"As far as cost, you can expect to spend up to $400 a month on your pet for food, training, and other expenses — especially in the first six months, when you'll be buying supplies and going to the vet more often. Buying a dog or cat can set you back anywhere from $100 to $200 for a shelter animal to $2,000 or more for a purebred (plus extra costs for spaying or neutering, vaccinations, and microchip identification)."
Let's put a few numbers to this. If a pet costs $400 per month and lives for 10 years, that's $48,000 (not to mention what you could have earned on that money if you had invested it). If the pet lives for 15 years, that's $72,000!!! Even if the pet only costs $200 per month, that adds up to $36,000 over 15 years. Yikes!!!
Now before I get all the "you are a pet hater" people commenting, let me say that I love animals. I am not saying that people shouldn't own pets. What I am saying is that you just need to be aware of the cost -- and that the cost is probably more than you think.
One time I heard a financial advisor say that the key to prosperity was to "minimize the number of beings in your household that eat food." After doing the math on pets, it seems like he was on to something.
Update: Time to post to the Beltway Traffic Jam.