How to Save for a Puppy: Tips, Tricks, & Must-Haves for Getting a Dog

Aug 6, 2020 | Budgeting, Finances, Video

Dogs are pretty much the best! (#AmIRight?) So how do you save up for a puppy? What do you even NEED when you bring your little bundle of fur and fun home? What costs are there, and what should you save up for? Well, sit – and STAY – because we're sharing everything!

When you save money and budget, owning a puppy becomes a dream come true! Learn how budgeting tips at Fun Cheap or Free

For those of you who did not know (or who don't follow me on Instagram… yet), we brought home a puppy! Meet Rome (as in Italy – because that's where I first fell in love with the Bernese Mountain Dog breed). We're obsessed with him and absolutely LOVE him. He even has his own Instagram account @romethebernese!

For those of you considering getting a dog, whether it's an adopted dog, adopted puppy, or purebred puppy, I'm giving you all the best tips and tricks to help you prepare (and afford) your new four-legged family member, including puppy needs, costs, and how to save up money for your dog!

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Watch the video online here and see how we found our new puppy, our dog must-haves, and how to budget for your new beastie bestie! So what's the first step? Well, you've gotta…


Look, I'm just gonna say it: Don't go into debt for a puppy! Buying a puppy can be extremely expensive – especially purebreds. And even adopting a dog, there are a lot of needs and expenses: medical costs, vet expenses, food vitamins, toys… and if you're a family who works or travels, then you need to pay a dog walker or a dog sitter. It. Really. Adds. Up!


Start setting a little bit of money aside every single month in a separate bank account. This is the bank account you will draw from when you need to take your dog to the vet or if they rip up the carpet (looking at you, Ollie, RIP).

Once you have the money saved up, that's when you get the dog… not the other way around. And do not put a dog on a credit card.

The more bank accounts you have, the more organized your money is. See why I recommend having seven bank accounts (I explain everything)!

Want more tips like this? Then you're in for a treat! We are so sure that you'll love Budget Boot Camp, we even offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you finish the program and don't save at least how much you spent. Really, you have nothing to lose! Use the code FCFBLOG for 10% off at checkout, just because! 😉

When you're ready to bring your new dog home, here are some things to consider:


Before getting a dog, know that bringing home a dog is both a financial and emotional commitment. Please consider:


Can you afford a dog? Prepare for it the right way and you can! Read for money-saving tips at Fun Cheap or Free!

Whether to adopt a dog or find a reputable breeder is going to depend on your circumstances – and no one answer will be right for everyone. Rome is the first dog we haven't adopted, which means I very carefully researched the breed and the temperament. I chose the Bernese Mountain Dog breed very specifically, and after much research, we got our puppy from Cara's Canines in Ohio. She's amazing, and so are her dogs!

When you adopt, you choose a dog based on opportunity, typically from a shelter. I have chosen dogs in both circumstances! I can't wait to adopt again someday; but for now, as a family with kids, we wanted to really be able to choose the temperament, the breed, and the medical history.


Ask the people who work at the shelter (and who interact with the dog on a daily basis) for insight into the dog's personality. Spend time with the dog in a “pet meeting room” so you can interact with and play with the dog. Don't rush this part. You might even want to meet the dog more than once, just to be sure. Ask yourself:

  • How does the dog react around strangers?
  • How anxious are they in their kennel?
  • Are they aggressive?

Here are some tips for helping an adopted dog fit into your family from Petfinder!


  1. Make sure your breeder has a website – They should actively post photos and updates. Reputable breeders have nothing to hide.
  2. See if that breeder is breeding multiple types of dogs or whether they specialize – My breeder only breeds Bernese, so she knows the breed inside and out.
  3. Visit the breeder and check out their site – Check out the puppies as well as the moms and the dads to make sure they look healthy.
  4. Look for red flags – If the breeder makes you wait so they can bring the puppies to you, that could be a red flag that there's something to hide.


Getting a puppy means you'll have to save up for travel. If you are traveling to get your dog, whether by plane or by car, you will most likely need a dog carrier. If you're flying to get your dog, airlines are extremely specific about the size of dog carrier you're allowed on a plane. It's also VERY different from airline to airline! You can find these carriers on Amazon or in pet stores. My tip for you is to read and understand the guidelines and regulations.


Knowing what your puppy must-haves are ensures you can save money and budget to buy a puppy dog. From Fun Cheap or Free

You've got your new family member home. Now what? How can such a small puppy need so much?! Dogs need a lot in terms of training essentials, care, and playtime, so take note! Here are my dog needs and must-haves to budget for when you save up for a puppy:


  • Puppy Pads – Some people love them, while others absolutely hate them. I'm in the middle. These are great for travel (and also for emergencies), but if you have a dog that rips things to shreds, they'll become confetti.
  • Door Handle Bell – For potty training, these widely available door handle bells help your dog signal when they need to go out.
  • Poop Bags – And speaking of a dog needing to go out… be a good dog owner. Clean up after your pooch.
  • Kennel / Crate – If you're having a party or guests over who are afraid of dogs, your puppy has a place that's safe and warm and cozy and familiar to them. Think of the size of the kennel in terms of the full-sized dog, and not a little puppy. If the kennel is really big, look for one with a divider.
  • Collar and ID Tag – Make sure the ID tag has the dog's name, your phone number, and address on the back.
  • Harness – Gently and securely walk your untrained puppy.
  • Retractible leash – It snaps back and locks, and it's A.MA.ZING.
  • Rope leashes always make great emergency leashes. We always keep one in our car.


  • Chew Toys – Get all of the chew toy “food” groups: squishy, chewy, noisy… because if it's not chewing on your toys, it's chewing on your furniture. Toys that release food or treats keep pets occupied, especially when they're anxious.
  • Treats – Treats are an important incentive when you're training a dog, whether you're putting the leash on for the first time or teaching them to sit.
  • Dog Gate / Playpen – Whether you circle it up like a playpen, or extend it to act as a gate, introduce your home a little at a time to help them learn good behavior.
  • Puppy Shampoo – Puppy shampoo is mild, so it's great for sensitive skin. Research whether your dog has fur or hair, because that matters, too.
  • Electric Food Dispenser – Electric feeders let you set how many cups you feed, how often per day they eat – and some even have a webcam on it so you can talk to your dog while you're at work! #Fancy
  • Water Bowl – Look for a nice, weighted dog bowl that the dog can't tip easily. There are automatic water dispensers, but be careful about sizing. If it's too big, the water won't turn over quickly and remain fresh.
  • Carpet Cleaning Machine – I have tried every store bought carpet cleaner on the planet. From my experience, this carpet cleaning machine on Amazon is the one I still swear by today.


The difference between a well-behaved dog and a non-well-behaved dog? Dogs need to exercise for health and for mental stimulation. Better yet: It's FREE to play with your dog… but the memories you're creating with your fuzzy little family member? Priceless!

As you can see, dogs are an investment. But when you look into those precious puppy eyes, you'll know that all of the budgeting, the research, and the preparation was well worth it. So save up those dollars and soon enough you'll make room in your heart (and your home) for a puppy!

How to save for a puppy, prep your budget, and get your home ready! Tips from Fun Cheap or Free

Wanting more great budgeting posts?

Now, go be the special person your dog knows you are!

Jordan Page Signature from Fun Cheap or Free


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