When we moved to Tennessee three years ago, we adopted two kittens at a two-for-one special at our local shelter. They are sweet companions and earn their keep in mice and mole control.

Do you avoid pet animal shelters because you’re afraid you’ll bring home a cat or dog?In 2015, Amelia Josephson at SmartAsset.com compiled data revealing that Americans spent more than $60 billion on their pets!

We spent $23 billion on food, $14 billion on supplies and over the counter meds, $16 billion on vet care, $2 billion on live animal purchases and $5 billion on pet services like grooming and boarding. 

And, the pet industry does not appear to be affected by economic downturns.

Pets add joy to our lives, but there are ways to avoid foolish and extraordinary costs.

First of all, borrow a friend’s animal to see if you are really up for the time they require. Do you or your children have time to walk the dog or empty the litter box? Will you or they clean up the yard on a regular basis? Are you prepared for the damage a puppy can do to your home?

Know which breeds require regular grooming. The larger the dog, the more they will cost you in food and boarding.

Adopt your pets when possible. Many people are willing to part with theirs because of different situations. Animal shelters surgically sterilize and vaccinate their dogs and cats. Getting a mutt or “Heinz 57” means you can avoid the genetic issues that often plague full-blood breeds.

Finally, can you honestly afford the extra $500 per year in pet expenses plus an emergency fund for vet bills?

If you do not have $1,000 in savings now, then I suggest you work on your budget before getting a pet. And, if you have student loans or other debt, pay it off first.

Wait, exercise patience, and look forward with great anticipation for how the Lord will provide.

Do you have financial problems that you are resolved to conquer this New Year? For a donation of any amount, I will send you our newest book, Abundant Living. It will help you get your finances and life on track to move from ordinary to extraordinary. Make a gift today at Crown.org.