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Monday was expensive

November 22nd, 2005 at 01:16 pm

Monday started with the best of intentions, ready to go onto this week's challenge of getting the holiday gifts purchased, packaged, and shipped. YEAH!

It didn't take long for that excitement to be deflated, though. We took the dog in for her surgery (another $600 out of pocket). Then my own surgeon called to say my biopsy was unclear, and we just had to ride it out. Stress. Ended that call only to answer another; a close friend called to tell us our mutual friend had just died from a heart attack, and by the way his own wife had relapsed in her leukemia and was going in to Hopkins next week for another round of leukemia.

Now, there is something programmed in us all, I think, that in times like this, thoughts of SAVING go out the window. The survival instinct is to SPEND, not to save for a DIFFERENT rainy day! As MD and I drove to yet another doctor's appointment, we decided to do a quick round of last minute Thanksgiving meal shopping and a check out a few holiday gifts for the kids.

Hmmm...no list, no coupons, no clear plan of what we needed to buy or even what actually NEEDED to complete our Thursday dinner or holiday lists. So, a run through Trader Joe's, throwing everything into the cart that seemed reasonable, like COOKIES AND CANDY for the stress, and a quick run through Costco for a few gifts and wrapping paper, and $400 was gone. GASP. Reality check. DOUBLE GASP.

The good news, I suppose, is that I've reconciled with myself that like a diet, blowing it one day doesn't mean you get to binge the rest of the week. BORROWING from the budget on one day simply means I have to dig deeper the rest of the week to balance things back out.

My deep thought for the day, though, is just how easily a crisis will lead us to abandon the very things we need to get us through the difficult times. This seems especially true of medical emergencies.

10 years ago, MD and I were both in great health and making good money. It would have been so easy to ignore the future, and just seize the day. Then he was diagnosed with cancer, with a 1% survival rate. The last thing he cared about was worrying about a coupon on juice or comparing costs and investment rates. But medical costs, even the incidentals, can drain savings. It was my role to steady the ship, argue with the insurance companies and doctors, ask for samples and discounts, keep the rest of the budget on track. We still paid $20K out of pocket, but that was nothing compared to the total costs, the quality of care, and his LIFE.

When I was assaulted the following year, the 4 months in the hospital came at a price. $120K cash out of out pocket. And it WAS hard. I was SO badly injured, I didn't want to hear about money and insurance and details. Savings seemed SO unimportant. But, MD held the fort this time, and we didn't lose everything. We did not have to start over. We were still able to retire at 40.

So, we had a day where we did not watch costs. Today we will do better, and we will find ways to compensate.

Okay, so next post I will actually look at how our Christmas/Hannukkah costs are coming in and how we are managing the weekly goal. Today I'm still just pulling it back together.

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