These 20-Somethings Spend Crazy Money on Their Pet ‘Babies’

Corgis Lychee (left) and Mochee

These 20-Somethings Spend Crazy Money on Their Pet ‘Babies’

•  10 minute read

Pets have always been a part of the family, but nowadays millennials take that love and pampering to a whole new level.

I’ve never had a pet. My parents weren’t animal people, and though my brother and I begged every year, our pleas fell on deaf ears. To our dismay, a furry friend never appeared under our Christmas tree.

Shockingly, 42 percent of millennials in committed relationships say that if given the choice, they would rather snuggle up with their pet than their significant other, according to a 2018 Zulily survey. And 45 percent admit that their pets’ approval of a new lover is more important than their family’s approval. That’s right: If Fido thinks you smell funny, your relationship could be headed for failure.

With all this in mind, it’s not really surprising that millennials are spending serious money on their fur babies, is it? Since I have no animal expertise to speak of, I asked some millennial pet parents about how they spoil their little babies, whether they be dogs, cats, or . . . snakes. So how much do pets cost their millennial owners? Well . . .

Further Reading: “What’s the Cost of a Dog? How to Prepare for Pet Parenting”

Mochee and Lychee

If you’re anything like me, then you follow multiple famous doggos on Instagram. There are none I love more than these two puppers, Mochee and Lychee. I’ve always been a massive fan of corgis, but this duo is easily the cutest I’ve ever seen. Their “paw-rents” take photos of them and caption the most hilarious videos of their everyday adventures, sharing them with almost 26,000 followers. I was beyond excited when one of the dogs’ owners, Lindsay, agreed to an interview.

Corgis Mochee (left) and Lychee (right)
Corgis Mochee (left) and Lychee

Name: Lindsay

Age: 29

Pets’ names: Mochee and Lychee

Where do you live?

California.

How long have you had your pets?

A few months.

What kind of pets are they?

They’re Pembroke Welsh corgis.

How much money do you spend on your pets monthly?

About $300 each.

And what exactly is the money spent on?

The breakdown for each is $100 on pet insurance and a wellness plan, including vaccines; $50 to $80 on clothes; $50 to $80 on toys (they have way too many!); $30 to $50 on food and treats; and $50 on accessories, personal hygiene, and grooming.

Does the amount of money you spend on your pets bother you, or would you happily spend more?

It doesn’t bother me or my partner at all, as long us they grow up happy and healthy.

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought them?

A $350 dog bed.

What motivates you to treat your pet with such generosity?

Definitely love.

Follow these famous pups on Instagram @lychee_the_corgi.

Further Reading: Check out these affordable pet care tips.

Coco Puempe

Lydia is my friend’s boss, and once I heard Coco’s full name I just knew I had to feature him in this article. He is the prince of pampered doggos on New York City’s Upper East Side.

Lydia Liebmann with her dog Coco Puempe
Lydia Liebman with her dog Coco Puempe

Name: Lydia Liebman

Age: 26

Pet’s name: Coco Puempe

Where do you live?

New York City.

How long have you had your pet?

One year.

What kind of pet is it?

He’s a Havanese.

How much money do you spend on your pet monthly?

Probably about $300.

These 20-Somethings Spend Crazy Money on Their Pet 'Babies'. Millennials are spending serious money on their fur babies, is it? Find out why... #crazymoneysavingtips #crazymoneysaving #spendcrazymoney #furbabyAnd how do you spend it?

If I break down the costs, they’d roughly be $50 on food and treats, $25 on pet insurance (which, after hitting my deductible, has been extraordinarily helpful in picking up most of the tab for emergency vet visits), $65 on grooming, $150 on pet sitters and doggy day care, and maybe another $20 to $50 in incidental stuff — toys, grooming tools, things like that.

The first six months of dog ownership were the most expensive because of vaccinations and vet visits. Plus, I bought things for him all the time that I thought he absolutely needed, but of course did not — like multiple pet beds, toys, and sweaters.

Further Reading: “I Say ‘Paws’ Before Buying Doggy Insurance”

Does the amount of money you spend on your pet bother you, or would you happily spend more?

It doesn’t necessarily bother me. My fiancé and I knew what we were signing up for when I brought Coco home.

I also feel as if the money we spend on him balances out in other ways: I definitely go out less, thus saving money I would have spent needlessly eating out or going to a bar.

I don’t spend as much on day-to-day transportation. Why take the subway when Coco and I can walk?

On a side note, the cost of living in New York City is higher than most other places. If we lived somewhere else, we would certainly spend less, especially for dog sitters and doggy day care. In general, it’s annoying that this city is so pricey, but it is what it is.

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought him?

That would definitely be the Tiffany leather leash I just bought for him, which cost $275. Coco will be the ring bearer at our upcoming wedding, and this satisfied the “something blue”! The leash will be used during the ceremony when he comes down the aisle, so I can almost justify it.

The most ridiculous thing I’ve bought him is a faux mink coat. It was actually super cheap — just $20 — at the time I bought it from Frontgate, and I just couldn’t resist. It made for the most adorable Christmas pictures, so no regrets.

What motivates you to treat your pet with such generosity?

We love our dog. Coco is part of the family, so skimping out on his care because of cost is just not an option. He’s the most amazing furball I have ever seen.

Further Reading: Get the lowdown on why you need a pet emergency fund (and how you can build one).

Are you saving for your future, or are your pet’s expenses preventing you from doing so?

I feel as if pet expenses are low enough in relation to my income that it doesn’t affect me too much when it comes to saving for my future.

Before I had a dog, I would go out a lot more, which means I was spending money on food, drinks, transportation, and so on. Now that I have a dog, I definitely go out less, so the expenses balance out.

I think the cost of living in New York City has a negative impact on saving money more than owning a dog does, LOL!

Anything else to add?

My fiancé and I definitely consider Coco a part of our family. We don’t think of him as our starter child.

We aren’t even entertaining the idea of having children yet. Right now, Coco is our child.

There are a lot of skills that you learn as a pet parent that are, I imagine, transferrable to being the parent of a human.

Follow Coco’s adventures on Instagram @cocopuempehavanese.

Further Reading: Learn about the costs of raising a (human) child.

Gio and Paris

Jalen is a fascinating person who has been a good friend of mine from the moment I met him. He’s a model with an extremely individualistic aesthetic. And once I found out that he had a dog and a snake, I couldn’t wait to talk to him about his pets. Little did I know, the most interesting part would be that he and his dog have matching moustaches!

Jalen Dominique with his dog Gio. (How much do pets cost?)
Jalen Dominique with his dog, Gio.

Name: Jalen Dominique

Age: 23

Pets’ names: Gio and Paris

Where do you live?

New York City.

How long have you had your pets?

I’ve had Gio for four years and Paris for five months.

What kind of pets are they?

Gio is a 4-year-old schnauzer, and Paris is a 5-month-old banana-pastel ball python.

How much money do you spend on your pets monthly?

For Gio, I spend about $20 to $50 a month on food. I groom him myself, so I save some cash there. I take him to the vet for yearly shots and emergencies only.

For Paris, I spend about $2 a week on live mice. He feeds four times a month, so that’s about $8 to $10. I refresh his bedding every month and that comes to about $7.

What do you spend the most money on?

The money I spend goes to treats, food, and shampoo and conditioner for my dog. I do buy my pup clothes — he has a couple of Adidas hoodies!

Further Reading: “Adopting That Doggy in the Window Can Cost You a Small Fortune!”

Does the amount of money you spend on your pets bother you, or would you happily spend more?

It doesn’t bother me. I have pretty low-maintenance pets. I’d spend more only if my budget allowed me to.

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought them?

The priciest thing I’ve bought my dog is a customized doghouse. It set me back $200. Yet he’s so spoiled that he barely uses it, because his preference is to be close to me!

Paris, Jalen Dominique banana-pastel ball python
Paris, Jalen Dominique banana-pastel ball python.

What motivates you to treat your pets with such generosity?

I battle with this. Of course, we love our pets, but I do know that we keep them for our own selfish fulfillment. My snake is wild and isn’t necessarily supposed to be domesticated. So I do whatever I can to provide my animals with the healthiest lifestyle possible, and I do take into account what makes them happy.

It’s definitely easier to tell if my dog is happy than to figure out if my snake is. Haha!

Are you saving for your future, or are your pets’ expenses preventing you from doing so?

I am definitely saving for my future, but it’s instant gratification to know that my pets are secure and stable.

Follow Jalen, his modeling, and his pet-ownership adventures on Instagram @jalen.xx.

Further Reading: “When Might Be the Best Time to Start Saving for Retirement?”

Madison

I ran into Lindsay and her dog, Madison, on the seventh floor of my office building. The second I set eyes on Madison, I fell in love. One day, I even got to babysit Madison for five minutes while her mom ran to the bathroom. She didn’t even cry. Best day ever!

Lindsay Albala with her dog Madison (How much do pets cost?/How much do millennials spend on pets?)
Lindsay Albala with her dog, Madison.

Name: Lindsay Albala

Age:26

Pet’s name: Madison

Where do you live?

New York City.

How long have you had your pet?

Six weeks.

What kind of pet is it?

She’s a golden retriever.

How much money do you spend on your pet monthly?  

Hard to say. I’ve had her only for a short time, in which I have had to acquire everything for a new puppy, as well as pay for several vet visits for her shots. This alone set me back almost $500.

What do you spend the most money on?

I spend the most on vet bills, food, treats, toys, supplies — a collar, a leash, a harness, a crate, bowls, and so on — and a trainer and puppy school.

Does the amount of money you spend on your pet bother you, or would you happily spend more?

I’m happy to spend money on things that I think will enhance her quality of life, such as high-quality food, the trainer and puppy school, and toys to keep her busy and not chewing me or my furniture.

Further Reading: Learn how upfront costs like spaying or neutering your pet can actually help you save money in the long run.

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought her?

So far the costliest thing has been a $500 puppy kindergarten class package. It included one private lesson and six group lessons. I consider this a necessity. The training will lay the groundwork for the rest of our lives together.

It’s much easier to train [Madison] correctly now than it is to go back and correct problems later.

My goals for the class are socialization, learning basic cues and manners, and gaining knowledge of puppy topics for me as an owner.

What motivates you to treat your pet with such generosity?

I really do consider her to be my daughter. My life revolves around her, and I’m glad that I waited until I was at a point in my life when I can support her needs both financially and emotionally. It is a ton of work, but I believe that what I do for her now will pay off in the long run.

Are you saving for your future, or are your pet’s expenses preventing you from doing so?

Yes, I’m definitely saving for my future. I see my spending on Madison as within the budget of what is acceptable to raise a healthy dog in New York City.

Further Reading: Check out these tips for budgeting in your 20s.

Anything else to add?

If you asked me before I got Madison if I thought of her as a starter child, I would have told you no. I grew up with a dog, and while she was a part of the family, she was still a pet and not considered a sibling. She played a role in my life, but things did not revolve around her.

Fast forward to now: Getting Madison has completely changed my life. Everything I do is for her, including doctors visits, puppy kindergarten, and playdates. I plan my week around her needs and her schedule.

Raising her is a tremendous amount of responsibility and work, more than I remember with my family’s dog. Trust me, there are days where I am physically and emotionally exhausted from working full-time and being a single dog parent, yet I can’t imagine my life without her. Madison is my starter child.

Follow Madison on Instagram @GoldenMadisonAve.

How Much Do Pets Cost? The Bottom Line

I know I’m being a stereotypical white girl right now, but I’m literally dying over how precious and pampered these pets are.

Like I said, I always knew millennials loved their pets. Still, it never occurred to me just how expensive they can be. I’m surprised that the number isn’t higher, but then I think, Wait, what am I saying?

If I start to save and invest $300 a month at age 22, compounding at eight percent interest monthly, until I turn 65, I will have a whopping $1.2 million! I do love that Tiffany leash, though.

Further Reading: “How to Become a Millionaire From Nothing — No, Really!”