’t buy it.

Have they ever considered the money we save by getting a dog?
 

Pam and her dog save money by exercising in the creek.

Don’t be stingy. C’mon, hand over that treat. Do you know how much water resistance exercises would cost you at the gym?


 

Getting a Dog Saves You Money, Really

Here’s the short list of ways I’ve saved money by having dogs:

Cable Television – Who needs bad television with a perfectly entertaining dog around the house? And if you’re addicted to Breaking Bad, just foster a couple of puppies. You’ll have lots of broken and plenty of bad (smells) in no time. I figure this saves me around $1200 a year.

Long Distance Calls – Why call friends and family far away when your best friend is right beside you on the couch? Besides, your dog is probably a better listener. Savings? About $900 a year.

Gym Membership – Who needs to sweat with strangers when you can run, hike, walk, and kayak with your dog? That’s about $660 saved.

Parties – You’ll save money on food and liquor when your friends see your dog licking the plates and refuse to eat in your house ever again. Or the stress of preparing a nice dinner in a house with a counter surfing dog convinces you that potluck picnics in the park are the way to go. I’d expect to save at least $500 a year.

Not Having Kids – If you decide you can satisfy your desire to nurture a life by having a dog instead of a child, you’ll save big bucks. I suspect it’s somewhere over $20,000 each year.

Medications – Who needs blood pressure medicine, tranquilizers, and antidepressants with a dog around the house? Okay, maybe you still need your medications. But you probably don’t need as high a dose with a dog for company. Depending on your insurance, this could save you $30 to $3000 a year or more.

Season Tickets to the Local Sports Team – Skip the overpaid prima donnas who make millions of dollars for sitting out the season injured or suspended. My dog is a better fielder than most ball players, she runs faster, and she’s certainly prettier. Depending on where you sit, you could save $1700 to $21,000 a season.
 

Honey the Golden Retriever uses Sally the foster puppy as a chin rest.

You forgot one. Puppies make good chin rests. Now you don’t need to buy one.


 
Heating Fuel – The utility companies tell us to turn our thermostat down over the winter to save on heating costs. No way. At least not unless I have a fuzzy lap warmer (all 50 pounds of her) to keep me comfortable. Savings estimated at $300 – $500 a year.

Fashionable Clothing – If it’s going to end up covered in dog hair and slobber, why bother being stylish? Just get whatever’s comfortable at the Salvation Army and call it a day. You could save $3000 a year or more.

My dog Honey is my companion, my friend. She’s worth much more than gold.

So even though I stand to save as much as $51,760 each year, it’s not all about the money. Even if Honey cost me more money than she saved me, I’d love her anyway.

Thank you, Tim, of Christian Personal Finance. Your article, The Real Cost of a Dog, inspired this post.

Your Turn: Does the cost of that ACL surgery or monthly heart worm preventive seem less expensive now? How does your dog save you money?

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Comments

  1. You had me laughing there – Thanks for some original money-saving ideas. I don’t know how much money Dakota the Corgi saves me – but I spent a lot on Monty and Rosie (both RIP 2011) on vet bills and they were worth every penny. I guess it works both ways.

  2. Ya, a lot of those apply to me. Because of the dogs, and in general the life we live.

  3. Very entertaining post this morning! Thanks! When my Mom was still alive, she used to tease me by saying “if I had it all to do over again, I’d have dogs instead of kids”. I knew she didn’t mean it; but I swore to myself that all my kids would be of the canine specie. At 60, I can honestly say I lived up to that expectation. All our dogs — from the first one when I was 5 years old to Ducky and beyond — have been my best friends and always will be. My stepson’s college was paid for by his church, so we didn’t have any liability there. Vet bills are a little expensive when they’re needed, and so is dog food, but my fur-kids are worth every penny I have to dish out. At least I don’t have to send them to college!

  4. Great post…very funny and very true!

  5. I’d say my dogs don’t save me a penny! I am involved with (addicted to!) agility, and the training and trialing costs are quite high! Not to mention the best food/treats to keep them in tiptop shape. However, I did choose for the “Not Having Kids” option, so it more than balances out! I just make sure all my retirement accounts are funded each month BEFORE I send in my agility trial entry fees!

  6. I love the clothing savings—how true!! Much of my wardrobe is purchased with Sage in mind. :)

  7. Not having kids and not having to buy as much medication would definitely apply here. It’s not that I don’t want kids, it’s just that I haven’t been blessed with them yet. So the plus side of that is that I save 20k a year! With meds, my dogs are definitely the best medicine. I don’t need as many meds because my dogs make sure I am always happy and because they help me stay fit. I also save money on vacations. Because I don’t want my dogs to fly, I restrict vacations to places close to home. Driving is still less expensive than flying and I don’t have to pay a pet sitter or boarding kennel since my dogs are going with me.

  8. You have some very valuable points here and we have to agree that we do save money!

  9. Love it. What a great list Pamela! Where did you find the time to come up with this stuff while preparing for your trip???

  10. hahahaha!!! Love this!

  11. This is so true. Found you on twitter. Great post. Will share!

  12. I would like to save money on lip balm. I like Burt’s Bees; so does Sheba, Coonhound mix. She can pluck it off from next to my computer without disturbing anything else. Makes me crazy – but in a GOOD way.

    Yep, good list I save money on movies. Go sit outside and watch the pack – now, that’s entertainment!

  13. HAHA Cute. I’m still pretty sure we’re not saving any money in total but I love the list.

  14. How about no need for an exterminator? Between the cats and dogs I don’t have to worry about have any rodents for long. And my flowers are safe from deer because of the dogs.

    How about eating right. I eat less junk food because I share my meals and snacks with the dogs, keeping us all healthier and less visits to the doctor.

    And I don’t need any security alarm with 6 protective dogs!!

    Great list Pamela! Hope you are having a Happy Birthday and living your dream on your vacation. :)

  15. I just love everything in this post! :)

  16. Ha ha, I feel way better about all those vet bills now! Those are great….I especially love the saved money on phone calls to friends. My dogs are WAY better listeners than my friends, who mostly want to do all the talking about themselves. I never get that from the dogs!

  17. Neither Frankie or Beryl are lap dogs (probably just as well in Beryl’s case) so they don’t keep me warm in the cold weather. In fact I probably spend more money on firewood to keep Frankie happy :)

    Apart from that it would be a ‘yes’ to all of the above. We won’t mention me buying a 4WD car so we can drive way down the beach, or shifting house so we’re nearer the beach. We’ve all benefitted from those extra dollars I spent.

  18. Haha! This is awesome! The gym membership one is just downright factual. And the kids one made me l-o-l. Disagree on the last point, though – I have a very specific avoiding-drool routine to get out the door in the morning looking like a respectable professional :) A girl can have a couple of huge dogs and lots of pairs of heels all at once – I’m proof!

    Oh, but you missed one – lawn care! No yard to maintain if it’s mostly dead!

  19. Another one which had me in stitches! I actually agree with the heating one- don’t need it when I have a 100+lb Rottie on my lap ALL OF THE TIME!

  20. BOL! These are great! What was I thinking, having kids?! I could have just stuck with dogs!

  21. Mike Webster says:

    From the Husband:
    That’s over $51,000 a year in Snickers bars for me, right?

  22. So funny! We definitely save on going out for happy hour because we need to come home and let the dogs out and feed then dinner. Major savings!! : )