Money Saving Tips for Bearded Dragon Owners

These are just some money saving tips that I have come up with. I just thought I’d pass them on to you. Whether you use them or not is entirely up to you.

Buying a bearded dragon, enclosure, and cage fixtures might seem like it is going to cost quite a bit. Not to mention recurring expenses such as crickets, light bulbs, substrate, and supplements.

Well, I don’t want to lie to you. Just like any other hobby there is a certain amount of money that will have to be spent, and this one is no different. Some hobbies might be cheaper, but there are definitely hobbies out there that are more expensive.

Even though it might seem like a lot to buy, here are some money saving tips that you can do to reduce the cost.


This is where a lot of your money will be spent. Enclosures that are big enough to house a bearded dragon are quite pricey. I by no means am against them. I actually would prefer some of them, but sometimes you just can’t squeeze it into your budget. Cage decor and fixtures can also add up too.

If a big aquarium or molded plastic cage is out of your budget, there are some other housing options to look at. These are just some of the options that I can think of. If you know of any other money saving tips that work well, let me know. I’ll be sure to add them to this page.


This can serve as a decent home for your dragon. They might not be the greatest, but they will definitely do the job. One of these, that is big enough to house a dragon, is reasonably priced.

Reptariums don’t look too bad, and they can even look nice set up in a living room. The only thing I really don’t like is that it is a little harder to see inside. Though, this can be overlooked.

It also might be hard to keep a good overall air temperature, because of the mesh screen. I am not sure on this fact, however, I have never used a reptarium. If your home’s temperature runs in the 70 degree F range, it shouldn’t be a problem.

If you provide a basking spot of around 110 degrees F, the ambient air temperature shouldn’t be too big of a deal. You can probably get a really good heat gradient in one of these.

This was the housing option I was going to get when I was looking into buying my first dragon. I ended up deciding to build by own cage. Even though, I still think that these are a viable option for dragon owners.

Remember if you decide to get one of these, the Reptarium and bottom liner are sold separately. This can be both bad and good. It’s bad because of the separate expenses. It is good because you can change the liner out every now and then, if you choose.

Also, there are different sized liners for the same size Reptarium. One for when it is standing up, and one if you use it laying on its side (preferred position for bearded dragons). Make sure that you get the right liner for your reptarium.

Do-it-yourself cages

If you have the tools and some carpentry knowledge, this a good money saver. This is actually what I chose to do. I found that not only was I getting what I wanted, but I also had fun doing it.

I mentioned having your own tools, because if you don’t, you’ll have to include the cost of tools in with the cost of the cage. I found this out for myself. It turned out okay though, I now have tools if I ever need them.

Rubbermaid tubs

While this isn’t my most favorite option, it will work. It just has to be big enough. It will also have to be able to support your heating equipment. You’ll probably only want to use a basking light or heating mat made for inside the enclosure. Don’t use an under the tank heater for this.

The looks of this aren’t much to be desired, but if you are on a tight budget it will work well. Just make sure that you can maintain a good heat gradient and temperature, which I see no reason you wouldn’t be able to.

Also, as with all enclosures, be careful where the basking light is set. These get extremely hot and could melt your enclosure or even cause a fire.

Cage Decor

Instead of paying higher prices for cage decor from a pet store, you can use other things you might already have. Though, I think that the cage decor that is bought from a store looks better in most cases. However, I use driftwood and Lake Superior rocks and think they look very nice.

This will probably be the case for most things that your saving money on.

Driftwood, Sticks and Rocks

You can use these in your terrarium instead of store-bought ones. These might even look better than the ones in the store, and also a lot cheaper.

You will, however, want to disinfect them before adding them to your cage. You can do this by soaking the items in strong bleach water solution. After that you’ll want to soak them two to three times in clean water to get the bleach out.

Hide Box

You can use any box you have at home. All you have to do is find one that is a good size and cut a door in it. Though not too pretty, it is very functional. You can also use a plastic dish, if it is big enough. It might be harder to cut a door in it, but it is possible.

You can also stack rocks to form a cave. If you do this, make sure that the rocks are stable and can’t be knocked over by your dragon. Remember, that your dragon might burrow underneath them as well, causing the rocks to fall over.

Food and Water Dishes

You don’t have to buy these from the pet store. You can use any dish that is suitable size, that you already have around your home. Just make sure to clean it good and keep them away from your everyday dishes.

Cage Fixtures

There are many cage fixtures that can be bought at your local hardware store such as Home Depot or Lowes. You can also get some things at Walmart.

They usually have better prices on the items.

Basking Lamp Fixtures and Lights

You can get a clip dome lamp at a hardware store fairly cheap. These are the kind with a plastic base. I’m not sure if you can get ones with porcelain bases there.

If you plan on using bulbs that are 100 watts or larger, it is safer to use a dome lamp that has a porcelain base. The extreme heat from these bulbs can damage a plastic dome lamp. If you are using smaller bulbs, the lamps bought from the hardware store will work fine.

You can also use standard clear light bulbs instead of reptile basking lights. Though, I do like reptile basking lights, clear light bulbs will serve their purpose. These are definitely a lot cheaper than their pet store counter part.

If you use reptile basking lights remember you can always use a regular clear light bulb in a pinch. I have had to do this when one of my lights burned out and I didn’t have a spare on hand.

UV-B Light Fixture

If you’ve looked at the price of UV-B light fixtures and thought that they were a little high for a florescent light fixture, you are right. Walmart sells florescent light fixtures for way less than you can buy at the pet store. They may not be optimized for reptile lights but they do serve their purpose. I have used these with no problems at all.

I do recommend using UV-B lights that are specifically made for reptiles. I really like Zoomeds Retpisun 10.0 light bulb. Plant lights, aquarium lights, and other “full spectrum lights” just don’t cut it.

Buy Online or at a Reptile Expo

A good money saving tip is to buy online or from a reptile expo. If you can’t make it to a reptile expo, you can always access dragon breeders, insect breeders and reptile pet stores online. There are a lot of occasions where you will find better prices than at small pet stores. Also, buying your bearded dragon or crickets online will get you good quality items at better prices.

You can get bulk crickets and worms a lot cheaper than at the local pet store. You will also find better prices for supplements, cages, lights and other assorted items.

You can usually find better quality animals and feeder insects online, but you might to make sure you are going through someone that is reputable. There are many breeders on the internet, and most of them are good people. As with anything else you purchase, the “buyer beware” statement applies here too.

This isn’t meant to scare you from buying online. I have had good experiences buying dragons and crickets online. Just do some research before you buy, so you don’t get burned. If you don’t feel comfortable buying from someone online, trust your gut instinct.

There are some exceptions for local pet stores, like Petsmart and Petco. They usually have prices that compare with online stores. I have found that Petsmart has the better prices of the two. Some reptile owners boycott stores like Petco icon or Petsmart icon , because of the way they treat their reptiles. I have noticed that not all of these stores are the same, however.

I think that with the complaints they have received about this, their conditions are getting better. The decision whether to shop there or not will have to come down to you. If it helps you in knowing this. I have bought items from both of these places, though, I would never buy a reptile from either place.

There are numerous credible reptile stores online. Two of my favorites are, There are others out there that are just as good, also.

I have bought supplies from reptile and have had great experiences. The one time that there was a backorder, they threw in a free bag of Exo-Terra bearded dragon food just for being patient. I also haven’t found any place that beats their prices on most products. I highly recommend these guys if you need reptile supplies.

In Closing

These are just some money saving tips that you could try. Some will save more money than others, and some options will just be better than others. No matter what you do, make sure that the welfare of your dragon is always the top priority. If you know of any other money saving tips, feel free to let me know. I’ll be sure to add them to this page.

This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.

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