By: Revanche

Eyeballing unusual 2016 and 2017 expenses

December 21, 2016

2016 was terrible for unplanned expenses, to the tune of $20,000, and I soothed myself with hopes for recouping losses and building wealth in 2017.

Now? I’m twitchy.

We only have the one FSA account between us since my company discontinued theirs so our family is only eligible for $2600 in tax-free medical expenses each year. This is usually not a problem. We can manage my therapy-massages, medications, and their odds and ends of medical supplies or visits well under that amount but this year we are looking at another set of unusual expenses and I’m antsy.

Usually I don’t stress (much) about unusual one-time expenses, but we’ve had them three years in a row now and that constitutes a pattern for which I have to budget.

In 2014, we got pregnant and traveled internationally. The former was unplanned insofar as you can’t ever know when or if you’re going to be able to conceive, the latter was planned without the kind of notice I prefer for a big trip (2 years because I’m a Type A planner) so it felt unplanned.

In 2015, I paid legal fees to organize our estate and trust (which only took a YEAR to complete), and I started my life insurance policy. Total, $6000 over budget.

In 2016, tax issues, car problems, and something else I can’t remember right this second racked up $20,000 in bills and losses.

Now we’re looking at a very expensive procedure for PiC, and a TBD amount for my teeth that are being diagnosed with something potentially serious. The bill for PiC lands in 2016, thus continuing the “2016 is not awesome for my country and my finances” theme, while my dental mystery won’t be diagnosed until January.

None of this, the bills or the realization, does an iota to induce the good holiday cheer I was determined to ring the new year in with.

I had been considering some orthodontia for a couple of teeth that are misaligned and bothering me, but with these expenses, that’ll have to wait.

I’m trying hard not to be pessimistic about it all but these super-sized expenses turned me into Grumpy. Even while I’m working hard at reducing our everyday expenses, and generated extra income, that savings is just being eaten up and therefore isn’t savings at all! And that’s intensely frustrating.

:: Have you had any trouble with unexpected medical expenses lately?

14 Responses to “Eyeballing unusual 2016 and 2017 expenses”

  1. Thankfully not medical expenses, since those come with double the stress of normal irregular expenses, but let’s just say I was surprised when our credit card bills came to less than 6K this month because we didn’t have any major irregular expenses for the first time in a long time. (Some of those 6K bills include reimbursable stuff for DH’s work, but they’re pretty heart attack inducing anyway. Other major items: housing stuff, car stuff, travel/return from leave stuff… the usual.) Hopefully we’re done with all of that for a while?
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    • Revanche says:

      Ouch. That’s painful to contemplate. So glad that none of it ran to medical expenses, at least, and that it’s over for now? I hope!

  2. Joe says:

    Whoa, that’s a big year for unexpected expenses. Hopefully, the medical expense won’t be too high. Car expense is tough too. Those things can be so expensive.
    We did have an somewhat unexpected expense this month. Our water heater started to leak and we had to get a new one. I was hoping it’d last one more year, but it was time to replace the old thing anyway. It was installed in 2000 and lasted way beyond expectations.
    Happy holidays and hopefully 2017 will be better. 🙂
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  3. Leigh says:

    I was somewhere around $20,000 over budget for 2016. And that’s not for two people – that’s for one person. September and October were both five figure spend months, so when I “only” had to pony up $2,500 for my half of the November spending, it felt like a cheap month. Thankfully December should be my cheapest month all year. Medical was about $3,000 for me this year. The main over budget expenses were our living room remodel, the wedding, and my engagement and wedding rings. Plus, you know, all of that happening right around when I got laid off… That’s what savings are for, right? Hopefully 2017 will be better expenses wise for both of our families.
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    • Revanche says:

      Yeah, here’s hoping that we’re not repeating the amount of these expenses in the years to come since we shouldn’t be likely to repeat the KIND of expenses we had!

  4. $20k is a lot of unexpected expenses! I can understand being grumpy about the overage, especially when it also means medical and dental problems. We’ve had a lot of medical expenses this year (when the pharmacy clerk knows who you are on sight…) but they’ve all been within the expected column. In fact, we’ve come in slightly under budget on healthcare. Hopefully 2017 will bring healthier times for all of us.
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    • Revanche says:

      It’s never a good sign when you walk into a medical center or pharmacy and they can easily greet you by name without referencing paperwork! Here’s hoping this was the worst of it and we have much better health from here on.

  5. Sense says:

    I’m so sorry. Life just happens, no matter how much we plan…regardless of good/bad, most unexpected events cost money.

    My effort at condolences: a. this is what emergency funds are for! and b. think of how far behind you’d be if you DIDN’T have the EF/savings to rely on! I know, those are small consolations, but it is the truth. 🙂

  6. It wasn’t so much the expenses themselves but we lost our long-time insurer in August when Peanut quit work to stay home with the kids, which of course was about a week after we’d met the deductible for the year. So that timing was not great.

    This month has been expensive for other reasons – several hundred for a dropped phone (which will be reimbursed, luckily), almost $600 for a new bearing and alignment on a car that got wrecked less than a week later, so add a $500 insurance deductible to that. And a new washing machine after our old one was recalled. Ugh.
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    • Revanche says:

      Ouch! That’s an awful lot in one go, sorry to hear it! Glad the phone will be reimbursed, at least, was it a work phone?

  7. Linda says:

    Hopefully PiC’s procedure will be successful and this is a one time expense. As for your dental mystery, here’s hoping it is NBD and the “fix” ends up being fully covered by insurance or inexpensive.

    As for your question about unexpected medical expenses…ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!! Have I ever!! I’ve found that I really need to count on all sorts of medical problems popping up unexpectedly, so I carry really good insurance (which is not cheap) and fund my FSA to the max. For me, that means $2,550 in total will be coming out of my paychecks for things like doctor and specialist co-pays, prescription co-pays, vision care, dental care, physical therapy, hospital bills, etc. If it looks like 2017 won’t be the year I need eye surgery, I may find that I’ve withheld a bit too much for my FSA; but I had no way of knowing during the open enrollment period (and still don’t). I shouldn’t need any other surgeries, I hope. I’ve had pretty much all the “elective” organs removed in the past year.

    You must manage your expenses very well to be dealing with the out of pocket costs associated with a chronic condition AND doing it for under $2,600 a year! Kudos to you!
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    • Revanche says:

      Thanks for the good wishes, and same to you, of course!

      I thought of you as I asked that question, most otherwise reasonably healthy people have trouble imagining the effects of chronic issues but you definitely would understand being plagued by one thing after another. I do wish 2017 will be the year of good health and no surgeries for you, and every year thereafter!

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