Puppy Preparation and Budgeting

This post is all about how we prepared and budgeted for a new puppy.

imperfect finance

David (my boyfriend) and I have been dating for just over 2.5 years now, and we moved in together earlier this year. We’ve always talked about getting a dog “one day”, but for most of those conversations, I was still in debt, and I was pretty adamant about the fact that if we were to get a dog, that I wanted to be debt free first.

I know myself: getting a puppy while aggressively paying off debt would’ve been overwhelming for me because I’d be worried about spending money, and then feel guilty that I couldn’t spoil my pup! So for me, waiting until debt freedom to seriously consider getting a dog made the most sense.

Fortunately, I paid off my debt in May of 2020, and a few months later, conversations about getting a puppy started bubbling up again. Shortly thereafter, David found a little Labrador Retriever right outside of Raleigh, and we knew pretty quickly that getting a dog would be in the cards for us very soon.



As soon as we decided officially that we were going to get a puppy, I started budgeting for him (this was mid-September).  I get paid on a bi-weekly basis (twice a month) and make a new budget every time, so once I knew I would need to start setting money aside for our pup, I made sure that my budget had a new category called “Dog Expenses”. Every pay day, I would put a chunk of change in that category, and over time that amount began to build.

We were actually able to pay for our dog in three installments, so we paid as we went. I liked this because if we didn’t have to pay early, there’s always that chance of dipping into those funds to use them for something else. I’m glad we didn’t run into any of that!

The timing worked out pretty well, too, because I finished funding my $10k emergency fund around the 1st of October. That meant that the money that I was putting aside each month to fund my emergency fund could now be put toward the puppy expenses instead!


Meet Bogey!


If you are thinking about getting a puppy, my best advice for you would be to start saving early. In fact, start saving money before you even think you need to start! Make sure you create a category in your budget for “Dog Expenses” so that you are intentionally saving for your puppy each pay day. Do this for every single paycheck (if you can) until you hit your goal.

I also recommend planning backwards. For example, let’s say your puppy will cost you $400 and you have 4 paychecks left until you need to pay for your pup. If you plan backwards, you will need to put aside $100 each paycheck ($400 / 4) up until the day you pay for your puppy to ensure that you have enough money to cover the cost when the day comes.

Puppy Costs

It’s important to note that David and I split the costs for every puppy expense that we have paid for so far (including the puppy himself!), so that definitely makes the total cost of the puppy much easier to manage than if I was paying for everything on my own.

Now, you might be wondering how much our dog cost us. Well, we’re going to keep that one to ourselves… besides, you can’t put a price on love 😉 but here’s everything we have paid for thus far or are planning to pay for very soon:

We made our final payment for the puppy the day we got him. That same day, we also had to pay a fee to our landlord to allow the puppy to live on the property. Both of these costs were covered by the money that I saved up over time by budgeting (my half, at least). The other things I managed to purchase with my budgeted funds were things like dog beds, toys, treats, food, collars, leashes, etc.

We also found a vet (though we haven’t had to make any payments there yet). We will have to take our puppy there soon though for his first vet check-up, so we will definitely have some associated costs for that. Likewise, we are eventually going to sign our puppy up for training. We’ll also be looking into getting pet insurance as that comes highly recommended by our friends and family who also have dogs.

Luckily, our family and friends have helped us keep some costs low by lending us items or gifting them to us outright! For instance, my family is letting us borrow a smaller crate while our dog is still a puppy, and my best friends from college (who both have dogs of their own) sent us a care package with a bunch of things to help us through the puppy stage 🙂


I definitely didn’t realize how many costs are involved with getting a puppy, so if you are thinking about getting one any time soon, here is a round-up of the potential expenses to keep in mind:


Bigger costs:

  • Cost for puppy
  • Any landlord fees/deposits/extra costs
  • Veterinarian fees
  • Training costs
  • Pet Insurance


  • Food
  • Food/water bowls
  • Treats
  • Collar(s)
  • Leash(es)
  • Toys
  • Beds
  • Crates
  • Gate(s)
  • Dog waste bags
  • Cleaning supplies


David and I have spent about $110 each on the “supplies” noted above. I feel like we did pretty good there with not spending too much money, but again, we were gifted or got to borrow a lot of items, too.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you! David and I are absolutely thrilled to add a new addition to the household and we can’t wait to have you follow along over on my Instagram @ImperfectTaylor.

This post was all about how we prepared and budgeted for a new puppy.


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About Taylor

A few years after graduating college, Taylor made it her mission to become debt free. After paying off all $60k of debt, she began to blog about what she's really passionate about: personal development. Nowadays, Taylor blogs about the topics of Mindset, Money, Health, and Career for women. Read more about Taylor here.

"It's Per$onal" is a super popular and anonymous blog series about the personal lives and finances of women all over the world. Check it out!

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