Okay everyone, I will tell you a little secret about one of our larger monthly expenses if you promise not to try to kick my ass. For nearly 6 years, our little 9-pound poodle spent the day at a doggie daycare – every day – to the tune of $400 a month.
Then, our second dog came. When we rescued our 50-pound boxer mix, we never really considered sending them both to daycare every day, which would have kicked our monthly daycare bill up to a whopping $800/month for two dogs instead of one. Screw that.
Since I work from home and can entertain the dogs, we instead decided to send the both of them once a week for socialization. Why didn’t we nix daycare entirely? Well, our little poodle absolutely LOVES daycare, and coupled with her little puppy dog eyes staring up at us every morning, my wife and I immediately turned into suckers. This routine set us back $200 every month.
That damn poodle has the both of us wrapped around her little…umm…finger/paw/nail thing. Whatever you call it…
So, we kept up the one-day-a-week daycare routine for several months, but this month we finally decided to make a change – we both kinda wanted that $200 bucks back even though our poodle has eyes that could melt glaciers. Instead of going to the gym together after my wife gets home from work, at least once a week, we will take both dogs up to one of our local dog parks to let them run around and socialize with other muts.
The cost to us? A coooooool ZERO. Hello $200 bucks!
We tested this out over the weekend and it worked well. Much to the chagrin of our little poodle, we didn’t send our dogs to daycare last week – she seemed fine with it, though I remain convinced that she wants to gnaw my face off in the middle of the night, though my wife isn’t quite as convinced of that yet. 🙂
But wait, we aren’t through yet! Another free technique to get our dogs some exercise – our home’s backyard happens to face a desert wash area that, until this weekend, we never really explored much. But today, we pretty much jumped in head-first. We brought both dogs out into the wash behind our house and even let them off their leash to run around on their own (we’ve never done that before).
Holy shit, they loved it.
Basically, we’ve had a free pile of gold just sitting behind our house, lying in wait…blind as we apparently are, we never saw it and instead spent thousands of dollars sending our dogs to daycare.
Okay, so we probably bone-headed this in the past, but as far as I’m concerned, all’s well that ends well. We now have a couple different free options to choose from that not only let our dogs run around and get exercise, but also socialize with other dogs in the process.
And have I mentioned that I’m a big fan of the low, low price of free?
Free stuff is the best stuff, especially when it is stuff that you actually need. And man, we needed to find a solution to paying for daycare.
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.