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Let’s Whine About Insurance Costs!

It’s that time of year for us again – most of our insurance policies are up for renewal.  I cringe every time I pay one of the bills, and yet I know that we’re actually getting fair renewal rates. How do I know?  I shop around every couple of years or when there is a significant jump in cost.  AND I talk a lot about everything to everybody, so I usually have a good idea of what is being paid by others. So chime in below so we can all keep up on the going rates in our own regions.  I’m starting with our most costly out-of-pocket coverage and working my way down.  Knowledge is power…knowledge of costs is the power to save money! Health Care Coverage We don’t technically have health insurance.  We joined Liberty Healthshare in 2016, which is a health cost sharing group.  It’s not actually insurance, but they work similarly.  They don’t guarantee coverage, have a maximum coverage amount of $1,000,000 per incident, and they don’t cover pre-existing conditions fully for the first few years. But they let us join, cost WAY less than our previous health insurance ($299 a month instead of $570+), and have … Read more

Liberty HealthShare – Our Health Insurance Alternative

This is my own personal post of my own personal choices for my own family’s health care. This is not a suggestion for anybody to run out and drop their health insurance policy or make any changes at all.  I’m not a health care professional or expert. I just thought this would be an interesting health care alternative to mention. If you do look into Liberty HealthCare because of this post, please email me at [email protected] so I can refer you over to get a rep to contact you for questions, but they are not sponsoring this post. They never asked about my blog’s name nor do they know that I’m writing this post. Health Care Sharing Ministries Have you heard about health care sharing ministries? They are organizations created to share the health costs of others with similar ethical or religious beliefs. Since they aren’t actually insurance companies, they don’t technically have to cover your health costs. The big ones have been around for 20+ years and have evolved through the years and I’ve been hearing from happy participants for the last few months online. Specifically, I saw a post from Michelle from Making Sense of Cents and started … Read more

Budgeting in Self-Employment

The ups and downs of income when you're self employed are so hard to navigate. Here's a solid approach to budgeting in self employment and striking out on your own with a plan in place. I'm glad I'm not alone!

I thought it would be fun to update this post exactly 5 years after I originally wrote it…let’s see what’s changed… Yes, even though blogging was/is officially paying me more than my day job ever did, I budget in self-employment.  Specifically, I really dislike the idea of irregular paychecks and we strive to make it less stressful. My Paycheck Plan 5 Years Ago I had been building up a blogging income account at ING (now CapitalOne 360).  My hope was to get it to $10,000 by the time I quit my day job so I’d have more than enough padding on months that I don’t bring in enough.  I made it to $9200 as of July 15, 2011 and I took it right over the $10,000 mark with the last paycheck I received after giving my 2 weeks’ notice. I was planning on paying myself a biweekly paycheck directly from this accout so we would never experience a budget crunch at all.  In order for this plan to have worked, I decided to pay myself $1500 every two weeks. How It Has Worked for the Last 5 Years I’m going to pat myself on the back.  This plan has been slightly adjusted as our income fluctuated over the … Read more

If You Have to Go, Do It with Your Own “Term”

Chris Huntley just launched a huge life insurance movement called the Whole Life Insurance Rebellion to promote awareness of term life insurance and highlight some of the downfalls of whole life insurance…I 100% agreed and have decided to jump in.  🙂 I know it seems dark, but do you ever think about dying earlier than expected?  I do, but I know my husband could make it financially since we are prepared…finally. Finally Thought About Life Insurance In our early 20’s, our life insurance coverage was just one year’s income…and even that was just provided by our jobs.  Bad Crystal – we lost our benefits the second we left our jobs and I could have been let go at any time since my industry was not recovering quickly after 2008. But in our late 20’s, we noticed our accumulated assets.  We had paid off our first home and bought a more expensive one, and my husband joined me in self-employment. We decided to take life insurance seriously. I looked into two main options – whole life insurance and term life insurance. Whole Life Insurance Even though whole life insurance seemed enticing because it sells itself as an “investment”…it really isn’t a good one and it costs significantly … Read more

ALL Insurances Are Kicking My Butt!

I already wrote about our rising health insurance costs that are now $570 a month.  And I may have mentioned that our car insurance keeps going up $3 a month every 6 months.  Well, our home insurance policies are increasing too.  AND now, our flood insurance policies joined the fray. Location Since we live in a suburb of Houston, our home insurance policies don’t cover flood damage.  That is covered by a separate policy we can get through our insurance agents of choice, but it is all provided by FEMA.  This started several years ago and doesn’t seem to be going away or getting more affordable… Flood Coverage Costs This flood coverage used to cost around $300 per house per year.  Now it’s at $380 for our home and $600+ for our rental property!  It’s insane!  And there is no shopping around.  We just have to take it.  Frustrating as all get out! So this year may not see much of an increase in our net worth.  Insurances alone are sucking an extra $300 a month out of our coffers, and it shows no signs of stopping…

Affordable Healthcare is Kicking Our Financial Butts

I had never considered this before, "does maternity coverage affect your health care premiums?" I wonder if it does for my affordable care plan? Obamacare seems to have increased this lady's premiums, but her coverage is a lot better now for kids and pregnancy!

OUCH! Our health insurance premiums are jumping from $330 a month to $570 a month starting next month! I almost cried…but just pouted for several days. Ugh. Two main things seem to have caused this huge price increase. Going to Try to Have a Baby As I mentioned in passing before, Mr. BFS and I apparently do contain biological clocks, they were ticking away unnoticed, and now they have exploded like timers on a freaking bomb. We are going to attempt to have a baby in 2016 or whenever it can happen. I’ve been on the Nuvaring for at least a decade, so don’t get all crazy on me. I may not be able to have a kid, and we aren’t willing to go to extraordinary measures if we can’t just make a baby naturally. SO, I’m extra annoyed that our health insurance with maternity care coverage costs so much…it’ll be about a $2500 waste if I can’t conceive in 2016. Bleck. Make Too Much for Help We apparently aren’t the target audience for “affordable” health care. We have been making between $80,000-$120,000 of taxable income over the last several years. 2015 will be on the lower end and 2016 … Read more

Pregnant? Maybe You Can Get a Free Car Seat Too…

WOW, this will save me a TON of money for my infant! Car seats are expensive and I had no idea I could get a brand new, good quality one for less than $40. This is a huge budget saving hack for parents that everyone needs to new ASAP. It could save you $200, it helped me save that much.

The following is another post from my younger sister, Teresa Ward.  She already wrote about how she got a free breast pump.  Now she found out how to get a free car seat! I promise not to bombard Crystal’s loyal readers with baby/toddler bargains, but just like the free breast pumps, I had to share my latest insurance steal that could save parents $$$! That Necessary Car Seat… One of the more expensive baby products that ALL babies and toddlers need is a car and/or booster seat.  They vary widely in costs from $60 on sale/online for a basic model like the one below to $400 for a new model or one purchased at a speciality store. You might think the difference in price buys more safety for the little one, which I would argue is money well spent, but the truth is ALL car seats sold in the US must meet Federal Safety Standards and pass multiple crash performance standards.  Yes, a few of the high end seats do have extra bracing or maybe shock absorbing material they claim to be effective.  But judging from the specifications I researched, it appears more money mostly buys you the newest fabric trend … Read more