Monday, May 21, 2012

Hidden or forgotten additional costs

When someone we love gets sick, we realize that there will be extra expenses, but sometimes we don't realize how much extra there will be.  When you are on a fixed budget and barely making it, going on disability or having to take time off of work can really hurt financially.

When planning your budget, keep these hidden or forgotten costs in mind.

- Gas to and from appointments.  When hubby first started seeing doctors about his kidneys we had an 8 hour round trip and the gas costs really added up.  Our trip is shorter now, but there is still additional fuel costs that need to be budgeted in.  Sometimes we have 4 or 5 appointments a week, requiring me to full my tank multiple times a week.

- Co-Pays.  Each appointment comes with a co-pay and when you go from visiting a doctor once a month to 4 times a week, the cost can go up by the hundreds.

- New or changing medications.  As your loved one continues to have their health decline, it will undoubtedly mean new medications, dose changes, or additional treatments or herbal supplements, all which cost extra.

- Medical tests.  Just like medication changes, as your loved one continues to have health issues, it may require more medical tests and care.

- Food.  If you are traveling for the appointments, you will end up eating more convenience types of food, which will add cost to your weekly food budget.  A good way to combat this is to plan ahead and pack a cooler.

- Loss of work hours.  Not only may your loved one lose pay because of their health, but the family care provider, you, could also lose pay because of reducing your hours or giving up your job to take care of your loved one.

These hidden or forgotten additional costs can easily add up to thousands of dollars a month, which can be very difficult on a family already struggling.  I haven't come up with a solution, other than to plan ahead, budget where you can, and pray.... I pray a lot.

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