Tony, the Massive Budget-Buster

Over the past year, there has been one, single greatest cause of damage to our bottom line. Here it is:


This is Tony, my beloved, geriatric orange tabby. He’s quite possibly the sweetest cat I’ve ever met, and I’ve had him for just about 14 years. I’ll spare you the gory details, but last summer he was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is sort of the feline equivalent of Crohn’s disease. To achieve this diagnosis, he had x-rays, an ultrasound, a $1,200 endoscopic biopsy, and multiple visits with our regular vet and an internal medicine specialist.

Like Crohn’s disease, IBD entails periodic flare-ups that cause gastrointestinal upset. Each time, Tony stops eating, loses weight, and hides out. It’s very sad to watch, and I’ve typically taken him to the vet one or more times for evaluation and tests. We’ve experimented with several different medications – including about six weeks of a human chemotherapy drug that costs $150 a month – and have finally found one that works for him. (And it’s quite cheap!) I’ve also finally learned to monitor his flare-ups and adjust his medication to help him through them. This means a huge savings on visits to the vet, not to mention how empowering it is. Also, we found a food that he likes that is usually helpful to cats with IBD. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s a prescription formula, which costs over $4 a can for wet food and $60 a bag for dry food. Fortunately, after the initial purchase from the vet (which came with a money-back guarantee if he didn’t like it), I’ve found the food for a better price online.

Non-animal people cannot believe I’ve spent this much on my cat, but he’s part of our family. When I adopted him, I didn’t agree to take care of him only when he was healthy and inexpensive. While I wish he/we didn’t have to deal with this illness, I don’t regret a single penny I’ve spent on him. I just wish it hadn’t cost quite so many of those pennies…

Last Week’s Frugal Highs

Happy Monday! Here are my frugal highs from last week:

  1. Used a $0.45 per gallon gas credit earned through our grocery store’s loyalty program.
  2. Received a payment for purchases made via my Amazon store.
  3. Made several dinner salads using arugula and lettuce from the garden.
  4. Finished Make Money, Not Excuses and started In Cheap We Trust, both borrowed from the library.
  5. Used Ebates to earn cash back when I made two online purchases.

What about you? What are some of your frugal highs from last week?

Please Bear With Me…

If you’ve spent any time at all on this blog, you may have noticed that I’m far from technically knowledgeable. I’m slowly learning about blogs and the related technology, and will be implementing some of my new my new knowledge shortly. First step: I’m migrating to a new host (does that sound as scary to you as it does to me??) later this week, which will mean that this blog may be inaccessible for about 24 hours. My plan is to time this over the weekend, so if you try to visit and can’t access it, this is why. Please come back soon!

Quick Question: Can you recommend a workout DVD?

I’m not a natural exerciser, not even close. In fact, I pretty much dread it until I’m finished. After not exercising AT ALL for over five years, I started making an effort to get back into it this past January.  I’ve been running (walking, initially) on the treadmill at the local Y, and can finally run three miles at a respectable pace. However, in the interest of cutting an expense, I put my Y membership on hold for six months. Instead, I plan to run outside and use DVDs at home. Which brings me to my question: can you recommend a workout DVD? I’m looking for mainly cardio, and something that doesn’t require a whole lot of coordination.  I plan to borrow DVDs from the library to try at home, then purchase one that I really like.  I consider it a small and worthwhile investment in my health.

Show Your Dentist Some Love

I brush my teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and get a cleaning at the dentist twice a year. Why am I sharing my dental hygiene habits with you? Because my husband – the son of a dental assistant – is a bit less diligent. He brushes his teeth twice a day, only flosses on the rare occasion that something is really stuck in his teeth,  and had not been to the dentist in at least SEVEN years. (I say, “at least”, because he doesn’t actually remember the last time he went.) After much nagging encouragement, he finally went to the dentist yesterday. I expected him to have a few cavities, but I was still surprised when he arrived home with the news that he has 10 cavities and a broken tooth, for which he needs a root canal. He needs three appointments to fill all the cavities, plus a trip to an endodontist for the root canal.

Why am I sharing my husband’s dirty dental secrets with you? Because, although we have dental insurance, the cavity appointments will cost a total of nearly $1,000, after insurance. Yep, that’s $1,000 out-of-pocket, after-tax income. And we haven’t even investigated the cost of the root canal, yet. Good grief.

While I’m not happy about this extra, substantial, and seemingly preventable expense, I’m not going to get angry at my husband about it. After all, I’ve certainly been guilty of making financially unwise decisions, which have harmed our bottom line. Plus, I think the fillings and root canal will be punishment enough! But you better believe that the nagging encouragement to floss daily and get regular cleanings will continue!

Last Week’s Frugal Highs

Happy Monday! Here are last week’s frugal highs:

  1. Picked up a free tube of toothpaste at CVS, and two free boxes of tissues at the grocery store.
  2. Picked some arugula – first harvest of the year! – for salads.
  3. Dropped a few things off at the local children’s consignment store, and picked up a tiny ($3.18) credit.
  4. Made croutons out of leftover bread.
  5. Received a payment for some items purchased from my Amazon store.
  6. Finished reading Financially Fearless, and started reading Make Money, Not Excuses.

How about you? What were some of your frugal highs last week?

May Goals Update and June Goals

May Goals Update:

  1. Earn $300 through “side hustles”.  Success! I earned a total of $426.20.
  2. Write four blog posts each week. Close. I published a total of 14 posts
  3. Read one book each week. Success! I actually read a total of six books in May.
  4. Exercise three days per week. Not quite. While I didn’t keep close track of this throughout the month, I’m pretty sure I exercised twice a week all but one week, when I did three times.
  5. Decrease our total credit card debt by $500. Nope. Sadly, it increased by $508.

June Goals:

  1. Earn $350 in side hustles.
  2. Write four blog posts each week.
  3. Read one book each week.
  4. Exercise three days per week.
  5. Try two new recipes each week.
  6. Decrease our total credit card debt by $1,000.

What about you? What are your goals for this month?

Last Week’s Frugal Highs

Happy Monday! Sadly, this is a brief list of frugal highs. We had weekend visitors, and I spent a good bit of the week preparing for their arrival.

  1. Used a gas credit from our grocery store (I had accumulated $0.32 off per gallon) when filling up the near-empty car tank, plus the gas cans for our lawn mower and weed whacker. It feels great to maximize those credits!
  2. Received another payment from Amazon for purchases from my store.
  3. Started reading Financially Fearless, but haven’t made much progress, yet.
  4. Put my YMCA membership on-hold for six months, since I can run outside now. This will save $47 per month.
  5. While at the Y, I changed the credit card on-file for my daughter’s Y membership from the one with the highest rate, to one with a lower rate.

What about you? How was your week?