Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Five Goals For April

I recently made a comment on Twitter that people need to live more in the moment and stop focusing so much on the future... but the truth is, I'm kind of a hypocrite in that respect. I find that I'm more grounded in the present when I'm anchored by some clear, achievable goals.

So in April, here's what I hope to accomplish:

(1) Write six blog posts. In March, I managed to publish five. Not bad considering that it was a hectic month, especially at the end. Writing is a valuable outlet for me (I'm writing this while on a much-needed mini-break from working today), and writing here keeps me motivated to pay off our debts. My longer-term goal is to move the blog to a different platform and expand on content, but for now, I'd be thrilled to simply hit the "Publish" button more frequently.

(2) Update my blog roll. I've been meaning to do this for weeks. Several folks on my current list seem to have disappeared, and I want to start following several of the PF bloggers I've met on Twitter. (Tell me if I should add you! I will!)

(3) Find a way to pay our recent medical bills without going further into debt. I have absolutely no idea how much we're going to owe on my kid's recent appendectomy. Between urgent care, the ER, surgery itself, anesthesia, and one night in the hospital, not to mention the toothpaste, socks, and breakfast the nurses insisted that we take (anyone who has ever been to a U.S. hospital knows you will be charged for every single item of this nature), I expect that we'll be looking at a total bill of a few thousand dollars, even with our insurance. My out-of-pocket cap is $4000, but we just don't have that much cash on hand right now.

Regardless, I am unwilling to put any of this on credit cards. We will pay what we can via my HSA, and then I will call each vendor to insist on a payment plan. Worst case scenario: I will ask my family for a loan.

No. More. Debt. The end.

(4) Drink more water. We live in an extremely dry area. When I don't drink enough water - and, well, I never drink enough water - my skin dries out and my running suffers. That's got to change. I'm not going to force myself to drink a specific amount (so, yeah, not a particularly measurable goal), but my water bottle is going to become my new BFF. I'm going to drag it everywhere with me.

(5) Do two strength training workouts per week. I have absolutely no trouble meeting my weekly running goals; I so enjoy being out on the trails that it's easy to motivate myself. That's not the case with strength training. Although I see it as a vital aspect of being a healthy runner, pushups and squats and the like just aren't that much fun for me. However, I think I can commit to two 30-minute workouts a week, especially if I schedule them before I start work in the morning.

We'll see how this goes.

What about you? What are some of your current goals, financial or otherwise?


10 comments:

  1. Before paying a dime on those medical bills, be sure to negotiate a discount. I recommend simply calling to ask what discounts they can give to you before you get on a payment plan. I've gotten between 20-30% knocked off my bill even after insurance negotiated. To be honest, I never gave a reason why they should discount it, I just know it worked.

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    1. Thanks, Hannah! I will definitely be trying this. Didn't realize hospitals would offer additional discounts after insurance, so this is welcome news.

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  2. Writing from the UK, it hurts to see your family being hit with medical bills whilst commendably paying off such a huge amount of debt. I just can't imagine what I (or anyone) would do in those circumstances. Sending my best wishes (as useless as I realise that is right now)

    One of my goals for April is to make sure I get time to relax (soon I'll be working 7 days and 3 evenings a week and my doctors say my health issues are due to stress, which is great!! sigh)

    Oh, and uh, awkwardly, for your blogroll, heh: thefrugalbookworm.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Hi Abigail! Thank you so much. Honestly, I think many of us in the US feel pretty used to the situation by now. It is frustrating but no longer shocking. If you were to ask a room of 100 people if they've gone through something similar, I think the vast majority would say yes. Sigh. Also, I am adding your blog to my blogroll now!

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  3. You may also want to ask about a pay-in-full discount. Some doctor's offices/hospitals do that as well! I also always call billing to go over all the expenses. Last bill I got? The doctor didn't code it properly so my insurance wasn't billed. They sent me a bill anyway. I was on the phone for maybe ten seconds before they told me to throw it away and that it would be rebilled. Good luck!

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    1. Thank you, Penny! I am definitely going to be asking about discounts.

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  4. I like your goals!

    Mine:
    1) Finish and file taxes (hopefully this weekend). If our refund arrives in April, I plan to pay off one of my credit cards. Otherwise, that will be a May goal.

    2) Keep discretionary spending low - curb the desire to go out to eat! This week my kids are on spring break. In the past, I've taken this week off from work to spend with them - SPEND being the operative word, as it usually ends up being an expensive week, between excursions, shopping trips to fill time, and dining out. This year, I'm working and so far, it has been hugely helpful for keeping our spending in check. Hope to keep this momentum through the month.

    3. Exercise more! I've really slacked off on this for months. Trying to get myself back on track.

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    1. So exciting that you will soon be paying off one of your credit cards! Congratulations.

      Enjoy spring break. Yes, it can be hard to rein in the spending when the kids are home all day...

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  5. Hannah and Penny beat me to the punch on the medical bills. Definitely ask for a discount and a payment plan, check if you qualify for any charitable programs, and if you think the bill is outrageously high at the start, there are medical billing professionals who will go over your bill (I think for a % of what they find to knock off). Medical bills in this country are just crazy. I hope your kid's feeling better now.

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    1. He's pretty much all healed up. It's amazing how fast kids can recover! I will absolutely ask about a discount, and thank you for the suggestion on the billing review. That would be enormously helpful.

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