Apr 30 2013

In the planning stages of redoing our kitchen


Our current kitchen, sorta. But now, visually add chipped counters. Oh, and random counter top clutter.

There’s nothing like a baby on the way to make house projects seem way urgent, amirite?

Our eyesore of a kitchen has been on our to-fix list pretty much since we bought the house in 2011.

The cheap white laminate counters were stain magnets and icky, so we tried the Giani Granite paint, thinking that hey if we could get a good solution for $100 it would be worth a shot. Well, our counter paint didn’t cure worth a darn and is peeling all over the place. Ok then!

Despite the failed experiment, I am glad we went that route. For one thing, we thought we might want a darker, patterned counter. Turns out, that’s NOT what we want for the long-term. It hides messes a little too well, and I accidentally touch little drops of jelly or applesauce or things that splattered on the counter but went unnoticed during clean-up. Ugh. I think for our kitchen, a lighter palate is what we want.

We haven’t gotten around to painting the walls yet, because we wanted a color that will go well with our new counters. Still, I think it would be worth at least priming them in a light color asap while we look at color samples for other things.

Our wish list includes:

  • New light fixtures for above the island and table (and I want to do this FIRST so that I can have a better sense of how the light will look. Then I can make a more informed decision on paint colors).
  • Paint the walls. Toning it down supermuch. Bye, bold red. Thinking something light and neutral.
  • New cabinets. This wasn’t in the original plan, but as we’ve been here and used the thermafoil cabinets regularly, we’ve seen that these just will not hold up. We’d like cabinets that are taller than the current 30″ and are made with better materials than sawdust+glue with a sticker on it.
  • Counters. I would love solid surface counters and I hope we can swing it. If not, a nicer grade laminate ought to suffice. Not loving granite, so it’s between those two.
  • New sink (perhaps undermount, or even a solid surface one so it’s all integrated)
  • New faucet. Something taller than what we have now
  • Maybe tile backsplash?

I’ve obtained quotes from kitchen companies, and ow ow ow the price! It would be great if I could just give a company my wish list and have them go to town on it, and have it not cost a small fortune. But alas. They want a small fortune.

So, the light fixtures we’ll buy ourselves and maybe pay an electrician to install, or maybe DIY…I dunno. Electricity sort of scares me, even though I know how to use the circuit breaker.

We will paint. And paint and paint. The ceiling, the walls will need primed and painted a lot, likely, and the trim since there’s red drips on that.

The cabinets? Yeah I dunno about installing cabinets. Shane did the one in our laundry room, but it was one. I’m trying to find a good deal on cabinets. I have seen some great prices online, but I’m sort of unsure about buying from an online retailer. I know we can hire someone to do the actual installation. Maybe we can handle at least part of the demo to save money there. We might use some of those cabinets in our garage for storage, and the rest of them in decent shape we can donate to Habitat for Humanity.

I wish we had the kind of cabinets that we could just paint, and they would look great. But these are the kind that would not take to paint well at all. And oddly enough, I’m sort of considering white cabinets again. I like the overall effect. We may still go a stained wood route, but I dunno.

Would love to hear from someone who has purchased cabinets from an online retailer — either RTA or pre-assembled. The price is just shockingly less, but it’s like…is that one of those too good to be true sort of things? Or are they just cutting out overhead? I’d hate to spend $2-3k on cabinets, and have them not work out and then have to spend gobs more on top of that to have a functional kitchen.

I’ve obtained a few quotes on counters, and it looks like my best bet is from a solid surface counter fabricator in the city. No overhead, so the price is better. Their price includes a sink.

We can probably in theory install back splash tile ourselves. Yeah? I guess?

My husband really doesn’t have a lot of free time to devote to kitchen labor, and we don’t want him to take time off of work to do it. Would rather save those days for an actual vacation, or for when the baby comes. So we’d like to strike a good balance of projects we can handle ourselves, with saving money and not spending an obscene amount, and with getting the kitchen we want.

Apr 25 2013

Do you pay hospitals in full, or make payments?


Last November, my son needed to go to the ER for some pretty intense vomiting and dehydration. If it was myself, I’d try to tough it out longer…but my little boy? Not messing around with him. So we went, they gave him a Zofran and I think one other thing, took an x-ray, urine sample, saw the nurse practitioner and we were on our way.

My husband and 2 kids are on one private insurance plan. It’s a high deductible, at $5,500/year for the family. Blech.

We got the ER bill, to the tune of $2,421. For real?! That’s insanity.

I compared it to my explanation of benefits from the insurance company, and something wasn’t right. After some phone calls, it turns out we were billed the full amount, vs. the slightly discounted insurance amount. Our bill was reduced by a little more than $500. Definitely helps, but it’s still expensive.

I asked if there was any sort of pay-in-full discount. It would be worth it to me to just pay the full bill if we got, say, a 10% off discount. But nope, the billing lady said those discounts are only for those without insurance discounts.

She did say we could do a minimum monthly payment of $200, with no interest.

So…there’s really not much incentive to pay in full. We thankfully happen to have the money in savings, earmarked for medical bills. As far as I’m concerned, making payments in this situation is probably fine, though I don’t like the idea that it’s a debt.

How about you? Do you pay medical bills in full, or make interest-free payments?

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.

Keep in Touch!
Like me on Facebook Follow Me on Twitter RSS Feed

Subscribe to my email updates:
  • Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Web Statistics