This is me on my soapbox, taking a break from the frugal talk.  I’ve had a dog for 4.5 years now, and getting her is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.   Getting a dog is a big decision – among many other things, they can be expensive.  It’s so important for a decision as big as this one to be well thought out.  In addition to monthly expenses, you’ll have boarding costs, yearly shots, and fees for the emergencies dogs sometimes bring upon themselves.  If getting a dog is something you’ve decided to do (after weighing the costs and benefits for yourself), I want to strongly encourage that you adopt.  I adopted mine from our local animal shelter.  I cannot stress enough how many amazing animals are out there, just waiting for a good home.  Unless you’re getting a dog for a very specific purpose, there is really no good reason to go through a breeder.  In addition, NO ONE should buy from backyard breeders – the people whose dogs accidentally have puppies which they decide to sell.  Doing this is only worsening the problem of over population of available pets.  There are so many advantages to rescuing/adopting a pet.  First, you’re doing such a good thing and becoming part of the solution.  Next, they’ve got personality!  Many of the adoptable dogs are mixed breeds, taking the best characteristics of many different types of dogs.  They don’t have the same inbreeding problem that some purebred dogs face.  If you do love a particular breed and it’s important to you to have one, look online for breed specific rescue groups.  I can promise that every breed of dog has rescue groups all around the country trying to find homes for purebred dogs.  Like I said, I’m getting on my soapbox today, but I just think this is so important.  Part of living a frugal life is recognizing excess and seeing where you can make the world a more efficient place.  I can’t think of a better way to achieve these things than by saving the life of a well-deserving animal.  I hope everyone out there can find their own “man’s best friend,” and I hope you’ll seriously consider adopting to help do your part.