As I watch the evening news, I am constantly reminded that our economy is not doing so well. Last night, the local news reported a car dealership and a major hotel that was closing for the last time. Everyone is pointing the finger at everyone else to point the blame. The real problem, as people see it, lies with the fat cats on Wall Street, the crooked CEOs at AIG, the government, the banks who told us we can afford the biggest house in the neighborhood, etc... Few are actually standing up and taking a little blame for their current situations. But deep down, a lot of this problem falls on the individual. I was taught a lesson a long time ago about money and spending. It might sound simple, but if you want something, you should have the money to buy it. If you don't, you really should not buy it. Now, I know there are some things like houses and college educations that you might need, but don't have the money in hand to make that purchase, but those are exceptions. Yet, the house or college education you purchase don't have to be the top of the line, just the one you can afford on the means you have.
Sadly last night on Nightline, they reported that lottery ticket sales have been one of the few things that have actually increased in this current economy. They had one family who spends hundreds of dollars a week to purchase tickets, including driving across state lines to buy different tickets. They have had to make cuts to their family's spending, yet will not forgo the lottery tickets. Ironically, the guy just lost his job as a financial planner. Yet, they are not alone, if ticket sales are increasing like they are. Some people are just stupid, spending money they don't have on things they don't need. (I did however learn on the program my odds are better of dating a supermodel than winning the lottery, so I got that going for me.)
I passed this sign several times when I was out in California. It pretty much sums up part of the problem with the mindset of many Americans.
Really, if you can not afford to buy a pet with the cash in hand, I doubt a payment plan on a pet is your best option. Not only are you going to have a monthly payment for that pet, but you will also have extra expenses like food, shots, and the pet sitter. Sure, no money down on a dog sounds like a great deal, but in the end, it will probably just bite you in the butt.
So to sum up, if you can not afford it, go without it. It reminds me of this SNL skit.