Thank you, random visitors…

I’ve been neglecting this blog for a long time.  I began to feel constricted by my own mandate to post daily.  I had less time, what with all of the volunteering I began Son’s school as he entered kindergarten.

I just didn’t wanna.

And it wasn’t my only my own blog I neglected.  I have about fifty blogs in my Google reader, and went months without reading a single entry.  Not other finance blogs, not coupon or bargain blogs, not  even my friends’ Mommy blogs.

I’m doing even more volunteering this school year, chairing a very important advisory committee, and taking on the Room Mom responsibilities in Son’s classroom.  But I’m finding myself wanting to write.

So, yesterday I signed into this blog.  And I was shocked to see that even after months of inactivity on my part, anywhere between 80 and a few hundred people a day have continued to stop by, reading a post or twelve.

I was shocked.  Guess I may have written a decent article or two, huh?

So, here I am.  Probably not daily.  And I’ve started reading others’ blogs again.  I see I’ve missed a ton of great stuff.

And thank you, especially to those who continued to visit.  And  please, come back often.


Linklet Lackadasically Late

I entered a couple of carnivals this week…

The Carnival of Personal Finance was hosted at Budgets Are Sexy.  My post Using What You Have – Landscaping the Yard was included.

There are tons of great posts. Check out:

I also entered The Festival of Frugality, hosted at Frugal Upstate and included my post  Wise Spending on Landscaping ? What to Hire, What to Do Ourselves.

Be sure to check out:

Special thanks to all of the carnival editors for putting on two top-rate events!

Sunday Night Linklet

I actually managed to make it into a few carnivals this week!

First, my article  The Lynching (in effigy) of Sarah Palin appeared in The BoBo Carnival of Politics, hosted at The Bobo Files this week.

The Festival of Frugality was held at Bargain Briana this week andincluded my article One Fart and It’s All Over.  Really, I think that’s one of my favorite post titles!

The Carnival of Family Life hosted at On a Quest to Be Debt Free this week.  My post Autumn is Good for My Soul was included.  That same post was also mentioned by The Expanding Life in her CFM roundup.  Thanks!

Special thanks to all the hosts who did a great job, and my fellow bloggers who wrote some great articles!

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Medical Insurance Part 1 – Evaluating What You’ve Got

This post is part of a series on choosing benefits.  Today I will look at our choices for Medical Insurance and how I will decide which route to go.

Most people, especially young people, don’t carefully consider their health insurance choices.  They’re young, they’ve never been sick, there’s other  things they’d rather spend their money on.

To those of you who say you’ve never been sick, well, no one has ever been sick until they get sick.

I’ve always worked for companies that offered excellent health coverage, so I didn’t really have to think about too much.  My last employer offered an excellent PPO (Preferred Provider Organization), and they paid 100% of the premium.  I was allowed to see any doctor I chose, and had to pay a $500 deductible and 80% coinsurance (90% if I stayed in network) with an out-of-pocket maximum of $3000 for the year.  Most years I never even spent more than my deductible.  The only year I came close was the year I had Son, and I maxed it out that year (a Cesarean Section will do that).  Still, by negotiating with the hospital and then being rewarded by my insurer for finding errors on the bill I was able to reduce what I actually spent to about $1800 (I really should write a post about that!).  Meanwhile, my friends with HMO’s paid $25 for their entire pregnancy.

I stayed home with Son for three months after he was born, and we’d decided that I would leave go back for six months before leaving permanently (we had delusions of grandeur that we’d be moving out of state).  Our income would be cut in half, so we already were reassessing all our expenses.  We’d added Son to Husband’s insurance (also a PPO) as soon as he was born because we knew I’d not be working long and because it was less expensive than adding him to mine.

I wound up leaving after  three months, and since the PPO they offered at the time was $200 more per month (for the three of us) than the HMO ,we went with the HMO.

Why am I telling you all this?

Step 1 in evaluating and choosing our medical benefit is to take a look at our lives, our current health, and our plans for the next year.

These are the factors that are going to influence our choices this year:

  1. Our financial situation – we are a one income household, and the economy is…challenged.
  2. Husband has diabetes,  meaning we’re going to use our policy for his treatment.
  3. Son has asthma, though I am hopeful that we will begin to see him outgrow it this year.
  4. I have some of my own health challenges that will rear their ugly heads again next year.  We need to plan for that.

Step 2 is to figure out how our current plan did for us last year.

  1. How much were the premiums?
  2. How many times did each person in our family go to the doctor this year, and how much did we pay for co-payments? We’ve been to the doctor or lab thirty-two times this year and paid $375  in co-payments.
  3. Were all our doctors on the plan, and were we happy with them? Yes, and mostly. We’re going to look for a new primary care physician that isn’t thirty miles away.  And there was the one  time that Son’s pediatrician diagnosed MY illness (that my doctor had missed, but when I went back and told her what he’d said she said,  “Hmmm.  Yeah.  That IS what you have…”).

Now that we know where we’ve been we can properly evaluate next year’s choices.  Tomorrow’s post will look at the actual plans, and what they will really cost us.

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Read the rest of the series!

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Read the rest of the series!

It’s Benefits Enrollment Time, Series Overview

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Medical Insurance Part 2 – The Plans and What They Really Cost

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Flexible Spending Accounts Mean More Money in Our Pocket!

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Dental Insurance and Why The Math is So Important

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Life Insurance a Bargain For Us

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Seeing the Vision Plan Clearly. Finally.

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Disability and Long Term Care Insurance are Good to Have

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Legal, Pet Insurance and Lots of Little Perks

Sunday Evening Linklet

I did manage to make it into a few carnivals this week, though it’s already too late for me to make it into most of next week’s.  Oh, well.  I had a sick child this week.

The Carnival of Personal Finance was hosted at Budgets Are Sexy this week.  My article You Bet Your Ass I’ll Return That was included.

The Festival of Frugality was hosted at Mighty Bargain Hunter this week.  My article Faux Fortune Fosters Frugal Feelings was included.

The Carnival of Money Stories: Edition #81 was hosted at So Cal Savvy this week.  My article To List or Not To List? was included.

I’d also like to thank Funny About Money for mentioning my article You Bet Your Ass I’ll Return That in her Moments of Fame post.

Special thanks to all of the hosts for their hard work.  Please visit the carnivals for more great content!

Sunday Linklet

I only entered one Carnival last week, The Carnival of Personal Finance. My article did not appear, and I’m going to assume it’s an error on their part and not that they didn’t find merit in the article I submitted.

That said, my article Easy and Frugal Halloween Costume and Makeup Ideas got included in Remodeling This Life’s roundup, and Miss Thrifty re-posted the Handbag giveaway on her blog and nicely linked back to the blog, so thanks very much to both of you!

Have a great week!


Edited because Miss Thrifty told me my article WAS included.  For some reason I don’ thave a trackback showing, and wound up looking at the carnival from the week previous (that apparently was re-posted on the 14th (the day after the next carnival) due to some type of data crash, making me think THAT was the most recent one).  And I don’t expect you to understand all that, but I do so I know I’m not a complete idiot; just a partial one.

Anyhoo, my article Financial Instability Aftershocks Affect Your Credit, Too was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance, hosted at Greener Pastures.  Thanks!!!


The Sunday Linklet

I apparently only entered one carnival last week, and I’m very behind on entering this week.

The Carnival of Money Stories was hosted at Funny About Money this week.  It included my post Captain Obvious Reports: Sixteen-Year-Olds Maybe Shouldn’t Be Licensed.

Thanks to So Cal Savvy for mentioning that same post in her Carnival of Money Stories Roundup.

Perhaps I’ll get in an entry under the wire for this week.  Then again, perhaps not…

The Sunday Linklet

It may be late Sunday, but it’s still Sunday…

These are the carnivals and festivals I participated in this past week:

The Money Hacks Carnival was hosted unexpectedly by Pinyo at Moolanomy this week.  Thanks for including my post Making my Contacts Last Means No Vision Coverage Needed Next Year!

The Festival Of Frugality also had a host bail out, so David at My Two Dollars stepped in.  Thanks for including my post The Bargain Shoppers’ 1 Step Program

For the second week in a rom I entered a political carnival.  My post My Own Cynical Take on Politics: Going to the United Nations Does Not Foreign Policy Experience Make was included in The BoBo Carnival of Politics hosted at The Bobo Files.

And because I forgot to mention it last week, I’d like to thank Karen Datko at MSN Money’s Smart Spending Money Blog for basing her article Kids and cars: Should the driving age be raised? on my post Captain Obvious Reports: Sixteen-year-olds Maybe Shouldn’t be Licensed. Thanks!!!

Please visit these great blogs to read some fantastic articles, and look around while you’re there.  All are chock full of great info!

The We’re Going to Do Them on Sundays Now Monday Linklet

I’ve not been entering carnivals lately, so there’s been no linklet posts.  I’ve decided to switch them to Sundays, just because.  Who wants to bet on how long it will take me to be late?

Here are the carnivals I was featured in last week:

The Carnival of Personal Finance was hosted at BankerGirl and included my post Shame on You, Citibank.

The Festival Of Frugality was hosted at Frugal Babe and included  my post Imperfect Pancakes.

The The Carnival of Money Stories was hosted at The Copyeditor’s Desk and included my post Who’s Sniffing You?.

Thanks so much to the hosts who put a great deal of time and effort into the Carnivals.  See you next week!

The Oops Now It’s Thursday Monday Linklet

Yeah, I totally forgotto do the post this week.  Whoops.

I was only in two carnivals last week.

The Carnival of Family Life was hosted at Stop the Ride and included my article Sure, We?ll Pay You for Not Delivering the Car?.

The Carnival of Money Stories #70 was hosted at Colloquiumand included my article Flush With Love for Son.

There were lots of great stories but I have to run so just please go read them all!

Next week there will be no linklet as I didn’t enter anything in a carnival.  I’ll make up for it next week!

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