Friday, May 2, 2008

$, $, $

We have $80,000 in medical debts. My surgery will probably add to it by a few thousand dollars for a few months. The scooter would add $6000. Our house is halfway paid off, so it seems the best option is to sell it and move within the next year, starting over, leaving $10,000-20,000 a year in our budget for medical expenses after insurance to be on the really safe side. This isn't atypical for people with serious medical problems, and I know several people who have second mortgages or have used all their retirement for medical expenses.

I hate my insurance company. I hate that they won't help pay for the scooter I need. They would only be responsible for 1/3 of it.

This is part of the reason I don't quit my job, though I think I will start looking for different jobs since working isn't the problem. If I can telecommute even more, I can work more hours.

I think we could pay this down over time, but it seems risky not to get rid of it all at once.
It's not something I've talked about because it's something I've been embarrassed by. $20,000 of this was for treatments for my son's autism not covered by insurance and probably as much accumulated interest when I wasn't working and my husband's income was much lower. I don't regret a penny I spent. He can now talk, he can participate in life activities, though often reluctantly. My husband had a fair raise this year, but most of the money goes toward interest rather than paying down the whole sum--even if you pay off $10,000 or $15,000 a year, it takes years and years to pay it down. I started working again when my son started kindergarten. I can't imagine what situation we'd be in otherwise.

We've got to cut even more corners. I'm tired of people thinking we're wealthy because of my husband's income and our house, purchased when we had no idea what was around the corner and when it looked like we could save easily. We ask for clothing when relatives wish to give us gifts, and often they shop for us. No spurious shopping or splurges, for environmental reasons, too, though we have a small allowance for a few items. My computer for accessibility was $3000, though; things like that and uninsured house flooding blow the budget. There was the Kindle, but this is atypical and he really probably shouldn't have. We're middle income and spent wisely for people who didn't have medical problems--even five years ago, my medical problems slowed me down; they didn't stop me from working. We didn't anticipate so much so soon, and for a few years I was too sick to work and my son too continually sick to leave in childcare.

For goodness' sake, we need to recarpet if we move, but I can't stand adding this to our debt temporarily.

One thing I need to do is pull out all the stops with family members and friends (my sister thinks we have lots of $ despite my protests, one of my friends makes comparisons) and let them know more clearly, exactly so that some of the expectations of us (in terms of travel, gifts, spending) are not misunderstood as unwillingness/being unfriendly. I need to let them know how much our insurance company is not paying for. We do allow ourselves to take the kids to the zoo or to the occasional movie, but we can't blow money because others think that we can. Often others think that we should be paying more by comparison (my sister). Appearances can be deceiving, and often we're expected to shoulder more of the cost of something because people think we can. Even though my husband was unemployed for a while last year.

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