You might have budget friendly pets on the mind if your children are begging you for a new pet. If you’re on a strict budget, you may be feeling hesitant to commit to a pet – the cost of pet food, boarding, vet visits, toys and more can become a major financial burden if you’re not prepared for it. 

According to an article from iHeartDogs, some of the most expensive dog breeds include the English Bulldog, German Shepherd, and French Bulldog. The English Bulldog in particular is prone to a multitude of health problems, so veterinary bills might end up compromising your financial well-being. If you have your heart set on a dog, there are more budget friendly dogs out there to choose from. 

However, if a dog is not in the books for you, not all pets will drain your finances. In this article, we share some budget friendly pets that your family will love.


A classic “first” pet, the goldfish is one of the most popular budget friendly pets.  They will cost you about $3-15 at your local pet store, or you can try winning a goldfish at your upcoming county fair. You may not be able to play “fetch” with a goldfish, but it’s a beautiful pet that can add liveliness and interest to your home. An appropriate tank will cost about $100, but as long as you keep it clean and well-maintained, the tank can last you many years. A container of goldfish food costs about $2. Before you know it, your goldfish will become a treasured member of your family.

Hermit crabs

Unique and exotic, hermit crabs are actually not hermits at all. In fact, they like opportunities to play with other hermit crab friends. You’ll often find these crabs sold on the boardwalk of your favorite beach town, and you can purchase two for about $20. Of course, you’ll need to invest a small upfront cost in a tank (about $100), and you’ll also want to consider buying tank decorations. Hermit crabs sometimes like to migrate from shell to shell, so you’ll want to stock up on a few extra “outfits” for your crabs. You can purchase a variety pack of shells on Amazon for about $17. Finally, food costs are minimal – a container of hermit crab food is about $4.

Guinea pig

If your heart is set on a furry friend, then you may want to consider welcoming a guinea pig into your home. You can purchase these cute and cuddly creatures at your local pet store for about $20-40.  You’ll also need to invest in a proper habitat, approximately $60. To care for your guinea pig, you’ll need to budget about $30 each month for food, bedding, and hay. However, if your family already eats a lot of vegetables, you can supplement your guinea pig’s food with those. A guinea pig is expected to live about four to five years, and you’ll also want to budget for occasional vet costs. We recommend asking your trusted local vet for more information about what to expect. 

Sea Monkeys

Another one of those super budget friendly pets. We all probably remember the novelty of sea monkeys from our own childhood.  They are basically a brine shrimp that is sold as a kit. They are super easy to maintain and cost between $8-$16.  When you are ready to grow your shrimp, just put the contents of the kit into a tank of water. In a few days the shrimp will hatch.  After that, you just need to clean the water every once in a while. You feed them some growth food that comes with the kit. Your kids will have so much fun watching some hatch and grow before their eyes.   


When it comes to cheap pets, those that require little attention and are easy to care for are what comes to mind.  You can’t find a lower maintenance pet than ants. Of course this is not exciting as a dog or any other furry animal, but it can be interesting for kids.  Companies like Antworks provide you with a habitat that uses a clear gel that works as food.  You get to watch the ants build their tunnels. There are other ant farms that require a little more maintenance.  So if you are looking for the easiest path, this would be it.  

Ant farms typically cost around $15-$25.  The Antworks one will run you around $29. Ants cost around $6 and food will run you about the same for a year’s supply.  

Which of these budget friendly pets sounds the most interesting to you? Do you have experience caring for any of these animals?