May 1, 2011

Cutting costs

One of the things I have been doing while not online is trying to cut back on expenses. I haven't had a formal budget in something approaching two decades, and though I have been cutting back on $7 fast food meals and trips to Starbucks, more drastic measures are needed right now.

I cut out a recurring donation and some other small items before looking at my larger bills. After looking over my monthly bills, the first to go was the gym. This expense to stay healthy shouldn't really be at the top of the list, but after using the gym several days a week in February, my membership went mostly unused. I used it primarily for the pool, and I have set aside triathlon aspirations this year to save money as well. My running shoes and bike are already paid for, so I can workout for free for the summer.

The big ticket item that needed to be addressed was my health insurance. I am currently on a COBRA policy, and it looks like I could save better than $100 a month by getting a different policy. There are hundreds of policies to chose from, and I have spent hours online looking through charts to see what would work best for me. Copays, deductibles, annual out of pocket limits, and percentage of coverage for various procedures are all intertwined with the monthly payment, and it is tough to keep it all straight.

It is all a bit of a gamble, trying to decide how much security you want, and how much you want to pay for it. There is even a line of coverage called TONIK that cuts to the chase with the names of the three different levels of coverage: "Calculated Risk Taker", "Part-time Daredevil", and "Thrill-Seeker".

I think I have figured out my desired level of risk and I am now trying to put together all the medical history info they want. And oddly enough, that lead me back here. More on that tomorrow.

No comments: