In Discussions, Discussions, Life, Money

Why are we so cheap for our health?

My mother has not been to the eye doctor in years and just recently mentioned that she’s been seeing “floating things” and it’s been getting worse.

Alarmed, I asked her when she last saw an optometrist and she couldn’t even remember.

When I asked her why she hadn’t gone to see one at least once a year (she even has health insurance for this), she said that she was always under the impression that it would cost money and therefore didn’t want to go.

O_o

It costs maybe $100 without health insurance (I’ve paid the fee yearly), and it’s better to get your eyes checked out early on rather than wait until it escalates into something worse… which made me wonder…

WHY ARE WE SO CHEAP FOR OUR HEALTH?

My mother is not cheap for anything but her health and wellbeing, which includes anything PRACTICAL.

pills-health-medicine-sickness

She will regularly drop $60 on groceries in one go for a meal, just buying a few choice meats to cook, and has spent upwards to $200 on a single silk blouse, but she has in the past, refused to:

  • Buy warm gloves because they were expensive; she was using CLOTH gloves in our Canadian winter!
  • Buy a warm jacket, instead opting to wear 4 layers of old discarded jackets from us kids instead
  • Go to see an eye doctor because it might cost money
  • Refuse to buy wool socks because they’re too expensive and opts to wear 2 layers of cotton socks instead
  • Spent 200 pounds in England on a pair of beautiful leather shoes on vacation but refused to buy winter boots for our Canadian winter

.. etc etc etc.


She admittedly is not the only one. I too, have found myself wanting to find a cheaper dentist or a cheaper eye doctor but in the end, why am I so cheap for something that matters (my health)… but I find absolutely nothing wrong with dropping $400 for a sweater or $2000 for a Burberry trench coat?

At least I am aware of it now and have decided I will just pay the price for my health.

Other ways I think people cheat themselves is by eating badly. Eating cheap junk food in an attempt to save money is really illogical in my opinion.

What is the point of wealth if you don’t have your health?

 

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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23 Comments

  1. Michelle

    My husband is the worse at not investing in his health. He will go years without seeing a doctor or dentist. I have to buy the vitamins myself for him to take them. And when he is sick? Prescription? WHO NEEDS EM? He really is the worst at this.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I don’t mind avoiding doctors unless I’m truly sick and I don’t know what’s wrong but a dentist is a must for me.

      Prescriptions.. well, it depends. I didn’t take any pain meds after my C-Section when I was discharged (didn’t bother filling in what they gave me), but if I needed it, I would have. 🙂

      Reply
  2. GirlinaTrenchcoat

    Yeow, I hope your mom is ok and nothing is seriously wrong with her vision.

    I’m guilty of neglecting doctor’s visits as well. :/ I haven’t had an eye exam in 2 years, and since our insurance changed I have to pay $150 for it now, whereas it used to be free. Cost is definitely a deterrent, but I should know better.

    I think most of us don’t like going to doctors and spending money because we feel “fine”, and short of something really bad happening like a heart attack we take our health for granted. A very bad idea of course, as early detection of cancer and other diseases can be lifesavers.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I hope so too. I’ll ask her to go see another doctor to be sure.

      Reply
  3. shortandsweetjoy

    You know what they say, health is wealth. Preventive care is the most ‘inexpensive’ form of healthcare.
    On the other hand, it’s good to be aware of what your insurance company or physician is charging you, because sometimes they could be tacking on things for ‘exams’ and ‘fees’ that should be covered by insurance or shouldn’t even be on the bill in the first place. Because insurance claims are often very confusing and obscure for a lot of people, most patients tend to just eat the cost instead of double-checking and making sure they’re not throwing their money away.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Even something simple like flossing can help prevent heart disease.

      As for charges, that’s something I’d definitely do if I lived in the U.S. In Canada, we have universal healthcare and with that comes certain rules. They tend to tell you if it isn’t covered by the provincial healthcare and that it’ll be an extra cost. Otherwise, we just assume everything is covered.

      Reply
      1. shortandsweetjoy

        @save. spend. splurge.:
        Lol I thought about that right after I submitted my comment and realized that doesn’t really apply to you Canadians. It’s enough to make me want to move to Canada. It’s cold, but hey I’m always cold, and hopefully my body won’t be too good at telling the difference. (Internal temperature stays the same!)
        I’ve heard that too about flossing, but I haven’t seen any real connection between the two. But I think people who take care to floss are generally better about taking care of their health as opposed to people who forego flossing.

        P.S. I hope your mom’s eyes are okay! & I love your blog!

        Reply
        1. save. spend. splurge.

          It’s not cold all the time. The weather has gotten better (Spring!)

          As for flossing I see the connection with plaque and other bits caught between your teeth not being swallowed during the day if it’s constantly flossed away but you’re right, perhaps it’s just a question of conscientiousness at that point.

          Thank you!! 🙂

          Reply
  4. Morgaine

    Yes, I agree whole heartedly. When I didn’t have benefits I wouldn’t go to the eye doctor or the dentist. I went over 5 years without benefits and when I finally went to the dentist I had 13 cavities! 13!!! Needless to say I take much better care of my teeth (cleanings/check ups 4x per year)now even though I do have benefits because I would never, ever, want to go through with all of that pain again. I do need to go to an eye doctor, its been about 2.5 years, I’d better get on that 😉

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      13!!!!!

      *scared*.. *runs to go brush her teeth*

      I do find that when I brush my teeth, floss and use those interdental picks, my dentist visits are getting shorter (and therefore cheaper) each time I go.

      Reply
    2. GirlinaTrenchcoat

      @Morgaine: Yeow! 13?! I feel your pain. I didn’t see a dentist for a year and when I came back I had six deep cavities and a chipped tooth! I learned my lesson after that and go regularly.

      Reply
  5. AdinaJ

    I’m the same way with everything I think is “practical” as opposed to “fun”. I hate spending money on everything from appliances, electronics, to socks, underwear, shampoo, etc. The strangest one might be perfume; most people might consider it a fun/luxury item, but I don’t and I hate spending money on it. I usually get a bottle gifted to me once a year.

    Reply
    1. AdinaJ

      @AdinaJ: edited to add: I guess I view money as existing to be either saved or splurged 😉

      Reply
    2. save. spend. splurge.

      I don’t mind spending a lot of money on appliances .. oddly enough. Like a Dyson vacuum? I am all for that because they really do live up to their $500+ hype.

      Socks, no. I hate spending money on that, underwear too. Shampoo I can deal with because I have to use it and I’m too lazy to use conditioner afterwards. I want to just use a shampoo and be done.

      Also perfume.. I don’t spend money on it, I just use essential oils 🙂 All gifted to me.

      Reply
  6. tomatoketchup

    Tell your mom to see an ophthalmologist (someone with an M.D. after the name). Floaters are insignificant about 95% of the time, but occasionally can be a sign of something potentially bad. Optometrists are not medical doctors and vary greatly in competence with these types of issues. The local optometrist who sends me referrals is incredibly sharp, but even he has sent me patients where he’s missed the diagnosis.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I’ll get her to go see an ophthalmologist, thanks for the advice!!

      Reply
  7. Alicia @ Financial Diffraction

    We just went through a stint of not having additional health benefits above the governments universal health care. Dentists are expensive! And we pushed it out to a year… I might now be paying the price for it (literally and figuratively). But it’s just so hard to spend money on things that don’t always feel like necessities and take large chunks of money at once. Smart? Nope. But I still did it.

    Now it’s going to be a little expensive over the next month of so trying to get everything back to being all up to date.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      And you don’t get to see it in your closet after you’ve spent the money right? 🙂

      Reply
  8. CorianneM

    I can totally relate to this feeling! I think this stems from us human’s inability to think about the long-term benefits when we are flooded with short-term benefits.

    Health is definitely a long-term benefit. It’s something you have to keep working on continuously: eat right, move your ass once in a while, and so on. Whatever you do, you don’t get ‘healthy’ right away. You have to work at it continuously to stay healthy. There are no direct effects to eating a healthy meal today or working out today.

    But shopping for a nice pair of shoes or scrimping on groceries are things that have a direct effect on more short-term benefits. A pair of shoes you can wear right away, it creates the shopaholic shopping buzz, it’s a nice addition to your shoe collection… all immediate benefits. Scrimping on groceries means you are saving a little money – you will see it directly in your budget! Even if it’s junk food groceries, it will fill you up and take away your hunger – another short-term benefit realised.

    The same goes for going to a good doctor: you have to *consciously* think about the long-term health effect of going to a good doctor, otherwise our brain will just think about the short-term effect of how much money this particular doctor is going to cost you *this month* and how it will blow your budget. Going to a good doctor will not *benefit* you right away, but it will probably benefit you in the long-term.

    But yes, I’ve done the same and it’s stupid. My hands are always cold. Even in the summer I have cold hands. In the winter I would wear cheap, cloth gloves. Even though our winters probably feel like spring to the average Canadian, my hands were always even colder in winter! Two years ago my mom bought me two pairs of leather gloves with woolen lining. Ah, heaven. They weren’t even that expensive – I think around 30-40 euros per pair – but they are definitely worth it! My hands are so much warmer now in winter.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      All good points — there are no immediate gratifications so we don’t see the benefits right away and think it’s worth it.

      This is why I bought my mother a winter jacket and gloves because I couldn’t stand to see her shivering any longer.

      Reply
      1. CorianneM

        @save. spend. splurge.: immediate gratifications! much better way of putting it 🙂

        Reply
  9. MelD

    Smart girl!! 🙂

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Took me a while to get here. No point in being cheap for the most important thing in your life.

      Reply

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