Take These Steps to Avoid Having Your Pet Land You in Credit Card Debt

Couple hugs their dog.

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Pets are wonderful, but don’t let them ruin your finances.

Important points

  • Owning a pet can be an expensive proposition.
  • If you’re not careful, your pet could be a source of costly credit card debt.
  • It’s a good idea to build up your savings and have a realistic idea of ​​pet care costs before bringing a new pet home.

If you own a home, you may have charged a credit card for a repair in the past when you were caught off guard and paid off that balance over time. And if you own a car, something similar may have happened to you.

But while homes and vehicles can be a common source of credit card debt, so can pets. So if you’re looking to welcome an animal into your home, it’s important to do everything you can to avoid credit card debt. Here’s how.

1. Have an emergency fund

Pet care issues can appear out of the blue, just like your home’s air conditioner could suddenly stop working or your car’s transmission could fail. This is why having a fully charged emergency fund is so important.

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If you have a nice chunk of cash in the bank, you can jump in when needed to cover things like emergency vet bills. You may even need to draw on your savings if you unexpectedly have to travel for work and need extra money to pay for a pet sitter.

2. Find out about the cost of keeping pets before adopting them

New pet owners are often surprised when it comes to the cost of pet care. If you’ve never owned a pet before, spend some time researching the costs you might face. Also, talk to other pet owners to get a feel for what their bills are like. Granted, every pet is different, but these conversations could be a good place to start.

For example, when getting a dog, you may need to plan for more than just food and preventive medication. You may also spend a lot of money on things like nursing appointments.

3. Get pet insurance

Pet insurance doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have to pay any Money out of pocket for animal care. But a good insurance policy can protect you from catastrophic pet care expenses, which in turn could save you a huge credit card bill.

Let’s say your pet ends up needing surgery, which will cost $5,000. Your insurance policy could pick up most of that bill, while paying it in full could mean you’ll be carrying a credit card balance for years.

Don’t let your pet get you into debt

Adopting a pet is a wonderful thing. But it’s important to make sure you can manage your pet grooming costs before taking this step. That means doing your research, building up savings, and getting good pet insurance so you can avoid being stuck with huge bills if your pet gets injured or sick.

In the meantime, if you’re not in the best financial position, it may be better to hold off on adopting a pet — both for you and for you. If you’re not on a solid financial footing, you could quickly rack up a lot of credit card debt after bringing your pet home, and that could end up being a very costly mistake.

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