13 Cheap Pets That Are Paw-sitively Perfect for Your Wallet

Bringing a pet into your home can be a rewarding experience, but it often comes with a financial commitment. However, there are budget-friendly options that offer companionship without breaking the bank.

Whether you’re a first-time pet owner or simply looking to add a new member to your household, consider these affordable and low-maintenance pets. Let’s explore some of the cheapest pets to own, inspired by community discussions.

Betta Fish

Multi color Siamese fighting fish(Rosetail)(halfmoon),dragon fighting fish,Betta splendens.
Image Credit: panpilai paipa/Shutterstock.

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are vibrant and fascinating aquatic pets. Their compact size allows for simple, affordable tanks, and they thrive on a diet of inexpensive betta pellets. These Siamese fighting fish exhibit unique personalities, making them fascinating companions.

Hermit Crabs

Hermit Crab in the Seychelles.
Image Credit: Seth Yarkony/Shutterstock,

Hermit crabs make for delightful and budget-friendly pets with their quirky personalities and easy care. Thriving in compact enclosures, they require minimal investment in housing. Their diet consists of affordable commercial hermit crab food, supplemented with occasional fresh fruits and vegetables.

Guinea Pigs

Guinea pig friends.
Image Credit: Miroslav Hlavko/Shutterstock.

Guinea pigs stand out as charming and economical pets, offering companionship and ease of care. Their modest dietary needs include hay, pellets, and fresh vegetables, making their sustenance budget-friendly. These sociable rodents thrive in a secure cage with minimal accessories, keeping initial costs down.


Garbils, Garbillinae in the studio.
Image Credit: Opayaza12/Shutterstock.

Gerbils are small, friendly, and easy to care for. These pocket-sized companions require minimal grooming, and their housing needs are easily met with an affordable tank or cage. A diet of readily available gerbil food mix and occasional treats ensures their health without straining the budget. Known for their playful antics and social behavior.

Leopard Geckos

The Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius) Sunglow Lemon Frost is a new colour morph of the Leopard Gecko, which emerged in ca. 2015 as a result of selective breeding and spontaneous mutation.
Image Credit: Lauren Suryanata/Shutterstock,

For reptile enthusiasts on a budget, leopard geckos are a great choice. Their simple dietary requirements include live insects, readily available and affordable. Minimal enclosure essentials, such as heating elements and hiding spots, keep setup costs reasonable. Not to mention, they are absolutely adorable.

Budgerigars (Budgies)

Budgerigar, melopsittacus undulatus, Adults standing on Silver wattle.
Image Credit: slowmotiongli/Shutterstock.

Budgies are not only affordable to purchase but also cost-effective to maintain. Their modest diet mainly consists of reasonably priced birdseed, and they thrive in a small cage adorned with a few toys. These sociable birds are known for their ability to mimic sounds, adding an entertaining element to their companionship.


Brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) walking in grass on bank at night. Netherlands. Wildlife in nature of Europe.
Image Credit: Rudmer Zwerver/Shutterstock.

Intelligent and social, rats make charming companions. Their housing needs are simple and affordable, with a spacious cage and minimal accessories. A diet of economical rat pellets and fresh vegetables keeps them healthy without straining the budget.

Ant Farms

Boy looking at harvester ants in ant farm. Observation of ants behaviors. Domestic insects.
Image credit: Valkantina/Shutterstock.

For those seeking a truly unique pet experience, an ant farm can be an intriguing choice. Minimal setup costs, involving an enclosure and basic supplies, make ant farms an affordable choice. While lacking the cuddly aspect, the captivating behavior of ants and their industrious activities offer a unique and educational pet ownership experience without significant ongoing expenses.

Insects (Praying Mantis, Stick Insects)

Mantis from family Sphondromantis (probably Spondromantis viridis) lurking on the green leaf.
Image Credit: Karel Bartik/Shutterstock.

Praying mantises and stick insects are captivating insects that are inexpensive to keep. Their minimal space requirements and simple dietary needs, often fulfilled with affordable live insects, contribute to their cost-effectiveness. While not traditional cuddly companions, the unique and captivating behaviors of insects offer a distinctive and low-cost pet experience.


The Pinktoe tarantula (Avicularia avicularia).
Image Credit: reptiles4all/Shutterstock.

For the more adventurous pet owner, tarantulas are surprisingly low maintenance. Their minimalistic needs, including a secure enclosure and a diet of live insects, keep ongoing expenses low. While not conventional in terms of cuddliness, tarantulas fascinate with their unique appearance and calm demeanor.


Funny hamster eating seed in cage on color background.
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock.

Hamsters are small, nocturnal pets that are relatively inexpensive to care for. Their small size allows for budget-friendly cage options, and a diet of hamster pellets supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables keeps costs reasonable. With minimal grooming needs and nocturnal habits, hamsters are suitable for various lifestyles.


koi goldfish, commercial aqua trade breed of wild Carassius auratus carp, curious and cute comet-like long tail ornamental fish communicate in low light nature anubias design tank
Image Credit: Aleron Val/Shutterstock.

A classic choice for beginners, goldfish are affordable and come in various varieties. Their affordability extends from the relatively inexpensive purchase to their basic care requirements. Goldfish thrive in simple tank setups, reducing initial costs, and their diet, consisting of goldfish flakes or pellets, is readily available and budget-friendly.


Speckled Leucistic Axolotl front-facing full body shot with tail visible.
Image Credit: axolotlowner/Shutterstock.

Axolotls, also known as Mexican walking fish, are aquatic salamanders with unique regenerative abilities. These salamanders are relatively low maintenance. Their needs include a tank with appropriate water conditions and a diet of affordable aquatic pellets.

Budget Friendly

Owning a pet doesn’t have to strain your budget. The key is to find a pet that matches your lifestyle and financial resources. Whether you choose a finned, scaled, or furry friend, these budget-friendly options can bring joy and companionship into your life without breaking the bank.

Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.