Dogs and cats are pretty popular pets. They’re intelligent, cuddly and loyal (exclusions apply to some cats). However, providing for these friends can be costly. The first-year cost of raising a dog can range from approximately $1,314 to $1,843, depending on the dog breed, and the first-year cost of raising a cat is approximately $1,070. If you’re looking for an animal companion, but don’t think you can afford to keep up with the cost of raising one, then what you need is a budget-friendly budgie.
As a pet parent of almost three years, I can tell you that budgies barely leave a dent on your wallet. I have two budgies, Bollywood (blue-gray) and Lellow (yellow), and I spend less than $50 on them yearly, including food and toys! If you get a budgie (or two), then I can promise that neither you nor your wallet will regret your choice.
1. Initial Costs
Pet stores sell budgies for around $20. I would suggest getting two in the beginning so they don’t get lonely if you don’t stay at home a lot, but if you do plan on spending a lot of time with your budgie then it would be alright to get one budgie. How many budgies you get will have a great impact on how much you spend on your cage, as the size and price of a cage are directly proportional.
When buying a cage, you also need to take into consideration the space available in your home or apartment and what special features you believe would be convenient to have in your cage (i.e. playtop cage, rolling cage, flight cage, etc). Keep in mind that budgies are creatures of the sky, and they need a lot of space to exercise and stay healthy. You can get a nice, big cage with a bunch of fancy features for about $100 on Amazon or eBay, but a normal cage for two budgies is about $50 or under.
It would be recommendable to go for a bigger cage since you might adopt more budgies in the future (you most probably will; they’re just that much fun), so that way, you’ll be able to fit in more fun toys for your budgies.
Speaking of toys, you need a large variety of them and you have to switch them out from time to time to prevent your budgies from getting bored. The good thing for us pet parents on a tight budget is that bird toys and branches usually don’t cost more than a few bucks since they’re so small. I’ve also noticed that a lot of bird toys are sold in sets, so one $7 package could have three different types of toys in it. Toy expenses are spread out over the year, so you’ll probably spend less than $15 on toys when you first get your budgie/s.
2. Good Food For An Even Better Price
Budgies need three meals a day, and just like us, they also need snacks and the occasional treat. I learned that getting bird food from the pet store is slightly more expensive than getting it from the grocery store, probably because food at the pet store is “higher quality” or better suited to our pets. However, if you carefully search the bird food aisle at Walmart, you can find large bags of good quality parakeet food that cost less than the small bags of parakeet food at the pet store. These large bags last my budgies for almost four months before I have to buy another bag, so I spend about $30 on food every year.
For treats, I would recommend going to the pet store and buying a bag of millet in bulk because they’re only a few dollars and can last you for about a year, depending on how many budgies you have and how often you treat them. Having said that, don’t feed your budgies too much millet because it is unhealthy for them, just like how sweets are unhealthy for us.
Instead, if you want to treat them and keep them healthy, feed them fruits and veggies! If you already have fruits and veggies at home, then there’s no extra expense for treats! Budgies love eating organic products, and I highly recommend giving your budgies a variety of fruits and veggies daily. If you don’t regularly keep fruits or vegetables at home, then you better get some because:
1) You’re obviously not taking care of yourself
2) Eating them with your budgies can keep you healthy and strengthen your bond with your budgies.
3. Cleaning has never been easier.
Would you believe me if I told you that you don’t have to spend any money on keeping your budgie’s cage clean? Dogs, cats and small rodents need litter or bedding, but budgies only need newspaper! I simply set a sheet of newspaper (from the newspaper that gets delivered to our house weekly) on the bottom of my budgies’ cage, and I change it out every week. I will warn you, though, that budgies do shed a lot of feathers. The feathers mostly float around the area of the cage so you just have to vacuum it up.
4. "Time is money..."
The most expensive thing you have to buy for your budgies is your time. In the first month of getting a new budgie, you only need to hang around the cage and give him/her food so they recognize you as the human who will be taking care of them for the rest of their life. After your budgie becomes familiar with you, you can start teaching them tricks like stepping up on your finger. You should try to spend about an hour with your budgie every day. As a student with tons of assessments every week, I’ve found it difficult to spend time to care for my budgies as much as I would like to, but I try to spend any breaks between work with them.
I can give you a 100 percent guarantee that your budgies will pay you back more than you put into them with happiness. Some people might assume that budgies might be boring because all birds know how to do is chirp and eat, but you’ll soon realize that budgies are just as intelligent and fun as any other dog or cat. If you sit down and talk with them, they’ll try to talk back to you. You can teach them a trick, and they’ll learn it in a few days. The most important and special characteristic about budgies is that after some time, they’ll understand that you are their pet parent and you will have a special connection that they won’t have with anyone else.
Sometimes the company of the people around us isn’t enough and we need something different. Everyone should be able to find happiness in a pet, no matter what their financial situation. Dogs are the best friend of the man that can afford to spend over $1000 every year on said dog. Budgies are everyone’s best friend.
It's important you understand that you will spend the next 10 to 12 years with your winged companion (if taken care of properly). If you do not think you can spare time for your pet, then I don't think it would be advisable for you to get one, whether it be a budgie, dog or other animal. They're not just animals but lifelong friends. If you decide to get one, make sure to cherish her/him as much as s/he will cherish you.