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What would you do (kindness please)?

What would you do? I’m going through some extremely stressful times that while they will not last forever are some of the hardest times in my life. It’s overwhelming and it’s really hard to get through. Because I’m so overwhelmed I’m not sure my thinking is super clear right now so I thought I would come to the really wise coth forum.

The biggest thing is dealing with a family crisis/medical issue 5 months ago. I can’t really get into details but it was major life-changing stuff and while things are definitely looking up our savings is gone. We also have some debt that was not my doing. But it needs to be paid. Luckily my husband makes about $125k a year and I work part-time (stay at home mom mostly.) I am looking into going back to work full-time to help as our daughter is getting older, and I no longer have to take care of my grandmother like I did for all these years. This is a major stressor and while we are trying to build it back up, Life is really pouring down. And it really adds salt into the wound because there is a reason I wanted to have a savings account. But it’s gone and it’s not my fault and there’s nothing I can do about that part.

We found out that our roof needs to be replaced after a season of constant hail. My insurance is barely covering anything because of the age of the roof. My dog has been having stomach issues for 5 months. He doesn’t act sick but we’ve been to the vet constantly as he’s just high maintenance in general. He’s always getting hurt, bit by a spider and now he’s clearly having some GI issues. We’ve been working with the vet and we have a plan but it’s been stressful and expensive. Thankfully my other dog has mostly been low maintenance.

My horse has been having stifle issues and here we are again dealing with it. He was not in work for a few months because life was just way too heavy and traumatic for me. But he’s lame and I’m trying to work with the vet to figure out what to do. I think an ultrasound and something like Prostride It’s likely what would be needed… And that’s expensive. We’ve done it before but our situation is different.

My daughter also needs braces and she just informed me that she’s out of her contacts that she needs for medical reason. Thankfully we have a medical account that we are building back up to help cover this but it is not going to cover it all.

My husband also needs tires desperately on his car.

We make enough money to cover our bills comfortably but when you add on some medical debt and multiple emergencies at once, I’m feeling extremely overwhelmed.

Besides working as much as possible and selling things (I just sold a saddle And I’m looking to sell one more. As well as other old tack that I don’t need.) Is there anything else obvious of what I should do?

I typically like to do everything but kind of a gold standard but my therapist is telling me that right now I need to let that go a little. But it’s creating extra stress on me. You can’t always do everything by the gold standards sometimes it needs to be good enough.

Thank you. I’m sorry if this is jumbled.


Also adding that if we can somehow survive this year, things will be significantly better next year and then from then on we would be living fairly comfortably. But It’s been years since I’ve been so financially stressed. And my mental health is taking a beating which is not helping the situation.


I’m sorry you’re going through this.

I would personally find the horse the lowest cost turnout board situation. It won’t hurt him to live out. I wouldn’t be spending money on expensive injections. When life calms down, you can put him back in work and see what you need to do. Turnout is GREAT for most problems. Let it be one less thing.


This is a rough time for you. I’m sorry you are struggling so hard.

You might consider finding a ranch with some acreage and just turn your horse out for a year. It’ll either cure the stifle problem, or there isn’t a cure for it. That was the old “cowboy” way. Turn them out, let them heal or not.

You’ve got other things that will demand your time than your horse for the next year or so. Going back to work, or working part time is a big change, and can present its own stresses – kind of depends on what kind of person you are. Some people find that change very validating and some find it even more stressful. Think about your likely reaction before you jump into something new.

You can make a bit of a game out of financial hardship (since you know you will recover, it just will take time). Make it your job to outline the situation on paper (spreadsheets), find the ‘quick payoff’ items first, so you can get over those humps and feel like you’ve made progress. Re-discover the library. Learn some new cooking approaches with less expensive ingredients. Think of yourself as ‘camping’ or ‘living in a foreign country’ for the next couple years – that will help soften the notion of the gold standard. Many of the steps/compromises/changes you are making right now are somewhat temporary in nature. Discover the local fun spots rather than feeling sad over not having a big vacation. That sort of thing.

It’s just for a short period of time. It can be a period of time that teaches you a lot about other people, other lives, other ways of doing things if you let it.

Good luck to you.


Yes. Put the horse on a field. Don’t rack up big bills on the dog. Yes, I know people spend $15,000 to get an extra year of life for an aged dog, but it’s not a wise expense when things are tight.

Put your family on an expense diet. Really cut out take out food, clothing, and random household purchases.

Your child’s medical needs are first priority. Contacts now. Braces can likely wait a year.

The next priority is what you need to hold a job, so tires on the car.

The next priority is household repairs that impact functionality. So you need heat, water, no leaks. Does the roof leak? Can it go another year before repair? Aesthetic repairs like painting decorating landscaping are not a priority.

Your husband is bringing in enough money that you should be able to manage if you tighten your belts. Say you put the horse on a field for a year, paying $200 a month instead of $1000 plus vet bills and new saddle pads. That’s a big savings, money for tires and roof too I expect.


I’m going to echo put the horse on field board and just let him be a horse for a year or so.
For the tires, do you have a used tire place around you? We have a couple of places around me that you can get near new tires for under $50/ tire installed on pretty much any kind of vehicle.
The dog maybe adding something like Purina’s dog GI supplement or something simple might give him some relief without major vet bills


Hugs. When it rains, it pours.

Another echo to find a field for the horse, let him chill in the pasture as economically as possible.

Do not rack up additional debt or expenses on your dog or horse.

It can be hard to do, but your family comes first.


Oof…I hear you friend. Keep at it.

A few things come to mind:

  • As many have said…put the horse on pasture board and try some “Dr. Green”
  • I would have a serious conversation with my vet about the dog. “Money’s tight…are there other options?” (Example: my dog came back with high liver values when she had her yearly physical. My vet said we could do an abdominal ultrasound…nope…or try a liver supplement for 30 days and retest…perfect)
  • Consider used tires for the car. You can always replace them with better when money frees up.
  • Consider interest fee Care Credit for the braces or see if you can push those down the road. I don’t really want to encourage more debt, but maybe you can time it for a few months out…so once money frees up you can pay it right off.
  • Trim fat from your expenses: multiple streaming services? Cut it down to one and rotate to a new one every few months. Gym membership? Get an app that costs $10/month for at home workouts. Usually shop at WholeFoods? Try a regional, less boutique, grocery store.

Good luck…I am glad that you see this is short term!


Lots of great ideas so far.

I want to add, this is not only your burden.

I am not saying to dump this on the kid, but you can turn it into a family discussion. Over dinner talk about ways, as a family, that you can save money to cover all of these large expenses that seem to have dropped at once.
Instead of going to the salon to get your hair done, you and daughter can make a new bonding experience of helping each other do your hair.
Packing lunches for work and school for example, can be a team effort.

Can braces for daughter’s teeth wait a year?


check the national tire companies such as Discount Tires they have promotional discounts of 5% if purchase is made with their credit card that offers zero percent financing if paid within terms (up to one year, time period depends upon total purchase)



Defer orthodontic treatment for a year.

Spend that on tires- DH safety over daughter’s cosmetics.

Defer new roof unless it is leaking, and if it is can it be patched to give you time?

And crunch numbers to see if full time job will really pay off. Things like higher tax bracket, commuting expenses, and other tangibles. And also quality of life effects.

Best wishes.


OK my thoughts. First, you’ve gone through a crisis just a few weeks ago, you need to process that on its own time and give it some space to work through. I suspect some of that is bleeding through to your money stress because you sound like part of you knows how to deal with the number crunching of the bills and part of you is emotionally stressed out about it. I’m glad you have a therapist b/c you need to be on this priority list too.

In your shoes I’d stop going to the vet. Find a hillside pasture if you can and turn the horse out or do what you can do at home for him without spending money on him. Find different things you can do for both (google/coth/etc) without throwing a lot of money at the vet.

You have your punch list here so that’s good. Jot it down in a notebook and organize your numbers and thoughts there. Look at the notebook, tackle the things as you work through them, then shut the notebook and focus on the rest of your life and be present there. Don’t wear it in your head all day long, that will only drag you down. Getting things done and prioritized is a project right now but it’s not your entire life, don’t let it seep into your every moment.

Get a second opinion on the roof unless it’s actively leaking. Trust but verify if it really needs replacing or if it can be repaired for winter or will likely last.

Daughter gets contacts now and find out if braces can wait until next year or spring. I found the ortho’s really pushed on the need for braces on my daughter and then later others said they weren’t necessary. Maybe let that one simmer for six months or so unless you know it’s needed now.

Tires-consider this. Find a shop that will put on tires that you order online. Backyard shop even. We order from Discount Tire and while my husband is able to change out our tires we do have a local guy that just does tires and will put them on for cheap. Run the numbers on whatever quote you get for all this. Or, as above, buy used tires that will work for winter. Can you delegate this task to DH?

I think this feels really overwhelming to you but as you’ll see from the load of responses you will get here, for us it’s just a puzzle b/c we don’t have the emotions and stress involved. Granted it’s your life so you are feeling that but find a way to compartmentalize the stress and don’t give it any more power than it requires.

Lower your standards, go back to gold standard later if you want to. Right now you’re just cobbling things together to get a little further down the line, that’s fine. The gold standard for this situation is to get through it healthy, optimistic, balanced and show your daughter that when things get tough we gear down and plow through it without being miserable.

Keep selling things and poking around at job possibilities. Put the word out, if you’re the type that can handle it maybe some inhome daycare could work as an income that you can control. I couldn’t do that but I did start a side gig cleaning houses that was pretty good money for not a lot of hours/investment.

I like what aregard said about reframing it; it feels like a crisis to you but you’re also recovering emotionallyl from what happened a few weeks ago. The financial recovery aspect can be reframed as a challenge and opportunity in disguise sort of thing. It’s numbers and it sounds like you are comfortable enough financially that you aren’t starving, you’re just rebounding.

I see others are saying a lot the same things I’ve been typing, you’re going to get a lot of good ideas.
Please do take care of your headspace so you and your family are still happy and healthy while you work on the number game!


Thank guys. I did forget about another decently sized expense which is my daughter’s lease horse. But that is something I’m not willing to let go because it’s been a hard year for her emotionally because of what we went through a few months ago. And that horse has been such a safe place for her. It’s only 325 a month and my parents help a bit. I did ask for a little bit more help from them if they can. With lessons it comes out to $525 a month. So I’m seeing if they could take a bigger check of the lease. And we might be able to work off some money for the lessons.

My board thankfully is pretty cheap. I hate to move him and lose my spot in a horse climate or barns are closing left and right. But it’s something I’m going to look into for sure. I probably could set up for him to get all day turnout at no cost. And he lives in an outdoor pen with a 31 ft run when he’s not turned out.

I did forget that we have a little medical account that can cover contacts. And eventually it can cover braces but not right now. It gets paid into every month.

We’re definitely not really eating out more shopping and to really tightened down the last few months. September will be an incredibly lucrative month so that should cover the roof… And we are putting that aside as long as we can.

I think the real stress is the horse and the dog.

The vet wants me to put him on $100 food which I think would only last half a month. I’m really not sure that that’s feasible. And I’m not sure an ultrasound and blood work and all that is really going to be in the cards. He’s a young dog but he’s also a bit fear aggressive and he’s kind of just hard to deal with in general. not towards our family but towards strangers. Meaning that every time he goes to the vet he pretty much has to be sedated if they are doing anything other than putting eyeballs on them. That adds to the expense and a little bit of the stress.

The situation is going to take a while to improve completely, But I think if we can get through the next even 2 months it will improve dramatically. I think my anxiety is kind of going haywire of the other unknown stuff that can happen in life.

Thank you. I’m definitely going to be rereading all the replies and think about my next moves. I think it definitely cannot inject the horse. Maybe it’ll be a equioxx and hang out type situation. Or maybe just hang out for 6 months or more.


might also want to pull all three of the national credit reports to make sue there are not any errors which have or could reduce your credit scores which can affect such things as insurance costs

Regarding auto insurance review just what coverage you have and the mileage expectation…we have one car that sets in the drive most of time, I had the expected mileage reduced to 1500 per year which dropped the cost of the coverage by about $20/month


Good idea! We also got rid of cable which was such a big, unnecessary cost.

There’s definitely savings to be found if you look hard enough.


When it rains, it pours. I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with so many heavy things all at once. I can somewhat relate… I have had to deal with a handful of extremely difficult situations within a fairly short timeframe. Within the past three years: two grandparents died, mom has some serious health issues, remaining grandma developed severe dementia, I went through a rough divorce and had to deal with lots of financial stress related to that, had to sell my horses, moved out of state, worked through a career shift, and to top it all off my little brother just died a few weeks ago. It f*cking sucks when it feels like life dumps everything on you all at once.

Of course our situations are different, but I shared all of that just to say that I can sorta kinda relate to how incredibly difficult and emotionally and mentally draining it can be for things to pile up one after the other after the other. And I know what it feels like to have your savings wiped out. It’s scary, and heavy, and hard.

On the dog situation… my elderly dog is my best friend, and she has GI issues as well. She’s super high maintenance and has food allergies and will sometimes go off of her food, or get an upset tummy. It is not in the cards for me to spend a ton of money on diagnostics, but I do everything within my power to keep her comfortable. Through trial and error, I have found a food that seems to keep her tummy happy. It was also recommended to put her on a probiotic. I did that, and it made a world of a difference. She eats much better when she’s getting the probiotic (Dr Mercola). Perhaps you could try a different brand of dog food that is good and high quality, but less expensive than the one the vet is recommending? Or do something like add in a probiotic, just to see if that might help?

On the horse, I highly recommend some Dr. Green (turnout in a big field with a herd for a few months or more). I have done this before, with good results. Your horse will enjoy the downtime, it will likely help with the horse’s healing, and you will get a financial break. When life settles down and you are ready, you can pick up where you left off and go from there.

Hang in there. One foot in front of the other. Breathe. I have found it super helpful to try and meditate for 10 minutes at least once a day, and I also try to spend time outside every day, even if it’s just for a short walk. I’m horseless at the moment so I no longer have that as an outlet, but I try to get out for hikes and bike rides when time allows. These things have helped my anxiety and stress as I’ve struggled to navigate through all of life’s difficulties lately.


I think part of it is I wanted to aggressively pay off the debt. All this extra stuff happening, I think means that for a few months we might just need to do minimum payments.

Again, I struggle with wanting to do things at a gold standard. It’s not helping my stress.

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Be kind to yourself. Truly. Extend to yourself the same kindness and compassion that you would give to others. Take care of yourself. It is okay to not do things to a gold standard while you are going through all of this. Give yourself space for flexibility. It will all work out, just do what you need to do. :slight_smile:


As someone who’s story is a little different but similar in so many ways and a little further along, meaning I am hoping this is the last year of struggle, I can tell you what’s gotten me through the last few years. It hasn’t been easy. Biggest struggle is with me, though. in more ways than one. I found myself unexpectedly alone going through this, but also, I struggle with worry and anxiety. A lot. That’s the part I didn’t realize I could control, and that’s the part I really needed to focus on.

But first. Others have had great advice regarding bills - I was able to do what I needed to (consolidated a few loans etc.) so that I could get the roof replaced, take care of some medical bills, and still comfortably pay the monthly bills. All my savings had been wiped out at this point. To start, I funneled a small amount of each paycheck directly into a savings until I had rebuilt enough for a small emergency fund. This I needed because I didn’t have any reserves left and nowhere to turn if I needed help. Knowing I had that money there, just in case, was huge for me. Yes, consolidating and only paying the payments each month (no extra towards principal) meant I probably paid a little more in interest, but I set myself up so that knew I could afford to pay all the bills each month, have enough for food and those little expenses that come up, and not be late or miss any payments. I also budgeted like crazy. Really crazy. Again, it was just me and the animals, so it probably was easier to be hard on just myself instead of a family, but putting things on paper and looking at loan balances and thinking about every single purchase really does help make hard decisions. The animals had medical expenses that I couldn’t deny, but me? Much easier to deny myself! I would never have believed I could go without the things I now have gone without for ~3 years. Once I had my goal emergency fund, which was probably not enough by most financial expert recommendations, but it felt like it would be enough for me, I started to take the paycheck money I had been funneling into savings to pay more than the minimum on the loans. It became almost a fun challenge to squeak out what I could from expenses to pay on the loans, and nothing is more rewarding than seeing that outstanding balance drop or paying a loan off 6 months early. Once I hit a milestone like paying that loan off, I felt I could start adding to my emergency fund again and/or loosening the budget to allow for those things I’d put off doing because they could be put off. I have had to dip into the emergency fund a time or two, first order of business was to build it back. I’m clearly not a financial advisor but this helped me sleep at night.

And on sleeping at night, or not sleeping at night as it were – the biggest problem I dealt with? - that would be me. I am my biggest problem. My anxiety and worry. I worked really hard at, what’s that saying? “Only dealing with the alligators circling closest to the boat. Don’t put any focus on the ones further out.” I was worrying about all the alligators. I worried about alligators that hadn’t even showed up yet. Now I focus on what’s important. Being present. Repeat as necessary: “I did the budget, I paid the bills on time, I have a plan. I know I will get there eventually.” Do not give it any more of your time than that. For me, it’s working.

Good luck! It’s not easy but you will make it through.


Loads of great advice already posted re: economizing. But if your daughter is old enough to have contacts, braces and a lease horse, there’s no real kid-related reason for you not to be looking for a full-time job as of yesterday unless you’ve left out a significant detail? Depending on how part-time you’re working now and your skillset/earning potential it sounds like that would go a long way toward getting you through this tight spot.