The 8 Best Pets for Frugal Animal Lovers

Contemplating becoming a pet parent? There are plenty of things to consider before taking the plunge — like making sure the animal is properly cared for and loved (it’s not all about you, remember). But you also need to account for how much time and money it will cost to make a pet part of your life.

If you’re not ready to make a major commitment with a puppy or a kitten, however, you can still realize the joy of owning a pet with an animal that’s a bit more self-sufficient. Here are a few suggestions that are good for pet-parent beginners, young and old alike.

1. Hermit Crab

It’s basically a rite of passage — if you live anywhere near a beach, anyway — to adopt a hermit crab as a kid. I grew up in the Mid-Atlantic, and everyone I knew had a hermit crab at one point or another during childhood, mostly because it was much easier to convince our parents to let us have this easy-to-maintain pet opposed to, say, a rabbit or an otter, or the pig I’ve always wanted. Hermit crabs cost about $8.

Providing sustenance for a hermit crab is a cinch, it’s no real fuss to keep a bowl of clean water and food in its habitat to access when necessary. Pelleted hermit crab food can be purchased from a pet store for around $10, but in addition, you also can feed it chopped apples, grapes, bananas, kale, and broccoli.

Hermit crabs are nocturnal and social, so you may want to pick up a friend or two that it can jam out with when you go to bed at night. It’s also recommended that you provide the habitat with a sea sponge that the crab can climb on as well as bigger shells the crab can change into as it grows, and that’ll cost you about $35.

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