According to scientists, pet ownership can actually enrich people’s lives especially emotionally. Pets can satisfy both the longing for company and the desire for affection. A dog, cat or even rabbit can be all things to someone—friend, partner, companion, particularly, if they live alone.  Bottom line, a furry friend can mean joy and an improved quality of life for so many.  However, if you’re living on a fixed income with limited financial means, owning a pet might not come easy.

Some people find it difficult to stretch a budget in order to accommodate a pet. Sadly, many folks oftentimes discover down the line that a pet can put a squeeze on their finances and this has led to an upturn in abandoned animals. Every year in the U.S., an estimated 6 to 8 million lost, abandoned, or unwanted dogs and cats enter animal shelters according to PETA estimates.

The price of pet ownership does not come cheap. According to the ASPCA, the total first-year cost of owning a dog is $1,270 and for a cat, it’s $1,070. Having a pet can cost you over $1,000 in the first year, and well over $500 each additional year. Depending on the food you buy and any medical expenses due to accidents, injuries, illness, or just routine preventative care, the costs could be much higher.

Are you really ready for a furry friend? Well, before you take the plunge, check out our quiz:

How big is the space where you live?

  1. It’s huge
  2. Just roomy enough for my needs
  3. I share my space with others so it’s cramped

How often are you home?

  1. I’m a retiree so you can always find me there
  2. I still work a 40-hour week and travel for business and pleasure
  3. I am not there that often

How are your finances?

  1. I have a cushion for whatever my heart desires
  2. I can make allowances here and there
  3. My budget is tight with no wiggle room

Do you plan for a rainy day or just go with the flow?

  1. I plan things out, there are no surprises
  2. Whatever comes my way, I’m good
  3. I like expecting the unexpected

Beyond budgeting, do you have spare cash that’s readily available to you for next year?

  1. My money has money
  2. Money isn’t oozing from my pockets but I have enough
  3. I raid my piggy bank and everyone else’s every chance I get

Mostly 1’s: You’re more than ready to welcome a pet into your life. You’ve got financial stability, enough room to accommodate an animal, and you plan ahead. The decision to own a pet is a move you’ve given thought to.

Mostly 2’s: You should probably take some time to think about whether this is the best time to get a pet. You might consider waiting until conditions – financial, living situation, or otherwise – are more suitable.

Mostly 3’s: We recommend you wait until you have a more stable schedule/paycheck/living situation. Don’t bring Fido or Tabby home and then have to give them away because you’ve made a mistake in purchasing them.