If you yearn to add a pet to your family, you may be astonished at how expensive it is to own and care for a little Fido or Fluffy.
While there are some expenses you can't avoid -- such as medical emergencies or chewed-up shoes -- there are ways to cut costs if you're ready for pet ownership.
Following are four ways to tap free or discounted resources to help you find and care for a furry friend without breaking the bank.
Adopt a shelter pet instead of buying a purebred
This can cut initial costs in half. In my own experience adopting a pug, I found that it costs anywhere from $300 to $1,000 just to bring home a pet from a breeder, whereas I could adopt a shelter pet for a package fee of $300 or less. If you're dead set on a purebred, do a search for breed-specific rescues to cut costs and save a life.
Adopt an older pet
This saves even more money. If you're open to having a pet that's past the puppy or kitten stage, you also get the benefit of a mellower pet that is potty-trained. Also, fees may be lower when adopting older pets.
Look for deals on vaccinations and veterinary care
Many local feed and pet stores offer vaccination clinics. Local rescues offer veterinary discounts for volunteers, or provide assistance for special-needs pets. Check your local newspaper or Google happenings in your area.
Swap pet care with friends or other pet owners
Boarding can be expensive if you need to travel. If you don't have a friend who can "pet sit" for you, try finding other pet owners using online animal enthusiast groups or meet-ups.
Shannyn Allan is a blogger at FrugalBeautiful.com and loves to talk about finance, fitness and fashion. She currently has several pugs of her own that she tries to spoil without going over budget. You can follow her on Twitter @FrugalBeautiful.