I just finished the open enrollment process at work. I have been putting it off because I know there have been lots of problems with health insurance as a result of all the changes brought about by Obamacare. I am incredibly thankful to have a job and have health insurance with it, but my take home pay will definitely be going down as a result of everything. So, my wife and I will have to look carefully at the budget and try to decrease our spending levels.
As a result, less waitresses will be getting tips since we will have to eat out less and eat at home more. We have been doing some of this since I broke my arm and couldn’t work for a month anyway, but we will intentionally refocus our efforts to cut costs.
Health Insurance Premiums Going UP
Thankfully, health insurance isn’t the only line item in our budget, but we are seeing an incredible increase in the cost for 2014 compared to 2013. Our out of pocket costs will be going up by 18.2% in 2014! And that is after my employer is supporting a 7.5% increase!
That means that our family health insurance premiums for 2014 are increasing by 25.7%!!!
Ouch and double ouch.
Hopefully no other items in the budget go up by that much in 2014. If gasoline, which is currently at $3.25 per gallon where I live, the cost would be $4.08 per gallon. I think I might have seen prices about that during the summer so it is entirely possible.
What if food were to go up by that much? Then a gallon of milk would be approaching $4 per gallon which could conceivably happen. Dang, I am getting a little depressed. I guess the budget will have to be squeezed quite a bit in 2014 in order to withstand the potential price hikes.
I haven’t set goals for 2014 yet, but I have mentally been thinking that I would like to shave expenses by about 5% next year. This would be through a combination of spending less on discretionary items and avoiding additional debt so that as a few debts get paid off, the costs remain eliminated from overall spending.
I plan on sitting down at the end of the year, seeing what the expenses are and then cutting from there. I have a feeling that the costs for health insurance are only going to get worse for the next few years.
So, what impact has Obamacare had on you?
We all know that it is true, but I noticed it quite explicitly this weekend as my family and I traveled to my aunt’s funeral in Michigan. We made it a short trip leaving after work on Thursday and stopped a little over halfway with plans to make the remainder of the drive on Friday prior to the viewing.
We didn’t have reservations instead electing to stop at a well known town in a chain hotel. We have stayed in this brand of hotel before and I knew that they had comfortable beds and a decent breakfast, but I mainly picked it for the beds knowing I would get a good night’s sleep. Well, I did get a good sleep in a comfortable room with a nice shower and a fair amount of space.
The next night we stayed in a different hotel. My mom had made reservations when she found out that we would be able to head north and tagged along. Of course, I paid for my own rooms, but the cost turned out to be about half of what we paid the night before. Let me say again that you get what you pay for.
The beds were not as comfortable and I woke up with a somewhat sore back. The rooms were not as big and the shower was a trickle compared to the other hotel. There was nothing hot for breakfast and the choices were more limited. The hotel simply served its purpose as a place to sleep and get a quick bite in the morning (I had cereal).
It was an interesting contrast and one that I noticed right away. My wife commented on it as well. Quality is often reflected in price. How many times have you tried to save money buying a cheaper item and had it break right away? You often end up spending more money replacing something multiple times where a more expensive initial purchase could have saved money in the long run. Just an interesting reminder that I was able to experience.
Reminds me of my effort to save money in Vegas. Have to share that one with you next time.
Here are the carnivals that have featured my various blogs over the past month or so. Be sure to check a few of them out.
Recently, I found out that I will be getting a financial windfall. Apparently several years ago (as in almost 20), there was a mistake with social security withholding during graduate school. There ended up being audits and court cases, etc. I simply provided some information that confirmed I was indeed a student at the time and gave the auditor permission to handle the rest. I think the IRS got involved. This all started several years ago.
Well, I got notice that I would be getting a check toward the end of this month. Assuming that I actually see it, the amount is not all that small. The money was actually put in escrow in an interest bearing account and actually doubled during the time that this has been going on.
Plans for the Money
Needless to say, the money will come at a good time. I am working on paying off debt and feel that I am in a good frame of mind to be able to accept this money and not do anything stupid with it. I plan on using the funds (since they weren’t expected) to pay off one of my credit cards and to pay the property taxes on the commercial building that will be coming due in May.
This will help me keep on track with my goal to eliminate consumer debt in another 34 months and provide some extra cushion so I don’t have to scramble for the tax money. The timing couldn’t be better.
It is about time for some good news.
It has been forever since I linked to the carnivals that have featured my blogs so here goes: