If You Have a Pet, You MUST Have an Emergency Fund

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If You Have a Pet, You MUST Have an Emergency Fund

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I knew something was wrong the instant my phone buzzed its way across my desk. 

My daughter never calls me at work unless something is wrong. With great concern in her voice she described how one of our cats was throwing up frequently and trying to hide underneath our son's bed. I calmly told her that just like humans, sometimes cats don't feel well. I stated that we'd keep an eye on her, but not to worry as I was sure our furry friend would feel better soon.

Ten minutes later I received a second phone call. 

My daughter had used the time to search the internet and had managed to match our cat's symptoms to a serious feline disease. When my wife and I got home, our daughter was very upset which resulted in my wife also becoming quite upset about the state of our cat. A few phone calls later, we were off to the vet.

After a checkup, blood work, and some shots we walked out of the vet's office with a bill for $370.

This was obviously not a planned expense, so the question my wife naturally asked was, "Where's the money coming for to pay for this?"  The answer came out of my mouth without even thinking, "That's why we have an emergency fund."

The day to day expenses of having a pet are fairly insignificant. 

Between cat food and litter my two cats cost me right around $30 a month. But we also have to think of the yearly vaccinations and checkups to ensure our pets are healthy. While we were going through our debt management program our cats missed several of their yearly vet visits because we always thought there was a better use for the limited funds we had. 

Thankfully, we didn't have a pet medical emergency during that time period, as it would have been extremely difficult to scrape together the money for a bill that size while our budget is tight.

There are countless reasons why we need an emergency fund including unexpected car breakdowns, human medical emergencies, and home repairs. But we also have to remember our four legged family members, and be ready to take care of them in an emergency as well.

Have you had a pet emergency while your budget was tight? 

How did you handle it?

Related Links:

Infrequent Expenses Should NOT be Emergencies

Taking Care of Delayed Expenses

Don't Spend Money You Don't Have

Travis Pizel, debt management plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc.Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the A Straight Talk on Debt blog. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family in Minnesota. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

To connect with Travis on Google+ click the

You can follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles


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  • I think is better to let go of the pet when financial difficulties are too high. I had two dogs and their care was the same as caring for a child, so instead of one child to care I had three. With over 400 dollars on medical, food, and all other things they need it on a monthly basis, I simply let go of them. I took a hit and end it up paying 80/m on their medical care after they left, but that was less than what I was spending. Plus on my end I simply didn't have the time nor the patience to deal with them. People need to choose their battles, and sometimes letting go of a pet is one of them. Life is a whole lot easier without them, at least for me.

  • Well, according to a report by moneyunder30 owning a cat can cause almost $1000 per year and owning a dog can cause you over the $1000 a year. So, the thing is if you can afford a pet other your own or your family expenses than its fine to have a pet.

  • Many people have no emergency fund, and that is why Dave's FIRST step is $1000.  It is not written in stone.

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