The 8 Best Pets for Frugal Animal Lovers

2. Guinea Pig

If you’re considering a small rodent, you have plenty of choices, and the most popular among them is arguably the hamster. Hamsters are cute, for sure, but in terms of ease of care and overall friendliness, a guinea pig could be the better fit for you. For starters, unlike hamsters, which are nocturnal, guinea pigs tend to nap, and are alert and friendly whenever you’re ready to cuddle and play. Another plus — they’re less likely to bite than other rodents, like hamsters and rabbits. Guinea pigs cost around $30.

In terms of care, you should handle your pig regularly (and why wouldn’t you — they’re adorable!), and provide it with about four square feet ofhabitat filled with creature comforts like soft bedding, store-bought food, fruits, veggies, and water, which will set you back about $100 when all’s said and done.

3. Gecko

Some people cringe at the thought of creepy-crawly pets like amphibians and reptiles, but geckos — a type of lizard (and also the Geico mascot) — are cute, quiet, clean, and very affordable at $20.

All a gecko needs to live out its happy life is a terrarium outfitted with a few rocks and logs; a light bulb to keep it warm because it’s cold-blooded (this part is very important so you don’t freeze it to death at room temperature); and its favorite food: mealworms or crickets, which only cost a few cents a serving, and are available at any pet store. A complete equipment kit is $50, plus the cost of the actual homing structure, like an aquarium.

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