Why and How I’m Living Without Insurance

I know what you’re thinking: why in God’s name would you ever live without insurance? Well, let me tell you…

Photo courtesy of StockSnap.io via EVG Photos

I’m someone who has had to seriously re-evaluate my life this year, as it has been tumultuous: I’ve changed jobs twice, I bought a house in an area I said I’d never live in, I’ve began and ended relationships, and I become responsible for my own I-9 business, among many other things. I mean, I went from an anxiety ridden, crazily co-dependent “girl”, to a medicated woman who is a homeowner that gets excited about things like crockpots and The History Channel. Shit has been real.

If you would’ve asked me even five years ago if I would ever go without insurance, I would tell you that you’re crazy. I also probably would’ve made some comment about how people who choose to go without insurance are stupid…oh, how the mighty have fallen.

I am choosing to go without insurance for a multitude of reasons:

  • I am sick of working for other people. I want to work for myself and take control of my life and situation. I have started my own business, and I am not paying for entrepreneurial insurance; this is mostly because I can’t afford it, but also due to the principal of it all. I am not spending $1000+ a month on insurance (that may or may not be used) that still has a $6000 out of pocket maximum. No.
  • The Healthcare Marketplace had my cheapest option at $325/mo, with an $8000 deductible (on these plans your deductible is also your out of pocket maximum). It’s also a catastrophic only plan. This option is still cheaper than the entrepreneurial insurance offered to me, but I still cannot afford to pay $325/mo for a catastrophic only at this point.
  • I found out recently, when I refilled a prescription, that my prescription was actually cheaper without insurance. Yes, you read that correctly. I was so confused that I made the pharmacy technician show me on the screen that she didn’t charge it to my old insurance, and then because I didn’t want to deal with my old insurance calling me in 7 months about a stupid prescription, I made the pharmacist also show me. Yes, my medicine is cheaper when I choose to pay cash than go through insurance. This is insane and asinine to me.
  • I am going to take advantage of programs such as GoodRx, FreshBenies, Virtuwell, MDLive, Doctor on Demand, Grace Alliance, and SingleCare. All of these services provide heavily discounted family doctor’s, therapist, and psychiatry rates, telemedicine, telehealth, support groups, and heavily discounted prescription rates.
  • I upped my medical payments on my car insurance to the legal maximum for my state, as well as adding no fault to the policy, meaning whether it’s my fault or their fault, I’m getting paid. This raised my insurance by $1.13 per month – I was shocked at how cheap it was.
  • I will be putting $5 in savings each week for potential hospital issues not related to car accident injuries. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s what I can afford to “spare” right now, and I’m not so ignorant as to think that I will never in my life need hospital care.

But wait, there’s more!!

Photo courtesy via StockSnap.io via Freestocks

Health insurance isn’t the only insurance I’m going without!

I no longer have life insurance, so the bank will have a nice property if I die. I also no longer have the long list of insurances I paid for, for years, and never used: short term disability, cancer insurance policy, hospital insurance policy, etc. When I go back and look at how much money I could’ve saved by not buying those policies that I never used, I am embarrassed.

It’s so crazy how “okay” I feel without all of these policies. Maybe it hasn’t hit me yet, I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll regret it later, who knows? All I know is I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time, and at the end of the day, that is what matters most.

4 Easy and Free Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

No matter your personal beliefs or opinions on the matter of climate change and global warming, I think we can all agree that we should treat the planet with as much respect as we’re able…and we can do so without it costing us a dime. Sounds good to me!

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

I think it’s important that we realize that this is the only earth we have. Recently, I was watching Sundance original A Discovery of Witches (shout-out to my fellow pagans) and there was a line in the show that struck a cord with me. Matthew and Diana are taking a walk, and Matthew says:

I have a different sense of time to you. When humans talk about climate change, that’s exactly what they say: the polar icecaps will take so long to melt, who cares?

– Matthew Clairmont, A Discovery of Witches

Its sort of embarrassing how spot on that statement is, isn’t it? It’s calling us out. You might not be affected, but, depending on your age, your great-grandchildren will be. Do you want them to suffer in the future because of a choice you made in the past?

Photo by Nick Scheerbart on Unsplash

So, okay, you get it. You need to change your ways, but how? I think a lot of people make the mistake – yes, you read me right, mistake – of trying to change too much at once. It gets overwhelming, and they go back to normal. Life is stressful enough, you don’t need to add more on to make life hard.

But fear not, my friends! I’ve got you.

Here are 4 easy, free ways to reduce your carbon footprint:

  1. Stop using plastic grocery bags. I know, you feel attacked right? They’re so easy to carry, they have handles, they’re lightweight, and you reuse them for your bathroom trash bins…yada yada yada. I know, I’ve heard and used all those excuses in the past. You’re not getting past me with this one! Did you know 8 million tons of plastic ends up in oceans every year? Do yourself a favor and bring your own grocery bags – even if they’re the plastic ones you got on your last grocery store trip. Once you put all your groceries away, gather up the bags and stick them in your car. It’s that simple. Personally, I use cloth bags that my credit union gave me for free. I keep one in my purse, and one in my car at all times. You know what else is great about the cloth bags? I can fit about 5x more in the cloth bags, meaning instead of 5 bags, I walk out with one. That’s only one trip from the car, ladies and gents, and that makes my lazy heart happy.
  2. Shop local. Shopping local can be more expensive, I will be the first to admit it. This is coming from the same girl who encouraged you all to get an Amazon credit card, but hear me out. Shopping local revitalizes your local economy, that money typically stays in your area, and you’re reducing your carbon footprint by not requiring that something ships five times just to get to you. If you’re going to shop online, shop at Etsy, where they plant a tree for each item that is shipped, to help reduce the carbon footprint.
  3. Check your Laundry Schedule. Did you know that there are times of day that is cheaper to run your laundry? Yup. Your energy company charges more for energy during “peak usage times”. So you can save money by doing your laundry not during these times. You can also skip the dryer and dry your clothes on racks, your shower curtain rod, on chairs, etc. Personally I started doing this as a way to save money, but still do dry towels and blankets in the dryer. You can save up to $200 a year doing this. If all Americans used these methods to dry their clothes for half a year, it would save over 3% of the country’s energy needs.
  4. Lower your thermostat. Reducing the temperature of your house by 2 degrees, in the winter, can save you $98 each year. It can also save 2000 pounds of carbon emissions! I was someone who typically kept my house between 68 and 70 degrees during the winter. I thought this was pretty good considering most of my friends kept it above 70. However, I decided to test lowering it for a month to 61 and see what it did to my bill. It resulted in a 51% decrease in my bill cost. I haven’t turned it up since, except in instances that I have company over.
Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

Save the planet. It’s the only one we’ve got.

Why Quitting my Job Helped me Lose Weight

I am not, what one would call, the healthiest of beings. I do eat a pescetarian diet out of medical necessity, but beyond that I am probably one of the least healthy people I know. I’m a Carb Queen, Keto’s existence makes me sad, and I make no apologies.

Now before I get into the nitty gritty, I’m not telling you that quitting your job is the insta-cure for losing 100 lbs, because I didn’t lose 100 lbs – I didn’t even lose 50 lbs. I did however lose many inches and some decent poundage in the 30 days after I left, because by quitting my job: I changed.

Photo courtesy of StockSnap.io via Oluwasen Duncan

Let’s take some responsibility here as I explain my reasons:

  1. I cope by being an emotional eater. I eat when I’m happy, I eat when I’m angry, I eat when I’m stressed, I eat when I’m sad, and so on and so forth. Now, the job I used to have could make me feel all of these emotions within a 60 minute time span. As an effect of that, I ate all the time. If I didn’t have food at my desk, people were bringing food to me. I was even known in the office as “the food bully” (an affectionate term, I swear) because I could guilt people into getting me food.
  2. Cortisol was running through my veins almost constantly. When you are at a constant state of stress, cortisol runs through you 24/7. This causes you to feel hungry when you’re not, slow your metabolism, skyrocket your blood pressure, and increase your heart rate. Therefore, I was eating more, my body was holding onto the food for dear life, and I felt drained almost constantly…which turned me to eating sugar to “wake me up”.
  3. I didn’t take responsibility for my mornings. What I mean by this is that I was not getting out of bed at 6 AM when I actually naturally woke up – I’d roll over and moan and groan about having to get up, and would just lay there. Why? I didn’t want to go to work, because I disliked who I was there, and I didn’t enjoy the stress that it caused me. Now that I work freelance and started my own business, my mornings are my own and I am excited about the day. I get up, turn the kettle on, open the curtains to see the beautiful sunshine, and get to work on my own time table.
  4. I was lazy. Yuppers, I said it. I was lazy any time I was not at work. Why? I gave everything to my job, 110% every single day, when I wasn’t at work I didn’t have anything else left to give. I truly do wish that I was the extrovert that I was when I was in my younger years, but I’m not anymore, and being around people (some of whom were causing me constant stress) for 9 hours everyday exhausted me. So, when I got home, I wanted to eat a pizza on the couch, drink a vodka lemonade, and then go to bed. Which leads me to my next reason on the list…
  5. I haven’t drank since I quit my job. I was not a drinker, due to medical reasons, before I started my job, and I really wasn’t up until the last year I was there. However, once that last year hit, it was a daily occurrence. In the month I haven’t been there, I’ve had one drink and that’s only because family came to town.
  6. I didn’t take responsibility for my stress. Yes, that’s right, you heard (read?) me. I could have left at any time, and in truth I stayed too long. I didn’t leave because I was scared, lazy, and even though I was sad, I was comfortable in the routine of it all. No one forced me to stay at that job except for myself. Once I owned up to that after leaving, I felt invincible, and the need to eat myself to comfort just sort of went away.

What I hope you take away from this post is that I was the reason I lost weight, and I was also the reason I had gained the weight. A lot of us like to put blame on others, because it’s easier that way. I think that truly, deep down, we know that we shelter at least some of that responsibility and it scares us.

The only person who can change anything in your life is you. Once you acknowledge, accept, and live that truth, your life will change for the better. I promise.

Photo courtesy of StockSnap.io via Helena Lopes

Spiritual Journeys: Why They’re Important and What I Believe

At some point, we have all questioned what we believe in; if we never questioned what we believed in, we would have blind faith for our entire life, which I truly believe no higher power would want us to have. Whatever religion you believe in, all religions can agree that humans have free will for a reason.

I have always felt conflicted about being ‘religious’ in my life, instead referring to myself as ‘spiritual’ when allowed to use the term. I am a ‘split brain’ thinker – I’m a Gemini, blame the Gemini – I need fact, I need to be able to prove something, but even more so, I need something that is believable, I need something that I can soar in, I need something that I can emotionally connect with. Again, Gemini.

Photo Courtesy of Garon Piceli

What I’ve found throughout my journey of faith, mental health, happiness and spirituality, is that no one religion fits me. In an effort to find where I belong spiritually, I’ve created a list of my beliefs.

I believe there is a Higher Power

I believe there is a higher power, God – if you will, that has helped set you in on a path for life before you’re ever even born. (S)He has created you with purpose, and puts you on Earth to do better, be better, and learn lessons to evolve.

I believe in Reincarnation

I believe in Past Lives. I do not believe in the phrase “you only live once”, although I – like almost all Western Peoples – use it as an excuse for my choice or behavior when I do something out of the norm. I don’t necessarily believe in Past Lives in the way of the Buddhist or Hindu tradition, though. I believe that when you die, you go to the afterlife to be with family and enjoy happiness with God, and when you so choose, you come back. Or, if you’ve done something against humanity (such as, premeditated murder), you’re sent right back, to try to atone for what you’ve done.

I believe God is Kind and Just

I do not believe that the only way into Heaven is by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior. Wow, it’s taken me years to even get to a point where I can type that out, put it out somewhere publicly, and not feel immense shame by saying so. Let me explain here, though, before you burn me at the stake. I’m not saying that Jesus is not God’s son – don’t misinterpret me. I am saying that I don’t think that God or Jesus would ever deny someone entry solely based on that fact. This belief has stemmed from me growing up with Jewish and Agnostic friends who have been more of a blessing to this world than a lot of Christians I’ve met, and I refuse to believe that these wonderful people wouldn’t be allowed to reunite with their loved ones simply because they didn’t worship Jesus; I don’t think God or Jesus is that selfish or cruel.

I believe in Psychics, Mediums, Reiki, and more

I do believe that Psychics and Mediums can speak with the deceased, and I believe that Reiki Master’s can change, absorb, and redirect energy in a way to help heal your soul.

I believe in Kindness

I believe that if you are a good person, do well, and support others, you will be allowed to live a peaceful afterlife regardless of religious affiliation.

Photo Courtesy of David McBee

I believe we are all Connected to Earth

I believe that we are all connected to the Earth, it’s beings, and it’s landscapes. We are to respect what has been created and celebrate what is given to use by Earth.

I believe in Asian and Native ‘Ancestor Worship’

In these cultures, forms of Ancestor Worship are present. What portions of Ancestor Worship that I would like to practice, are Ofrendas and 제사 (Jesa). Personally, I find it incredibly rude to our elders and ancestors that people in most Western cultures do not practice some form of remembrance or ritual in their honor. I am very invested in my genealogy and learning about my ancestors, and I believe that I should honor them as often as I am allowed.

I believe that we have more Control than we think

While I believe in Fate, to a certain point, I also believe that we have more control than we give ourselves credit for. We can manifest positivity and negativity.

I believe Abrahamic Hell is Real

I believe that Hell, as told by the Abrahamic religions, is real. I believe that demons reside there and that the Devil does too. Now, where I disagree on it, is that I don’t believe humans end up there. I honestly think that when “bad people” die, they are not allowed to move on and are instead stuck on Earth as ghosts for eternity, or they are allowed to move on but instead experience a karmic justice by living a miserable life in their next life cycle.

So what’s the point?…

I feel strongly that I have had 3 “life phases” so far in my life, which would make sense given that I’m in my late 20’s. I feel that each of these phases have changed who I am, what I believe, and what course I am on. Exposure to all different types of people, beliefs, and cultures throughout my life have added or changed views that I’ve held.

This shows that life itself is a spiritual journey. Our entire life we are supposed to grow, learn, and adopt practices so that we can include them in our lives. Spiritual journeys are incredibly important so that you can understand life, your purpose, and enjoy everything that has been given to you in this life.

But enough about me…what are your beliefs? What do you practice?

It’s OK to be a Financial Hypocrite

I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m saying that it’s okay to be a Financial Hypocrite…or at least I assume so, because you clicked the link and here you are.

Photo courtesy of JP Valery Photography

I know and everyone that tolerates me knows that I can get a little obsessive (#OCDftw) when it comes to finances. There is a reason for my madness though, and the reason is that I grew up in a lower middle class family who thought they were the Joneses; for example, we couldn’t afford food, but they’d have no issue going to Best Buy on a whim and charging a $1000 television for a room that no one uses. No child should have to learn from her mother how to field off collection companies when they call, and how to lie to family about how we “don’t go to check into cash”. I knew early on that I never wanted to be like that. It makes a little more sense now, right?

So here I am, this crazy financial person freaking out over saving pennies, and that’s been part of my identity; in a sense, I’ve been proud of it. This is who I’ve been for my entire adult life, until recently.

Recently, I’ve realized that my quality of life matters more than a paycheck.

Recently, I’ve discovered that I would be happier as a poor person than as a person who can buy whatever I want.

Those realizations are not easy for someone like me. These realizations are difficult and they are life-changing. You know what else they are? They’re worth the change.

So yes, it’s okay to be a “financial hypocrite”. Life gave you lemons and you had to make lemonade. So take a deep breath, realize that it’s okay to sometimes just have to charge it on a credit card, for your sanity.

Courtesy of Lisa Fotios Photography

It’s okay and everything will work out that it’s supposed to.

Growing Your Own Food: The Ultimate Food Savings

Photo Courtesy of Stocksnap.io via Brad Stallcup Photography

I’ll admit it…I don’t have the biggest green thumb. I’m also that person that hates grass but still, for some unknown reason, wants to live on a farm in the middle of nowhere; and hey, did I mention I’m like ‘My Girl‘ level allergic to to bees?

Photo courtesy of Stocksnap.io via Studio 7042

So yeah, this girl, has decided to grow her own food. This means I had to do a lot of researching…a lot. I had to find fruit trees that would grow indoors without the need to be pollinated by bees, and needed full sun, due to where I have to put them inside.

I went to my local Tractor Supply Co. and picked up two trees that I hope to feed me within the year. They deliver the trees to my house for free. I figured it’s worth spending $50 total on two trees, and be able to get years worth of fruit.

My research led me to:

  • Meyer Lemon Tree: The Meyer Lemon Tree is a common lemon tree – but I’d say mine will look more like a very large, tall lemon shrub.
  • LSU Purple Fig Tree: The LSU Purple Fig Tree will provide a lot of figs and grow to be almost as tall as my ceilings. Fig jam anyone? I’m starting to collect recipe for the figs now because I don’t know what else to use them on, so if you have anything, let a girl know!

I’m also looking at what food (vegetables, maybe some strawberries, garlic, herbs for tea?) I can grow in small containers to save money. If you have any ideas I’d appreciate it.

Photo courtesy of Stocksnap.io via Studio 7042

Have you grown your food indoors? What was your experience like?

Challenge Series: The Dishwasher Challenge

Challenge Series: The Challenge Series is a money saving challenge that I have found online, and challenge myself and you to do, in an effort to save money.

Photo Courtesy of StockSnap.io via WDnet Studio

It costs roughly $60 a year for the electricity usage of your dishwasher, if you use it daily. Did you know that the average dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water, per cycle? If you wash dishes everyday in your dishwasher, you’re also using 2,184 gallons each year. Lets not even get into how much gas you’re using to heat the water, if you have a hot water heater…

The Dishwasher Challenge is a challenge where you only wash dishes once a week. So, instead of using 2,184 gallons per year, you’d use 312 gallons.

Photo courtesy of StockSnap.io via Catt Liu

I have to be completely honest: I am nervous about this challenge for multiple reasons. I am nervous that my dishes sitting around will begin to stink; and, I am nervous how intentional I will have to become with my meal planning and my dish usage.

I will be keeping everyone up to date about this challenge: Will I see a difference on my electric bill? Will I see a difference on my gas bill? Will I see a difference in my water bill? I hope so. I hope it’s enough to make it a permanent change, and make all the work worth it.

Do you think you could hack it?

Sprint Reward Series: Free Class with Shaw Academy

Sprint Series: The Sprint Rewards Series will be similar to the Amazon Series, where, as long as you’re a Sprint Rewards user, I’m going to show you how to utilize the Sprint Rewards app to get free items, rewards, cash back, and enter to win vacations and cash prizes. Let me show you how to let your phone “pay for itself”.

Everyone wants something free, right? Well, if you’re a Sprint user like I am, you can get free items each week with the Sprint Rewards app. As someone who loves to get a deal, I take advantage of all of them.

Over the last year, I have received free gift cards to Coldstone Ice Creamery, Pizza Hut, iTunes, Amazon, Krispy Kreme, Lenovo, Papa Johns, and many, many more, all ranging from $2 to $10.

This week my opportunity was to redeem a coupon for a 4 week free course through Shaw Academy for a professional diploma – worth $49.95! You know your girl wasn’t turning down that opportunity. Shaw Academy has classes on everything from Financial Investing to Wedding Photography to Digital Marketing.

I chose the Professional Diploma for Social Media Marketing course. I was able to choose which times I take my class based on my schedule, and I’m very excited that I am going to get a professional diploma that I can add to my resume.

As always, a successful week in the land of the Sprint Rewards App. Along with the cheapest unlimited everything plan I’ve ever seen, I’m happy this business also rewards it’s customers.

Sprint Rewards Series: Free $50 Cash per line each year

Sprint Series: The Sprint Rewards Series will be similar to the Amazon Series, where, as long as you’re a Sprint Rewards user, I’m going to show you how to utilize the Sprint Rewards app to get free items, rewards, cash back, and enter to win vacations and cash prizes. Let me show you how to let your phone “pay for itself”.

Well, this post is actually little different. It’s not exclusively through the Sprint Rewards app, instead it’s a reward for being a Sprint user as well as a Credit Union member. As long as you belong to a credit union anywhere in the United States, you will get a yearly deposit of $50 into your credit union savings or checking account, courtesy of Sprint and Love My Credit Union. I have my auto loan through a credit union, so I use that account as my membership verification, and they pay $50/year, or $4.16/month to my car payment. It’s not a lot, but it’s $50 less I have to pay on my loan each year.

Also, this $50 per year? It’s not per account, it’s per line. So, on a family of four, you’re getting $200 back each year, not $50.

Sprint and Love My Credit Union also currently have a deal that if you don’t have Sprint, and you switch to them and get $200 for free in addition to the $50 yearly deposit, as well as getting the 3rd, 4th, and 5th lines added to your account for free.

Amazon Series: Why You Need the Amazon Credit Card

The Amazon Series: I am an avid shopper of all things Amazon, and I live and breathe my Amazon Prime account. I’m here to show you how Amazon can save you a lot of money too.

I know what you’re thinking – a Credit Card??!?! Why are you encouraging people to get a credit card?! Here’s what I’ll say to that: as long as you will pay it off each month, this card will be extremely helpful to you in an insane amount of ways.

To start, any time you use your card anywhere, you will get a reward back in the form of redeemable Amazon points (literally Amazon gift cards) that are credited to your account monthly. There’s nothing more that I hate with my bank credit card, where my rewards are only given to me quarterly – they’re also not giving me as much money back anyway.

Members of Amazon Prime with the Amazon Credit Card can also buy items completely interest free (you will not be eligible for point rewards on these purchases), or with monthly payments, or both. I completely redid my home office doing the interest free monthly payments, and had it completely paid off in 4 months. $56 interest free per month is much easier for me to manage than $225 as a lump payment with interest, as I would imagine it is for almost anyone.

You will earn 5% cash back anytime you shop on Amazon or at Whole Foods, with this card. You will earn 2% at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on everything else. There is also no annual fees – that’s right, $0 – and no fees if you use the card in a different country.

Since I drive so far to work now that I’m a homeowner, I make sure to always use my Amazon Prime Credit Card for gas, as well as redeeming my weekly receipt for gas on CoinOut, ReceiptPal, iBotta, Fetch Rewards, and trunow. With this process I’m getting back at least $1 each time I fill up, which equals out to $52 back over the course of a year, or two weeks of free gas.

As long as you can make sure you always pay your bill, I absolutely recommend the Amazon Credit Card, as it will help improve your credit score, as well give you rewards in the form of free gift cards each time it’s used, anywhere it’s used.