5 Best Cheapest Pets for You To Own

man taking a selfie with his dog
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More Americans than ever before own pets. In fact, approximately 70% of U.S. households — or 90.5 million homes — have at least one pet, according to the American Pet Products Association. Forty-seven percent of pet owners have some type of debt related to pets, reported Forbes, citing data from the LendingTree Pet Survey 2020.

This isn’t too surprising considering that the cost of owning a pet increases every year due to rising prices for things like pet food, supplies, medication, insurance, training and veterinarian bills. The APPA revealed that in 2021, people in the U.S. spent over $123 billion on pet-related expenses, a $20 billion increase from the previous year.

The most popular pets to have are cats and dogs, followed by freshwater fish and birds. Yet there are more affordable options for those on a budget.

The cost of owning a pet ranges greatly based on the animal type. But the pets that cost the least tend to be easy to care for and don’t require many trips to the veterinarian.

If you’re ready to get a pet but don’t want to spend a lot of money on pet-related supplies, here are the five cheapest options, according to Cheapism:

  • Goldfish: Goldfish cost anywhere from $1 to $40 and can live more than 20 years with proper care. If you get a large aquarium with a filtration system, expect to spend around $100 on the initial setup. After that, costs tend to be low.
  • Guinea pig: For those who want something more cuddly, a guinea pig might be a better option than a fish. Guinea pigs cost $25 to $50, on average, not including their habitat, which can run an additional $75. Food, hay and related supplies usually cost about $35 a month.
  • Leopard gecko: These inexpensive reptiles are low maintenance and cool to watch. They’re also affordable at roughly $20 to $70. The biggest costs come with the initial setup, which may include a tank, heating pad and some form of lighting — like an incandescent light bulb. People who own leopard geckoes usually spend around $220 a year on their food, according to ReptileCraze.
  • Scorpion: If you’re fascinated by arachnids, a scorpion could be the way to go. These unique pets cost $25 to $100 and are low maintenance. Prepare to spend around $100 a year on its food — live insects. If you don’t already have a terrarium and heating pad, you may need to spend an additional $75.
  • Canary: As beautiful of song as they are of feather, canaries have been a popular pet for centuries. They cost anywhere from $100 to $150 at the pet store, though you could get one for less from a breeder. A suitable cage costs around $35 to $100 from places like Amazon or Chewy but can last a lifetime. Yearly expenses, which include food, toys and other supplies, cost $120 per year or less.
Make Your Money Work for You

If you’re a new pet owner, calculate how much your pet will cost beforehand. The largest expenses tend to be food and treats, supplies and over-the-counter medicines. But as GOBankingRates recently reported in its financial guide for new pet owners, veterinary care and services such as boarding and licensing also add up.

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