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by Maurie Backman | Published on Dec. 4, 2021
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New data reveals that medical costs could impact the upcoming holidays for many families.
It's no secret that healthcare costs can be overwhelming, even for people who have health insurance. In a recent Aflac survey, 43% of U.S. households with children expect to make some adjustments to their holiday plans in light of rising medical expenses. In fact, 41% of parents plan to pick up extra hours at work so they're able to cover their healthcare costs and celebrate the holidays the way they want to.
The holidays can be an expensive time of the year. They can also be a source of debt for families even when medical bills aren't piling up. But if you've recently been hit with a host of medical expenses, then you may need to alter your holiday plans to avoid landing deep in debt.
Now, altering your plans doesn't have to mean cutting back on parties and decorations or skimping heavily on gifts. If you don't want to go that route, you could join the ranks of the 41% of parents in the survey who are taking on extra work during the holidays.
These days, a lot of industries are struggling with labor shortages, and there may be more opportunities to pick up a side hustle on top of your main job. Plus, businesses tend to need more hands on deck during the holidays, so if you're willing to work evenings and/or weekends, you might manage to drum up enough cash to pay your medical bills and cover the holiday purchases you feel will make the season special.
You could also look at getting a more flexible side hustle if you feel you need that leeway. That might mean signing up to write web content or do data entry work from home. Or, it could mean driving for a ride-hailing company and picking up passengers when it works for you.
Of course, if getting a side job isn't possible for you (maybe there just isn't enough time between your main job and household obligations), then you may need to rethink some of your holiday plans. If that's the case, list your anticipated holiday expenses in order of priority, and use the money you have on hand to tackle your most pressing items first.
It's unfortunate that medical bills may force some families to reconsider the way they enjoy the holidays. But remember, when it comes to celebrating the season, there are ways to indulge your children without spending a fortune. Get into pajamas for a hot chocolate and movie marathon, or bake up a storm so your kids can enjoy their favorite treats.
While your kids may have wish lists loaded with expensive gifts, those may not be in the cards if your healthcare costs have recently monopolized too much of your income. But that doesn't mean you can't give your children a holiday season to remember.
At the same time, do your best to pad your savings account in the new year so you have an easier time covering healthcare costs as they arise. That way, you may not have to make some of the same hard choices the next time the holidays roll around.
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