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Creating a cat's rainy day fund (vet fund)

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
How do people put aside money for their cats? Not counting monthly food/litter bills, how do people save for emergency visits, annual vet trips, meds, etc.?

Does this sound adequate?
$500/year per cat in an interest-bearing account, letting unused funds roll-over, e.g. if not used during year 1, then at year 2's end, you'd have $1000, then $1500, etc, for the life of the cat.

Or is $500/year not realistic? Too high, too low? (I know this year Munchie had a surprise UTI/crystals problem & with annual visits + labs + meds + special foods = around $800).
post #2 of 25
I'm just a grad student, so I can't spare much, but I've got a separate savings account right now just set up for medical (mine or the cats) or housing emergencies. Its an automatic draft of $50 a month ($600 a year). Its not much, but any little bit would help in the case of an emergency. Hopefully soon I can up that to $75 or $100 a month, but for right now, at least something is set aside.
post #3 of 25
I've just graduated college and still jobless, haha, but I've always had a savings account aside from the checking account that I use for usual bills like groceries and the bar I tend to have enough in the checking account for Oliver's yearly visits and regular expenses, but I always keep around $1000 (or try to) in the savings account to be used for any "just in case" situations.... although the cat is solely my responsibility (I was the one of course who took him in off the street - the dog was a family decision, haha) I know that if I'm stuck I can go to my parents for a loan.... but basically, I try to keep that minimum balance in a high interest gaining savings account (it's an ING account) - only to be used for very important things - pets included!
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzbyJLC10 View Post
... keep that minimum balance in a high interest gaining savings account (it's an ING account) - only to be used for very important things - pets included!

How is ING Direct?
Even opening the acct is all online, so I'm nervous...everything is online only, right? It's the only one that seems to have a high interest rate for savings that you can keep depositing into (other choice would be a CD, but you can't put $ in until it matures).
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskerynature View Post

How is ING Direct?
Even opening the acct is all online, so I'm nervous...everything is online only, right? It's the only one that seems to have a high interest rate for savings that you can keep depositing into (other choice would be a CD, but you can't put $ in until it matures).
ING has been great so far! Amazing interest! It is all online, but there's lots of security measures and they always send confirmation emails/numbers when you do anything... I like that I can just electronically transfer things without having to run to bank(s)... I'm making a lot more on my money here than I was at a bank
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzbyJLC10 View Post
ING has been great so far! Amazing interest! ... I'm making a lot more on my money here than I was at a bank
That's why I'm tempted. Isn't it like over 4% interest? To get that at a bank, you'd need to open a 6-12 month CD with a minimum deposit of $5000-10,000...at least around here, last time I checked.
post #7 of 25
We put 200-300 a month back for our 3 dogs and cat. We stopped it two years ago due to a job change for my husband and 3 kids in college. We've only recently starting building it back up. We try to keep around 3,000 in it - which just happens to be the cost of a surgery on one of the dogs (foreign body obstruction - twice). I do take the cost of the annual vet checks, meds and misc out as needed.
If the amount get higher, I have the option to spend it on whatever I want.
post #8 of 25
I have a special crt card for them and a vet who makes some arrangements... No amount of rainy day would have covered this yr...

Gigi so far is about 2000 with test s , meds , visits
post #9 of 25
I love the idea of an emergency fund! Hopefully I will be able to get a decent job soon that allows for more than rubbing two pennies together. I would like to have a fund with around $1,000. I dream big
post #10 of 25
I have an ING acct too. Been happy with it.

I dont have an extra emergency fund for unusual vet expenses. I just keep the one emergency fund for anything that comes up.

Since I was a kid, I've put 10% of all income aside, as my parents taught me.
So, even when I was poor and 10% wasnt much, it was still the act of saving. That's why i've liked that it has always been about a percent - not a $ amt. I also have my 12% retirement savings and 10% to charity. I never see the money really, so it doesn't hurt much.

Once it gets over $3000 or so in the fund, I buy more mutual funds.

I also know, if it comes to it, I can finance the care thru the vet or use my dusty CC...although the interest amt makes me cringe.

I think you are v. wise to think ahead for your pets' sake.
post #11 of 25
I think it's great that people are planning so carefully for any eventuality for their cats.

However, I have pet insurance and was under the impression that this would cover any unexpected vet bills (we pay for normal things such as injections out of general funds).

Is insurance not a reliable way to go? Or do people find that it's cheaper in the long run to put aside savings? We are paying £26.79 per month for full premium insurance for two cats with PetPlan.

I'd be interested to find out why people have chosen to have a cat fund rather than insurance.

Bruce&Sheila
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce&Sheila View Post
I think it's great that people are planning so carefully for any eventuality for their cats.

However, I have pet insurance and was under the impression that this would cover any unexpected vet bills (we pay for normal things such as injections out of general funds).

Is insurance not a reliable way to go? Or do people find that it's cheaper in the long run to put aside savings? We are paying £26.79 per month for full premium insurance for two cats with PetPlan.

I'd be interested to find out why people have chosen to have a cat fund rather than insurance.

Bruce&Sheila
BRuce&Sheila - I dont have an overall answer on this one. I looked into insurance for a bit and at the time I didnt think it was such a hot deal. (BUt having a young and healthy cat...insurance never looks good $ wise).

I would re-evaluate actually, now that Smidge is 3 years old (and healthy). The main thing I didnt like is I have to pay upfront and then I'm reimbursed. So...I would still need cash.

I wouldnt mind more opinions on the pro and cons of pet insurance.

If I had a dog though - I would get the insurance for sure..since they tend to run into more expensive things throughout their lifetime.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce&Sheila View Post
I'd be interested to find out why people have chosen to have a cat fund rather than insurance.

Bruce&Sheila
My cats have "pre existing conditions". The last time I did get a quote it was for an astronomically large number per month (over $200 at least, per cat). And Raven and Nabu were 3 yrs then, with FLUTD issues. I don't even want to know what it would cost now that they are 10 yrs and Stimpy is 7 yrs.

I have a credit card for cat emergencies if there are not sufficient cash funds.
post #14 of 25
Bruce&Sheila - I think you'll find that insurance in the US isn't as good as in the UK. At least that's the impression I get from posters on here. I think insurance in the UK is good and well worth having, esp if you take it out when they're young and have no pre-existing conditions. Mine are with petplan and I'm happy with it. I've made 2 claims so far - one for Magpie when he died in Oct 2005 - vets bills were nearly £2000 (for 5 hours at the vets!) and they paid in full minus the excess. They paid up quickly too. They also paid up last year for Jaffa's dental (£400) - again they paid it all minus the excess. I think it's worth having because although putting money in a savings acct is good in that you get interest and you still have the money if you don't need to use it, I know I'd find it hard to save up £2000 which is how much I would want to have put by. I'd also be tempted to dip into it for all sorts as I'm not very disciplined when it comes to money! If I didn't have insurance I couldn't have afforded Magpie's treatment and would have to have had him pts straight away. Then I would never have known whether he could have made it or not. As it was, I know he got the best care available and that there was just nothing more that could be done. And because it wasn't my money I was able to think only of Magpie and do what was right for him regardless of cost. He was 8 years old and it was the first claim I'd made but I got back from them more than I'd paid in over the years.

The only thing I would point out is that most people have to pay up front and then claim it back. I'm guessing you've not had to make a claim yet? Some insurers make claims that they will pay the vet direct but that's totally down to individual vets and most won't do it that way. So if you've not checked that out I'd look into it before you need it so that you know. Some vets are happy to do it that way for large amounts but will expect you to pay up then claim back for smaller amounts. That can make things difficult if it's a lot of money, but it's easier to borrow from a friend or relative or put it on a credit card when you know you will be getting it back.
post #15 of 25
I have "pet emergency fund" (a savings account for that purpose only) that, thankfully, I've never had to use. I also have a great relationship with my vet, who's being seeing my cats for 7 years. She offers a multiple pet discount, which saves me money on the routine stuff, plus is willing to work out a payment plan in the event of an emergency.
post #16 of 25
Interesting thoughts re. insurance vs savings. Urbantigers, you're right that Bruce and Sheila are young, have no pre-existing conditions and have had no claims yet, so they are easy to insure. They are insured with PetPlan and I'm very happy with the level of cover.

Although I knew I may have to pay out in advance and then claim back, I hadn't really thought about having to pay out thousands of pounds all at once! I guess it would be ok though as we do have savings, or credit cards - but I can see it would be a factor for some.

I wonder what's the most money any owner has paid out on vet's bills during their cat's lifetime?

Bruce&Sheila
post #17 of 25
I don't know the exact interest for my ING account offhand... but I did only start it with a few hundred dollars, then transferred the money from my old savings account into it (plus cashed some savings bonds upon graduating college that had been christening gifts)... I'm basically making mucho money a month just having my money sitting there (I'll look up some actual numbers of mine to give you an idea - probably get them up tomorrow)... I've always had a savings account too thanks to the parents... it's never been huge, but it's been there for all of those just in case situations and the pets fall into that (ok, and 1 tattoo - but that's a long story and the money got re-depositted 2 days later, haha)... I've never really looked into pet insurance, although it's been a thought in the back of my mind.... I kinda always just have more important monthly bills than pet insurance would be right and I know I have the savings money if my pets do need it... plus, if I have extra money in the savings, I can always use it on non-pet related things! Maybe one day when my student loans are all paid off and I have a sweet job (or once the BF becomes a Dr. haha) I'll invest in pet insurance for whatever critters I have at that time....
post #18 of 25
I have pet insurance for my 2, but also started taking up money to the vets each month to cover the basic bloods and boosters, this was to try and stop me using the credit card, but hasn't fully worked, as I have had to pay a couple of hundred out for Tiger, so haven't had the spare amount to put aside, but once I get the next insurance payout, I think I will take some up, I should then have enough for one cats bloods and boosters. I do also have an empty credit card for vets bills (until the insurance pays), and I do put money aside each month anyway, so could dip into my savings if I had to. I couldnt' just put money aside sadly, I spend hundreds at the vets each year, hopefully last year was just a blip, cos that was around £1200 (and yes, I only have 2 cats, and that doesn't include their food, litter, worm and flea treatments!!), this year so far it has been around £400, and I have been warned teh specialist will be around £600 - and we are only in July!!
post #19 of 25
So this particular post isn't exactly kitty related, but it's related to the thread .... but just to make it kinda fit: "meow meow meow purr purr bunnykick headbutt"

Ok, so I've got some numbers on the ING orange savings account for those interested:

-Current Annual Percentage Yield: 4.50%
-I started with $950 on March 19, 2007
-I've since added a considerable amount (Like I mentioned previously, I cashed savings bonds - about $1500 more)
Then graduation money was about another $950
-So it states that my total interest earned year to date is $21.61 (since March that is) and my monthly interest paid is $2.09
-so my current balance is over $3000

Granted, I have a substantial amount invested (well, nothing huge, but a good amount, haha) but even with a smaller amount of money, you're getting more interest than having it sit in a bank and you can transfer the money back to your checking account at any time... I'm happy with it and glad I can check up on it at home without running to a bank all the time

Their home page is http://home.ingdirect.com/ where you can get more info regarding specific types of accounts
post #20 of 25
I like ING too but sadly I always end up having to take the money out

Anyway, I have pet insurance precisely because I cannot afford to set aside any savings. What I do have is a credit card with a large available balance and emergency-only pet insurance.

If something does happen in the first couple years, 500$ ain't gonna cut it in some cases. 500$ is a minor medical problem-- if your pet needs hospitalized even overnight, you're already short quite a bit.

The downside to pet insurance is that you have to get it early and stick with it-- if you do let a policy expire and then your cat has problems, then you're SOL. I got insurance for Zissou when she wasn't even a year old, and it was somewhere around 100$ for the entire year. This year it is like 120$. That's the same as my cable/internet bill every month, not very hard.

I don't know where people get the idea that it's bad, like any insurance of any kind you have to decide what exactly you want to be insured and read the fine print carefully. The popular companies are very very different in what they cover, and how they reimburse you.

I will say that covering routine things isn't a very effective use of money-- you end up adding as much to the cost of the insurance as you would pay to the vet. But that is almost always an option, not included in the plan.

Also if something does happen, you might have to use that money you have set aside. And insurance policy you can't 'cash in' or whatever.
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzbyJLC10 View Post
So this particular post isn't exactly kitty related, but it's related to the thread .... but just to make it kinda fit: "meow meow meow purr purr bunnykick headbutt"
Since the OP asked for more info about ING, I don't think anyone is going to beat you with a stick.
post #22 of 25
I have what I call the "Moo fund". this is for Moo when she need her meds for asthma or to go to the vet for her medrol injection.I also used this for her new nebulizer when the other on quit working after 5 years. They cost around 125.00. So I like to be prepared.
post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzbyJLC10 View Post
So this particular post isn't exactly kitty related, but it's related to the thread .... but just to make it kinda fit: "meow meow meow purr purr bunnykick headbutt"

Ok, so I've got some numbers on the ING orange savings account for those interested:

-Current Annual Percentage Yield: 4.50%
-I started with $950 on March 19, 2007
-I've since added a considerable amount (Like I mentioned previously, I cashed savings bonds - about $1500 more)
Then graduation money was about another $950
-So it states that my total interest earned year to date is $21.61 (since March that is) and my monthly interest paid is $2.09
-so my current balance is over $3000

Granted, I have a substantial amount invested (well, nothing huge, but a good amount, haha) but even with a smaller amount of money, you're getting more interest than having it sit in a bank and you can transfer the money back to your checking account at any time... I'm happy with it and glad I can check up on it at home without running to a bank all the time

Their home page is http://home.ingdirect.com/ where you can get more info regarding specific types of accounts
WOW! Thanks for the detailed follow-up.

We considered insurance but since Munchie has a recent bout w/ UTI/crystals, I doubt the monthly payments will be reasonable. Our guys are young, but I want to figure out a good way to save for any REALLY BIG medical expenses (e.g. major surgeries) -- hopefully, they'll be healthy & happy forever
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskerynature View Post
WOW! Thanks for the detailed follow-up.

No problem!
post #25 of 25
When I have to take them to the vet, I put the charge on a credit card and worry later how to pay for it. Same for buying them food (because I get the best they'll eat, regardless of price). Probably not the best plan, but I won't skimp on my kitties' health even if it means I have to cut back on everything else.
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