Three Cavities, Two Pink Eyes and One Bottle of Liquid Gold

I got to leave my house last week to attend two concerts at my son’s college. (I have severe allergies and I have to stay in a highly protective environment 97% of the time.) I took the required dose of Prednisone and plotted where I would go the first day. I planned on going to the library, shoe store, etc. The day didn’t go exactly as planned.

My first stop was for the dentist to check my teeth; I had them cleaned the last time I went out, but he was unavailable. He found three cavities.

Knowing my health situation, he had cleared a large block of time…just in case. I was able to get them all taken care of and I still stopped at the library and shoe store, but with my face half asleep. I didn’t say much.

When I got home I checked my son’s eyes. He came home in the middle of the night because they were watery, irritated, red and swollen. I suspected pink eye and called the doctor…the only opening was with the pediatrician! We must have been a sight sitting in the babies examining room: me with my numb face and my 6’4” baby!

I was so relieved that it was not pink eye…until I got to the pharmacy. The allergy eye drops are no longer on our insurance companies preferred list, so we did not have the regular co-pay. We paid a lot more. This particular eye drop is so effective that I call it “Liquid Gold”.

I don’t have dental insurance, so how did I pay for all of these…

I wrote a check.

Mary Hunt, Debt Proof Living, teaches you to have a freedom account. You save for yearly expenses, like the dentist, in your freedom account.  It is easier to set aside a set amount each month than to try to come up with a lump sum on the spot.

If you are lucky enough to have a “Flex Plan” or “Health Savings Account” through work, you should fully fund it.

If not, open a savings account for medical expenses, like I did, and only use the money for medical expenses. As I had money set aside to replace my glasses, but I passed the eye exam, I used some of those funds to pay the dentist. There were enough funds in the doctor and prescription category to cover those bills.

Take it from me…ignoring your cavities will not make them go away! Make a plan to cover those expenses.


I endeavor to post to this blog three times a week. If I miss a day it is because I am sick…or my granddaughter came to visit! Last week both cases were true.

My granddaughter came to visit two weeks in row:  the first time because her mom was in the hospital and the second time because they were moving.  Her mom is fine now, but was hospitalized for four days. My granddaughter, 1,  was really missing her and was having a difficult time napping for Grandma.  So I did something stupid. I lay down with her in my bed.

You see I have severe allergies. So severe that I can have a reaction getting a hug from someone who owns a pet and has animal dander on their clothes. I have to stay in a highly protective environment 97% of the time. Letting her lay down in my bed was dumb and I paid for it.

The next day I woke up with eyes like Garfield. They were watery, red, bloodshot, itchy and swollen. I used my allergy drops and started taking Benadryl on top of my regular antihistamine. The reaction was from the pollen in her hair and on her clothes.

(This story may not seem to have anything to do with saving money, but I am getting to that.)

I have frequent allergic reactions, so I don’t go to the doctor until I have tried to treat it for seven to ten days. On day seven I called the doctor, but he was out of town for the weekend!

I called back bright an early Monday morning to make an appointment. (Now comes the money part.) I knew I needed steroids.

He gave me two choices:

  1. Get a steroid shot that was 100% covered by insurance, but would give me a large dose that would have the same side effects as a round of oral steroids, or
  2. Get a prescription of just the steroid eye drops that would cost me $50.00 with my insurance.

I have been Frugalfish for a long time; which option do you think I chose?

When we make decisions with our money we need to take everything into consideration.

  • Is this a temporary fix?
  • Will this have harmful side effects?
  • Is this the best option for me at this point?
  • Will this solution last?

We get caught up in the question of what is the cheapest option and it may not be the most frugal option. Being frugal has nothing to do with being cheap. There is a huge difference. Frugal is choosing the best option based on the circumstances.

I walked out of the examining room and told the nurse, “I talked the doctor out of a shot!” She laughed.

It was worth it to pay fifty bucks to avoid the side effects that I would have subjected my body to with option #1.