Fiscal Follies, and What To Do About It?

I suppose it was only a matter of time before reality stuck its big nose into our “budget“, and sneezed all over it.  Now that the spending has commenced, we’re starting to bleed money.  Sigh ……

I realize this was inevitable; I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon.

The first hit came curtesy of Lola’s teeth.  Due to various stupid laws currently in affect in our country, it’s not possible to get her health insurance at a reasonable cost.  So, she has no health insurance.  She also has, at the moment, rotten teeth.

As I write this, she is at the dentist’s office, having three teeth pulled.  Yes, it would be nice to have one or two of these bad teeth drilled-and-filled, rather than pulled, but we don’t have the money for that now.  As it is, getting three teeth pulled will cost us $450.00.*  Now that is on top of the exam and x-ray costs, so this little dental adventure will easily cost us over $600.00.

I also had some dental work done, (an old filling-gone-bad replaced by a new one), but since I had it done yesterday, the last day our old health insurance is still in effect, the cost was mostly covered by insurance.

The next fiscal punch hasn’t landed just yet, but it will any day now.  This hit involves another financial black hole, namely, an automobile.  I took my car in for an oil change yesterday, (another expense, but at least an expected one), and was informed that it is in desperate need of new tires.  The quote I got for four new tires was $450.00.  Ugh! **

So, as you can see, we will easily be $1,000.00 over budget this month.  Ouch!

Okay, so what should I do about it, other than bitch-and-moan?  (Which, while enjoyable in its own right, doesn’t help pay the bills.)

My first knee-jerk reaction is to panic, and attempt to line up a well paying contract here, there, or anywhere.  I am an old COBOL programmer, and although this skill is rapidly becoming obsolete, there are still COBOL jobs to be found that pay very well.  The problem is that, unless I am very lucky, any COBOL job I get will be out of town, and working out of town has its own financial and, even more disturbingly, emotional costs.  (One of the main reasons I “retired” was to come back home to my family, instead of living during the week on the other side of the state.)

At the other end of the spectrum, I could just stay home and “make money on the internet“.  Unfortunately, although I have tried off-and-on for several years now to get some sort of online cash flow going, the only “flow” that is really happening with regards to the internet is money flowing from me to my ISP, web host, and other assorted silliness.  My attempts at online affiliate marketing have been disastrous, with the latest bellyflop being the nonsense Bluehost recently pulled on me.

Somewhere between these extremes would be to find an entry level  job, full-time or part-time, here in Macon.  (Bank teller?  Pizza delivery guy?)  Of course, I’d no longer be “retired”, but that’s okay.  I don’t think I will ever be permanently retired, as long as I’m breathing!

* – Update: she only had one tooth pulled.  Cost us $250.00.  But ….. the kicker is that in 6 weeks she will need gum work done to save the other two teeth, which will cost at least $350.00.  Ugh!  So we saved a little now, only to spend more in the near future.

** – The links in this paragraph are obviously a homage to Dave Ramsey.  Follow his advice: KILL DEBT!!


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A Big Problem Potentially Solved?

Retirement, while GREAT, doesn’t come without its own set of problems.  Probably the biggest, ugliest, hairiest beast of a problem of all is just how the heck to afford health insurance.

As you may know from the seat-of-the-pants budget from our previous post, we do have the option of using COBRA, at the ridiculous cost of $1,200.00 per month!  Good grief!  That means we would be spending $1,2000 each and every month, even if every single one of us had perfect health, and we never even stepped into a doctor’s office!

I don’t suppose it takes a genius to realize that this expense will eat through our savings at a monstrously rapid pace.

Obamacare to the Rescue?

Like most other folks stuck in this predicament, I turned to the ACA, (Affordable Care Act), for help, and like some of them, it seems to offer us financial relief.  I found a reasonable insurance plan that covered all of us for a reasonable cost, (about $370.00/month), and went ahead and signed up for it.

That was last Thursday, August 10, 2017.  My credit card was billed, and I received a confirmation email, but I won’t feel completely at ease with this until I receive our insurance cards.

Why?  Let me ask you a question: have you ever tried to use the website?

While I personally didn’t have problems with poor response times, or, (God forbid!), the website crashing while I used it, I can tell you that subtle differences in how you answer the myriad questions asked, (many of which are subjective, by the way), DRASTICALLY affects what kind of coverage and subsidies you’ll be offered.  For example, the first time I tried to wade through this mess, I was informed that our two children did NOT qualify for subsidized insurance, and that we would have to sign them up under Medicaid.  Yuck!

This just seems to be a “feature” of, as other folks have had similar troubles, as eloquently expressed here: “PITFALLS AND SUBSIDIES WHILE SIGNING UP FOR AFFORDABLE CARE ACT COVERAGE“.  (And it seems that things haven’t improved much since early 2016!)  I guess the only way to work with that silly site is to just keep tweaking your answers until you get a result you are happy with?

At any rate, it appears our health insurance difficulties might be solved, God willing and the creek don’t rise.

On to tackle our next challenge!

Update: 0n Friday, 08/18/2017, our insurance cards showed up in our mailbox.  Here’s a pic of what we got, (with most useful info covered up, unfortunately, because it is PERSONAL!):

This stuff seems legit, folks.  Hooray!!

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