Thursday, September 3, 2015

A New Month!

It is the start of another month, and we've not made as much progress as I would have liked.  One big glaring item on our budget is the amount of money that we spend every month just to live in this house.  It is becoming more and more of a burden, and less the dream we thought we wanted.

Our house is undoubtedly our largest expense and our largest debt.  Selling it might bring in enough extra money that we could have a down payment on the next one, and we don't have any issue at all with down sizing.  If we were to try and rent instead of buy, the rental market is so strong right now that we'd almost spend the same as we are now, but we'd be in a smaller house and a "less desirable" neighborhood.  I put that in quotes, because I really don't have a problem living in areas that have houses running in the 50%-75% value of our current house.

The rental market being what it is, it also presents us with a dilemma - do we sell the house, or utilize the strong rental market and rent it out?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Still Plugging Away...

I'm updating this blog for the first time in about 6 years.  In that time, several things have happened:

  1. My son has gotten about 6 years older.
  2. Our non-medical debt has dropped, albeit not extensively.
  3. I have a just over 2-year-old daughter.
  4. Our medical debt has skyrocketed.
  5. Our income has increased.
  6. We have a health insurance alternative in place.
  7. Our income has decreased.
My income was hovering around the $55k/year until last year, when it increased to just over $60k.  In January 2015, my income was hovering closer to the $65k mark.  Then, in July, I was told to cut my hours back from about 55 hrs/week to no more than 45 hrs/week.  We are now existing on take-home of about $1,200 less per month than previously.

As a result, I'm updating this blog again to get motivated, and to make sure that I'm on track for actually decreasing the debt we've gotten into.

If there is anybody out there still listening, drop me a comment, and I will answer any questions in future blog posts.  For now, I'm putting together the information to track my progress, and am going to get into the habit of at least doing my monthly updates again.  Tips, tricks, and the detail of my climb out of debt, even after a few mis-steps, will all be chronicled here.

I'm just looking for that smooth, round stone right now...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A New Month

September ushered in, seeing several new medical bills come in, as well as the slide into over $12,000 again in credit card debt.  I am determined not to let the credit card debt pass the car debt we have, which means that I’ll need to make at least $340 worth of payments against credit cards over and above the interest charges to stay ahead.  Is it doable?  Possibly.  The medical debt is now made up of 7 bills, and so far, only one of those bills has a monthly obligation.

I am really hoping to send a few dollars in on the medical debt, but put the bulk of my debt reduction against the credit cards.  Once the credit cards are dealt with, then we can begin the process of paying off the medical debts.

It is a very long road we have begun to travel on, and we started our journey at a time when, for many people, drastic measures are required just to keep afloat.

I have begun the process of rebuilding our emergency fund, and am very slowly but surely making progress there.  We are within just a few dollars of getting to 25% of our $1,000 goal.

Hopefully, this month will see us better off than the past two have, at least in regard to everything except medical debt.

We’ll see, I guess.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another Bill… and My Thoughts on Public Health Care

Well, we got another bill today – this time from the ambulance service.  It was less than I thought it would be (under $1700), but I found out that for $55/year, one can have unlimited emergency services (and, if uninsured, a 60% discount on services.  That means it would take me about 8 years to make that up, if it ever happens again.  So, that’s worth considering.

I don’t expect that there will be a discount available on the bill, but I’ve asked for any that might be available, and also asked if there was a month-to-month plan that i could get on.  I have also done this on the radiology bill we got for the CAT scan and X-ray.

Our medical bills are now over $5,000, and that’s after pre-paying the labor and delivery and putting $2,000 on the credit card for the emergency visit.

We also got a call from the hospital we went to for the birth, and they informed me that I still had a balance of over $9,000 for the birth.  So we still have to get that resolved.  The big question is whether the pre-pay covered mom and baby, because the $14,000 bill for my wife was reduced, but the $9,000 bill for the baby was not.  It was my understanding that the bill from the hospital was taken care of, but the business office doesn’t currently see it that way.

Scary as having all that medical debt is, even with all the facts lined out as they are, I still cannot get behind a public plan for health insurance.  I don’t believe that the hospitals and doctors are as much to blame for the high cost of medical as pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies.

Some of my problems with the public plan as it is being proposed right now are due to the speed at which a 1,000+ page document is getting pushed through.  Last time we did that, we sent money to banks without much accountability at all, and are surprised that the 800 billion dollars seemed to have little to no measurable effect.  For another, any plan on the table does not include the people making the decisions.  I would be far more agreeable to a plan that the ones with the power to produce such a plan were under it as well.  If they are not willing to go under such a plan, why should we have to?

Also, I look at a bankrupt Social Security, a nearly bankrupt Medicaid/Medicare program, the huge amounts of fraud and wasteful spending, and it does not inspire confidence in me that a new program along those same lines (but expanded) will be any more efficient or any less wrought with fraud.

The combination of those three factors cause me to pause on the current plan being proposed.  Even in my position, in which a government plan could potentially make a lot of this medical debt go away, I can’t put my support behind it.  Do I have an answer for the solution?  No, I don’t.  If the pharmaceuticals and health insurance companies are behind the plan, then I will have to be against it.  I don’t believe that either of those occupations work with the average American’s success in mind.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Guest Post

Living Almost Large gave me an opportunity to blog about my recent medical experience.  Be sure to check it out!