Keeping the Money Boat Afloat

I'm sure it comes as no surprise, cancer sucks. Cancer will take your time, your hair, and your money, and one day it'll take my spouse. It took our financial stability. After my wife's diagnosis, we both were let go of our jobs, less than a month after we had bought our first home together.

We faced new homeowner expenses, bills, the loss of both our jobs, and on top of all of it the holidays were coming, we knew our savings would dwindle quickly. Losing both incomes at once would be a huge blow to anyone, let alone under the umbrella of a terminal cancer diagnosis. More than ever it felt important to make the Christmas holiday magical for our daughter, even with our future so unstable.

Asking for help

It was scary, stressful, and incredibly humbling. We had to ask for help. Our friends and family gathered around us and helped us stay afloat while we waited for Social Security to review Stephanie's case for disability benefits. This help didn't always come in the form of money, it came in free babysitting so we could attend Stephanie's medical appointments, it came in meal and grocery drops off so we could use that money elsewhere, and sweet gift baskets left on our porch.

We survived off of our savings, off of generous donations from friends and family, and finally, we sold our house to move in with family. We're still here, still surviving and thriving. through the generosity of other people, our love for one another, and our ability to "keep pivoting" and finding solutions that keep us not only afloat financially, but provide us with enough stability to chase our dreams and enjoy life while we can.

Finding flexibility

Over these last few years, we've tried many different options, some were incredibly helpful, and some didn't work for us. We need more flexibility than a traditional job provides and we're lucky enough that we've been able to find ways to pay our bills.

By no means is this a complete list of things that are available to people in a similar situation, and I cannot guarantee these will work for you. If one doesn't work, keep trying chances are you will find something that works for you, if it does please come back and let me know!

Crowd sourcing

  • GoFundMe
  • Meal train
  • Caring bridge
  • Venmo or other cash-sharing apps
  • Learning about cashback apps or rewards

Freelance work

  • Delivery services such as DoorDash, UberEats, etc.
  • Sharing our story through websites such as this one
  • Nannying
  • Modeled for small businesses

Government assistance

  • Disability
  • Family Leave Medical Act (FMLA)
  • Food stamps

Cutting back expenses

  • Moving in with family
  • Refinancing payments
  • Selling things you aren't using
  • Downsizing or selling your house

Applying for grants

  • Bright Spot
  • Pink Fund
  • We Will Fly Again
  • Dear Jack

I would love to hear all about what has worked for you and what I might have left off this list. Leave your ideas in the comments.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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