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Pet Insurance

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Hey everyone! I’m back. The budget is still a work in progress (bad debt blogger!), but I am on vacation and haven’t opened a computer since Friday. Today, I decided to talk about something else weighing on my financial mind. Pet insurance is another good example of how emotion plays in to financial decision making. Additionally, enjoy some photos of Rosie swimming yesterday! 🙂

The increasing cost of pet ownership

I received a note from my dog’s insurance company that her deductible is going up to $500 a year (from its current $300), because that’s the rate for dogs 5-10 years old. Her monthly premium is also going up to $60, from $54. I’ve shopped around, and this is the best plan I can find for our needs. This is a competitive rate for a large breed middle-aged dog who hasn’t been insured since puppyhood.

I struggle with the monthly cost, which feels like a waste. We didn’t meet the $300 mark this year (her submittable bills were $180), so I haven’t been reimbursed a cent for vet visits in 2019. However, the $60/month isn’t a hardship for me, and I don’t have savings for my dog’s care. If she was sick or injured and needed a few thousands dollars of vet care tomorrow, I’d put that on my credit card in a heartbeat. I know that isn’t smart for me financially, and that’s why I have insurance. This plan covers her medical bills up to 90%.

Based on her age and borderline giant size, she will almost certainly be having hip or leg issues soon. Many dogs at her size and activity level tear their ACL at some point, which can be a $10k injury. I wouldn’t put that on my credit card. I’d never pay that off. But putting my dog down because of a torn ACL would cause me profound guilt and grief. That’s how I am justifying this ridiculous insurance cost right now.

Details of the plan

Rosie’s plan includes 90% of her medical bills covered up to $30k once the deductible is met. She also gets $300/year of dental work with no deductible or co-pay, fully covered euthanasia and cremation/burial costs, and some other benefits. Skin lumps, cancerous or not, will not be covered because they were a pre-existing condition. I am going to call the insurance company to try and get the rate lowered (hey, it’s worth a shot). I’ll also ask them for tips on how to make the most of the plan. The vet says she doesn’t need dental work, so we can’t even use that benefit. Her teeth are perfect from eating raw meaty bones!

Would I get pet insurance again?

My next dog will have a savings fund before I even adopt the dog. I’ll tuck away $150/month for their care. But for Rosie, I don’t have that option and I don’t want to end up in the hole if she gets sick. I hate seeing the monthly fee for the insurance on the credit card statement, but I can’t save aggressively enough for full medical care.

She’s my family. Not everyone will understand that, but I know most of you do, and I love you all for that.

We are using Pet Secure. I think we have the best plan, but I’d love to hear from readers who have experiences with other pet insurance plans. There are many new companies, like Bivvy pet insurance, that offer amazing deals to their customers – they are definitely worth checking out!

How do you make sure your pet is covered in case of emergency, while also protecting yourself financially? How do I make the right decisions going forward, having made some mistakes with pet care in the past?


I am really bad at spending

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Hello from my dogsitting gig!

Huge budget update

This post comes with a bit of anxiety and regret. The paycheck landed Friday, and with it, a couple of surprises. It turns out that I was paid $2400 instead of $2193, and will be for the rest of the year. That’s because my CPP (Canadian Pension Plan, a federal pension program) and EI (Employment Insurance or what Americans would call Unemployment) are paid out for the year. But that’s not it…. I’m bracing myself here. I set aside money for rent on my check, and then realized a few hours later that I will be getting paid again August 30th. That’s right, this is an elusive three paycheck month.

If I wasn’t blogging about finance, I’d be thrilled with what I did. I sent $500 to emergency savings and $400 to credit card debt immediately. I’ve now done the first step of Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps! I have a little over $1000 saved in my emergency fund, as well as the boarder staying at my house and the dogsitting gig. I am unexpectedly kind of flush with cash. But the problem is I haven’t cut my spending. I am still spending quite a bit on going out and groceries. It’s funny, looking back on 2019, I didn’t go out much at all until June. It might have something to do with summer, or pulling myself out of an emotional slump after my relationship woes, or…who knows. But I can’t make excuses for it.

Spending, in images

Here is an overview of my spending so far:

Every Dollar Overview

Food spending is off the rails (I’ve since corrected the dog food item to be 24.93 per the receipt below).

Food spending

Here is an example receipt. It includes some items I don’t normally buy, such as food for my pet sitter and prepared dog food because I didn’t have time to get the raw food together this week. It also includes paper towel, toilet paper, and BBQ lighters. I didn’t break out the items into separate categories, which might be messing with my numbers. Walmart Supercentre usually has items from 4-5 of my budget categories! I only have pet food, pet sitter, and groceries broken out so far, but should further break out household items.

 

Here is a line item I didn’t budget for, but might help me down the road:

I signed up for a relay race in November. This fee includes entry, a long sleeve pullover sweater, and running gloves.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about my spending weaknesses. I’m spending way too much on food and going out this summer, more than I do ordinarily. I also haven’t been participating in my running club, which is completely free and probably the best thing I do with my spare time (for fitness, mental health, and really positive friendships). I’ve probably gained weight, but I haven’t weighed myself in a year so it’s hard to say. I wear mostly dresses and haven’t tried on fitted pants since spring. Oof, I don’t even want to think about that.

Health confessions

The reason I stopped running is that I had toe surgery a few months back for an injury I received in a triathlon bike crash in 2016. In addition, I have surgery coming up for a glomus tumor in my finger (second time around – I had this removed on June 2017, but they didn’t get it all). I have no long term health issues and don’t take any medication, but I am very active and hard on my body and end up injured about once a year. My surgeon suggested the glomus tumor could have been from trauma, and I definitely have banged my hand up enough times from sports.

I sort of put off run club pending healing, but there’s no point in waiting for my finger surgery. It’s painful, but not as excruciating as it is in winter (the glomus body regulates temperature in the hand, and cold weather is debilitating for me. Think shooting nerve pain you can’t think or see through). I could have seen a surgeon in June and had the procedure done with no wait, but I’m waiting for the head of plastics at the hand clinic in the best hospital in Toronto. I told him I was happy to wait till September to schedule a date with him. Nerve pain in the hand is so incredibly delicate, and I’m not taking any chances on this procedure the second time around.

Motivation by the way of race entry

Run club sent an email blast about a relay race and I signed up instantly. Races motivate me to start training! Typically, I hate running in the heat and only do Sunday morning run club in the summer, if any run club sessions at all. Summer is all about bikes and open water swims for me (more sports I’ve abandoned…eek). But I know I need this, and I have access to indoor tracks and treadmills if I really feel like a baby about the heat. That $42 was not budgeted for but should help me lower the spending on drinks and going out from here on. I can’t hit a patio after work if I have training to complete.

And yes, drinking is something I’m cutting back on. I can see from budgeting that I’m doing too much of that, and it isn’t good for anything on my plate right now (work stress, inflammation in my hand, sleep issues, fitness). I have a music festival at the end of the month ($52) and that will be my next entertainment event with alcohol. I’m going to budget for that out of my next check.

Does anyone have tips for spending cutbacks? I’m almost at the point of giving myself monthly cash for groceries because it seems too easy to go over with my card. I am meal planning and eating at home effectively, but still spending a lot. I’ll reiterate, I’m in the “data collection” phase, so there will be a reckoning of sorts at the end of the month.


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