Oct 22 2012

Miscellany: Home updates, health insurance, exercise, Green BEAN coupon code


Fall in a jar

Maybe I should say “autumn in a jar” instead, because the alternative sounds dangerous.

I had a gallon-sized glass jar already, put some pine cones and maple leaves in it. Added some dried vanilla beans for scent and I called it done. It lives on my mantel but I put it elsewhere for the photo.

Home improvements

We finally got around to making some updates to our laundry room. We’ve painted the walls and installed a cabinet. We still need to find a rug and some wall art (I’d like to try to capture an autumn landscape if I can snap something decent enough), and possibly add a shelf. The biggest part is done, anyway. Pictures to come!


I had visited a few area fitness clubs and had a 7-day trial of one club to see how I liked it, and how often I went. I liked it quite a bit —  no pressure, just a low-key place to exercise. It was affordable, and they offered short-term commitments if I wanted to go that route.

I went three times during the trial, and thought I’d join. In the end, I delayed it a little and I’m glad I did. The area YMCA has a lot more amenities for roughly the same price as I’d pay for the short-term option at that other gym.

The YMCA is farther from me by about 5 minutes, but I think the extra perks should outweigh it. Recently, the YMCA ran a promo with $0 sign-up fees. I joined during that window and it saved me something like $75. Now, I just need to make sure I go often enough to make it worth the money :).

Health insurance

Our health insurance situation has been driving me bananas for the past few months. When Shane left his job a few months ago, he switched to a company small enough that they didn’t already have a group policy in place. Before Shane even met with the owner of the company, the owner assured him health insurance would be in place sometime in the 4th quarter of the year.

We had the option to elect COBRA for $1,107/month for our entire family, or for $456/month for one person. This COBRA thing is a law that enables qualifying former employees/eligible family to continue their group health insurance plan at full cost to them. Usually, the employer pays a big chunk of the premium. During COBRA, you’re paying it all yourself. The benefit to COBRA is it is your old insurance policy…and if you don’t have a new group plan or you can’t get individual coverage, then you can at least have something.

My eyes bugged out at the thought of paying $1100/month for insurance, but it turns out that is on the low end. Some people’s COBRA premiums are $1500-$3000/month! What.

I opted to stay on COBRA individually, for a few reasons. One, I was denied from the private individual policy we applied for through ehealthinsurance. Two, individual health insurance policies in my state aren’t required to offer maternity coverage. There is ONE policy, but it’s expensive and requires a long waiting period and doesn’t even cover that much, so I’m not interested in that.

I don’t know for sure about a third baby, but I know that with my previous pregnancy complications, I’d want to be insured rather than risk the unlimited possibilities. The $456/month is spendy, but it gives us options and I’m thankful for that, and that we can swing it.

Shane and the kids are on a private policy for $189/month. They will switch to a different private policy offered through an insurance broker through Shane’s employer (they are not going the group route to save costs, ugh). For now, they’ll stay on this current private policy so that there are no gaps. You don’t want a gap of more than 63 days between your health insurance policies, because if so, the new insurance will likely require a waiting period, or will exclude preexisting conditions. It could be a nightmare, so I’m glad we can avoid that headache.

I believe Shane’s boss is going to cover at least part of the cost of their new policy, so in theory the $189/month we’re paying now for them will go away. I don’t know those details yet, but I do know it could be worse — we could pay $1100/month (or higher!) or have no insurance at all.

As of now, our health insurance is $645/month and that should go down. It’s our second-highest monthly expense (first being our mortgage).


We had a hailstorm at the end of September. A doozy of a storm, one that at its worst looked like a blizzard. The hailstones were (only) around 1.25 – 1.5″ in size and they violently beat our house. It was scary and loud, but it could have been worse. Our insurance adjuster came out and we’ll be getting a new roof, gutters and downspouts. We knew when we bought the house that the 13-year-old roof was going to need replaced sometime soon (it’s a low-grade quality) so we’re thankful for the hailstorm’s timing.

There’s more I’d like to share about this whole roofing bit later on.

Green BEAN Delivery coupon code

If you live in the Indianapolis, Muncie, Fort Wayne, Louisville, Dayton, Cincinnati, or Columbus metros and would like to check out Green BEAN Delivery, I have a coupon code for you:


It is good for $15 off your first order and expires exactly one week from today. It is for new members and reactivations only.

[Note: I’m not getting compensation or personal discounts for sharing this promo. I’m passing it along because I like this service and use it myself, and some of you on Facebook mentioned you’d be interested in the coupon :)]

Posted under Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Miscellany: Home updates, health insurance, exercise, Green BEAN coupon code”

  1. I hope you continue writing! I just discovered this blog a couple months ago. I’ve always been pretty good with money, but your articles (especially retirement series) have given me quite a few ideas. Like you, my family is single-income, as my wife stays home to raise our two small kids. It can be challenging going from two incomes to one, but we’ve made it work so far. Anyway, keep up the good work.

  2. Hmm… that might be a good idea for a future post. A “thinking about kids”, wherein you weight the pros/cons of one parent staying home vs. daycare, going from two incomes to one and how to make that work, etc.
    My situation was rather crazy, our first was a complete surprise, and we weren’t married at the time. So figuring out health insurance and all that, while not being legally married, was a huge challenge. We didn’t end up tying the knot until our son was 2. We were thrown headfirst into it, and making the finances work was a huge challenge.

  3. Thanks, Corey! I certainly appreciate your comments.

    I was only 23 when my son was born, and so we were not used to living on much income at that point. I think that helped us, actually — instead of giving up a modest income and adjusting down, we didn’t have to adjust much since we weren’t that far removed from college and the college budget.

    So, I don’t actually have personal experience going from two decent incomes to one.

    Let me know if you’d ever want to write a guest post about your situation. My “no guest post” policy is really for advertisers who want me to post spam on their behalf. Pfft.

  4. That makes sense. I was 35 when I had my son, so we were well entrenched in our careers when we became parents. I would consider doing a guest post, I’ll think about it. Since the average age of first-time parents is increasing year after year (most of my friends had kids after 30), I think many new parents have a dilemma about staying home vs. daycare. By that time, most people are locked into spending: mortgage, cars, etc.
    Anyway, I’ll consider it. Thanks! And good job on not selling out to the man trying to spam your blog! ;)

  5. I totally understand about the lack of insurance options you are dealing with – it was my biggest fear of self-employment. When we both got cleared by esurance, I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. Good luck with the new insurance that’s hopefully coming up soon!

  6. Lack of insurance is very much risky.I didn’t care about it in my earlier life but now I understand it’s really a very important thing.

  7. “$1500-$3000/month!” my goodness, in India more then 5 families live a Happy life with these amount for month !

  8. Wow dear, you have taken me to two different topics in one post. I mean i seriously came here looking at the picture of the Jar and thought i was going trough some recipe !

  9. I am sorry to here about your insurance situation! It can be so frustrating sometimes.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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