The Emergency Fund Dilemma

When I first became interested in personal finance, the two things I wanted to start right away were an RRSP and an emergency fund.

I’m one of those people who think really long term, like I feel at peace when I’ve got a 10-year plan, so starting a retirement fund was a no-brainer. As for the emergency fund, the main reason I wanted to start one was because I never wanted to experience being as broke as I was when I first moved out again.

Having just a couple hundred bucks in the bank is pretty scary, so I set up automatic withdrawals into my emergency fund every paycheque so I could set it, save it, and forget it. It wasn’t until just a few weeks ago, that’s about a year after I started my emergency fund, that I found out I might just have my first emergency on my hands. Well, that’s actually the hard part to discern, whether it’s a real emergency or not.

A little while ago I went to the dentist for my once-a-year cleaning, and my dentist noticed something odd. I have a few teeth with receding gums and apparently that’s neither normal nor good. So, I was referred to a specialist and apparently, I need to get some dental surgery done. It’s nothing serious, but basically, I need a procedure to take some gums from another part of my mouth, then stitch those gums over top of the receding gums teeth.

First off, gross! Secondly, this relatively simple procedure will cost me a whopping $3500! What the what?! Maybe it’s because I’ve never really had any major dental work done before, or because I was covered under my parents plan for most of my life, but I had no idea how expensive dental stuff was!

Luckily, I have dental coverage through my work, but only covers $1300, meaning I’ve still got to cough up $2,200 of my own money. I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much money on anything besides my laptop, so I’m not quite sure what to do here. Sure, it’s my health. If I don’t do this, it’ll only get worse, and I’ll really just be delaying a procedure that will have to happen eventually.

Also, I’ve got the money in my emergency fund, but I know how long and hard it was to save that money up so I’m not so sure I’m ready to let it go. I know it sounds ridiculous, this is why I’ve saved up the money, but as much as I love to spend, I love to save even more! Am I a money hoarder? Yes, yes, I think I am.

Do you ever have a hard time spending money you’ve saved up?

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