Best Budget Squeezing Strategies for Desperate Dog Moms

Depending on where you live and work, my ideas for cutting household expenses to help pay for pet care may not work for you, but here are my Best Budget Squeezing Strategies for Desperate Dog Moms.

Background ~ 1 Year, Nearly $17,500 and Counting

January 23 will mark the one-year anniversary of this particular veterinary drama that began when Lilly suffered a rare and terrible adverse reaction to a rabies vaccine (every post about it available via the link).

Oh, sure, there have been so many other medical scares with her in years past — rattlesnake bite #1, rattlesnake bite #2, paintball poisoning, mysterious lumps.

While expensive, they, however, were short lived … meaning I had time to recover financially.

This time around, with costly treatments potentially required for the rest of Lilly’s life (estimated around $8,000 in 2013, assuming status quo and no major setbacks), I’ve had to make even more cuts in my normal budget, which is already pretty frugal.

TMI and Memoir Writing

I’ve debated whether or not to share some of the financial realities of Lilly being so sick for so long. Then, I came across some advice for memoir writers about vulnerability in your writing that said, in part, “Most often in memoir the narrator’s vulnerability originates from sharing stuff most of us want to hide …”

I’ve also talked about it with one of the receptionists at the specialty veterinary hospital, who has faced similar situations with her cats and has seen me have emotional breakdowns in the lobby over medical and money worries. She encouraged me to tell the full story, money details and all, because she agrees that people assume I must be “rich” to be able to do what I’m doing for Lilly.

I am not. I’m just a normal middle-class girl, with a normal middle-class income … except I’m self-employed, so every dollar I make comes from making something happening in my career.

So, I jumped into the financial fray with Friday’s post >> The Cost of Keeping Lilly Alive.

I lost 2 email blog subscribers after that went live.

It happens. Particularly when I haven’t posted for a while, then begin again. And, goodness knows I, myself, have been on an unsubscribe kick in the New Year because I get so … much … email. So, it may not have anything to do with me talking about a taboo thing. I’ll never know.

In addition to telling our story, I’m casting about for ways to make what’s happening to us useful to YOU. Here is my latest attempt to do that. 

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Best Budget Squeezing Strategies for Dog Moms

These ideas will NOT help when HUGE emergency veterinary bills crop up. Good pet insurance (not the kind I have), emergency savings, credit cards along with YOUR help got me through the big bills. Thank you!

These ideas, however, might keep you afloat when ongoing treatment expenses add a few hundred dollars (or more) to your monthly budget for many months (or years).

1. Turn down / turn off the heat. Really. 

This idea isn’t new to Lilly’s illness. We’ve always been austere with the heat in this house, but we’ve gotten much more brutal about it this winter.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, thermostat photoIt’s cold on our mountain, even in the best of times. We heat mostly with wood in the main fireplace ~~ only firing up the wood stoves in the bedroom or basement if things are CRAZY cold, like below zero for many days.

Unless, the temps stay below 20 all day, we do NOT turn on the radiator zone that includes my office. Usually, I opt for a little space heater in my office instead.

Even then, any “heater” is only on during the day until the house warms up … usually around lunchtime, if it’s sunny out.

We never turn on ALL of the radiators.

Most mornings, we awake to a temperature INSIDE the house of 50 degrees or slightly below. Even with the radiator going and the main fireplace roaring, it’s considered WARM inside our house if it is 60 degrees. The best we ever see in winter is about 68 degrees.

As we can afford it, we’re replacing old windows and such, but we have a long way to go until our “old” house (built in 1978) is winterized in a true sense.

When we first moved in 2001, I used the radiators like we used our furnace at our first house. Then, I saw our outrageous electric bill and stopped. (The house is ALL electric. No gas. No propane.)

2. Do much less laundry.

The energy needed to wash and dry clothes adds up, and if you pay for your water usage, then that’s another expense. Since we have a well, we don’t pay for the amount of water we use, but if something happens to the well or pump (as it did recently with the onslaught of Lilly incontinence laundry), it’s expensive.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, clothesline photoWe do have and did replace our clothes dryer when it died due to Lilly laundry, but 95% of the time I hang clothes outside (yes, even when it’s cold). I also have clotheslines in the basement that I use if it’s just too-too cold outside or snowing.

Again, this isn’t new to Lilly’s illness. I’ve always been a fan of clotheslines.

However, to offset the 1 additional laundry load a day required by Lilly’s ongoing, rampant incontinence (both ways), I do much less of our own laundry. How?

  • I wear everything (but base layers, of course) several days.
  • I only wash big things like sheets / towels every 2-3 weeks.

Especially on days when I don’t leave the mountain, who cares what I’m wearing? No one.

3. Take shorter / fewer showers.

Creeped out yet? On days when I don’t leave the mountain, I often don’t shower to save the cost of heating water, drying my hair, etc. Again, no one sees me other than Tom and the pups, so who cares?

I freshen up, of course, but I don’t waste water / energy / time making myself pretty when it doesn’t matter.

4. Eat less meat.

Grocery prices are getting silly for a number of reasons. So, to eke out a bit more money in the budget to pay for Lilly’s medicines, for example, we eat less meat … often having some sort of homemade bean soup several days each week in the winter or salads from the garden in summer.

Actually, we’re eating (or buying) less, in general … especially pricey extras.

Don’t worry. We’re not missing any meals. We’re simply reconfiguring what a “meal” means around here, and we’re maximizing the leftovers, even more than we always have.

5. Slash entertainment.

No movies. No meals out. Almost no bought books. No music buys.

Maybe once every 2-3 months, I’ll meet a friend for an inexpensive lunch, but that’s about it.

Our “entertainment” comes from satellite TV, but I’m looking at cutting back our already basic package. (We’ve never had “premium” channels.)

It’s also really tempting to drop the DVD portion of Netflix since I’m watching more streaming stuff, but DVDs are the only way we can see somewhat recent movies together, so I probably won’t cut that yet.

We’ve been reading a lot more, including books we already have or borrow or those I can get for free on the Kindle, through the library or one-day freebie downloads.

6. Ditch the fancy phone and unlimited plan. Go prepaid.

Until VERY recently, Tom and I shared 1 prepaid cell phone. Not a smart phone. A stupid phone that’s only a phone ~~ nothing else.

He has his own phone now because sometimes we’re both down in town and need to reach the other or a client.

When our then-shared cell phone died early in 2012, my niece went with me to the store (on a break from the hospital when my mom was in the ICU). She was DEVASTATED on my behalf that I got a plain old phone.

She tilted her head, touched my arm, and with a pained expression, said, “Oh, Auntie, don’t get the crappy phone.”

I had to laugh. She felt so sad for me.

Why so staunch on the cell phone situation?

Because there is ZERO cell service on the mountain or in the canyon. None.

So, it makes no sense to have an expensive phone and a pricey monthly plan that ONLY gets used when I’m in town … and even then, rarely.

Trust me. I would ditch our stupidly expensive land line, if I could, but I can’t.

In 2012, with our phones and prepaid minutes, I think I spent only about $300.

7. Put off everything you can. 

Haircuts, for example. I went without one for much of 2012, but when I had to take a business trip in December, I broke down and got one. That $50 represents one of Lilly’s cytarabine injections.

So, if I look scruffier than you think I should in coming months, see the longer hair as my solidarity for Lilly.

I’m also making a game of putting off anything I think I want or “need.” Take sneakers. I probably do need a new pair. Mine are like 5 years old, have holes, etc. But, I’m putting off getting any … it’s almost an experiment to see how long I can go.

Other ways I scrape up money for Lilly?

  • We didn’t exchange many gifts for the holidays.
  • I’ve NEVER in my life had a professional manicure or pedicure.
  • I’ve NEVER colored my hair.
  • I use over-the-counter / inexpensive skincare stuff.
  • I don’t pay for gym memberships or exercise classes.
  • We haven’t taken a vacation since 2001.
  • I don’t buy many new clothes.
  • I got my ancient iPod as a fund-raising prize.
  • I’ve never owned a brand-new car.

You get the idea. I’m not a spender, not a “thing” person.

And, yet, when I heard recently about a puppy rescued from being frozen to the ground, I sent $10 to the humane society. Or, when I learned a dear friend and former colleague was in the midst of an ICU vigil over the weekend, I promptly sent $65 in food gift cards.

I will spend. I do spend on family things (like food, health insurance, household bills). I will treat myself if I feel desperate, but I try to focus on what’s important. And, I take a sort of macabre satisfaction in “depriving” myself to make Lilly’s life better. Weird, I know.

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I suppose it is all a matter of priorities. Behind only our house and my education, Lilly’s care ranks #3 in my all-time-high life expenses.

I’ve never spent this much on anything, including any of the cars I’ve ever owned.

Even our wedding 20 years ago and the VERY few big vacations we’ve taken over the years pale in comparison.

We’ve always spent quite a bit on our dog’s veterinary care, but I admit … there is something about THIS DOG at THIS POINT in my life that is different.

While nearly everyone else I love has been dangerously sick and / or dying (over the last nearly 5 years), THIS DOG, this amazing, brilliant, sensitive dog has ALWAYS been at my side. Always.

And, now, it’s time for a little pay back.

 

 

 

52 thoughts on “Best Budget Squeezing Strategies for Desperate Dog Moms

  1. Ted
    January 27, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Hello there,
    So glad I stumbled upon your site today. This article is inspiring and filled with so many great ideas. Your dedication to Lilly is so heart-warming. Thank you for telling your story, I really admire what you’re doing.
    I owned a couple of cats years ago and can remember the vet bills being very high, and these were relatively healthy girls, nothing really out of the ordinary as far as health issues.
    I like your approach to life, Rox. It’s refreshing in today’s day and age.
    Thanks
    Ted
    Ted recently posted..New Credit Card Fees – 2 Pin Or Not 2 PinMy Profile

  2. January 16, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    I’m with you. We’ve been doing all that. Except the showers, I gotta have one, otherwise I don’t function.

    Even if I wanted to go out, I can’t, cause what I wear is hubby’s clothes LOL And I don’t really want anybody coming here either, this place is not for anybody to see the way it looks.

    I never understood our daughter, not having money to take care of her dog’s teeth but getting fancy haircuts and hair-dye jobs. I guess it’s all about priorities.

    But I think I’d rather stop eating all together than gave up my daily showers. Can’t do it.
    Jana Rade recently posted..Trusting Your Instincts May Save Your Dog’s Life: Brandy’s StoryMy Profile

    1. January 17, 2013 at 9:16 am

      It does take some getting used to, Jana, but since I often don’t leave the mtn, it makes some sense. We continue to cut and cut and cut our budget where we can. Food is definitely a prime target.

  3. Kathy Parker
    January 15, 2013 at 11:38 am

    My financial decisions are similar to yours. And I also am dealing with expensive vet bills for my German Shorthaired Pointer. I feel selfish for spending my money on my dog but when I compare the joy value he brings to what else I could buy with my money, keeping him alive is the best value to me. And hey, it’s my money. I am earning it, it’s mine to spend as I like. I started a garden last year and have been growing most of my food. Saves me $300 a month.

    1. January 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      I don’t think it’s selfish, Kathy. A friend got a lot of grief when she used fertility treatments, but her point was this … MANY people spend the same amount of $$ on a new car every 3 years. That’s downright silly to me.

      Congrats on your garden doing so well. We have a small greenhouse, but it’s unheated, and at our altitude, I’ve not been able to keep things going into winter. Though, my kale only recently bit the dust.

  4. January 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    So many smart ideas here, Rox, for all of us — pet owners and non-owners. We can all cut back.
    Ruth Pennebaker recently posted..A Quiet Person’s ManifestoMy Profile

  5. January 9, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    Thanks for this, Rox. Our spending habits sound very similar to yours. It’s amazing what you can get by with when you really think about it – plan ahead and don’t buy impulsively. I know people who seem to spend SO much money in their daily lives, and it’s really a foreign concept to me.
    Jane Boursaw recently posted..Anne Hathaway on Turning 30, Getting Married, and Being Not CoolMy Profile

    1. January 10, 2013 at 7:41 am

      See, Jane. You and everyone else who has chimed in make me feel so much better. I’m not alone. I’m not strange. It’s just what girls like us do when times get tough. Our tough times haven’t lasted as long as yours, though. I may need lessons in longevity. But you are right, I see people wasting money on all manner of things every day, and it astounds me.

  6. January 9, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Wow – aside for the never taking a vacation part, I felt like I was reading my own finances. We’ve had three sick dogs over the past year or two, and we’ve cut out just about everything out to keep up with them. We do still travel occasionally, but we used to take cruises. Now we bring the dogs and rent a small cabin for a long weekend, or visit family during our vacations. It’s amazing what you can cut back on to save money, and amazing what you don’t really miss when it’s gone. :-)
    Donna recently posted..It’s Saturday Morning and I’m Tired and CrankyMy Profile

  7. January 9, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Many of these things we’re doing as well – not because of veterinary costs, but because we’ve chosen a different way of life that results in us earning less money. We’ve actually given up meat all together and I don’t miss it at all. We don’t buy much “stuff” because there’s no where to put it anyway. And we’ve found that experiencing new things is far more fun than buying stuff we don’t really need. I hope that Lilly continues to recover and that things get easier for you all in 2013.
    Amy@GoPetFriendly recently posted..I’m Not Dead – Pet Travel Blog On BreakMy Profile

  8. January 9, 2013 at 8:58 am

    We had a bad year financially for different reasons–all of our appliances and my car broke in the same year. By broke I mean massive broke. The car’s engine blew up. The hot water heater leaked all over the basement. The dishwasher sprung a leak and almost fell through the ceiling into the basement. The water bed–same. The only thing I was able to repair instead of replace was the AC, and the fix it man kept saying, “They don’t make em like this any more.” Nice.

    We’ve done the same as you. I wear the same outfit almost every day. I kind of like it that way. We’ve saved most of our costs on food. I have become a demon coupon clipper and we’re making all our meals now–trying to buy fewer and fewer packaged foods, because packaged foods are expensive. I don’t even use skin care products anymore, but I do still color my hair. It’s my one guilty expenditure that I can’t seem to part ways with. And like you I am generous with others in need, whether they be people or dogs.
    Alisa Bowman recently posted..3 Ways Not to Have a ConversationMy Profile

  9. January 9, 2013 at 8:27 am

    So far, we’ve spent more on my dog’s dental care than my kids’ (and I have a kid in braces), but I understand doing what you need to for your dog.
    Thanks for being so open and honest about your experiences–that cannot have been easy.
    As far as cable, we’ve cut back to just Netflix, no DVD, and go the library route too. You can order most recent movies through the library.

    1. January 9, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Thanks, MyKidsEatSquid ~ We might get there eventually with the satellite, but we’ll have to see. Even with digital TV, we only get like 2 meaningful channels of local TV without satellite, and there are a few basic channels we watch a fair bit. As for the DVDs, we’ll have to see. We’ve had the same one on the counter for 10 days now and haven’t had time to watch it.

  10. January 9, 2013 at 4:47 am

    We did many of the same things during the recession and our force “experiment” to live on my husband’s minimum wage and my sporadic assignments as I scrambled to reinvent my business from newspaper writing to online gigs. Although I admit, I could *never* live in a house that is 60 degrees at its warmest. :) Our dogs are our kids, perfectly understandable why you are doing this for Lilly. She is one lucky girl.

    1. January 9, 2013 at 8:34 am

      Thanks, Living Large. I know you made all kinds of sacrifices when things were tight at your house. We do what we have to do. Honestly, you get used to being cold. When I got places that are heated normally, I nearly pass out. It feels like a sauna to me.

  11. Jen
    January 9, 2013 at 12:01 am

    We dropped the DVD portion of our Netflix years back, and mostly don’t mind. I work at the library, and within our library system (not just my library, but rather 42 linked ones) there are many DVD’s, current and otherwise, and a reserve system to get them as they come out. Even if I wasn’t a staff member, my library membership would also be free. CD’s are also available. I’m sure “library” isn’t new to you, but not everybody realizes that libraries frequently have current music and movies, and magazine subscriptions. Depending on the movie, there’s also a wealth of them to watch on Hulu, and on Youtube (broken up into parts), and on Amazon (though I’m not sure how it works for non-prime members. Some stream free, depending, and there’s free music there as well)

    I’ll tell you, that dollar amount for Lilly made my heart drop. And I’m going to subscribe by email. I’ve become woefully behind on my blog reading/commenting, and hadn’t seen your Friday post ’til you just linked to it.
    Jen recently posted..Atlanta GA, Urgent Doberman Assistance Network case (be advised, graphic pictures)My Profile

    1. January 9, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Yes, Jen ~ I’m a big library user / supporter for books (and sometimes movies). I have NOT yet tried music, but I do know they have a lot of CDs. I’m glad you brought it up, though. I remember cracking up when a friend’s new frugal living blog touted libraries like they were a revelation. Or, the one that made me laugh talked about grating your own cheese vs buying cheese that’s already shredded. I suppose that is “news” if you’ve been living an overly consumer life. The problem I have with most frugal advice these days is that it’s all stuff I’ve always done. That may help some people, but if you’re already living close to bone, then what? I can’t save $500 a year on fancy coffees because I almost NEVER BUY fancy coffees.

      1. Jen
        January 10, 2013 at 10:15 pm

        My library also just added downloadable electronic resources, so ebooks and audiobooks. That’s been an…interesting process, getting our patrons acclimated.

        Those frugality tips frequently bother me for the same reasons! And, frankly, I don’t wash my jeans every time. Or even often. It helps them last longer (and I’ve heard some people never wash their jeans, specifically, and some keep them in the freezer). Maybe I’m still too close to college, but my general rule of thumb is if it doesn’t smell and doesn’t have something on it, it can get worn again.
        Jen recently posted..Ebay Fundraiser for the Doberman Assistance Network (ends January 12)My Profile

        1. January 11, 2013 at 9:14 am

          You made me laugh, Jen, with your college comment. I cannot imagine NEVER washing my jeans, but I certainly do wear them a LOT before I do wash them. And, I’m trying to get better at using the free e-resources at the library. I had a reference librarian show me how to search the items (since they are sort of separate from the main library search). It’s pretty cumbersome (using overdrive), but I have borrowed several books for the kindle so far.

  12. Lynn
    January 8, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Your frugal life sounds much like ours, and I don’t think it’s at all macabre or weird to find satisfaction in scrimping for Lilly. She means far more to you than “stuff.” I grew up in post-war England, where we had to make do with little, and I learned early on that you might as well make a game of it when you can. Any idiot can spend money; it takes creativity to have a good life on a shoestring. And a wonderful dog is priceless. Here’s wishing a happy, healthy New Year to you and Lilly!

    1. January 9, 2013 at 8:29 am

      That’s an excellent perspective. Thanks, Lynn. I’ve been trading some recipes with a neighbor, and some of the ones she has given me (using very little meat) come from her family archives during the depression. It can be a sort of game, and that makes it feel less like deprivation.

  13. merr
    January 8, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Until you are in the midst of caring for a pet who has excessive veterinary needs (and are faced with the options for state-of-the-art care), you will never understand what it feels like to make all the decisions you’ve had to make. I totally get it. For all that our pets give to us, they are truly family and fill us with presence, love and so so so so much more.

    1. January 9, 2013 at 8:28 am

      Thanks, Merr

  14. January 8, 2013 at 9:47 am

    I really commend you for all that you are doing for Lilly. So many people would have given up on her.

    We do many of the things you are doing simply to keep our expenses down.

    I hope 2013 is so much kinder to you and Lilly than 2012 was.
    Jodi recently posted..The Dog SquadMy Profile

    1. January 9, 2013 at 8:28 am

      Thanks, Jodi. Many of these things we’ve also done to keep cost down in our normal lives, but we’re being SUPER diligent now. For example, I’ve never been a buy-a-coffee-a-day kind of girl, but once in a while, when I’m up EARLY for Lilly’s chemo, it is very tempting. I almost NEVER indulge. If I cannot wake up early enough to make a decent coffee at home, then I do without.

  15. Sam
    January 8, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Thank you for sharing this and telling it like it is. Last year Inka spent several months on painkillers, and I did wonder if he might have to stay on them indefinitely, thankfully he didn’t, but I found myself looking at the cut-price veterinary medicine websites to compare prices more than once, and running various budget scenarios in my head…and on paper.
    Sam recently posted..Dog Training New Year’s ResolutionsMy Profile

    1. January 8, 2013 at 9:04 am

      Sam, We do get Ginko’s one and only medicine online pretty cheap, and I get some of Lilly’s through Costco because they are so much cheaper, but some of her meds have to be compounded specifically for her, and those are kind of pricey. I’ve considered contacting the compounding pharmacy and asking if we could work out some sort of trade, but I never want any of Lilly’s care providers to feel like I’m asking for something for nothing. Still … when I had the meltdown over the chemo costs, I was SO GRATEFUL that the neuro team agreed to do the shots for $200 per round instead of $400 per round. That has made a huge difference, especially in months like this, where Lilly has TWO rounds of chemo in the same budget month.

  16. January 8, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Rox,
    This post is inspiring and awesome! I’m doing SOME of the same things here with Murphy’s illness (end stage liver disease) but not near as many. You inspire me!

    1. January 8, 2013 at 9:01 am

      Oh, Jennifer. I didn’t realize Murphy was end-stage. Poor sweetie. I had hoped he was doing better. I’m glad to hear you’ve found ways to afford his care too. It isn’t easy, and goodness knows I feel deprived sometimes, but I don’t know what else to do, except take care of my girlie.

  17. January 8, 2013 at 6:17 am

    I do know a dog’s love runs very deep. You have to of,,ow your heart on this one. And you are.

    1. January 8, 2013 at 6:18 am

      Sorry- writing on iPad is challenging at times. It should read “follow” your heart…
      And by the way, thanks for the practical cost- saving tips!

      1. January 8, 2013 at 9:00 am

        Thanks, Sheryl.

  18. January 8, 2013 at 1:38 am

    I salute you Roxanne for the sacrifices you make for your beautiful Lilly. Those are some great money saving tips. The financial cost of keeping Lilly alive is a huge part of your story and therefore should not be a taboo subject. May 2013 be a much better year for your family.
    Eileen recently posted..My thrifty New YearMy Profile

    1. January 8, 2013 at 8:59 am

      Thanks, Eileen. I still worry that I’m staying too much about certain things, but I’m nothing if not honest. These costs are consuming, so not to mention them would feel like there was a hole in the story.

  19. January 7, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    We never know what we are capable of until we are challenged…You certainly have been challenged this past year, but I so admire you and Lilly. Since my husband died, things have been financially very scary for me, but I know there are ways I could cut back if I thought I would lose my house or if one of the cats needed expensive vet care. I am fortunate because I work for a cat vet, but in the past 2 years, have had to seek both emergency care and orthopedic surgery and I put it on Care Credit and it got me through (that and a successful auction the Cat Blogosphere held for both kitties). My cats mean the world to me and I pray they stay healthy, but I am there for them if they don’t…

    1. January 8, 2013 at 8:58 am

      Oh, Teri … I didn’t know about your husband. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I got a glimpse of widowhood a couple years ago, when Tom had a scary emergency, and I was terrified. We are definitely a 2-income family. I would not be able to keep our house if I was on my own. There would be MAJOR changes in my life and budget. We’ve used CareCredit in the past. When Ginko blew out both knees and needed surgery on both (about $6,000 total), we got a card through the surgeon, and we were offered 0% interest for a year. I was able to pay that off and avoid the interest charges, but I’ve looked at the “normal” interest rate, and it isn’t favorable. I still have the card, but I haven’t used it since.

  20. January 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Roxanne, you’ve turned living frugally into an art form. I’m so impressed with how much you’ve cut out in your life because of your love for Lilly. Sharing your story is bound to help someone else. Good for you.
    Donna Hull recently posted..Saturday’s scene: Celebrate Winter Trails DayMy Profile

    1. January 8, 2013 at 8:52 am

      I don’t know about an art form, Donna, but we give it our best shot.

  21. January 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    I’m sorry you are going through this, but completely understand why you have to. These are great tips for anyone who wants to save money for any reason.
    Brette recently posted..Caramelized Onion Scalloped PotatoesMy Profile

    1. January 8, 2013 at 8:52 am

      Thanks, Brette. Maybe everyone does things like this, and the ideas aren’t that new, but I hoped it might help others trying to squeeze their budgets for whatever reason.

  22. Debra Jones
    January 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    I just don’t know what to say, Roxanne. I can only imagine I would be doing the same thing with my “heart dog” Snap. Once or twice, maybe three times in our lives do we come across a dog that just pulls our heart strings, and we would do everything within our power to give them every chance to be who they were before or just be here a little while longer like they’re suppose too… it’s the only way I know how to explain it to myself….

    1. January 8, 2013 at 8:51 am

      I hope you’re right, Debra. Lilly is definitely my heart dog (my only one so far). I’ve adored all my dogs, of course, but there is something about Lilly being in my life right now, with all the grief and worry on so many other fronts, that has further solidified our bond.

  23. Stacey
    January 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    You’re an inspiration! While I know it’s got to be hard to cut down on things so tightly, it’s refreshing to know there are people like you in this world that can put the lives of the ones we love ahead of the “things” that so much of society says we need to be happy. My family ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when we were getting cancer treatments for one of our dogs, but I always said “I’d rather regret spending the money [on treatments] than regret not trying.”

    As a side note… I’m sure you’re familiar with using slow-cookers to make meals on a dime. I’ve been experimenting with vegan slow-cooker recipes using books from the library and so far, they’ve been delicious… not to mention you can make your own beans and freeze them to save money on the staples.

    1. January 8, 2013 at 8:50 am

      No kidding, Stacey. I eat a lot of PBJ as well. Alas, Tom has developed a bit of a nut allergy, so he cannot have the PB. So, we have other sandwiches as well … or since I overcook several nights a week, we often have dinner leftovers for lunch. Yes … I use my crockpot a lot, especially for beans, soups, or roasts (when we have them). Since I visit my mom (who is terminally ill) Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday each week, I typically cook something on Monday that we can have Monday and Tuesday for dinner. Then, on Weds, I cook again for Weds / Thurs. That helps a lot because after taking care of Lilly and working all day, THEN driving to town to see my mom, I’m exhausted when I get home, and it’s nice to have an easy meal waiting.

  24. January 7, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    I think it is great you write about this. I puzzle a lot financially with Viva as well, and it is also helpful to read about how other tackle it. And you know you are not alone.
    This year I made a budget for the first time for Viva’s vet bills, inspired by your posts. She busted it already in the first few days with her wart surgery (something as futile one might think..). That’s my girl :)
    kenzohw recently posted..Miracles Do Happen: Thor Is AliveMy Profile

    1. January 8, 2013 at 8:47 am

      It is a puzzle. All of us can only do our best in these decisions.

  25. Hilda
    January 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Oh, Rox! I’m emailing you a meatless recipe and a cheap-o skincare tip after reading this. You’re doing good — just hang in there!

    1. January 8, 2013 at 8:46 am

      We’re hanging. Thanks!

  26. Robin D. Layton
    January 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    That touched my heart. I wouldn’t worry about what is supposedly taboo either. Who cares what anyone outside your chosen circle thinks anyway?!

    1. January 8, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Thanks. I know I shouldn’t worry about it, and most of the time I don’t even look at our data, but our email service sends me a note anytime anyone subscribes or unsubscribes.

  27. Rachel Hopple
    January 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I love this…..thank you for your suggestions…I hope things start looking up for you and Lilly this year…I am hopeful for you. You obviously know the things that are important for life! Hugs to you. Oliver’s mom in Ohio

    1. January 8, 2013 at 8:45 am

      Thanks so much. Sometimes I have my doubts, but we’re doing the best we can.