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Monday, April 8, 2019

How to Live Frugally with a Chronic Illness


Being ill can get expensive, and when your illness is a chronic one, this is an expense that won't ever go away. I have some dear friends with chronic illnesses, and therefore I really appreciate these tips sent from a reader as to how to live frugally with a chronic illness.

As if both your physical and emotional stress wasn’t enough, when you go through life with a chronic illness, you also have to deal with added financial strain. Chronic conditions, whether they’re caused by a mental health issue, cardiovascular condition, or physical or intellectual disability, are expensive. You have to worry about doctor’s appointments, medical devices, treatments, and medications. Your ability to earn money to support yourself (and your family) may also be compromised.

Fortunately, there are ways to live frugally with a chronic illness. Here are a few ideas to get you started.



1. Buy cheaper medications.

Many people with a chronic illness take regular medication, and the cost of which can quickly add up. As most people know, the United States has one of the most expensive pharmaceutical markets in the world.

One way to ease the burden on your wallet is shopping online for prescription medication through an international or Canadian drug center website. One such website Canadian Med Center can connect you to licensed pharmacies abroad that sell popular medications like NEXIUM®  (esomeprazole) and ELIQUIS® (apixaban) for significantly lower prices. These types of websites can offer you these low prices because countries outside of the United States typically have substantially stricter drug price regulations.

2. Buy generic medications.

Even if you decide to buy your medication at your local brick-and-mortar pharmacy, you can save money by buying generic versions of your medication instead of the brand-name versions.

Generic drugs may make you uneasy if they are significantly cheaper, but don’t worry. By law, there is virtually no difference allowed between the effectiveness and quality of generic and brand-name drugs. In fact, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, generic drugs must have:
  • The same active ingredient as the original brand-name drug
  • The same strength
  • The same dosage and route of administration, such as oral or topical

3. Take advantage of employment support and resources.

Many people don’t like the idea of receiving charity, but support programs and resources aren’t free handouts. They’re merely tools designed to get you on an even playing field with everyone else. For these programs to work, you have to put in the effort too.

If you have a disability and are in the market for a new job that fits your needs, there are numerous government resources to help you. For example, the federal government provides a separate hiring process for candidates with disabilities who qualify.

Remember, many organizations nowadays want to diversify their workforce. The perspective of an employee with chronic illness is extremely valuable for a progressive company hoping to reach as many clients as possible.

4. Apply preventive health measures.

Having a chronic illness may mean you are more susceptible to certain diseases. Talk to your doctor about preventive measures you can take to prevent or delay more serious issues from happening.

Some of these preventive measures may include the following checklist items:

Get vaccinated to avoid complications from infectious diseases.
Eat healthy and be as active as possible.
Practise safer sex.
Quit smoking, and avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.
Avoid overconfidence and unnecessary risks like dangerous and extreme sports.
If you do choose to engage in riskier activities, invest in adequate safety equipment.

5. Participate in research.

Participating in medical research is a great way to both earn some extra cash and help science find more effective treatments for your condition.

Of course, participating in scientific research comes with risks, and you should never do something you’re not 100% comfortable with. However, there are minimally invasive studies that can be as simple as filling out a questionnaire. What’s more, you may benefit from a new, effective treatment, which is always exciting!

You can learn more about risks, benefits, and compensation from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center here.

6. Get paid, and give back to your community.

As a person with a chronic illness, you have a unique first-hand perspective that can interest a lot of people. So consider sharing your story. For example, you can submit writing to magazines, newspapers, and blogs, which may compensate you for your work.

If you are artistically inclined, you can use your experience as an inspirational source for creative work, which can also pay you back.

However, the best reward you’ll probably get from providing your perspective is knowing how you can make a difference simply by spreading awareness. You can also help someone in a similar situation feel less alone.

See my disclaimer.

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