Since I was diagnosed 4 short months ago, I can't even believe how much the supplies can cost! Who would have thought test strips would cost $0.75 per strip? And that I would need to test at least 4 times a day? Most days I am testing up to 8 times....that's $6 a day just on the testing. Add in your insulin, needles, pump supplies, and glucose tabs and the bills very quickly start to add up. And if you're like me: you have a good job (Government job, no less) but your insurance coverage is horrible, then you really start to notice the hit that diabetes can make to your pay cheque. And diabetes is not something you can cut back on! My life depends on all of these supplies. Every. Single. Day.
These are all things I had no idea about before I was diagnosed. I was blissfully unaware of the lack of funding in most parts of Canada for insulin pumps and diabetes supplies in general. And even though my insurance coverage is horrible, I'm still one of the lucky ones. Many people are living with this disease and have no insurance coverage at all. This whole issue of the financial cost of having diabetes has really weighed on my mind since my diagnosis. It's left me tossing and turning at night trying to come up with solutions and "loop holes" to this problem. I have literally spent days on end researching this issue.
I very quickly found out that until Manitoba has better funding for insulin pumps or until my employer increases their insurance coverage, there would be no "loop holes". Many people before me had already tried.
The one solution I did however come up with is: A Budget.
Novel idea, isn't it??
I have been living without a structured budget for most of my twenties. Ok, all of my twenties. Up until recently, I had always been healthy and felt that I never truly had to worry about something happening to me. I was, after all, invincible...right?
I have now learned very quickly that things can and will happen to me. These unforeseeable events will most often cost money. I never fully understood how to make a budget work out right. The numbers just never seemed to add up right for me. I have however gotten back into watching the show "Till Debt Do Us Part", hosted by the financial guru Gail Vaz-Oxlade.
The show follows a different couple in financial trouble during each episode, but the basis of the show is always the same. Gail shows people how to come up with "a budget that works for you". Her system is based on the "Magic Jars". Once you have come up with your budget, you stick strictly to cash only and you place cash in separate jars for each of your variable expenses. The part I loved the most is that Gail's website and blog is packed full of interactive worksheets to come up with a great budget. There are also lots of resources and advice available when it comes to your finances and she provides alot of insider information in terms of your credit and making smart financial choices for your future.
I started this budget only a short week ago, and I love it. Ok, maybe my love is a bit pre-mature, but I can't believe the satisfaction I have already received from sticking to my budget! I already feel like I have more money and I finally have a plan that is realistic. This budget has helped me to feel more confident in terms of meeting my financial goals and it has already helped reduce my stress of paying for my diabetes supplies. And we all know that stress only makes our diabetes more difficult to manage. With my insurance coverage running out in about another two months, I am confident I will be able to make all ends meet as well as be able to put money away for that next "rainy day".
Which there will be many more. Of that I am certain.
Click here to go directly to Gail's home page.