Newsflash: egg freezing is expensive.
As a hard-working, independent woman maybe it’s uncomfortable acknowledging that paying for egg freezing is a concern. We all want to feel like we can take care of business. The bottom line is, you can. It's just that the bottom line is that egg freezing is an unwelcome extra cost (running to around US$13,000) on top of all the other things you usually spend on and save for, especially if you need multiple cycles.
So we're diving into some ways you can reduce at least one area of fertility stress that you might be grappling with right now: assembling the cash.
We hear a lot about companies and insurers paying out for fertility treatments including egg freezing cycles. But the reality is that’s still the minority of women. Unfortunately, most health-care plans don’t cover the procedure if it is considered elective. And while an estimated 5% of all American companies with more than 500 staff offer egg freezing as a benefit...that of course means 95% don’t.
As researchers have pointed out, individual women like us are shouldering the financial burden of what is a global infertility crisis caused by a general shift in family structures, the rising age that people of both genders are becoming parents, and because it’s just plain far harder to start a family within our reproductive years than it was for our parents generation.
As if we need another cost on our shoulders with the wage gap, motherhood penalty etc. etc...!
The point is, it's not unusual to be feeling the pinch around this decision.
SO, how can we finesse our finances to look after the cents so the dollars for the future take care of themselves?
TIP 1: Er...actually SAVE!
So this one is pretty obvious, but it sits at Number 1 because even if you're already saving, could you be doing it better? Let’s face it, yes, we all could.
Auto-deduction and monthly auto-transfers to your savings account can help you avoid having to be personally disciplined in this area: it makes the decision for you.
Maybe you’ve emptied your savings for this procedure and you’re in debt...in that case, saving means something different. Saving in small ways every day, in order to clear it faster.
Check out this round-up of The Best Money Saving Apps 2020.
TIP 2: Follow the Three Golden Rules for Shopping
Golden Rule 1: Spend on the REAL you, not the person you want to be! (We've all been there.)
Golden Rule 2: If you can’t afford it, just say no.
Golden Rule 3: Only buy it if the cost-per-use adds up.
TIP 3: Create a Financial Calendar
Set yourself appointment reminders for financial events in your calendar just like you do for everything else like work, doctor's appointments and birthdays.
Make sure to include all things you want to avoid penalties on, like your taxes or repayments of loans and credit cards. It's also a good idea to include dates to cancel free trials of online products so you don't end up getting stung for the full subscription whack.
TIP 4: Stick to the 30% Rule
In a nutshell, this means:
Budget only around 30% of your income for non-essential lifestyle spending. So that’s going to the movies, eating out—basically, anything that doesn’t cover the basic necessities.
AND keep your credit use below 30% of your total available credit. Why? Because it can damage your credit score if you’re using more than 30% of your available credit. If you want to calculate this figure (officially called your "credit utilization rate"): just divide the total amount on all of your credit cards by your total available credit.
TIP 5: Beware the compound effect
If you have any debts or credit cards, you're going to want to make sure you’re paying off loans with the highest interest rate first.
"Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn't, pays it.” - Albert Einstein
Beware the compound interest effect with credit card debts. It might be better shifting the debt into another product with an interest-free period...
Check out this explainer on Credit Cards and Compound Interest by American Express.
TIP 6: Take the All-Cash Challenge
This is pretty simple and self explanatory, but can really help if you find yourself overspending every month.
At the start of the week set yourself a spending budget, ditch the plastic into a safe place at home and avoid temptations by just taking along what you know you can afford to spend each day!
Read more about setting yourself up to take the One Month Cash Challenge.
TIP 7: Schedule a "Me + Money" Meeting
Some people advocate doing this every day for a few minutes. If you've got the time and wherewithal for that, yay for you. For everyone else with a busy job and life that makes that feel like it's never going to happen, try the entry-level version: just set aside a 5 or 10 minute slot on the same day each week when you log in and scan your transactions. (You can schedule this into your financial calendar, too...)
Not only are you going to stay on top of problems, you’ll also be more aware of what you’re spending as a nice side boost.
TIP 8: Consider Negotiating a Bigger Salary.
You know that men are proven to do this WAY more than women right?
Something to note is that your employer is not sitting there waiting to give you extra money...you’ve got to think tactically. Come up with reasons to show the value you bring to the company, gesture a little scarcity. Show them reasons to want to keep you.
See this Guardian article for expert tips on Negotiating a Pay Rise.
TIP 9: Learn to Savour
In general terms, it's worth spending some time considering your mindset around spending. How much of what you buy, consume or enjoy do you really need, or even derive that much joy from? If you can adjust this pattern and then afford to do a cycle or two of egg freezing, will that add more to your long-term happiness?
Learning to savour involves appreciating what you have now, instead of trying to get happy by acquiring more material things.
It’s trite, but many of life’s greatest pleasures are free: walking in nature, a good conversation, borrowing a book, going for a run, getting enough sleep...having sex! You probably don’t need a new outfit, you can feed your joy in other ways.
TIP 10: Play the Long Game
A quick final thing we want to point out is that despite the perceived costs of organic foods, supplements and living as healthy as possible a lifestyle as you can now, it might actually save you money in the long run. Bringing your healthiest self to the fertility game reduces the chance you’ll need to actually use your frozen eggs by paying out for IVF in the future, as it could help maintain your natural fertility.
Not only that, if you do need fertility treatment, by being healthier now (meaning: consuming good quality organic foods, using non-toxic home and personal care products, exercising regularly, maintaining an optimal BMI, investing in sleep and avoiding toxins like cigarettes and drugs) you might end up needing fewer cycles of egg freezing or IVF.
Now that's truly shrewd.