Before I was able to leave Lucy in the ICU I needed to pay a deposit that would cover two nights in the ICU. I won't give you the total, but I'll tell you that there were 4 digits to the left of the decimal point. It was more than 3 times the out of pocket cost of giving birth to Wesley. I uttered, "Wow" before telling the doctor that it was fine - whatever they needed to do was fine. Take care of our baby girl.
Was this a little bit insane? Perhaps. She's just a dog, but she's our baby and we needed her better. We knew that paying this would make her better - it wasn't a wish or hope, we knew she needed to be rehydrated. And honestly, I knew I wouldn't be able to care for her at home alone. Lifewise, we weren't buying a new TV, car, or spending on some other large, unnecessary expense.
I handed over my debit card and thanked God that it was the 15th - I knew our paychecks had hit our account that day and we'd have plenty to cover Lucy's ICU stay. I knew that we had room in the budget, once we moved things around, to cover her care. Would we do this every month? Absolutely not. Am I thankful that we have a budget because it brings us peace during emergencies.
I recently wrote a guest post for Money Saving Mom. The following section brought some negative comments.
Having a budget means having peace — things will happen outside of your budget. Children get sick, windows break, and cars break down. A budget takes the emergency out of these situations. It brings peace into the financial inconveniences of life.I couldn't clearly articulate a response to the folks who said that in order to make this work you must "rob Peter to pay Paul." Perhaps that's what we did with Lucy's bills. The fact is, we won't pay much, if anything, extra on our student loans this month because we reallocated that money to cover the emergency. But we won't touch our emergency fund and except cutting back where necessary, our budget won't change. We'll still pay our rent, buy groceries, and won't lose any sleep over paying for Lucy's care. And next month we'll go back to paying extra on our debt, just like the month before.
I cannot tell you how much peace it brings to me knowing that finances didn't add to my stress or anxiety when Lucy was sick. I was already worried about my sweet puppy, my traveling husband, caring for our little man, and cleaning the mess left in our house. I'm so thankful that I didn't need to worry about how we were going to pay the bill.
This is not a post about how much money we make, although I'm thankful that we make a good living. This is a post about how having a budget really assisted in bringing peace to my life. Having a budget meant that Jarrod and I aren't fighting about how much money it cost to care for Lucy. We didn't have to worry about paying our rent after paying for Lucy's care. Having a budget also means that each dollar means a lot to us - we know what else that money could have been used for and how it would have brought us a month closer to debt freedom. But for one money, because of this freak emergency, we hit pause and took care of our family. And I'm so thankful.
If your family had an emergency, would you have the cash to cover it? How do you determine what an emergency is?