How To Save Money During and After Cancer

Cancer is expensive. All these new costs in your life can quickly make it seem like you don't have enough money to do the things that you used to do before. Here are some tricks that Mallory, a cancer survivor, uses to make budgeting more manageable.

Let's get real for a second - cancer is f***ing expensive! Even for those who had great insurance and just paid for co-pays, cancer is still expensive! If you're paying more than just co-pays, all of those scans and treatments and visits with the doctor definitely add up (and quickly). If you're traveling somewhere for appointments and treatments, you are now factoring in extra gas, food eaten somewhere besides your own home, and lost time away from work. That babysitter job that you used to have to supplement your income, that probably has to go because of your lower than before energy level and semi-frequent days spent at the doctor's office. Or the babysitter that you now need to hire to watch your kids after school, on days when you're not feeling well costs money too. See what I mean? There are a million different scenarios out there to fit the thousands of cancer patients, but for every single one of us, life just got more expensive.

For a lot of people, the added expenses caused by cancer mean that budgeting becomes a necessity. Actually making your budget will depend on a lot of factors including school and household expenses, treatment costs, and much more. While everyone's actual budget will look different, here are some tips and tricks that I used when starting to think about how better to spend money.

Remember that all the little expenses add up.

      Just like all those co-pays add up to a hole in your pocket, so do all of the little things that you could buy on a daily basis. The couple of dollars coffee, the dollar vending machine snack, the twenty something pedicure, the only kind of cheap lunch out with a friend...

      There are a lot of little ways to cut out your daily spending of just a few dollars at a time that add up to major spending by the end of the month.

There is almost always a cheaper option.

      You know all of those expensive items that I just mentioned? Well, there is a cheaper alternative to each one! Try making your coffee at home and bringing along a mug with you in the morning. This way your coffee is always just the way you like it. Try packing your lunch as well as an afternoon snack to work or out and about. Now you always get to eat exactly what you wanted! For those lunch dates out with friends, you can talk your lunch buddy into having a picnic lunch where you each bring your packed food from home. Instead of expensive manicures, do your nails yourself. Make a whole afternoon of it, equipped with a hot cup of tea and a great chick flick!

Do spend a little money where it makes you happy.

      While being on a budget, it is easy to feel like you are severely limited in what you can and cannot do. In some ways this might be are probably avoiding fun and exciting, expensive trips and activities. But you don't have to miss out on everything! While at a concert with my husband and in-laws this past summer, it occurred to me that while we don't spend money frugally on most things, we love going to concerts. Concerts make me feel happy and alive. For me, going to a concert or two every year is life giving and so it makes its way into our budget. Do the things that make you feel happy, and stop spending money on everything else.