Pets for Pennies: 18 Low-Cost Animals to Bring Home Today

Owning a pet can be one of life’s greatest joys, offering companionship and countless benefits for both adults and children. However, the cost can be a barrier for many. Here’s a look at the 18 cheapest pets to own, proving you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the enriching experience of pet ownership.

1. Betta Fish

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Betta fish are vibrant and low-maintenance pets, costing around $10 for the fish and $50 for a basic setup. They’re known for their beauty and can teach kids responsibility without overwhelming them.

2. Goldfish

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A staple of childhood pets, goldfish can cost as little as $0.30, though a proper tank setup might be around $100. They offer a simple way for children to learn about the cycle of life and the basics of pet care.

3. Hamsters

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Hamsters are affordable, around $20 for the pet and $60 for a cage setup. They’re nocturnal, so they’re a good match for busy adults who want a low-maintenance buddy to greet them after work.

4. Gerbils

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Similar to hamsters, gerbils have a slightly higher energy level and cost about the same. Their playful nature and ease of care make them excellent first pets for children, teaching them gentle handling and daily care routines.

5. Mice

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Mice are intelligent, sociable, and among the cheapest pets, costing around $10 for the animal and $50 for a home habitat. They can be a delight to watch and interact with, offering companionship without a high price tag.

6. Rats

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Rats are highly intelligent and responsive pets that cost approximately $20. Their need for a larger cage (around $70) is offset by their affectionate nature, making them great pets for kids and adults alike.

7. Budgerigars

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Budgerigars, or budgies, are small parrots costing about $20, with cage setups around $60. They can mimic speech, bringing endless entertainment and companionship to any home.

8. Guinea Pigs

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Guinea pigs are cuddly, social creatures with a higher initial cost ($30) but minimal ongoing expenses. They’re great for kids, teaching them about caring and forming emotional bonds with pets.

9. Ant Farm

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An ant farm can cost under $20, plus the cost of the ants. It’s a fascinating, low-maintenance pet option that can teach children about the natural world and the importance of teamwork.

10. Sea Monkeys (Brine Shrimp)

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For around $20 for a kit, you can raise your own colony of sea monkeys. They’re an excellent way to introduce children to the basics of biology and the life cycle in a fun and engaging way.

11. Small Dogs

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Small dog breeds like Chihuahuas or terriers can be relatively inexpensive to purchase or adopt, with adoption fees around $300, including initial medical care. They offer unconditional love and companionship, and can bring a lot of joy and energy to a home, making them worth the investment.

12. Cats

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Cats are independent pets that can be adopted for around $100, including initial vaccinations. They offer affection and entertainment with relatively low maintenance, making them ideal for busy adults or families with older children.

13. Chickens

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Backyard chickens provide not just companionship but also fresh eggs, costing around $3 to $5 per chick, plus the cost of a coop. They can teach kids about where food comes from and the responsibility of daily chores.

14. Rabbits

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Rabbits are more of a commitment in terms of space and care, costing around $50 for the pet and $200 for a proper setup. They are affectionate and can be litter trained, offering a unique pet experience.

15. Hermit Crabs

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Hermit crabs are quirky and inexpensive pets, with a setup cost of around $30 to $50. They’re fascinating to watch and require minimal care, making them a great low-commitment pet for children.

16. Snails

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Garden snails can be kept as pets virtually for free if you set up a simple habitat for them. They’re interesting to observe and can teach kids about different aspects of nature and biology.

17. Turtles

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Some small turtle species are relatively inexpensive to purchase, around $20, but remember that their habitat can be costly to set up properly. They offer lessons in long-term commitment, as they can live for decades.

18. Parakeets

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Parakeets are lively and colorful birds costing around $20 to $30, with a cage setup cost of about $70. They can mimic sounds and provide interactive companionship, making them great pets for both adults and kids looking for a more engaging pet experience.

Joy Without the Price Tag

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Pets bring unparalleled joy, companionship, and educational opportunities to a household. Choosing one of these affordable pets means you can enjoy the benefits of pet ownership without the financial strain, enriching your life and that of your new companion.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.