Although they are small, the expenses for guinea pigs can add up quickly. Hay, pellets, bedding, and toys are the main expenses, although other costs, such as unexpected vet bills should be accounted for. My 6 guinea pigs cost me about $30-50 per month for hay, pellets, fresh food, and replacement toys. Since I use fleece bedding, I do not have that monthly expense (only for the laundry detergent). Here are my tips for keeping costs low:
Buy in bulk - I buy my hay in 50 pound bales. I also buy a 25 pound bag of pellets, which lasts me a few months. The bale of hay usually lasts 4-6 months. Based on my calculations and research, it is significantly cheaper to buy these larger quantities. If you have the space to store it, this is the way to go.
Provide hay in smaller quantities in a rack - This doesn’t mean give your guinea pigs less, it means to give them smaller quantities more frequently. Guinea pigs should be provided with unlimited hay, but once it has been on the floor too long it will get wet and need to be thrown out. By providing them with less hay at a time in a rack, more will be eaten and less will be left on the floor to be discarded. Just be sure to refill their hay whenever they need it.
Grow your own veggies - I recently began growing my own lettuce, bell peppers, basil, parsley, and cilantro. At first, this can be more expensive than purchasing produce from the store, but in the long run it should be more economical.
Don’t cut corners - maintaining your guinea pig’s health can be one of the biggest money savers. Unexpected vet bills can be a huge expense of pet ownership, so by setting your pigs up with a healthy lifestyle, you can save hundreds of dollars. Keeping cages clean and providing a healthy diet for your piggies (including vitamin C) is the best defense against illnesses. Also keep an eye out for problems and visit your vet sooner rather than later. Many health issues become more expensive to treat the longer you wait.
Have something to add to this list? Leave a comment!
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Anything expressed in these posts is my own personal opinion and is not to be taken as medical advice.