Living with a chronic illness is challenging. Not only do you have to deal with the physical hardships of your condition, but you likely have to deal with associated financial struggles. Treatment for ailments isn’t cheap, and even if you have insurance that covers some of the costs, you’ll still have to cover co-payments, deductibles, and alternative care.
You may find yourself earning less than you’re spending, and the longer this continues, the more debt you’ll accumulate and the more challenging time you’ll have digging out of that debt.
Read on for some tips to build financial security despite your hardships. Then, we’ll talk about money-saving strategies, life insurance for the chronically ill, and things you can do to improve your quality of life.
Save Money Despite Chronic Illness
If you don’t have a budget, it’s time to make one. A budget can help you identify your priorities and excess spending you can cut.
Track Your Spending
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You can work out a budget that serves you no matter your income. You might want to start by tracking your spending. Sometimes, the simple act of tracking your purchases can keep you from buying things you don’t need.
After reviewing your spending for a month, you might be surprised at how insignificant purchases through the month add up. Even if you think you know how you’re spending, you should track every penny so you’re sure. Then, you can use that information to set your budget.
Lower Your Utilities
If you work outside the home, consider turning back your thermostat by 10 degrees during the hours that you’re gone. That simple step could save you 10% on your heating bill. Likewise, doing the opposite during the summer could help you save on your cooling costs.
If you have a leaky faucet or a toilet that runs in between flushes, fixing those problems can save you a lot on your water bills.
As your lightbulbs burn out, replace them with LED bulbs. They’re more expensive to start with, but they’ll save you considerably over time. Just be careful to choose warm light LED bulbs to reduce your exposure to blue light’s negative effects.
Save Money Driving
Did you know that properly inflated tires help improve your fuel mileage? Check your tire pressure every month and whenever there’s a drastic temperature change to ensure they’re filled according to manufacturer specifications. Also, keep an eye on your average number of miles driven per year.
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Cars have a sweet spot speed on the highway, and that speed is usually around 55 or 60 mph. So you might be able to get five to seven more miles per gallon if you switch from 70 to 60 mph.
Stay on top of scheduled maintenance. If funds are tight, you might be tempted to skip an oil change, but if you do, you could end up with far more expensive engine damage later on.
Life Insurance With Chronic Illnesses
In most cases, your life insurance needs are the same whether you have a chronic illness or not. If you have a lot of debt, such as a mortgage, and you have responsibilities such as children, you should have a term life insurance plan.
Term Life Insurance With Chronic Illness
Term life insurance pays a death benefit if you die during the policy’s term, which can be anywhere from 10 to 30 years or longer. Once the term expires, you have no benefit from the policy. So, most people pay monthly premiums and get absolutely nothing in return.
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You might be tempted to avoid such a bad bet. Still, for those rare cases where your beneficiaries get the benefit, it can make the difference between them losing everything because of your debts and death or continuing in their same lifestyle.
With some illnesses, you may not be able to get a term life insurance plan. Even if you can find an insurer to offer you a term policy, you’re probably not going to qualify for preferred plus pricing.
The type of chronic illness you have will be the most critical factor in determining your insurability. For example, if you have had a stroke, heart attack, or heart disease, it will be nearly impossible to find an affordable term life insurance policy.
However, if you have well-managed diabetes, arthritis, or asthma, you will likely be able to choose from a variety of term life insurance plans.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance With Chronic Illness
If your illness makes you uninsurable, you can still get a guaranteed issue life insurance plan. It’s more expensive and offers a smaller benefit than a standard term policy, but it may be your only option. The benefit can help take care of funeral expenses.
Guaranteed issue policies don’t require a health evaluation, so that’s why you can get a policy no matter what health conditions you have.
Quality of Life With Chronic Illness
Don’t let your illness define you. Take care of your illness, but don’t forget who you are at your core. You have a personality and things you enjoy, and you must nurture that part of you to improve the quality of your life.
A lot of your time is consumed with treating your illness, and that’s essential, but you need to set aside time for self-care unrelated to your condition. For example, you may need a massage, pedicure, nap, or bath to help you feel refreshed and cared for. Or you could spend a weekend afternoon reading fiction or watching a movie.
You should always consult with your medical professional before starting an exercise regimen, but there are appropriate programs for everyone, regardless of your physical restrictions.
Exercising will help boost your mood and improve your health. So it’s worth the time you put into it. If you can get outside to exercise, you’ll also reap the benefits of connecting with nature, absorbing the sunlight, and breathing fresh air. Enjoying nature can transform your life.
Your relationships are a significant part of your support system, so invest your time into building your marriage, family bonds, and friendships.
Living within a budget will help you manage your debt, and a life insurance policy will protect your beneficiaries from assuming your debt if you die. But one of the best ways to improve your health and keep yourself living as long as possible is taking care of yourself. Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive, and it will improve your quality of life.