Wednesday, December 25, 2013

ObamaCare and my budget!

Just when I think I have my budget figured out.... life happens!

I received news this week that I must apply for Covered California (ObamaCare) before I can reapply for my current county insurance. Gulp! I decided to call so I could talk to a representative. Long story short is that I cannot stay with my current health care plan which had a very good plan. After a lot of prayer, investigating and talking with several insurance specialists I decided (with fear and trepidation) on a plan through Kaiser. It will cost $1 a month with a $5,000 deductible, 3 office visits a year at $60 a visit and no help with prescriptions. It's not a good plan but it's what I could afford now. Thankfully I don't have any medical issues and I'm not using prescriptions.

We had a good crop of broccoli!


No sence whining about it. It is what it is. Our family could not afford any kind of insurance when our children were growing up. God blessed us with good health during those years. While the insurance plan I've chosen is terrible in comparison to the one I had previously, it's 100% better than having nothing. I will choose to be thankful and work harder on keeping healthy.  God has always taken good care of us.


***

I finally conquered my Christmas preparations so I was able to get back to my frugal ways this week. *wink* 

1. We've had nearly 2 weeks of 30 degree weather. I decided to buy some Long John's to wear under our clothes and night clothes instead of turning up the heat. Okay, well we did turn up the heat once. :-) I'm finding that wearing several layers of clothes is a big key to keeping warm in an old house. 

2.  I saved the packages the Long John's came in. I cut them open and used the inside instead of Seran wrap to let the Mounds Balls dry. 


This is the first time I've grown swiss chard. I've used it in our eggs and soups. 

3.  I found some adorable Christmas ornaments I want to make for gifts next year. It's never too early to plan. Take a peek. Aren't they adorable? I hope to start in January.

Names of Christ Ornaments

4. I have an 8 year supply of discounted Christmas wrappings that has slowly been dwindling.  I hope to hit the dollar stores the day after Christmas when the wrappings, tissue paper and gift bags are half off @ .50! I did find some tissue paper for .50 each this week.

5.  What I didn't throw away this week:
  • Celery and carrot peels (homemade dog food)
  • Broth from baked chicken (homemade soup)
  • Envelope (to store vegetable seeds)
  • Bubble packaging (to use for future packaging)
  • Sandwich baggie (washed/dried to resuse)
  • Rubber bands (radishes)
  • Cake mix plastic bag (washed and used as a baggie)
  • Bread flour bag (I cut it open and will reuse it as packaging to ship small gifts)
  • Bacon grease (I put it in a small container to use instead of oil to scramble eggs). 
6. I cut back on sending Christmas cards this year. The pennies will only stretch so far. I also didn't do all my normal baking, either.  I can't believe how much baking ingredients have increased plus it's a big temptation to have sweets in the house. I know that staying away from sugar plays a big role in keeping healthy.

Butter lettuce, spinach, curled leaf and several other lettuces to be harvested in February. 


7.  Ham's are on sale this month so I've bought a couple to freeze because it's cheap meat at .99 a pound. The butcher told me that the shank does not have as much meat as the butt so I paid $1.29 a pound for one of them. Still a great deal!

8. I've been keeping a pot of soup in the fridge for lunches but hubby occasionally wants a sandwich so I made a couple loaves of wheat bread.

9.  I've been saving meat scraps, bones and vegetable scraps for a month to make dog food. It really helps to stretch the dog food and it doesn't cost me a thing because I make it from food that would normally be thrown away.

10. This is a trick that saves time more than money. I use Seran wrap (or a recycle bag) to line a measuring cup when using Crisco. Once I measure it I can throw away the Seran wrap and the cup is still clean.


I hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas this year! We have so much to be thankful for because  of the greatest gift ever given.... Jesus Christ.

For God so loved the world, that he GAVE his only Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in him should not perish BUT have eternal life.   John 3:16 ESV


Blessed by His grace,

Georgene




35 comments:

  1. Hope you have a Blessed Christmas too. :) I've had to spend more $ for christmas, I do shopping online mostly and I opted to have things wrapped for me when possible. Big help with my physical challenges. To save more $ and time--I'm planning a serious discussion with hubby after the holidays. want to talk about what I can reasonably do--and maybe etsy is not the best use of my time--we shall see.

    I was having a hard time getting ready to host company after trouble with health and meds, my daughter and her hubby have helped and are coming to help more tomorrow. In the middle of doing what I can and what I do best-- I fell at the post office, coming off a curb. So.. landed on both hands and knees and a shoulder. I am so thankful nothing broke--but my pain level went up so I needed to get back on a med I had thought I could drop. Yay though- my insurance picked this one up in full--which is great cuz I paid $95 the other day for a different one. :(

    Anyhow-- I guess it is good I have good insurance at this time, I hope it continues. I'm not sure how obama care is going to effect us. One of my kid's hubby lost his job recently so they found they are eligible for medicaire or medicaid? I always get those mixed up. One of my other kids has a pregnant wife that is currently uninsured and has 2 c-sections.. so holding our breath to see what they will get for help. I think they may end up paying all the bills on it.

    One thing about things these years.. we're all in it together in one way or another. Hubby has been blessed to make more the past few years--so we have been able to help those of our own that need it most and deal with the multiple health issues I've had.

    I can't add a lot of money saving things this week, I guess Hubby is saving. He is moving out of the place he's been renting up in NC and is looking for a camper to buy so he can live in that during the work week.

    that should free up about 800 a month I think- but he'd have to lay out the cash about 5000 to buy a big camper. We shall see how it works out.

    Well, always something. :) Enjoy your holidays. :)Mary

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    1. Why do you think Etsy might not be a good use of your time? I'm evaluating where my time is going, too. I'm wanting to make changes in my schedule,too. I hope to hear how your decisions will help.

      I'm so sorry you fell! Doesn't it seem like it's farther DOWN than it was when we were younger??? Ouch! I'm glad you didn't break anything but so sorry you're hurting more Mary. I keep meaning to send you a book title that I just finished reading to Kevin. I think it would encourage you Mary. It really encourages me and helps me understand more about what a person with chronic pain goes through daily. Merry Christmas Mary! I hope you have a blessed holiday! Love you!

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    1. Thank you so much! Merry Christmas to you, too! :-)

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  3. Merry Christmas Georgene. I'm always amazed by how you are reusing and recycling. Good lessons for us all.

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  4. Merry Christmas to you! I actually think your health plan is not too bad. Eight years ago, we were buying our own plan. (We now have it through my husband's employer.) Each month we paid almost $400, and it had a $5,000 deductible for each of us. No help with prescriptions either. I was a cancer patient, so I had a lot of visits out of pocket. Monthly meds were at least $100. It's good just to have something in case of catastrophic illness as we had. Often, a hospital will work with you on payments on that deductible.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story. It helps to put things in perspective. I remind myself that we are owed nothing at all.

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  5. I live in San Bernardino County and have had Kaiser for years and years. Love it. Thankfully when we got old enough for Medicare we could keep it. So did you have to go on Obama Care or did you pick out Kaiser as your individual insurance so it is not or you are not part of Obama Care? I am not understanding some of the wordage of all of this new stuff!! :) If you have any questions call Kaisers Membership Service number and ask and if they do not know the answer they will get the information for you. Always ask them for any direct telephone numbers they are using and can give you so you can later call that area of the hospital yourself. Sometimes they have numbers that I have not found in Kaisers information packets! :) Kaiser also has many free health classes that you and hubby can go to. They supply you with free books etc. for the class and such too. Look over all the membership info you are sent as there are many services you will be entitled to you might not think you are. Membership can help there too. If you do not feel completely comfortable with a doctor you are assigned to you can switch at any time. Ask your friends who have Kaiser for references. If I can answer any questions just mention them in a post and I will do what I can. Sarah

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    1. Hi Sarah,
      I was with Kaiser for a few years and husband has been with them longer. I loved Kaiser. I was not given a choice about ObamaCare (which is called CoveredCa here). Thanks for the advice on checking for free services. I will check with them after the first of the year. My husband has a great Dr. but he is out of town. I'll take your advice and check with friends for a good local Dr. Thank you for your help and have a wonderful Merry Christmas!

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  6. Merry Christmas! Do you think you could share with us about making your dog food? Our scraps usually go to the chickens and the rabbits, and that may be the best use of them, but I am open to learning something new!

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    1. I don't really have a specific recipe for the dog food. I save leftover chicken and meat bones, skin, carrot and celery and mild vegetable leftovers. I just throw them in the freezer until I have enough. I have a large stock pot and I fill it half way up with water and throw in all the bones,etc. and veggies. I put in beef or chicken broth and maybe some peanut butter if I have extra. I'll add either rice or pasta.. maybe 2 cups. I boil it until the rice and pasta are done. I take all the meat off the bone and throw it along with the skin and peelings, rice or pasta, etc. into a food processor. I process a few cups at a time and then freeze the 'dog food' in 2 cup measurements. I have also pressure canned it but I don't put the pasta or rice in if I pressure can it. We feed our dog dry food along with some canned food so the homemade helps to stretch the canned food with scraps that would normally be thrown away. Does this help?

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    2. Thank you for your response. Hope you had a lovely Christmas with your family.

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  7. I so look forward to your posts here. Keep up the good work encouraging all of us and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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  8. Happy Christmas to you Georgene.
    Looking forward to reading your news next year.
    God bless you.
    Angela UK

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  9. Merry Christmas Gerogene!

    Regarding wrapping paper ... I have not spent a single copper penny on wrapping paper in more than 20 years. I re-cycle the packing paper from mail ordered supplies and newspaper into wrapping paper. I do occasionally purchase fabric ribbon, biased tape, various bows, string, etc. throughout the year from the re-sale shops for pennies on the dollar. Most of the time it is still new and inside it's original packaging.
    I've added a photo of this year's Christmas gift wrap to my "Making a List and Checking it Twice" post if you are interested.

    Again, I pray you and yours are enjoy a very Blessed Christmas,
    Mrs.B

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    1. Thank you Mrs. B. I'm heading over to see your post now. :-)

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  10. You have a great attitude. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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    1. Merry Christmas Linda! I hope you have a lovely Christmas!

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  11. I hope the insurance works out for you. I think change is the key word for life now. Have a wonderful Christmas!

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    1. You're right! Change is the key word for life.. nothing stays the same except God.. who never changes. :-)

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  12. My husband won't switch insurance even though it's cheaper; he's more comfortable living with the devil he knows.
    Thanks for the tip on using saran wrap in a measuring cup; love it!
    Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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    1. I hope you enjoy the seran wrap tip! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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  13. Georgene-
    I love your humility in your posts. It is a valuable lesson-I might have said some distasteful words under my breath regarding the insurance! Thank you also for the hint regarding the Crisco ( I bet it works for peanut butter too!). Just in time for our holiday baking tomorrow. We are suppose to get 5-8 inches of snow on Sunday. We made it to Mass tonight and are ready to sleep in and bake tomorrow. My shopping is done and I even have half of the wrapping completed (first time EVER!), My 15 yr old DD is helping me this Christmas and she is really loving it. She told me that she loves wrapping and talking to me. She is such a blessing! Have a blessed Christmas, Georgene!
    (((HUGS)))) Jennifer in IA

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    1. Hi Jennifer,
      I was a bit nervous about the whole thing yesterday until it was settled. :-) It sounds like you are enjoying your holiday. What a sweet girl you have! You are blessed!

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  14. Georgene, I am fairly new to your posts, but wanted to sahre two tips I have used many times over the years. Although we no longer eat ham, I did find the Butt portion was generally the most economical per pound. As our family size dwindled, I could cut the butt portion into three or four smaller hams, one with bone-in and the others boneless so we could slice our own sandwich meats from those pieces.

    Tip #2 is that when I need shortening, I note how much I require. If 1/2 cup then I use a 2 cup measuring cup, fill it to the 1 1/2 cup mark, drop the shortening in until the water reaches the 2 cup mark. I then can scoop up the shortening and put it in the mix. This works quite well to eliminate all the waste of packing into a measuring cup. I should think most commercial peanut butters would work well for this, too, as would bulk cuts of butter.

    Thank you for sharing your frugal efforts. I have long been frugal and it looks as those these coming years will be the fruit of those long years of experience, lol.

    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Hi Terri,
      It's so nice to meet you! :-) I'm going to take your advice and cut my ham in smaller portions to use for later. It will be less dry the next time around.

      I have heard about using water in a measuring cup but have never tried it. I sure will now. That would save using the seran wrap. I buy my seran wrap at the dollar store and it works great but a penny saved, etc. :-) Glad you shared from your experience. Don't be a stranger! Merry Christmas!

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  15. Too bad that you could not find a better insurance plan, but it looks like this works for you.
    Trying to stay on track with a frugal lifestyle has proved to be hard lately. Some days I'm all for it, other days I just don't have as much enthusiasm. Maybe the best thing I've done is that I started tracking our spending in July. Now we can see where the money goes. Hubby and I just have different opinions on how best to save and pay off debt, but we are going to have to compromise on some things in the new year. at least we do not have credit card debt, just our home and one car.
    Have a very Merry Christmas!

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    1. Hi Rachel,
      I think you're doing great by tracking your spending. It's such an eye opener to see where your money is going. I save all my receipts for at least a month. There have been times I've gone back and added up all of the snacks we bought. That was a big eye opener. :-)

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  16. This is my first time reading your blog and website and I thoroughly enjoyed the articles I have read so far. I would Love to know how you got insurance coverage for $1 a month.. am I reading that correctly? I too must find new insurance. I had insurance coverage at 225 a month for just myself, and now with Obamacare I will be forced to pay almost 500 a month.. Since I don't have 300 of discretionary income, I am considering no insurance.. I'm not really sure what to do at this point. I just cannot pay the 500. Merry Christmas.. Linda K

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    1. Hi Linda,
      I called California Covered which is the government program for Ca. I also got the same quote from our insurance broker in Los Angeles called Ark Insurance. Hope this helps!

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  17. If you save the saran wrap from measuring out the shortening, you can use it to grease pans for baking. I do this with butter wrappers too!

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    1. Aren't you smart! I never even thought of that! I have saved the butter wrappers to grease pans but never thought of reusing the seran wrap. Thanks so much! Love the feedback from you gals! I learn so much!

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