When paying extra on utility bills REALLY pays off

I’ve discussed in previous posts how I pay extra on utility bills, as a goal toward living beyond paycheck to paycheck.  Let me explain some tangible benefits from this strategy.

I have an 11 year, 7 month old beagle (just under 22 lbs).  He has a physical ailment plus chronic bronchitis (yes, my dog has this condition).  The chronic bronchitis was so severe lately that I made an appointment with the vet.

I took him to Friendship Hospital for Animals (primarily because they offer appointments on Sunday since this “hospital” is open 24 hours/day).  Of course the veterinarian recommended an X-ray to detect any abnormality.  The total cost of the visit was $325 (the X-ray alone cost $199).  I paid for the bill with my credit card.  But in the back of my mind I thought, I don’t have $325 .  I had some extra money but used it two weeks ago when I had to take my dog to the emergency room at Friendship Hospital for Animals after he fell down a flight of stairs.

When I got home Sunday, I pondered – where would I find that $325?  Luckily my most recent gas bill was $0.  So that $175 allocated for the gas bill was re-directed to cover the vet expense.  But I was still short by $150.  I needed to find that amount.  Well, I’ve been setting aside $40/pay period for my alternative medicine herbs (Ayurveda).  I had $120 worth set aside so I applied that to the vet bill.  The remaining $30 I pulled from money set aside for my dog’s vet expenses.

The saga of my dog’s medical needs hasn’t ended.

I received a call from Friendship on Tuesday.  Although my dog’s heart is fine, a specialist looked at the X-ray (part of the reason for the $199 fee) and noticed my dog’s liver is a little enlarged and recommended a blood workup to determine if something was wrong.  Hmmm, can’t afford that right now.  I will have to defer that til sometime in mid April.

And, it’s time for my dog’s teeth to be cleaned.  Because of his chronic bronchitis (plus his heart murmur), anesthesia is out of the question.  A holistic vet in Bethesda, Maryland provides a service where your pet’s teeth can be cleaned without anesthesia.  The cost is $230.  The appointment is scheduled for March 31st.   Of course, I fretted, where will I find the money?

Today, in the mail, received a check from PEPCO (electric company), a overpayment refund, in the amount of $138.91.   Thank you, Lord.  That overpayment refund is my savior (from debt).  I will now scrape together the remaining balance. 

In case some of you are thinking, well, if you have an emergency fund, you could pay for these expenses without any heartache, let me say I have cashed CDs in the past to cover my dog’s vet expenses.  Yes, a very expensive dog.  But very adorable.  If I could find him a gig where he could earn some money, then I wouldn’t fret over funding his vet expenses.

But don’t forget the moral of this story – paying extra on those monthly bills can pay off in a pinch!

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