12 Ways to Save Money During Cancer Treatment

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Photo: Photo by Ashley Mac Photographs

Counting Money

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It’s normal to worry about affording your usual expenses when you or a loved one is going through cancer. You’re not alone — up to 73% of cancer patients experience financial hardship during cancer treatment.1

These cost-saving tips are here to relieve some stress around travel, food, and other everyday costs so you can focus on what matters most — you and your loved one’s health.

Family Breakfast
Ambar, a single mom facing breast cancer, eating breakfast with her children

1. Fill your tank on Mondays

Gas prices are usually lowest on Mondays and highest on weekends. If you can, fill up the Monday before your next appointment or long drive.

You can also use an app like GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas stations near you.

2. Fly on Tuesdays or Wednesdays

If you have to travel long distances for treatment, mid-week flights are usually the cheapest, while ticket prices peak on Fridays and Sundays. Save even more on flights by setting price drop alerts with sites like Kayak, Skyscanner, or Airfarewatchdog and booking with miles or points.

3. Get the most out of grocery discounts

Grocery coupons expire the same day new ones go out, so shop on the overlapping day to get sale prices from both coupon flyers. If you always go to the same store, sign up for a loyalty card to take advantage of rewards and discounts.

4. Pack meals for the road

When you have the time and energy, a packed meal costs half the price of a takeout meal. For long travel or days spent at the treatment center, packing food ahead of time can help save money.

5. Avoid convenience stores

Convenience stores charge significantly higher prices than conventional stores and supermarkets. When you can, shop at regular grocery stores, department stores, or local retailers to avoid spending extra money.

6. Buy generic

Opt for generic versions of brand-name items because they can be 30-60% less expensive.

7. Download money-saving apps

Apps like Ibotta, Shopkick, and Checkout 51 will help you save money on groceries. RetailMeNot and Honey offer automatic discounts when you shop online.

8. Use your reward points

Cash in your rewards from credit cards, department stores, and loyalty programs to pay for everyday items or treatment-related purchases.

9. Try thrift stores, Facebook Marketplace, and Buy Nothing groups

These community resources can save you money on items like clothes, toys, furniture, and office supplies.

10. Clean out your closets

Set aside unwanted, gently used items to sell on free apps like OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, or Poshmark. If you have birthdays or holidays coming up, you may even be able to re-gift or DIY with some items you already have.

11. Buy refurbished electronics

Save money on big-ticket technology like smartphones, computers, and video game consoles by purchasing refurbished items rather than brand-new ones.

12. Start new traditions

There are affordable ways to make holidays, birthdays, and weekends feel special. Get crafty with handmade decorations, gather for potlucks to share the load of group meals, bake sweet treats together, host game nights at home, and plan virtual gatherings to connect with friends and family from afar.


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Thomas G. Knight, Melissa Aguiar, Myra Robinson, Allison Martin, Tommy Chen, Rupali Bose, Jing Ai, Brittany K. Ragon, Aleksander L. Chojecki, Nilay A. Shah, Srinivasa R. Sanikommu, James Symanowski, Edward A Copelan, Michael R. Grunwald; Financial Toxicity Intervention Decreases Mortality in High Risk Hematologic Malignancy Patients. Blood 2020; 136 (Supplement 1): 14–15. doi: https://doi.org/10.1182/blood-2020-137222

Cassie Davis
Lead Navigator

As Lead Navigator, Cassie helps lead Family Reach’s programs to deliver non-medical financial support to individuals and families facing cancer nationwide. She ensures that our team of Resource Navigators has the tools they need to provide the best support possible.

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