It finally came. The bill from my ER visit in June. I hadn’t really been dreading it’s arrival per se, but I wasn’t excited to see it either. I recognized the envelope immediately. After giving birth to two babies at the same hospital, and having one of them in the NICU for 19 days, I am intimately familiar with the look and feel of mail from the billing department.
I mentioned in my June financial update that our medical debt was currently “to be determined,” and now I can replace that with a real number – $518.14. Anyone trying to dig their way out of debt would not be thrilled to add $500 to their debt total. We are working so hard to subtract from our debt, not add! Some may even view such a bill as a major setback, or at the very least a step backward.
But I am not letting that $518.14 debt get me down or discourage me. It’s one of many setbacks on my journey to financial fitness and I am going to take it in stride. Here’s how …
How to Keep Setbacks from Ruining your Financial Progress
You have to change your mindset.
The secret is in your mind!
For many years I have said things like “We will never get ahead” and “It’s always something!” in response to unwanted bills and unexpected expenses. This is negative thinking and it is toxic. Repeating these phrases does not bring me closer to financial fitness, financial freedom, or wealth. Holding onto this mindset won’t help me tackle my debt or reach my goals. In fact, it will eventually lead me to just giving up altogether. Because why bother trying at all if “something is always happening,” and “we will never get ahead?”
I have shifted my mindset. Today I have learned to say, “I know how to handle this.” I have the financial knowledge and resources to handle this bill. I know how to create and execute a plan to pay off this debt. I know how to adjust the categories of my budget, to make room for a new bill. I know how to buckle down and clean up any excess spending so I can throw more money at debt. I know how to find extra money – whether it is through selling something, or finding additional work. I have done this before, and it does get easier every time.
Bad things WILL keep happening. And that’s not me being negative! It’s realistic, it’s life. We will get sick, we will get hurt, we will break things, we will lose things. This is one of the main reasons why I want to be financially fit. To be prepared for life. I want to be able to handle whatever it throws at me with less stress and worry. To be prepared for medical expenses, job losses, car repairs, and other life circumstances. To be able to check the mail and find that $500 bill without experiencing a sense of dread and panic.
Now I have to decide if this bill is an emergency or not. Dave Ramsey would say no (since I knew it was coming and could plan for it by setting money aside in a medical expenses sinking fund), but I don’t always follow his advice exactly. I’m leaning towards “not an emergency” and will likely set up a payment plan through the hospital. But it is really exciting progress to know I could pay the bill in full immediately with my current amount of savings if I wanted to! I’m choosing to focus on the positive, to see my progress, and to not let a little “setback” get me down! 🙂
Have you experienced any setbacks lately? How’s your mindset?