Low Maintenance Pets for Kids that Won’t Break Your Wallet

This post may contain affiliate links, view our disclosure policy for details.

Has your child been begging you for a pet? Don’t have a lot of money? Don’t have a lot of time? Don’t want your house smelling like animals? Here are some great ideas for extremely low cost low maintenance pets!
One great thing to buy is an aquarium- whether plastic or glass. I personally like the glass ones. I have actually never bought one, we always find one on the side of the road or even at a thrift store super cheap! I’ve even had friends just wanting to get rid of theirs so I volunteer to take it!!
Here is our current tank setup for our toad. Notice all we have is dirt from the backyard, rocks, and a tupperware dish for water. These types of aquariums are EXTREMELY versatile and can be used for MANY purposes!
The ABSOLUTELY cheapest and EASIEST animal we’ve ever had in our house as a “pet” is a toad. Yes, I said a toad. First of all- they are free for us- we just grab them from outside! We get these cute little ones- NOT the massive toads that are poisonous! Positive note- you can buy a small bucket of mealworms to yes, stay in your fridge, that will last several months. They do NOT smell, you do not have to feed the worms, and a bucket of 100 costs around $2.
Downside- it is not a cute cuddly furry pet. Once or twice a week I throw 5 or 6 little mealworms in the cage, make sure the toad has water- and that’s it! NOTHING else required. I have never had to clean an aquarium or do anything special. There is NO maintenance except 1 or 2 times a week feed it & make sure it has water.


This is by far my personal favorite, and although I realize that most of you cannot have a chicken I just HAD to put it in here! 🙂 Two or three chickens are perfect so they don’t get lonely. They will not roam too far from home. I’ve never had to clean up messes after a chicken. (although they do have the tendency to dig in the dirt a little). Make sure they have fresh water and check their feed once a week and you’re set! We also throw our table scraps to them. Here are some tips for raising baby chicks.




Living in Florida, we have these in abundance and would NEVER actually buy them. These are awesome. Have some sort of aquarium, or little jar w/holes so they can breathe. Throw them in the cage, make sure there’s water, and they can stay in there for a couple days before you need to let them out to eat. FREE- no clean up and no investment!!
If you’d like to keep them a little longer put them in a cage or aquarium like our toad cage and just put water in. They will eat the same little mealworms as the toads will- and you can even keep a lizard & a toad together!! These are very minimal work as well. However, if you have a small child watch your tank lid- they will easily escape if there’s a crack in the lid!
I have very mixed emotions about fish since our family does NOT have any luck with them. I cannot seem to find a way to keep their water clean. BUT they are very cheap to feed ($2 for food which lasts FOREVER!). You do need to invest in a good filter however unless you want to have to change the water every 2-3 days!
Hermit Crabs
You can use the same simple aquarium setup as a frog/toad/lizard! These are virtually mess free and just need basic food/water requirements.


Worms, Ants, Caterpillars, LadyBugs, and more!
Virtually anything you catch outside can be caged for a few days and let go!



Other pets that require some care & investment but much less than that of a dog or cat:
  • Hamster/Guinea Pig/Gerbils/Rats/Mice
  • Ferret
  • Snakes (EASY cleanup- but not cheap food)
  • Birds
  • Tadpoles

What pets have you had that you’ve enjoyed?? We have had SO many neat things in the house or on the porch and this has triggered a wealth of information and learning opportunities for the kids!! Did you know that you can even buy chickens and ladybugs, praying mantis, and ALL other sorts of animals on the internet???

Share with your friends!

Similar Posts