1) Save where you can
If you have been saving for a ‘rainy day’… this is that day! We had very little in our savings account. The phrase ‘pot to piss in’ springs to mind. We barely put anything aside for a rainy day so the very little we did have dried up very quickly. If you are still able to work then please make sure you are saving what you can. Now might be the time to cancel that barely used gym membership or the fancy TV package. You may come to a point when you need that money! If you are lucky to have any sort of savings put aside, be prepared to dip into it and don’t beat yourself up if you have to. You can always build savings back up when things get easier. 2) Be sure you are claiming what you are entitled to
It wasn’t until a while after our cancer diagnosis that I realised there were benefits we were entitled to that we had never claimed. It was actually only when being made homeless that our case worker at the council pointed out that with two children and our low income we should be claiming tax credits- I had never even heard of them before! When I think back to how much these extra deposits would have helped us during Taylin’s cancer treatment I kick myself for having no idea! You may also qualify for DLA (disability living allowance), do look into this. To quote a famous supermarket, every little helps! 3) Don’t be too proud
We have a very supportive family who I’m sure would move mountains for us if they could but we felt very reluctant to ‘fess up to how badly our finances were being affected. I’m sure had we been upfront and honest straight away we could have alleviated a lot of unnecessary stress. Don’t wait till you’re desperate, if you need help, ask! Also, at this time in need, if a family member says there’s no need to pay borrowed money back, accept the offer. 4) Do accept charity
This one is a good follow on from the last. There are so many amazing charities who will become a vital part of your support network. Many will give grants to those undergoing cancer treatment or help you fill in all the complicated paperwork to apply for funds. Charities will provide support that you may not have even considered you might need. One lovely, local charity, Momentum, provided our daughter with music therapy and even the use of a holiday home as we came to the end of her chemotherapy
– things that we couldn’t have dreamed of affording at that time but helped so much.This is a pretty good list of charities who may be able to offer you support and is a good starting point, you’ll be amazed at the kindness charities and their workers will show you: help & support 5) Keep track of your outgoings
You will be amazed at how costs add up when you’re in and out of hospital, from work days missed to car parking, to congestion charge payments (if driving in and out of London), to eating food from the hospital canteen. All these costs quickly stack up. If you can, get organised. Bring a packed lunch with you to appointments (better yet, let a friend prep it for you- people want to help but won’t always know how, think about what practical help they could be giving), accept offers to be dropped off at the hospital rather than pay parking fees. Keep track of where your money is going but don’t let thoughts of money be at the front of your mind- you have enough to worry about.