I often think about how much money I spend on my animals.

I’ve been working on budgeting better, and at least just keeping track of where all my goddamn money goes after I get paid, and the amount I spend on my dogs and my guinea pigs is just astounding. Yes, I am going to be crass and talk about money. Whatever.

For the pigs, it’s at least $80 a month. This includes bedding ($20), pellets ($15), and nail trims ($40-$45 depending on where I take them). Timothy hay and vitamin C cookies last a lot longer, but a giant box of hay is $25 and the cookies are $10 for about a 2-month supply. I will have to re-up both of these with my next paycheck. And I like to get them treat hay when I can, which I did with this paycheck - $6 for a smallish bag of oat hay that will most certainly not last them the weekend.

And, dear god, the dogs. $13 for kibble, which usually lasts just under a month so this kind of messes with my budgeting sometimes. I am fortunate to at least have small dogs who eat small meals. My treats and toys spending can get kind of wild, so I try to keep that to $10-$20/month but in the interest of total honest it’s usually like $50, especially if I happen to have any extra money. I pay for one dog’s nail trims, and he gets those for $10 at daycare usually every 6 weeks or so. And the damn daycare. Right now I am trying to cut back on how often he goes, just because it’s no longer necessary and it costs so much. I hate it though! He loves daycare and he comes home tired and quiet, which is magnificent. I was spending $300 every 5-6 weeks on this, but I am hoping to keep it to about $150/month. Various other expenses come up when my dumb dog hurts himself or eats mystery garbage off the street, they need flea meds, I decide they need new harnesses, or other bullshit things.

I know all this makes it sound like I have a lot of money to spend, but I really don’t. I just make it work, because I’m the sucker who adopted all these damn animals and it’s my job to keep them happy and healthy. I pay my bills, I take care of my pigs and my dogs, and then I get whatever’s left. And I’m happy to do it, because, again, it was my decision to take them in.

I guess all this is to say - I wonder how similar my experience is to people with kids. Like, yeah, you wanted kids and you’re happy to have them around and you love them blah blah blah, but...what if you didn’t have kids? What if you had made a different decision? What if you had money to spend on all the things you want but can’t have? Vacations, new car, less debt, cooler house, whatever. I love my animals and I can’t imagine not having them, but sometimes I’m just like...goddamn, am I an idiot.