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5 Tips for Budgeting Your Pet Care Costs

Adopt a Pet

You could pay hundreds -- even thousands -- of dollars to adopt a purebred pooch from your local pet store. Or, you could spend just $75 to $150 adopting one from an animal shelter or pet rescue organization [source: DogsOnly].

About one in every four dogs and cats housed at local shelters are purebred, meaning you could get one heck of a good deal [source: The Humane Society]. Plus, most shelters will help match you with the pet that best fits your family's needs, and you'll likely get a pet that's already been spayed or neutered, de-wormed and vaccinated. Even better, you'll feel good in knowing that you've saved an animal's life and given it a loving home.

Before you adopt, read up on the breed you have in mind. Some purebred pets are prone to genetic diseases that could end up costing you later. Experts say mutts are actually a better buy, because they don't get as sick and tend to live longer.

You can find pets available for adoption in your area by visiting the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Web site.