False economy

One thing that my husband and I have really realized in the past couple months is that trying to save money really ended up screwing us over.

The most obvious example is my husband’s health. For many years, he avoided going to the doctor because we had really crappy insurance. So he tried to manage his symptoms on his own with dietary changes, which obviously didn’t work.

I avoided going to the doctor so much that it almost hurt my disability case, according to my lawyer. After all, it’s hard to prove that you’re really sick if you don’t have doctors’ files to corroborate that fact.

Even our car situations are part of that. We held on to a 12-year-old Chevy Trailblazer that my husband hated to drive and that got incredibly poor gas mileage. It needed a couple thousand dollars in repairs in the past year and still needed thousands more. We just kept throwing good money after bad, as the saying goes. When you average out what we were spending on repairs, it made no sense to keep it.

Part of that is because of the way we were raised, especially my husband. He grew up in a household where you always try to fix things yourself rather than hire a professional or try to fix it yourself. While it’s amazing and respectable to fix things yourself, there also comes a point where it’s just a bad economic decision.

Now life is forcing us to slow down, what with my husband’s cancer and my progressing MS. It’s hard not to take some blame for being too cheap to take care of ourselves. And we’ll still probably never be crazy spenders because that’s not who we are or what our values are.

But investing more money in our health care and having better cars with warranties feels like we’re on the right track to being responsible adults. Hopefully that means things will become more secure, even if not necessarily more “fun.”

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