Saturday, November 3, 2007

Being poor sucks.

Listening To: Where's Your Money by Busta Rhymes & Ol' Dirty Bastard

So remember in my first post how I mentioned I was one unforeseen emergency away from financial disaster?

Yeah. That happened yesterday.

Let me explain: For the better part of my twenties, I have gone without any type of health insurance. I either worked at places that didn't happen to offer it or I was doing my own private practice and couldn't afford it. Everyone talks about how important health insurance is but when you're barely making ends meet, you don't get too pumped about the thought of sending an insurance company money every month that you might never see again (let us not discuss insurance companies and how they screw people over. It makes thee upset) and that could be better used on other things like rent or the utility bill.

So I had this tooth. And I had this accident. The tooth got broken in this accident. My mom, being the mom she is, insisted that I get it taken care of before I trotted off to England. So a cement cap was done, I went to England, everything was fine until this year. This year that cap started to decay. What I should have done was go to the dentist immediately to get it fixed, especially now that I do actually have dental insurance. I put it off, though, because I knew that my dental account wasn't overflowing with fundage as of yet. Note this...I thought I was being responsible by waiting to have it fixed until I had more money in my dental account.

For the past couple of weeks the pain has admittedly been so bad that it even kept me up at night, but I would just apply some Oragel and tell myself to tough it out. Yesterday, however, I woke up and could barely function because the pain was so severe. Long story short because this story is boring, I had to get a root canal and a crown yesterday. Guess how much my CO-PAY was?!

Six hundred and thirty fucking dollars.

Holy shit, right?! In shock, I wrote out the check, and it was only when I was halfway home that it really sunk in. First was the panic of how the fuck I'm going to cover that. I have to stretch every paycheck just to cover my financial obligations, so I'm not exactly prepared for a bill of that proportion. Then, I started to feel sorry for myself...did I kill and eat a bunch of babies in a past life?! How the hell am I ever going to get out of the hole, much less ahead, when this kind of shit keeps happening?!

The thing that gets me the most about something like this is that the reason why I'm so strapped for cash all the time is because I pay my bills. When taking care of my bills wasn't that important to me, I had more cash and weirdly, it seems like things were easier back then. Obviously, that got me into some trouble and now I'm - literally - paying for it. However, it is just so frustrating when you're being responsible and stretching things to the limit so you can pay your student loans and other assorted debts, and then you get hit with something like this.

I detest pity parties, though, so I quickly worked my way through it and then started to brainstorm up a game plan. I have one now, and it includes calling my insurance company and asking them why the hell I have to pay SIX HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS for a fairly common procedure when I give them money every month to pay for just that type of thing. It also includes making a note to myself that signing up for and contributing to a Flex Spending account was one of the best decisions I've made, because it's definitely about to be used. After those two things happen I'll have a better idea of what my next step will be.

After that whole debacle, I met up with some friends at the Green Mill because root canal or no root canal, it was still Friday night and this girl needed a drink. So I had some. I didn't keep track, however (possibly because I was too busy thinking about the tough day I had), and my bill came to 13.50, tip included. Then I went out and bought a pack of cigarettes. Which not only was stupid because I was already over my budget, but also because when you just had major dental work done, it might not be the smartest thing to go out and smoke.

Disclaimer: I am fully aware of this and also the dangers of smoking that are unrelated to dental health (fun fact: My mom is the director of the American Cancer Society) so please, no lectures. I totally could have omitted this fact and even entertained doing so, but this blog is about honesty and copping to the screw-ups, so let's just take a moment to process the moronic act and then move on, mmmkay? Thanks, guys. You're the best.

So yeah. Not such a great day for being all pumped up on being the poor girl.

Final Countdown for Day 5 of Livin' the Dream: $13.50 @ the Mill + $4.19 for cigarettes = $17.69. Grand Total: -7.69.


$teve said...

Not to be a dick or anything, but I have a suggestion that might really help with your budgeting...but have you considered giving up smoking? I don't know what your rate of incineration is...but...

$4.19 per day x 30 days/month = $125.70 plus tax per month.

We all have our vices, I know that...but that may help a lot. It helped my parents when I moved out of the house and wasn't paying rent anymore. Either way, good luck with everything.

Amber said...

Yes, $teve, as this budget thing requires me to consider all aspects of my spending, I have thought of that. I'm not going to say that I'm going to give up smoking entirely, but I've tapered it down to only smoking when I'm drinking, which is really when it's most enjoyable to me, anyway. It's something I was planning on doing besides, but the budget gives me an immediate reason.

Let's not talk about it anymore. I can almost feel my mom clawing at her computer screen, fervently yearning to break into this discussion.

christina said...

the tooth thing happened to me, too. except my bill was like eight hundo. and i didn't pay it. so they garnished it from my paycheck. which sucked. especially since my student loan was being garnished, too.

this was years ago, but i remain a financial disaster. and a dental disaster.

Erica M said...

I won't even admit to how long its been since I last went to the dentist, but I need to go and I'm scared. Even with really good dental insurance, that shit ain't cheap if they have to do anything other than clean your teeth.