If you own a pet, there may come a time when you’re faced with an unexpectedly expensive pet surgery. When this happens, chances are you’ll want to go all in to take care of your animal companion. The problem is, sometimes the numbers just don’t add up. If you were struggling to pay your mortgage last month or scraping together money for groceries a week ago, how can you suddenly drop thousands of dollars on surgery for a pet?
The good news is, there are several alternative options that can help you pay for the procedure without putting a sizable dent into your existing finances.
Check Tax Write-Offs
Writing off pet expenses can be a tricky business. In general, most of the money you spend on your pet can’t be written off come tax time. However, there are a few ways that surgery can qualify for a tax break including if your pet is:
- A service animal such as a guide dog.
- A foster animal that you volunteered to care for.
- An animal that either protects or is actively part of your business.
- An animal that is hurt during a move related to business relocation.
In the meantime, it’s also worth keeping up on your local, state, and federal legislation that pertains to animals. For instance, the HAPPY (Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Year) Act of 2009 didn’t pass, but if it had, it would have provided up to $3,500 in qualified refunds for pet owners.
The point is when the need for a major procedure arises, always start by checking the current tax code.
Pick Up a Side Gig
Freelancing is a great way to generate some extra income to help cover a pet’s expense. There are many different gig economy jobs that you can work right from the comfort of your own home. If you do go this route, though, remember to:
- Always sign a contract before doing work for someone.
- Create a simple yet effective invoicing template to streamline how quickly you get paid.
- Track your income and make quarterly tax payments.
If you stay organized, you can earn a lot of extra money through freelancing in order to cover a pet surgery or really any other expense.
Downgrade Your Car
If you find that you’re strapped for cash, you don’t have time to earn more money, and there are no tax breaks to be had at the moment, you may need to lean on your assets to cover the surgery.
One of the most commonly owned assets is your car. If you have a nice car, but it’s draining your finances, you may want to sell it and downgrade to a smaller, older, or simply a less expensive model. This can provide cash through the sale and regularly free up money that was going into a larger car payment.
If you do opt for a used car, though, make sure to carefully inspect your options to ensure you aren’t creating further financial issues by purchasing a lemon.
Preventing Pet Emergencies
There are many different ways to cover a pet emergency, even if you don’t have an emergency fund ready to go. However, if you don’t currently have a pet surgery to cover, the best thing you can do is properly prepare for when the time may come. You can do this by:
- Keeping your pet’s environment healthy through activities like cleaning, decluttering, and replacing air filters on a regular basis.
- Giving your pet good food and plenty of exercise (both of which are good for you too, especially if you’ve been isolated and lonely during a quarantine.)
- Purchasing pet insurance to protect you from unexpected costs in the future.
Ideally, you should properly prepare for pet surgery before an accident actually takes place. Then, if and when a crisis arises, if things are still too expensive, you can keep the above recommendations up your sleeve as alternative options. Between proper preparation and alternative methods of payment, you should be able to handle any pet surgeries with aplomb.
About Beau Peters