A testimony from Shawna who blogs at Not The Former Things
It’s not something you want to hear, but I expected it. When the pediatrician said I needed to take my son in for an evaluation for autism, I wasn’t surprised (I had done my research and had seen the signs and symptoms for years).
Then, to make matters worse, she said, “Your insurance will not cover the evaluation and they can be very expensive.”
After calling her top three referrals, I knew exactly how expensive: $1,700, payable in full and cash only. By God’s grace, I was able to make the appointment, knowing we had the money in savings.
Less than six months later, my youngest son was also referred to a neuro-psychologist for a dyslexia/neurological processing evaluation. We were also able to pay cash (a total of $2,000 this time) when our insurance didn’t cover the cost.
So, how did we do it?
1. We Dipped Into Our Emergency Fund
We paid for both, a total of $3,700, from our emergency fund. Because my husband is self-employed, we keep our emergency fund at $5,000. This helps us with fluctuations in his business and ultimately, is back-up in case he is not able to work.
It was tempting to just pay the doctors with credit card advances to preserve our savings, but we knew that God wouldn’t give us these boys with their unique needs, without providing a way to take care of them.
2. We Cut Back Our Budget (way back!)
In the months between and following the two evaluations, we worked twice as hard to build back up our savings to the $5,000 mark. I will admit, it was so frustrating to finally get close, and then have another expensive evaluation required.
We had to cut back on everything – the boys and I stopped eating out and my husband only did so as work required, my husband sold his car to fund our Christmas and increase our savings, we cut the grocery budget by 30%, and we didn’t take an anniversary trip we had planned.
3. We Encouraged Each Other To Focus On What Was Important
The thing about having your son diagnosed with high functioning autism and then your other son diagnosed with a learning disability/processing disorder is that it really puts things in perspective.
When one of us would get frustrated with our financial situation, we would remind each other how grateful we are to finally know what is going on with our boys, and how much help we are receiving as a direct result of those costly evaluations. This made the desire for a new couch, or even extras at the grocery store seem silly in comparison.
It may not have been easy, but truthfully, we would have paid more for the peace and direction these evaluations have given us. We now know how to help our boys and what resources are available to our family.
The reality is that we continue to dip into our emergency fund again and again for various, not covered by insurance, therapies for the boys. The good news is that we are getting more practiced at how to live in the flux, and accept this as part of our financial life.
I am so thankful that we committed to create and maintain that fund. Staying out of debt and funding that account literally changed our family’s life.
Shawna loves Jesus, her husband and her two, uniquely challenged little boys. She finds herself daily, required to live beyond the limits of herself and serve a wonderfully complex family…and she is crazy rebellious in this most of the time. She blogs about the messy and the beautiful at Not The Former Things.
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