J and I have been talking money lately, working on saving money, and paying off debt. Luckily we have been able to listen to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University before we get married (if you haven’t heard of FPU, you have to check it out!). The first baby step is $1,000 in the bank. Seemed easy enough, right? It took budgeting and being diligent, but we reached our goal at the end of September. Awesome!
Then comes the first Monday of October… dun dun dun and my tooth starts to ache. I try to “live” with the pain, but it just got worse. I caved by Friday and had an appointment with the dentist. The outlook of my teeth was not so great and the final cost for the repairs – $1,050.
Without our emergency fund, we would not have been able to take care of this bill without sacrifice. We do not have to give up food for the month or better yet, I do not have to live in pain! It’s hard to see that $1,000 we worked so hard to achieve walk away so quickly, but at the end of the day that is why we have it.
We did not plan for my teeth to have a meltdown, but things happen. Life happens. We must adapt, take care of ourselves, and move on. That is exactly what we are doing. Starting with our first paycheck of October we will commence the rebuild. In a short time we will have our emergency fund back to full again and start working towards paying down our debt.
I have to admit that it feels pretty good to be able to take care of this medical bill without help from family and without having to put it on a credit card to pay interest on. It feels real good.
Want to know something that I find humorous? The week after we get married is when J can apply for insurance through his work and since we will be married, so can I. His work has basic dental coverage and if only my teeth could have lasted a bit longer that $1,050 may have only been $700. But that’s the way life goes and we keep moving.
If you do face a dental emergency like me then do not be afraid to ask questions:
1) does this office do payment plans? Most would like payment up front since the work is done at that time; however, there might be a Care Credit option that you can apply for. That way you get the work done and pay a minimal amount of interest.
2) does this office offer a discount plan? My dentist does! It was great to learn about it. For a small annual fee they discount all of the procedures. I asked for an example – my cleaning and exam that day would normally be $300, but with the plan it was only $175. The plan more than paid for itself in that moment. I looked through my costs of what I need done and without the plan it would have been $1,700 or more! That’s crazy!
3) does your work have to be done right away? A lot of dentists will be honest with you and tell you what are emergencies and what aren’t. Those are nice dentists.
It pays to talk to the office staff to learn more. Each place is different and at the end of the day they need your business.