Do Personal Finance Yourself.

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An expense shock that parents should account for

This past week, life happened. My wife was away on the West Coast visiting family, and she got a call from our daughter who’s away at college. She was having stomach pain, and after being checked on campus, it was recommended she go to the ER.


I immediately began getting ready to make a road trip to be with my daughter.


Once the doctor arrived, he took his time explaining everything and reviewing the CAT scan in detail. He explained how the offsite service could have made the miss-diagnoses and how he and his colleagues came to their conclusion. He was going to release my daughter on a restricted diet, and unless her symptoms re-occurred, there was no follow-up needed. After almost 12-hours of sleep, my daughter woke up feeling fine. We both felt relieved.


The Expense Shock


Yes, there is a money component to this story. Before the phone call, I had plans to attend work, pack my lunch of leftovers and cook dinner at home each of these two days. That plan when quickly out the window, and so did some money I did not expect to spend. Here’s how that unexpected cost broke down:


Gas – $65.01 – I gassed up twice. Once before leaving home and once before returning.

Tolls – $35 – We use EZpass to make traveling convenient. It also offers a discount. The replenish threshold is $35.

Food – $32.19 – I packed some snacks and bottled water, and tried to limit my eating out over the course of the two-day trip.

Hotel – $122.53 – There are not too many options in my daughter’s college town.

Walmart – $46.09 – My daughter was released on a restricted diet. we needed to pick up some food items for her. We also pick up a gift card and thank you car for her RA to thank her for spending the night in the ER and being so supportive.

PTO – I have plenty of sick and vacation days from my employers. So no cost here.

Medical Bills – Unknown – We have employer-provided medical insurance, but I’m sure there will be a percentage of the ER visit that will not be paid. Our ER co-pay is $150.


So the total unexpected cost of this live happening event stands at $300.82. There will be more to come on this one.

I had no plans on spending an extra $300 last week, but, like I said, life happens.