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#133408 - 05/21/08 01:00 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: MartinFocazio]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
I can't fire myself, I'm retired!!!
_________________________
OBG

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#133413 - 05/21/08 02:05 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: MartinFocazio]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
Thanks for the inspiration, Martin.

We live a very modest lifestyle due to the sacrifices necessitated by the priorities we’re chosen. The big ones are living on one income so my wife can stay home and sending the kids to Catholic school because we think our #1 purpose in life is to raise our children.

I’ve been scouring the budget lately and I seem to be out of things to cut. Going by the 80/20 rule, 80% of our income, in this order, goes to:

1. House
2. School
3. Groceries
4. Heating oil

Gas, even at today’s prices is a distant fifth place.

Now, what can I cut from this? Our home, menu and thermostat setting are all very much in keeping with our modest lifestyle. School is the only thing that could be considered extravagant and it would be the first to go in serious unemployment survival mode. We’re always questioning if we are doing the right thing there.

In the other 20%, there’s utilities, cell phones, landline, DSL, Netflix (no cable, so Netflix now w/ the instant viewing is a very good deal). I need to look into how much I could save by dropping the land line but keeping DSL. Subscriptions? HAHAHAHA… My lunch is usually a can of soup (target price <$2) and some Ramen noodles for filler. Our cars are 8 years old, bought with cash. No self respecting male in my family would ever call a mechanic, plumber, carpenter, electrician or any repairman.

Now, not included in this 100% is “incidentals” such as root canals, birthday presents, clothes, blow money, and all other irregular and often unpredictable spending. I’m really struggling on how to account for this stuff right now.

Any ideas?

_________________________
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

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#133419 - 05/21/08 03:09 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: thseng]
Alex Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1034
Loc: -
Tom.
I have one idea for you. If your heating oil cost is on the 4th place, you might think of your house insulation improvement.

By the way, one hint from me. The electric bill in California is quite noticeable. I've managed to save about 20% every month after installation of motion sensors with timers in place of regular light switches for non critical indoor lights. After a month of use my family even found such an innovation quite convenient to have smile

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#133421 - 05/21/08 03:31 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: Alex]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Alex
By the way, one hint from me. The electric bill in California is quite noticeable. I've managed to save about 20% every month after installation of motion sensors with timers in place of regular light switches for non critical indoor lights.

Just curious, but are these motion sensors hooked up to incandescent lights? It's too bad that CFL's don't like being turned on/off repeatedly and have a shorter lifespan when you do so, particuarly since the better quality CFL's aren't cheap to replace and are a pain to dispose of so you want to make them last as long as possible.

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#133423 - 05/21/08 03:40 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: Alex]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
Alex - I think you hit the nail on the head. My house is quite old w/ poor insulation and windows. My only hesitation is that it would be a large project and I don't know if we will stay in it long enough for payback.

Electricity costs about $100/month so its not a huge killer. My wife likes to have a million little lamps on everywhere and it drives me nuts. There is a florescent light over the kitchen sink that she leaves on 24 hours a day, but I consider 7 cents a day to be a good investment because it avoids my constant nagging. I'd bet a new refridgerator would save us quite a bit, but the old one simply refuses to die.
_________________________
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

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#133428 - 05/21/08 04:35 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: thseng]
MartinFocazio Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2148
Loc: Bucks County PA
Originally Posted By: thseng


I’ve been scouring the budget lately and I seem to be out of things to cut. Going by the 80/20 rule, 80% of our income, in this order, goes to:

1. House
2. School
3. Groceries
4. Heating oil

....

Now, not included in this 100% is “incidentals” such as root canals, birthday presents, clothes, blow money, and all other irregular and often unpredictable spending. I’m really struggling on how to account for this stuff right now.


For us, the 80/20 works out to:

1. Health Care (Long story, but we have no health insurance)
2. Mortgage
3. Gas
4. Tuition
5. Food




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#133433 - 05/21/08 05:15 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: MartinFocazio]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
Originally Posted By: martinfocazio
For us, the 80/20 works out to:
1. Health Care (Long story, but we have no health insurance)
2. Mortgage
3. Gas
4. Tuition
5. Food

Ouch!

I have a dream of one day walking into the doctor's office and when they ask for my insurance, I slap a wad of 50's on the counter and say, in my best Clint Eastwood voice: "THIS is my insurance! Any questions, punk?"

If I had the $1500/month my employer probably shells our for insurance, I'd be in great shape. As it is, they would only credit you a measly $100 for opting out.

My other dream is to have a lawyer draw up a contract that goes something like this:

"You, as my healthcare provider, are responsible for submitting claims to my insurance correctly. If you fail to do so, I will be happy to assist you in rectifying the situation. My rate for this service is $150/hr with a 3 hour minimum payable by money order in advance. The scope of this service is solely to facilitate a conference call between your billing office and my insurance company, since your employees are incapable of picking up a phone and dialing it unless it is to harass me."


Edited by thseng (05/21/08 05:17 PM)
Edit Reason: typo
_________________________
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

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#133454 - 05/21/08 07:22 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: thseng]
MartinFocazio Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2148
Loc: Bucks County PA
Originally Posted By: thseng

"You, as my healthcare provider, are responsible for submitting claims to my insurance correctly. If you fail to do so, I will be happy to assist you in rectifying the situation. My rate for this service is $150/hr with a 3 hour minimum payable by money order in advance. The scope of this service is solely to facilitate a conference call between your billing office and my insurance company, since your employees are incapable of picking up a phone and dialing it unless it is to harass me."


Not to hijack my own thread...but.

Living without health insurance is not as bad as you think IF you have a good job and you can afford to keep up with the bills. I actually canceled my health insurance, which I was paying for myself, because the policy turned out to not have maternity or well baby care of any kind, a $5,600 deductible for "in network" care and an $11,300 deductible for "out of network" care. The maternity care DID NOT apply to the deductible. Upon close reading of the policy, it would seem that only if I were hit by a bus on any odd-numbered Tuesday that was also Thanksgiving, and it was between the hours of 3:41 AM and 3:54 AM and the accident happened while I was scubadiving in a kiddy pool, then I'd have partial coverage for all injuries that did not involve any part of my body.


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#133457 - 05/21/08 07:55 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: MartinFocazio]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
Not to cooperate with the hijacking, but...

I would certainly prefer the C.A.S.H. insurance plan if I could get a reasonable credit for opting out. I would buy a plan that would cover nothing short of a hospital stay and then park the difference in savings.

We tried the C.A.S.H. dental plan recently after two of my kids were treated to a really lousy first ever visit to our "primary provider". The non-covered dentist we went to next was a husband and wife operating out of the first floor of their home with no other staff. Originally they quoted $55 each for two kids and then they dropped it to $40 for one and didn't charge for the baby.
_________________________
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

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#133465 - 05/21/08 09:22 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: ]
LeeG Offline
Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 100
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Here is the advantage of health insurance: group rates.

A friend of mine has major medical only with a $5K annual deductible. He had to have a hospital procedure done and his cost was $3500, so one would think that the insurance was useless. If he had gone in and had that same procedure done as a 'walk in, cash patient', the cost would have been over 8K.

The insurance companies have negotiated fixed price deals with their 'in network' providers which is almost always lower than what a walk in would pay. Ditto for dentists. A few years ago, I had to have several root canals/crowns done. Even though my insurance only paid the first $1000 (my annual limit per year), it saved me over $2500 extra due to negotiated fees. The walk-in price for a crown is about $1000 + $1500 for the root canal. My cost was $1500 total for 2.

High deductible major medical is pretty inexpensive and well worth it. Sorry for the continued hijack.

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