Pets can be expensive, no question about it. When budgeting for household expenses, it’s often necessary to include a fair amount allocated for pet needs. While many people naturally accept and factor pets into the budget, some others resist and even resent the amount they can cost.
The annoyance at pet expenses makes you wonder why some of those people bought a pet in the first place, but hey, to each their own, right? Well, a recent story I saw on vet costs reminded me of a discussuion I had with guy I worked with some years ago. He was irritated about how much money he had to spend on pets for his family. Yeah, I know…on the surface he sounds like a reach charmer of a guy:) I almost can’t believe I forgot about this, so I’ve got to share it here as the 29th edition of Squirreling Gone Wild.
As a backdrop, the guy was a cost-conscious co-worker. I was younger, so I didn’t quite get his hangups then, but I totally understand now how he’d be watching expenses as he had a family. That part I get, and think was perfectly reasonable.
Anyway, at lunch one day – with a group of us – he was complaining about the costs of taking his dog to the vet, and how these bills really added up. He didn’t want the dog at all in the first place, since he felt that they’re expensive and he would have rather saved the money instead since he had a family to care for. Again, I totally get that. I know some hard-core dog lovers might not, but I do understand.
Now, I have never owned a dog. With allergies in the family, we didn’t buy a dog when I was growing up – and I haven’t purchased on since. So, I was just curious how expensive the dog really was for him. He continued on about vet costs, but also talked about how the dog added wear and tear to their home, consumed a lot of expensive dog food, and so on. Fair enough, I got the picture. Even though it was a small and older dog (don’t remember what breed), it was costly. He also made it sound like he was pretty much made to buy the pet by his wife. The words I still remember his saying were “That damn dog”.
Bottom line: he couldn’t stop thinking about how much money that dog was costing him.
He then proceeded to talk about how his kids wanted to buy a parakeet. As he mentioned that, I recall an eye roll. Obviously, he had enough of spending money on pets.
Then, he smirked as he told us what he would do if he was forced to buy this pet as well: buy an old bird.
His reasoning was that if he got an older parakeet, it would die sooner and he would have to spend less money on it over it’s lifetime. A baby parakeet would mean a longer life, more seed, upkeep, etc. I don’t know if he realized that parakeets aren’t exactly a big source of vet bills!
Anyway, we were all chuckling and shaking our heads, saying things to the effect of “Come on, man!”
Now, when I was a young child, we did have a couple of parakeets as pets at home, so I remembered how to tell an younger bird from an older one. The way I was told is to look at the forehead of the bird, and see if it has bars (lines). If it has bars, it’s a younger bird that’s just a few months old. If it has no bars, and has a solid color, it’s a more mature bird. Maybe not old, but at probably older than a 3 months old.
With that knowledge, I actually shared that information with him and the group. At first, I could tell his reaction was mild amusement as he looked at me: “This guy had a parakeet when he was a kid. Who knew?”
Then, I could see the lightbulb turn on. His eyes got bigger, and he pointed at me saying “That’s it!. If I have to get a bird, I’ll get one with no lines on it’s head, so at least there’s a chance that it’s old!” He laughed as he said it.
Get the picture? He was talking about buying the kids an old pet that would die soon so that he wouldn’t have to spend too much on it for too long.
To be fair, I have no idea if he actually bought an old bird or bought any bird at all. I never heard about the topic again, and never asked. Maybe it was all hot air.
But it was a crazy and shameful idea on how save money!
Note: I’m sure you realize this, but I don’t condone intentionally tricking family members or that guy’s plan. Just in case you’re new here:)
My Questions for You:
Have you ever let the cost of a pet deter you or influence your purchasing decision?
If you do have pets, how much do they cost you?