Monday, February 1, 2016

Debt detours: Paying for an expensive dental bill

When my husband mentioned a problem with one of his teeth and showed it to me, I knew that a major bill could be on the horizon, but did not want to speculate until he could be seen. Unfortunately, it was what he thought - the bone had decayed away above his rear molar and not only did he have to have a tooth pulled, he needs to have a bone graft done so that they can put a dental implant in later (he already was missing one molar from having a bridge installed, and the adjacent molar is now gone).

With dental insurance our bill will come to about $1,250. The good news is that we hope to have a tax return in the next few months that would more than pay for it. The not-so-great news is that this $1,250 would have gone toward debt. But in this situation, like our French drain last year, I know that it is not as a result of overspending on things we didn't really need. I am coming to realize that 99% of the time, there will be something major and unexpected that we will have to pay for in any given year.

When things like this happen, it can be tempting to be discouraged, to feel like you'll never get ahead, but I always try to focus on what we can be grateful for as well:

* our children are all healthy
* it wasn't something worse
* we have food, clothing, and more-than-adequate shelter with a backyard for gardening
* we have managed to pay off over $10,000 of our debt in one year despite some major repairs we've had to have done (home repairs and orthodontia, among them)

Because the entire procedure will not be billed for awhile, I am also hoping that we can find some ways to earn some extra money to cover this so that we can continue on in our debt repayment as planned.

The harder question will be what to do with the other things we hoped to spend money on - do we cut back on those in order to continue with our debt payments? I still haven't decided on an answer to that. I feel it is important to make sacrifices in order to pay your debt, but if you don't allow for some wiggle room for living life, you will burn out quickly in your debt repayment journey.

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