2017 was an expensive year for us. We had to get a new (or at least new to us) car, we had two trips out to Cambridge for dog training, and I had a month on EI due to medical issues. Add in our increased cleaning budget, and it all tots up to quite a bit.
It means that this year will be a quieter Christmas for us. We're not getting our usual professional family photo done and gifts are going to be a little smaller this year for everyone except the kids (and I've made more of an effort to stick on budget for them).
We're going to be okay in terms of the regular bills but there are a bunch of things which are going to have to wait until we're back on more of financial track. The one thing I'm very grateful for is that right now, I'm not having to pay for intensive therapy for either child. If we were trying to deal with that on top of everything else, then we'd be looking at serious changes like having to move or one of us getting an extra job.
And that's a bit of a sad reality for a country where the vast majority of our medical expenses are covered in order to avoid just such a situation. Because people shouldn't have to choose between paying their mortgage and doing what their child needs. It also highlights a frustration of mine about how autism and other mental health issues are treated.
People in crisis get the funding. People who don't make the effort to do the work themselves get the funding. Those who have been responsible and who ask for help, don't. As I discovered when I went on EI, the fact that I have a regular job history actually counts against me when applying for extra help.
Now, I'm not against giving help to people who are in crisis or who are below the poverty line or who can't afford to do private therapy for their kids. They all deserve help. But sometimes those of us who "look" respectable on paper need it, too. It would be nice if the government or charities recognized that a little help at the right time can keep families from spiraling down and needing a lot of much more expensive help later.