As much as I love the thrill of free things, some things in life are not free.
In fact, some things in life are not even frugal.
More importantly, some things in life are just down right expensive.
So where is the line to be drawn? For what things do we plan, save, and ultimately just bite the bullet and fork over a huge wad of cash because there are no cheap ways around it?
And when I say no cheap ways around it, I mean “no cheap ways.” I’ve exhausted the search.  (I’ve researched it…trust me on this.)
And when I say cash, I mean pay cash.
(I will be addressing this issue in my next post.)
For three years, the dentist has told us it’s time we consider getting braces on our boys. For three years, I have procrastinated because that amount of money would be more than we even spent on our cars.  And it gave me a tummy ache thinking of it.
I knew it had to be done. I knew it was a necessary and important investment in the lives of our children. I knew that it was more than just making cosmetic considerations – the boys  had actual structural adjustments that needed to be addressed (which also made it more expensive).
While my husband was still employed, we bit the bullet knowing we had a small allotment from our dental insurance that we wanted to make sure we used. We put all three sons in braces on the same day ( I know…what were we thinking), and mourned the monthly cash payment that would be paid out (since it equaled our grocery budget for the whole month).
Little did we know that two months later would begin a year of unemployment. I won’t  lie and tell you that it didn’t make me extremely nervous, and yes, even stressed. Half way through I pondered, “Can I rip these little suckers off myself and save that money?” 🙂 Yet I knew that our dear friend and orthodontist, who I highly recommend, would have worked with us had it come to that. Choose wisely when making this decision – it makes a huge difference!
Well, a year and a half later (and thousands and thousands of dollars poorer), our eldest little boy…

HAS become a MAN! Yikes, when did that happen?
(Waaa…I don’t know if I’m more emotional about the financial investment or the fact that he’s not my little boy anymore. 🙂 hee hee )

Our other two sons still have a ways to go, but we have paid cash for all three boys and lived to tell about it.
This is one of the few times that I will tell you my frugal reality wasn’t too frugal, but the expensive investment was worth every penny (or at least I will believe that in another year or two…hee hee :)).

Has anyone found any ways to save on braces besides just shopping around?

When I wore braces many moons ago, my father bartered his financial planning services for the cost of my orthodontics.

Have you bartered for any services? It’s a wonderful option these days.