Living on a budget doesn't mean you can't
experience the joys of pet ownership...
Living on a budget doesn't mean you can't experience the joys of pet ownership. It's great to have an inexpensive pet when you have young children so that they can practice responsibility and learn how to take care of bigger, more complex animals when they get older. If a pony, purebred dog or exotic bird is out of the question, you still have many options for inexpensive pets.
Shelter animals are often abandoned by owners who found themselves suddenly unable to care for them. Cats and dogs of all types get dropped off at these places. For a small adoption fee, you can bring home a kitten, puppy or mature dog or cat that won't need expensive food other than a well-balanced kibble and plenty of fresh water. Just be sure to spend some time with the animal before bringing it home, because some rescue pets may be too neurotic or high-strung for young kids. Most rescue facilities will have more information on each animal (including whether or not the pet is “kid-friendly”).
Lizards can be great pets if you know which one to pick. They're low maintenance after the initial investment of buying things for their terrarium habitat. All you have to do is keep the temperature within a hospitable range, clean its terrarium regularly and read up on what they like to eat. Many lizards can get by on insects you can catch in your garden or buy at the pet store. Whatever lizard you choose to buy, be sure you know how large they get and how long they live before you buy!
Goldfish are easy to care for and cost only a few dollars! All you need is a bowl with clean water, a goldfish and a little canister of fish food. A pinch a day is all they need, though you can supplement with a cricket or two from your yard. Just be sure not to clean the bowl with detergent or fill it with chlorinated water, as that may poison these pretty swimmers. Goldfish generally grow slowly, and usually won't live long enough to become a full-grown carp.
There are many other types of inexpensive pets, but these four are a great start when you and your kids want to enjoy owning a pet but don't have a lot to spend. Read up more to find out which one is right for you, such as by taking into consideration the online opinion of people in a similar situation that you are in. Whenever you decide to own an animal, remember that you're not really its owner—you're its guardian. Whether it's a cat, a rat, or a larger animal, every species has different needs and it's up to you to provide for them and see them safely through life. The rewards you'll get from their interesting behavior and affection far outweigh the expense!
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