“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”—John Lennon
Okay, so I have not posted on Cheap Yuppie Mom for over a month now. Mea culpa. I never intended to wait so long between posts, but sometimes life gets in the way.
I diagnosed with cancer a couple of months ago. It was considered early stage and highly treatable, and my doctors seemed in no big hurry to schedule me for surgery. I got a surgery date for mid-June way back in early April. Why the delay? Well, because I wasn’t that sick, my cancer was slow-growing, and there were other people who were way sicker/whose cancers were fast-growing and needed to be ahead of me in line. The type of cancer I have is pretty rare and requires a special type of surgery and a special type of surgeon, so I had to wait my turn while other people who were in worse shape got the help they needed first. I felt totally fine—not at all like someone with a cancer diagnosis. I kept working my day job, going to the gym, taking care of my kids, and going about my regular business as usual.
Until about 3 weeks ago.
3 weeks ago, I got very suddenly and very seriously sick. Horrible pain, massive infection, dangerous symptoms. My doctors were very worried about me. Turns out that what was going on cancer-wise was more serious than originally thought. I missed a few days of work while my doctors got me stabilized. My surgery date got moved earlier by a month (it’s coming up in a few days). I will be missing 3 months of work instead of only 2 weeks. Income levels will be dropping. (I have disability insurance pay, but it is only a third of my regular salary). We’ll need a babysitter and a housekeeper to help out while I recover. Medical bills are piling up on the kitchen counter. Our family income is going way down while our expenses are going way up.
In other words, shit happens.
Here’s the thing: If you’re frugal like me, you don’t become frugal just so you can win the Cheap Bastard Of The Year Award, or because you don’t like to spend money (I actually do enjoy spending money, I’m just careful about it), or because you’re broke. (I’m not broke, I became frugal solely because I was sick of being broke and wanted to put a stop to it. If you want to be frugal for the right reasons (and the best reasons), YOU DO IT BECAUSE SHIT FUCKING HAPPENS. It is never a matter of if—-only a matter of when—-and when it does, you do not want to be worried about money.
Saving for the proverbial Rainy Day isn’t just an old-wives’ catchphrase. It literally means saving for the day when unanticipated misfortune rains down from the sky and screws up your life, either temporarily or permanently. These are the big whammys—death of a spouse, loss of a job, serious extended illness, war, collapse of a government/crashing of a currency. (My husband’s family has actual first-hand experience with the last two issues. It’s hardcore. And why my husband’s family keeps a certain amount of their savings in gold bullion lest their nation’s currency becomes worthless or they get invaded by force of imperial armies again and need to bail on a moment’s notice. True story.)
Long story short, my family and I are totally financially fine to weather this nasty storm of unexpected illness, medical bills, and disability because we saved for a rainy day. We also didn’t just save—-we did things like buy disability insurance and extra cancer insurance. (Yeah, extra cancer insurance exists! Look into it!) We have no debt beyond our mortgage and could pay off our mortgage in cash from our investments if we wanted to. We are fine.
But we did not get to this place overnight. We got here through many years of careful planning, saving, investing, researching and just plain being cheap.
My husband and I are frugal because we learned the hard way via our respective upbringings that shit happens, and you need to be ready financially for shit to happen at any time.
Shit happened, and we were/are ready. Are you?
I remain your Cheap Yuppie Mom.