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Why it’s harder to spend less on your pets

Some pet owners like Ladd go above and beyond for their fur babies. She notes that while she won’t blow her bonus on a YSL bag, she will buy and feed Gus fancy market bowls instead of the typical generic-brand kibble.

If Ladd were ever to be laid off from her job, she says she’d look for other areas to cut back first — adding that her spending on her dog is “negligible” compared to how much she spends on rent in New York City.

Lee Decker, personal finance expert at Quicken, says child care expenses likely end up on the chopping block in the survey because they’re something parents already know how to do.

“Folks can stay at home more, forgo date night, and even rely on family and friends for child care before they need to outsource it to an expensive sitter,” Decker said via email.

“Pet-related expenses likely aren’t so simple.”

Decker points to vet visits, which are a necessary expense that pet parents can’t reduce, compared to child care services. Ladd also “doesn’t see a scenario” where she’d cut back on her pup’s monthly heartworm disease, flea and tick prevention medicine or pet insurance.

“These are fixed costs, and the alternative to spending on them would be getting rid of the family pet — which would be a drastic decision for most,” says Lee.

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How to protect your (human or fur) babies in the event of a job loss

Whether your dependents are human or otherwise, it’s essential to have some solid savings to fall back on. That way, should you ever get laid off, you won’t be in a position of having to cut back on their care.

Two-thirds of respondents told Quicken that the current economic situation has made them rethink how much they should have in an emergency fund, and they’re trying to grow their savings as a result.

Ladd puts 100% of her brand dealership revenue — which she estimates is roughly $4,000 to $5,000 a month — into her savings and is also working on building up her emergency fund.

Experts generally recommend having three to six months’ worth of expenses stored in your fund to ensure you can still cover your rent or mortgage payments, groceries and child care or pet care costs while you get back on your feet.

If you’re a pet owner like Ladd, you could also look into pet insurance to protect your pet in the event of an emergency expense, like an accident or illness.

Since these expenses have a tendency to pop up at unexpected times, it’s crucial to create and stick to a consistent budget. Lee recommends scaling back on splurges, like dining out or expensive new toys for your pet.

She even suggests leaning on your community in times of need — for example, you could ask a friend or a neighbor to watch the kids when you have to go out.

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Serah Louis is a reporter with Moneywise.com. She enjoys tackling topical personal finance issues for young people and women and covering the latest in financial news.

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