Take These Steps to Keep Your Pet Out of Credit Card Debt

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Pets are wonderful, but you shouldn’t let yours ruin your finances.


Key points

  • Owning a pet can be an expensive prospect.
  • 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 get a realistic idea of ​​pet-sitting costs before bringing a new pet home.

If you’re a homeowner, you may have in the past charged a credit card for a repair when it took you by surprise 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. And so if you’re looking to bring a pet into your home, it’s important to do what you can to avoid credit card debt. Here’s how.

1. Have an emergency fund

Pet-sitting problems can arise out of the blue, the same way your home’s air conditioner might suddenly stop working or your car’s transmission might start to fail. This is why having a fully loaded emergency fund is so important.

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If you have a good amount of money in the bank, you can dip into it as needed to cover expenses such as emergency vet bills. You might even end up having to dip into your savings if you have to travel for work unexpectedly and need extra cash to pay for a pet sitter.

2. Find out about pet care costs before adopting

New pet owners are often caught off guard when it comes to pet sitting expenses. If you’ve never owned a pet before, take the time to research the expenses you might face. Also talk to other pet owners to get an idea of ​​what their bills look like. Granted, every animal is different, but these conversations could be a good place to start.

If you’re buying a dog, for example, you may need to plan for more than just food and preventative medication. You could also spend a lot of money on things like grooming appointments.

3. Get pet insurance

Having pet insurance does not necessarily mean not having to pay any money out of their pocket for animal care. But a good insurance policy can protect you against catastrophic pet care costs, which could, in turn, save you a giant credit card bill.

Let’s say your pet ends up needing surgery that will cost $5,000. Your insurance policy could take care of most of this tab, while paying it off in full could mean holding onto a credit card balance for years.

Don’t let your pet put you in debt

Getting a pet is a wonderful thing to do. But it’s important to make sure you can manage your pet’s care costs before taking this step. This means doing your research, saving money, and having a good pet insurance policy in place to avoid ending up with massive bills if your pet is injured or sick.

In the meantime, if you’re not in the best position financially, you might be better off holding off on getting a pet for them or for yourself. 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 it could end up being a very costly mistake.

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