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My Father’s Caretaker and Long-Term Financial Implications

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You know the feeling where you’re so overwhelmed with important tasks and to do’s that you can’t do anything and you end up just taking a nap?

Yeah. That’s where I’m at. Not so much with the napping part (though it sounds nice). But, hello little bloggy! Here I am “talking” to you instead of putting my head down and pushing through some pretty important to do’s.

Let’s talk about yesterday.

Longest. Day. Of. My. Life.

Reeeeeeeaaaaaaaaallllly long.

Between my 2 siblings and I (3 of us total), I totally thought I was the most mentally prepared to face my Dad’s health issues. I’m not a super emotional person. I look at things scientifically. Matter-of-factly. I’m a realist.

So I went to this appointment feeling fully prepared to hear what I thought would be “worst case scenario.” I had already in my mind an idea of what I thought that scenario would be.

Nope.

I was wrong. So, so wrong.

It’s worse.

Prognosis is not good. Again, wanting to maintain some privacy for him and not give too many of his personal details, I’m going to be intentionally vague (you may be able to figure it out – which is fine – but I don’t want to just put it all out there on a silver platter).

My dad has a progressive, degenerative disease for which there is no cure. Eventually he will die of it (or complications related to it). Not today. Not tomorrow. But his life span has just been dramatically reduced. He just turned 59 in March. Quite young, relatively speaking.

I will also tell you that the thing he’s been diagnosed with can be genetic. If one inherits the gene mutations associated with this disease, there’s a 50/50 chance of developing it as some point.

It will cut life short. Most people are diagnosed in their 50s, and life expectancy at time of diagnosis ranges from 2-10 years, with most living in the 5-7 range. My dad managed to go undiagnosed for a long time. It’s unlikely he has 5 years. Probably closer to 2. If we’re lucky.

What does this mean for me?

Well, if I have the same gene sequences, there’s a 50% chance I’ll someday have the same thing. That means my life expectancy will be drastically cut. According to here  my life expectancy is 78.7 years (white female born in 1983). But instead it might be closer to 55 or 60. 65 if I’m lucky.

What my Dad has is not curable at this time. There’s also no way to prevent it.

So I’m going to ask my doctor for a referral to a genetic counselor. I want to know if I have these gene mutations. If I have them it’s not a guarantee that I’m “doomed” (again – only 50% chance of developing the disease). But it will undoubtedly change the way I live my life. Knowing I may only be around until my girls are age 30; knowing I may not have the long retirement we all dream and plan for; knowing my life may go in a very different direction than what I would hope.

Unfortunately for this get-out-of-debt blog, many of these long-term implications are financial in nature. I certainly don’t want to leave my family in financial ruin (and I still have every intention of paying off all our debt). BUT I’m not going to put off vacations to once a decade. I’m not going to live bare bones with the hope that someday I’ll be able to live this fabulous life full of fruits and riches that may never end of happening.

Maybe I’m still in a bit of shock and some of these feelings will fade. The emotions are raw right now.

I’m devastated. For my Dad. For my siblings. For me. And for my daughters (God, please don’t let them have this gene mutation!!!)

Sorry to be such a downer today, but this is literally ALL I can think about and I always try to be open and honest with you all. It’d be completely phony to act like nothing is wrong when it feels like the ground has just opened up beneath me.

 

So emotions aside, let’s talk about genetics. And money. Specifically….money for genetic testing.

Anyone know anything about that? It’s probably expensive, huh?

I changed my insurance. I was going to do a Health Savings Account, but I had to switch to a PPO. There’s a chance my Dad may come to live with us for a bit and, if so, he’ll be my dependent and added to my insurance. He’ll need a lot of care so it makes an HSA not beneficial.

Plus, I think my PPO plan will pay for some genetic testing to be done. Remember when I had a genetic screening for the gene mutation responsible for breast and ovarian cancer? That was fully covered under my PPO and my new job’s coverage is the same plan (Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO), so I REALLY REALLY hope they’ll cover some additional genetic screening to be completed. I know this is an area of intense debate. Several commenters were against my last genetic screening. But every person is different. For me, I feel like I NEED to know.

Plus another perk, with the PPO plan a vasectomy is only $30! Remember when we had that conversation?

So I’m just chugging right along. Possible big financial changes ahead (particularly if my Dad does, indeed, move in with us. Still discussing options with the siblings right now). I don’t even know what a best case scenario looks like. There is no best case. Just a bunch of crappy, more crappy, or slightly less crappy options. Just a bunch of crap.

Is it Friday? Thank goodness for that at least! I plan to spend the weekend squeezing my daughters tightly, playing the tickle monster game all day, and just generally smothering them until they tell me to go away because I just want to soak in their sweet little toddler spirits. God bless children for being a rainbow in the midst of a storm!


Financial Priority List

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One of my new favorite things to do since signing my first full-time employment contract is to run numbers over and over again to determine our new debt-free date. 🙂

As a side-note, I ran across an old notebook from last summer (August 2014) where I’d written projected debt-free dates and was slightly heartbroken to see I’d originally hoped to have my car loan paid in full by January 2015. Crusher! Still about 15 grand to go on that one (latest debt update here). But I’ll be hitting it hard once the paychecks start rolling in.

Regarding pay, however, things are still a bit up in the air.

A reader who works in HR commented a couple weeks ago to say that I probably need to receive official permission from my new job to continue working at my online teaching job. I really hadn’t thought anything of it because I know lots of professors who adjunct teach at a community college on the side of their full-time professor gig. But as this is my first full time position and I absolutely do not want ANYTHING to jeopardize it in any way, I called HR to be safe. At first I got a casual response, “I don’t see why that would be an issue but I’ve never had the question before. I’ll check with someone else and call you back.”

So I go the rest of the day thinking I’m A-Okay until I get the call. Even though my part-time job can be completed at nights and on weekends, will not interfere in any way with my new position, and is only adjunct teaching (no additional responsibilities, etc.), the employee handbook has a little section stating that any employment for any other university or college MUST be approved by the department head AND college dean. Ouch.

I’m still hopeful about the situation. I really don’t think it will be a big deal given the parameters of my online teaching job (specifically that it can be completed any time so it won’t cause any impairment to my new day job, and it’s a simple adjunct position). BUT the bottom line is I have to ask for official permission to continue working for the online job and, if I’m told no, there goes my hopes of making serious progress on debt repayment.

Let’s step back a sec and talk numbers without actually talking numbers. Just follow me.

My new full-time job pays about 50% more than my current part-time online teaching job.

BUT

After running the numbers of all the deductions to be taken out from each paycheck, which are substantial (including: health, dental, vision, retirement, money for a flexible spending account for childcare expenses, taxes, etc. etc. etc.) I’m only going to actually be netting an extra couple hundred bucks a month. Soooo, practically the same monthly pay for my full-time job as what I make at my part-time job.

Of course, my money will stretch a lot further at my new full-time job because, unlike the part-time job, I won’t have to deduct funds monthly to pay my own taxes and health insurance. I’ll be paying for (part of) childcare with pre-tax dollars to save some money there. I’ll be paying for health care with pre-tax dollars to save some money there. I’ll be saving money toward retirement where previously I’ve saved nearly nothing. And so on.

But when you just look at the bottom line…. being able to keep my part-time job effectively doubles my take-home salary. So obviously I’m hoping I’ll be able to do that.

Cross your fingers for me. I meet with the department head the week of the 20th (exact date TBD) so I’m hoping to bring it up in our meeting and have it be no big deal.

In the meantime I have a just-for-fun list of financial priorities along with some projected dates.

Financial Priority List

  • September 2015 – Add $4,000 to Emergency Fund. With hubs’ no-income month of May and the fact that much of my paycheck was sucked up into an overdue tax bill, we basically lived on our EF for the month of June. We do have a little left (just under a thousand), but I’d like to beef it up to the $5,000 mark. If we put some aside in August and some in September, we’ll hit that goal. It’s tough to put so much toward savings instead of debt but I feel really strongly that we need to have a solid EF, if for nothing more than my own psychological well-being.
  • December 2015 – Pay off remaining car loan (approx. $15,000). This is still a bit of an aggressive goal, but as long as I’m able to keep both my jobs I think there’s a really good chance we can still pay off our car before the calendar year is over. I CAN NOT WAIT until this loan is paid because it will signify reaching the consumer debt-free mark – a huge milestone in my mind.

And here’s where things get controversial….

After the car is paid off, I definitely want to start paying more toward my student loans. But instead of diving full-force into paying off these loans with the gazelle intensity that I’ve tried to have for all of our other consumer-related debts, I want to split my priorities a bit. I still feel very strongly about paying off these loans as quickly as possible (especially the unsubsidized loans; and I plan to continue doing balance transfers to save some interest where possible, too). That being said, however, there’s something else I feel really strongly about too.

Home ownership.

No, we aren’t looking at places today. No, we don’t even know what the next year may bring (examples: (1) my dad’s scary health issues, and (2) I’ve still been in talks with the out-of-state university where I did my not-an-interview earlier this year). But all that being said, once the consumer debts are paid in full I think it will be important to start saving more aggressively for an eventual down payment. At this point I don’t know specifics (no idea the amount per month we’ll save versus the amount put toward student loans every month), and I really do want to stress that I want my student loans gone ASAP! I hate dealing with them every month. I hate the amount of interest they cost me. I hate their drama. I hate that they’re this huge, scary, black hole of debt on my credit report. So in no way am I suggesting that I’ll only pay minimums or drastically reduce debt payments. No way!

Look. It’s never been a secret that I really want to put down roots somewhere. I said it in my very first “Meet Ashley” post that I wrote when I interviewed to be one of the bloggers here. It’s important to me. The American dream and all that jazz. And the older my kids get, the more I want it.

I’m sure I’ll be talking more about this as time moves on. But for now, we’ll just say that I’ve got these two concrete goals (restock EF by September, and consumer debt-free by December), and then we’ll have to do some reassessing at that point. Either way, 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty kick-butt year in terms of debt repayment. Full throttle ahead!

 


I GOT AN OFFER!!!!!

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First – Happy Father’s Day to all! I’ll be back Monday with a Father’s Day recap post to let you know what we’re up to. But in the meantime, I wanted to get this post up sooner so I can try to get as much feedback from readers as possible, given that this is a time-sensitive issue. Thanks so much! I hope you’re all having a great weekend!

 

Hallelujah, y’all! I’m not even going to lie. I was starting to wonder if this would ever happen. I’ve come up with a whole contingency plan of what I’ll do if I never land a full-time position (continue working part-time teaching online, then also go back to in-person adjunct teaching once the girls start public school).

So I am THRILLED to announce that I’m on the verge of signing the deal with an awesome department where I will be so excited to work!

I really, really want to spill all the details about the salary negotiations but I’ve decided to hold back because I certainly don’t want it to get back to the department and jeopardize anything. So instead of dishing everything, I’ll give you some general information about the first round of negotiations and tell you some more specific details about the benefits package to get your feedback there. This is a bit of a long one, so prepare yourself.

Here we go…

At my meeting last Friday, I was offered a position and money was discussed almost immediately. I nodded and smiled and then proceeded to discuss job duties and responsibilities for the next hour without ever mentioning a salary amount. When the conversation was wrapping up I was point-blank asked what I had hoped for in terms of salary. I’m kicking myself now because I asked for more money, but I was met with an immediate “DONE!” which definitely leads me to believe I short-changed myself a little and could have asked for more. In all, the pay is more than I’d expected they’d give me, but less than what’d I’d really wanted.

In terms of benefits, it’s a mixed bag.

The university gives excellent 401k matching (up to 7% immediately, and up to 11.6% after six months of employment!!!). They also offer a child care voucher of $1500 (literally only covers one month of full-time childcare, but it’s free money so I’m thankful for it). Additionally, they offer a flexible spending account where I can put up to 5,000 pre-tax dollars aside for childcare – essentially saving the taxes from that $5,000.

So all that is good. Here’s some of the okay-not-great part of the benefits package…

The health/dental/vision package isn’t as good as I’d hoped.

For health, my options are between a PPO and a health saving account (HSA) option. The PPO is $486/month and has a $1,000 deductible. The HSA is $193/month, has a $2500 deductible, and the university contributes $120/month to the account. I’m leaning toward the HSA, but there’s a HUGE caveat. The info I’ve been given says “You must submit valid claims before the end of the claims period runs out. Any unclaimed remaining funds will be forfeited to your employer, so estimate your expenses carefully and set money aside accordingly.” So I’m not super thrilled that the money doesn’t just sit and accumulate, but can actually be lost. Anyone with strong opinions one way or the other (regarding PPO versus HSA), please comment. I’m new to this, so I’d love to hear from others’ experiences!

The vision is simple enough – only $16/month.

The dental is kind of disappointing. $105/month covers free preventative care. But they only cover 50% of other procedures and there’s a $2,000 annual limit per person. I’m really giving this plan the side-eye. I feel like it might be more beneficial just to stay without dental and pay out of pocket as we go (or buy the cheap dental discount programs that you can start and stop easily). Still – I may choose to enroll in the dental for the first month or two of employment to try to get hubs to have his dental work done, and then quit so we don’t keep paying the premium year-round. Thoughts? Opinions?

To sum up, we’re looking at:

  • $193 (HSA) + $105 (dental) + $16 (vision) = $314/month, not including any contributions to the health savings account and not including the fact that we’d have to pay the first $2500 out-of-pocket.   OR
  • $486 (PPO) + $105 + $16 = $607/month. That seems like a lot for health care! We only pay $350/month currently for health/vision, but that’s a non ACA-approved insurance that was grandfathered in. It expires December 31st of this year at which point we’ll have to upgrade to an ACA-approved plan. I’ve priced independent health insurance to be about $1,000/month so this seems to me like the university paying approximately half of the premium (note: in their benefits materials they say they pay 85%…but that figure seems a bit high. It would mean the insurance is incredibly expensive before their contribution).

When I left the meeting, we had negotiated a salary and I essentially gave verbal assent. BUT I did leave myself some wiggle room by specifically saying I was eager to look over the full package in writing, including benefits, and that I’d give my final decision in a few days.

Given that the benefits aren’t quite what I had hoped (meaning, the university doesn’t pay as much of the health/dental/vision as I had hoped), would it be tacky to go back and try to negotiate for a little bit more money? That’s what I’d like to do, but I’m also a little nervous. I’ve read horror stories online of people who took negotiations too far and ended up having the offer rescinded. Thoughts? Opinions? Advice?

I’m leaning toward sending a very complimentary email talking about how genuinely excited I am to start this position (which is 100% true), but then to say that after looking over the full offer package I was a little disappointed about the benefits package and wanted to know if they would be open to raising my salary a little to compensate for the benefits. – Ugh! I cringe just writing that out! I have no idea how to write it so it still comes across as thankful for the job offer and conveys that I’m excited to start….but that, ultimately, I’d like a little more money. Again – thoughts? Is it okay to handle this in email or would a phone call be more appropriate? Give me your tips!!!!

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Also, thank you for all the comments on my negotiations post! You guys are awesome and gave me so many great ideas! I’m very thankful for your collective insight! You readers are a smart group : )

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads, Granddads, and special men in peoples’ lives. And Happy Day to single parents doing it alone (Moms or Dads), and to all those who no longer have a living father….my thoughts are with you all!


Get Quotes Easily for the Insurance Plan You Need

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Insurance is something that many Americans often overlook, but one that you’ll never regret having if you need to use it. While you may already have some coverage, it’s possible you are unaware of its inadequacies. You could also be vulnerable because you don’t have certain policies that you need. With the help of an agent, it’s easy to understand policies and get an estimated cost.

It’s important to learn about the various options of coverage to invest in. It’s simple to be knowledgeable about the multiple policies available and get insurance quotes for your new potential plan.

Do You Need Auto Insurance?

Considering your needs means you should think about your coverage regarding your car. A recent study shows that 56 percent of deadly car accidents in the United States were due to aggressive driving. This is a serious problem that affects everyone on the road. Even if you’re a safe driver you could be vulnerable to dire financial consequences if you don’t have your own insurance. A liability plan is great to protect you in the event of an accident.

There are more types of auto insurance available depending on your needs. For example, you can get your car insured as your property in order to protect yourself against theft. According to an FBI investigation, there were 699,594 thefts of motor vehicles in 2013. Furthermore, you can get medical coverage in case of an injury through certain plans. If you need to be safeguarded while driving, consider getting insurance quotes for auto insurance today.

What About Homeowner’s Insurance?

If you own a home it’s a smart idea to get covered. There are multiple risks associated with owning a home, including natural disasters, property damage, and injuries. New statistics provide us with the information that 119 catastrophes resulted in homeowners’ losses of 15.3 million dollars in 2014 in the United States. Depending on where you live, you could be vulnerable to particular disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes. Getting insurance quotes for natural disaster coverage is important to keep yourself and your property protected.

Did you know that owning pets could put you at risk? If any of your pets cause an injury to someone in your home, you could face major financial consequences if you don’t have the proper coverage. A recent national survey shows that 68 percent of homeowners have pets. If you’re one of those statistics, you could benefit from homeowners insurance greatly.

Do You Own a Business?

The responsibilities of owning and operating a business include ensuring the safety of yourself, your employees, and your property. There are different options available depending on the size and location for your business. For example, the same coverage isn’t going to apply to a small business and a large corporation. It’s important to work with an agent to get insurance quotes and find the specific plan you need. One of the most common plans for any business is liability coverage. This protects you against possible claims made against you.

It’s Easy

There are so many opportunities to make sure all of your assets are covered. Take the next step as soon as you’re ready. Contact an agent and get the insurance quotes you need to help make your decision.


Bad Things Come in 3’s

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That’s the saying, right? Bad things come in 3’s. So apparently the God of the “bad things” has trouble counting because I’m pretty sure we’re on bad thing #130903480 in the past couple months. Sure, it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but some more crap has gone down.

First, on Monday while I was driving my front left tire blew out. I’ve been a passenger in a car when a tire has blown out before but this was my first time driving when one occurred and it was scary! Luckily nothing too crazy (I was going about 45 on a regular street, not on the highway), but it swung me into the center median pretty hard before I regained control of the car and was able to safely navigate to the side of the road. I’m so, so, so glad I just hit the median and not another car! Yikes!

Four new tires + an alignment later (oh yeah, plus it needed new brakes too), I was coughing up $1100 for car maintenance. All relatively necessary. The car (5 years old) has never had new tires so we knew we’d be needing some in the coming months but didn’t realize the day would come so suddenly. The tires weren’t completely bald or anything, so the blow out was a huge surprise. I guess the thing to be grateful for there is that the blowout occurred while only I was in the car (no kids in the car), in our own town (not on the road somewhere between Tucson and Austin), and no one was hurt. The alignment was necessary because its good to do when you get new tires plus I had really whacked the sh*t out of the front blown tire when I rammed the curb. Not sure if that can mess up the alignment, but I’m sure its not good. Alignments are relatively inexpensive anyway. The only thing I think we could have gotten cheaper were the brakes. Husband knows how to do brakes and I would have liked to have had him do them, but they were all rusted and corroded (so weird because the car is well maintained and we rarely have rain in Tucson?? but we bought it used so the rust could have been from before we owned it), and hubs said to just have them replaced since he’s been so busy with work and wasn’t sure when he’d have a chance to do them before our Texas trip.

Oh yeah, and remember how we used up our full vehicle maintenance savings fund last month when husband’s car needed maintenance? Yeah, so we’ve got nothing saved for it.

Then the second thing occurred this morning. Husband always wakes up before me (he’s usually out the door by 7am, and I only wake up at 6:30-6:45ish). Today, though, when he woke up he went to the bathroom and came back out, gently shaking me awake. I open my eyes and see…..a swollen cheek.

I’ve seen this before. This is the same mother-freaking swollen cheek I saw last time husband had a bad tooth that required a root canal. Correction. This is the same swollen cheek he had the time before last time. Last time was just this past July (remember??), and his mouth never swelled up that time.

Seriously, world? SERIOUSLY?!!?!?!!?!

He says it came out of nowhere; that it hadn’t been hurting or anything. But he’s now in serious pain and the situation is going to require immediate attention (side note for long-term readers: yes, it’s not really “out of nowhere” because we knew he had a few teeth that really needed root canals and we’ve just basically been putting them off, trying to save up money and pay down some debt first).

So this morning he had his helper meet at our house so the helper could take the truck and get started working. Husband went to the dentist and had some preliminary stuff done (he did get a prescription for some antibiotics, too, but apparently the infection wasn’t bad enough to preclude some of the initial root canal stuff – like taking a mold of the tooth or whatever happens? I’ve never had a root canal so I don’t know). But here’s where I get really pissed. I’ve had a couple people (real life friends & readers) comment on how awesome these dental discount plans are. I’m familiar with these plans and, back in July when husband had his last root canal, I had suggested he buy one of these plans.  Husband said that the office showed him their rates with the plan, but they were able to match the plan’s price without having to actually purchase the plan. If you’ll recall, back in July we paid $1600 for the root canal + crown.

Welllllll…. I was b*tching about this to a friend today on the phone and, again, she brings up the dental discount plan. She urges me to check it out myself, practically insisting on it, even though I tell her that husband already saw all the rates while at the dentist’s office. I get off the phone and do a little internet research and – lo and behold – guess what guys! The dental discount plan could have saved us nearly $600! Yes. Root canal + crown for just under $1,000. We paid $1600 (and that’s the same quote we got for the current root canal, too). WTF!?

So now I’m conflicted. We already owe the dental office from their work today (to the tune of $800), but now what? Try to find an in-network dentist to do the crown at the discount rate (of about $500), or just finish up with the dentist we’ve started with? Husband is in immediate pain and has already had the process started at this current place so he just wants to finish there. But I feel like they’re basically swindling us out of money! It’s our fault because we should have researched and learned that different offices have different rates (husband & I both assumed the rates he was shown for the “dental discount plan” would be comparable at all Tucson dentists), but it just makes me angry! We’re basically hemorrhaging money around here!

I feel like Murphy  (of Murphy’s law) is testing us. How dedicated are we to this whole get-out-of-debt thing?

Guess what, Mr. Murphy! Pretty f-ing dedicated. Why don’t you just pack up your bags and take a hike?!

In the meantime, we’ve spent $1900 and counting (that’s $1100 on the car + $800 on the tooth, and between another $500-800 to go). Thankfully, we do have some savings in our dental insurance savings fund, but not nearly enough to cover the full procedure (we have about $500). So, I’m breaking my living-on-last-month’s income rule. I’m raiding our bank account to cover these costs so I don’t have to dip into additional Emergency Funds to cover the deficit.

December looks like it’s turning out to be quite profitable for husband’s business so I think we’ll be okay. Meaning, I think that even after paying these expenses we’ll still have enough to “live on last month’s income” for January (so we won’t have to start over on that). Essentially, January would have seen a great debt payment. Instead, it will get an average-sized debt payment and a lot of what would have been surplus will be going to pay car maintenance and dental procedures. Big bummer. But at least no new debt is incurred and we’re still making progress on our existing debt.

This also impacts how I’ll be budgeting in 2015. I still need to find the time to go over everything and really analyze our spending, but now I’ll be able to know a precise number to save for dental expenses or car maintenance, etc., instead of just randomly selecting a number out of thin air to save (which, as it turns out, has not been enough). So, live and learn.

And…no more bad things. We’re capped out on bad things right now.


Keeping my (cheap) health insurance!!!

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So excited with some information I learned!!!

It was several months ago when I mentioned that I realized I was probably going to have to get a new insurance in 2015. This sucks (bad) because we currently pay $350/month to insure our family of 4. It’s not the best insurance in the world (very limited vision coverage and no dental), but when I was pricing comparable coverages for our family the quotes on other insurances were closer to the $1,000+ range! Whoa! That’s a huge difference!!!

Why the increase??

Our current plan was an older plan that existed pre-Affordable Care Act and is not compliant with today’s mandated standards (specifically, it does not provide any prenatal coverage). I’m not planning a pregnancy so this makes our insurance cheap and its a win-win since we’re not paying for coverage we won’t need. Although we were allowed to keep our plan through the end of 2014, we knew it would expire on December 31, 2014 and force us to find a new plan for 2015. Womp, womp!

But(!) some of you had mentioned that our plan may have been grandfathered in for another year. I (finally) looked into it further and discovered that our current plan will be good for one more year (until end of 2015….though some plans have been grandfathered in until 2017)! What a blessing that we won’t have to budget an additional $650/month toward insurance starting in January! It’s such a relief! Whew! (Side note:  with any luck, I’ll have landed a full time job complete with benefits like health insurance and 401k matching before the end of 2015 when our current insurance is set to expire)

If you haven’t yet, I definitely recommend anyone whose wondering or curious to look into whether they can renew their old insurance for another year, too. I know there are several specific rules and they vary from state to state so its best to call your own insurance company to figure out what works best for you.

How much does health care cost you per month? We pay the $350/month insurance premium, but we were still paying hospitals/doctors $150 monthly for bills incurred from my husband’s health scare back at the end of 2013, so together we were paying $500/month for health care. BUT, we just paid off a $75/month bill last month so now we’re down to $425/month. More than I like, but not too shabby compared to what it could have been!


Tracking Expenses and Budgeting

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Hi all!

I’m about to run out the door to drop the girls off at preschool. The plan is to check out of the hotel today and go back to our own home (fingers crossed). Should know more about that in the coming hours….

Right now, though, I wanted to ask you guys’ advice about how to handle all of the extra expenses we’ve incurred (specifically regarding the hotel room and food). Would you enter these into your regular budget?? I tend to think I would just make one entry – the $500 deductible for our renter’s insurance. Then I would track all of our expenses separately (not inside of our regular budget) so we can be reimbursed through insurance. Is this the “right” way to do it?

Or would you add all of these expenses to your budget (e.g., adding food expenses to the eating out or grocery budget), and then consider the insurance money as additional “income”???

I’m sure there are several ways to handle the situation but right now it just feels overwhelming and I want to make sure I’m not messing something up. I’m just accumulating a bunch of receipts and don’t know if I need to add them to our budget or if they should all be kept totally separate???

Not sure what to do about this to best track financials.

Thanks for your advice!