I've got two guinea pigs and a cat. There's been a lot of hooting going on about pets costing $1.4 kajillion dollars, so I thought I'd take some time and attempt to tally up how much my pets have actually cost me. I'll start with the guinea pigs. They're Adrian (the mom - named after the girlfriend in Rocky since that was the previous pig's name) and Wedge Antilles (named after the character in Star Wars, although she is a girl pig.)
Wedge was free, via the buy-1-get-3-free-pregnant-baby-guinea-pig special. (I gave away the 'twins' to a friend.) Adrian cost $15 at the pet store. She was so tiny that I had to buy her a new house, as she wouldn't have felt secure at all in the old guinea pig's house. I firmly believe that you shouldn't buy an animal if you have to scrimp and save to buy it things, because when the inevitable inexplicable thing occurs, you're going to be fubared. (For instance, when you buy a month-old guinea pig that is 2 days pregnant.) I did already have a cage though, and for the purposes of this exercise I'll include it, as well as the value of the litter, food, and cage liners I already owned when I bought her. (Cage liners are actually 55 gallon drum garbage bags slit down the side. Very sturdy.) Eventually I bought Adie some cardboard houses to chew on, I'll estimate we bought her about eight before she got too pregnant to fit in them. I also took her to the vet when she was about halfway through the gestation period as I thought she was gaining weight abnormally fast, but the vet didn't charge me. There was no use taking an X-ray since the babies didn't have solid bones yet. Actually, he told me that either she had tumors or babies and that we'd find out which it was in about three weeks.
Most of Adie's nutritional supplements came from the campus dining hall so that wasn't an issue. Once the babies came, I did buy them some fruit and vegetables so they could develop refined palates as adults, I'll estimate $20 worth. And they got a big cardboard house and a big igloo. And I built them a new cage (bottom is made of fiberglass pieces put together with packing tape. Works pretty well actually.) When we moved to Columbus, they got a well-pig vet visit at the new vet. That's about all the non-recurring costs the two pigs have incurred. Their recurring costs are fairly stable - cage litter, cage liners, food, and hay. They mainly eat hay (and they are going to be pissed when we run out soon, as there was wet weather in the area we buy the hay from and I couldn't order more) but that is definitely the biggest non-essential pet expense.
Cost of Adie - $15
Cost of Wedge - Adie's food
Cost of cage - $70
Startup litter, food and lining - $20
Adie's tiny house - $8
Cardboard houses - $12
Big cardboard house - $5
Big igloo - $15
New cage - $75
Extra food while I had all 3 babies - $10
Well-pig vet visit - $36
Litter - $10/month
Liners - $1/month
Food - $4/month
Hay - $12/month
I bought Adie in October 2004 and Wedge was born the day after Thanksgiving, 2004. (The gestation period for guinea pigs is 68-72 days, Adie gave birth 67 days after I bought her.) So I've had Adie for 20 months and Wedge for 18. On average, 19 months each.
Non-recurring costs = $266
Recurring costs - $27 per month x 19 months = $513
Total cost for both pigs so far = $779, or $41 per month