4 Best Low-Maintenance Inexpensive Pets

If you want the companionship of a pet but don’t have the time or money for dogs or cats, you have plenty of other options. There are many inexpensive and low-maintenance pets like goldfish and hermit crabs that can keep you company without the expense. Here are four of the best affordable pets that are easy to care for and can be left alone while you’re at work.

4 Inexpensive and Low-Maintenance Pets


A goldfish is a fun first pet for kids and adults alike. They’re usually able to recognize the person who feeds them and get excited when they see them. Believe it or not, you may even be able to teach them tricks.

And best of all, they’re not hard on your wallet. They only cost between $3 and $15 at the pet store. In total, you’ll need to save up about $100 for startup costs including a tank with a filtration system, food, and decorations and plants.

Hermit Crab

Hermit crabs are fun to watch but don’t enjoy being handled. Since you won’t need to take them out of their cage and play with them often, they’re very low-maintenance.

They only cost about $10 to buy at the pet store, so your upfront costs will also be low. You should budget between $50 and $150 for your hermit crab, its cage, and its accessories.

The main ongoing costs of owning a hermit crab are food and shells, which are both inexpensive. Hermit crabs molt and change shells every four to six weeks, so you’ll have to buy new ones fairly often.


Snails are one of the best inexpensive and low-maintenance pets because they don’t require any handling or human interaction. They don’t take up a lot of space either and are perfectly happy in small cages as long as they have a few things to burrow in and chew on.

However, they’re mostly active at night, so you may not get to spend much time observing them and holding them when they’re up and active.

But on the plus side, snails are very inexpensive to own. The only ongoing costs are fresh veggies and fruits, spaghnum moss, and cuttlefish bones or eggshells for calcium. You don’t even have to pay to buy a snail—you can simply adopt one you find roaming around outside.


Hamsters are the last of the 4 inexpensive and low-maintenance pets on this list. They’re a little harder to care for because you have to clean their toilet area daily, change their bedding once per week, and wash their cage with soap and water at least once per month. They also need exercise to prevent boredom and constant access to fresh water.

However, they’re still less work than dogs and cats and can be left alone all day while you’re at work. They’re also a good choice if you want a more traditional pet that you can play with and handle.

They’re pretty affordable as well—you can buy a hamster for about $20 to $25 and get them all set up with a cage, food, and toys for about $150 to $250. After that you can expect to spend $400 to $600 annually on supplies and vet care.

If you or your kids want a pet, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get some companionship. Which of these low-maintenance and affordable pets are you planning to adopt? Let us know in the comments section below.

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