Five Money Lessons I Learned from the Best Dog, Fritz

Amanda Konyn's best friend and best dog Fritz not only brings her immense joy on a daily basis, he’s also taught her some valuable lessons about money.

Meet Fritz! He’s an eight-year-old greyhound cross (i.e. long boy) that we were fortunate enough to adopt in 2012 when he was just three months old and, in my totally unbiased opinion, he’s the best!

Fritz’s favourite things include: meal times, walks and adventures, getting pats from strangers, leaning on people, travelling in the car (or just sitting in the open boot while the car is stationary), endless snuggles, and leaving his hair everywhere.

Least favourite things: baths and having sunscreen applied.

Owning a pet is a rewarding experience that brings an immense amount of joy. Loyal and non-judgemental, dogs offer a whole lot of love and don’t ask a lot in return.

While their companionship is priceless, pets do cost money. After all, they need to eat, and Fritz eats a lot. But there are many ways to be money-savvy when it comes to pet ownership, so without further ado, here are my top money lessons from owning the best long boy - Fritz!

1. Adopt, don’t buy

I don’t have anything against people purchasing dogs from reputable breeders, but they do come with a hefty price tag.

Fritz was adopted from the local pound and his adoption fee included vaccinations, registration and microchipping, and desexing. While his adoption fee was only $100, this is usually more around the $250 to $400 mark. Dogs from registered breeders are often upwards of $1,500 (in New Zealand anyway!) and this generally excludes registration and neutering costs.

Save money and adopt a mutt!

2. Pet-sitters, not kennels

Be sure to have a charming dog that people are lining up to dog sit when you go on holidays. Seriously! We love to take Fritz on holidays with us, but when that isn’t possible, we have no shortage of people that would be happy to look after him in our absence. We are lucky that Fritz is really well behaved and relaxed, so we don’t need to worry about him being a bother for anyone who volunteers to hang out with him for a few days.

3. Have a budget for your pet

Remember to include your pet in your budget to make sure you’re accounting for all their essential needs so that associated costs do not sneak up and surprise you.

Take into account food, worming and flea treatments, yearly vet visits, and registration costs. Look into pet insurance, or, be willing to dip into your savings if they happen to need any unexpected veterinary treatment.

We use PocketSmith for our household budget and Fritz has his very own subset of categories!

Having a budget means you’ll be able to keep up with regular checkups and vaccinations which will help to spot or prevent any problems before they become a big (expensive) deal.

Graphs showing various in progress budgets for Fritz the dog

4. Feed your pet high quality food and buy in bulk

By switching to a higher quality, and yes, more expensive brand, we found that we were actually spending less on dog food per month.

While cheaper pet foods still offer adequate nutrition, they are often bulked up with fillers like grain, which means they end up needing quite a bit more of the food to get enough nutrition.

Buying in bulk is a great idea as this offers far better value per kg. For example, buying a 3kg bag worked out to be $13.30 per kg, but a 20kg bag was just $8.59 per kg - that’s a whopping 35% of savings.

We also found a pet food supplier that offers an auto-ship option for a further 15% discount. Just select the product and how often you want it to be delivered and they’ll do the rest! You can always edit the frequency of the shipment if you find you need to bring the date forward or push it out for any reason.

We track our spending in PocketSmith and a quick look at the Trends page showed our average spending on pet food is down about $28 per month since making the switch.

5. Regular walks

Regular walks help to keep your dog (and you) in tip-top shape! Fritz is blessed with those slender greyhound genes, so while he is probably never going to be in danger of being overweight, regular exercise helps to keep his muscles and bones strong and active meaning better health in general, and fewer vet visits!

We generally take Fritz on daily walks at our local park on weekdays, and further afield for weekend adventures. Cheaper than a gym membership and Fritz loves it!

Fritz the greyhound on a beach walk

Bonus tip: Get a RoboVac

Ok, so this one will cost money, but, it will save you so much time, and since time is money… well yeah, you get it.

Fritz is a mega-shedder. It is his one downfall. He may have a short coat, but those short coarse hairs find a way to cover and stick to everything!

Vacuuming is my least favorite chore, and with the way Fritz’s hair sheds it can take me over an hour to thoroughly vacuum our living areas. I finally bought a robot vacuum cleaner and, let me tell you, it’s life changing! My lounge now gets vacuumed three times a week (instead of once a week) and not by me! So much less Fritz hair everywhere! I only wish I’d done it sooner.

There’s no doubt that owning a pet comes with financial commitments but by being savvy, you can enjoy the joy, love, and loyalty they bring to your life at less cost.

Money tips aside, be sure to take some life lessons from our dog companions - take time to enjoy the moment and notice your surroundings, and don’t forget to let your loved ones know they are appreciated!

Amanda Konyn bio photo - PocketSmith.

Amanda is a member of our Customer Support and Education team, answering user queries and crafting PocketSmith’s Learn Center user guides and how-to videos. When not helping users get the most out of PocketSmith, she can be found exploring New Zealand’s famous hiking trails and working as a freelance photographer.

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