Saturday, July 7, 2018

Maintenance Costs

I'm nerdy.  I track lots of stuff in spreadsheets, including the maintenance cost of my car and vet expenses of guinea pigs.  I was surprised the other day when I discovered the numbers weren't too far apart.

I bought my car in December 2003, then adopted Athena and Victoria four days later.  (I was more excited about the guinea pigs than the new car... surprised?)  Anyway, nearly 15 years and 10 guinea pigs later, I was curious how the pigs and the car stacked up.

One Car versus Ten Guinea Pigs

Athena and Victoria; Willow and Pippin
Pinniped and Bertie; Boadicea and Cannoli
Total expenses
Elantra:  $14,928.96
Guinea pigs:  $12,588.47

Car expenses don't include gas, washing and inspection stickers.  Likewise, guinea pig expenses don't include food and bedding. 

Average costs
Mechanic visit:  $213.27 (It keeps going up with an old car!)
Vet visit:  $119.67 (Based on the last seven pigs)
per guinea pig:  $1,258.85

The average vet visit is based on seven pigs' worth of data, since I didn't track individual visits until I adopted Pinniped and Bertie.  Average per guinea pig will of course go up (like the car) as Wedgwood and Mabel age.

Most expensive
Repair:  New clutch -  $1,178.06
Vet visit:  Pinniped -  $342.95
Guinea pig:  Pinniped -  $3,346.27

Luckily, none of these pigs have needed surgery.  Eclair's surgery would have topped the single visit (although Pinniped still wins for all around most expensive pig).  The clutch and Pinniped.  Ouch.  The clutch lasted a hell of a lot longer, but Pinniped was an awful lot of fun.  I miss that schnoz. 

Least expensive
Maintenance:  Oil change - $17.57
Vet Visit:  Boadicea - $30.00
Guinea pig:  Athena - $473.68

Technically Wedgwood is the least expensive guinea pig, with Mabel close behind.  But give it time, I'm sure it will flip-flop.  Maybe they'll consider Athena as a good roll model?  That would be nice!  Mabel wuzziness and general attitude has been reminding me a lot of Athena. 

So, yeah, I can hear some people's heads exploding at the thought of spending this much on "pocket pets".  On the other hand, I know people who've spent a lot more on their companions.  I chalk it up to the expense of being an enthusiast and the cost of a hobby (although my other interests combined are probably less than the guinea pigs).  I hope I don't jinx myself, but both car and pigs are running pretty well right now, although they're all aging pretty quickly.  Fingers crossed I still have some good times ahead.


  1. I know a 3rd-generation, salt-of-the-earth type of old Yankee dairy farmer who says about the cost of having animals: "It's cheaper than seeing a therapist." I think he's right ;)

  2. We took in a guinea pig that was 4 yrs old. At the time my daughter lied to me and said he was years younger. He had a small lump on his mammary gland. After a few months his lumps started getting really big and expressive. He had to have surgery twice, one side at a time. I chose not to have the tissue tested because it cost so much more. He healed well, but we assume the masses were cancerous since he passed months later. Yeah, he cost me a lot of money for a "pocket pet" I barely knew, but he deserved love and a chance. He was sweet and always smiling!

  3. Guinea pigs are worth the money - they give us so much!


I enjoy reading your comments and I strive to reply by email (if you're not set to no-reply).