Congratulations!  You have decided to welcome a pet into your family.  Pets can bring love, companionship, and entertainment into your life, but they can also be a major expense.  If you’re looking to bring home a new best friend for your family without breaking the bank, there are plenty of budget-friendly pet options that can bring all the love and happiness your family needs. From the classic goldfish to furry guinea pigs, below are seven cheap, easy-to-care-for pets that your family will love.

Goldfish

budget friendly pets

Image via Pixabay

A classic “first” pet, the goldfish is one of the most popular, budget-friendly pets.  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. They will cost you between $3-$15 at your local pet store.   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. Save even more money and buy used.  Platforms like CraigsList and Facebook Marketplace are great places to score used equipment.  The only other expense is decor and food.  Fish pellets or flakes will only set you back a few dollars. Before you know it, your goldfish will become a treasured member of your family.

Hermit crabs

budget friendly pets

Image via Pixabay

Unique and exotic, hermit crabs are not hermits at all. 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. If you don’t live near the beach, you can buy a four-pack of hermit crabs on Amazon.  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 will run you around $4.

Guinea pig

budget friendly pets

Image via Pixabay

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 will need to invest in a proper habitat which will cost between $60-$100. To care for your guinea pig, you’ll need to budget about $20-$30 each month for food, bedding, treats, etc. 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 which will run on average $75-$100 per year.

Sea Monkeys

budget friendly pets

We all probably remember the novelty of sea monkeys from our childhood.  These instant pets are virtually maintenance-free and cost between $8-$16.  They are a brine shrimp that is sold as a kit.  Although you can’t cuddle up to them, these super budget-friendly pets can be very entertaining for children.  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 them hatch and grow before their eyes.   

Ants

budget friendly pets

Image via Pixabay

They aren’t as exciting as a dog or any other furry animal but if your family is into nature, ants can be amazing to watch.  They are super low maintenance and budget-friendly.  Companies like Antworks provide you with a habitat that uses a clear gel that works as food and costs around $29. If you are looking to be more hands-on with your ants, other ant farms require a little more maintenance and cost between $15-$25.  Ants cost around $6 and food will run you about the same for a year’s supply.

Leopard Gecko

budget friendly pets

Image via Pexels

For the reptile-loving family, the leopard gecko is the way to go.  Unlike the typical lizard, you may be thinking of, these little creatures are both friendly and sociable.  Similar to a fish, the biggest upfront cost is going to be a tank which will run you anywhere between $75-$100.  Aside from that, all you need is some lighting and moist shelter for shedding.  Their diet consists of live insects and worms which will run you less than $10 per week.  If your kids love to get their hands dirty, they can catch the food for them!

There are many budget-friendly pet options

So, there you have it!  There are plenty of great pets that are also budget-friendly.  Looking for more ideas and information?  Pay a visit to your local pet store and they will be able to provide you with tons of information about what pet would be the best fit for your family.