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New Year, Old Debt January 20, 2010

Posted by 2bdebtfree in Financial Debt Budget.
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Okay, so it’s been awhile… I fell off the wagon blogging and getting out of debt. We made some choices that were not the best for the holidays. But just like with everything, when you fall off you have to get back up and keep going.

To get a better start this year with lower our debt, I added a 2nd class that I teach at a community college. My goal is to take all of that money and put it towards paying off our SUV. Here’s to a new year and getting rid of old debt. We have over $19,500 more to go and hope to have it paid off in 2 more years, but since their are many things that come up unexpected… Who knows? If you are still following me, I encourage you to write a comment and let everyone know what your goals are this year.

Goal #1: Pay off Credit Card….stupid thing I have cut it up. Just so you know…Debt is dumb!!!!

Goal #2: Pay off SUV That should be done around June

Goal #3: Pay off an old medical bill by the end of the year.

Let’s see if over the year that I can pay off all of this old debt. It adds up to around $6, 250. I should be able to pay this off this year.

Healthcare Reform or Health Care Rumors August 14, 2009

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Reposted from an email…
Across the country we are seeing vigorous debate about health insurance reform. Unfortunately, some of the old tactics we know so well are back — even the viral emails that fly unchecked and under the radar, spreading all sorts of lies and distortions.

As President Obama said at the town hall in New Hampshire, “where we do disagree, let’s disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that’s actually been proposed.”

So let’s start a chain email of our own. At the end of my email, you’ll find a lot of information about health insurance reform, distilled into 8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage, 8 common myths about reform and 8 reasons we need health insurance reform now.

Right now, someone you know probably has a question about reform that could be answered by what’s below. So what are you waiting for? Forward this email.


David Axelrod
Senior Adviser to the President

P.S. We launched www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck this week to knock down the rumors and lies that are floating around the internet. You can find the information below, and much more, there. For example, we’ve just added a video of Nancy-Ann DeParle from our Health Reform Office tackling a viral email head on. Check it out:

Health Insurance Reform Reality Check

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage

  1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.
  2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
  3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
  4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.
  5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
  6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.
  7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
  8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won’t be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.

Learn more and get details: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/health-insurance-consumer-protections/

8 common myths about health insurance reform

  1. Reform will stop “rationing” – not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a “government takeover” of health care or lead to “rationing.” To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.
  2. We can’t afford reform: It’s the status quo we can’t afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
  3. Reform would encourage “euthanasia”: It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.
  4. Vets’ health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans’ access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President’s budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
  5. Reform will benefit small business – not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
  6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare “doughnut” hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
  7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
  8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts.  Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose.  Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

Learn more and get details:

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now

  1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/denied_coverage/index.html
  2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job.  Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hiddencosts/index.html
  3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/women/index.html
  4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hardtimes
  5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/helpbottomline
  6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction
  7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people – one in every three Americans under the age of 65 – were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction/diminishing/index.html
  8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance – projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/assets/documents/CEA_Health_Care_Report.pdf

Visit WhiteHouse.gov

The $200 Grocery Challenge! August 11, 2009

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It’s amazing how much we spend on our food budget alone in just one month. We spend an average of $73 on going to the grocery store each week, but we also spend money on going out to eat.That adds up quick in the budget.

This month my wife has sent out a challenge for us. We are going to eat for less than $200 this month. When you break that down, that is only $2.15 a meal for 3 people. Luckily, our son goes to daycare and his lunch will not be included in our equation and we don’t always eat breakfast. Even with that, it still doesn’t leave much room. We are getting organized and planning our meals out ahead of time and sticking with basic meals rather than making something fancy. It may also not be the healthiest foods. We found many of the foods that are less expensive are also less healthy. Our goal is to take the extra money we save and put it on debt. The sooner we are out of debt the better.

To eat cheap try some of these meals.

Look for items you can put together for less than $3 a meal.

• Fish Sticks and Mac & Cheese $1.75 – $2.50

• Spaghetti Sauce and Pasta (No Meat) $1.50 – $2

• Baked Chicken & Frozen Vegetables $2.50 – $3

• Hot Dogs & Tatertots $1.75 – $2.50

• Salad and chopped ham $1.50 – $2

• Chicken & rice $2 – $3

• Even Cheap Frozen Pizza $2.50 – $3

5 Stages to Create a Budget: Stage 5 July 21, 2009

Posted by 2bdebtfree in Financial Debt Budget.
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Don’t forget to plan to spend some money on fun stuff. Otherwise you will feel like you are on a diet and diets are never fun.

5 Stages to Create a Budget:Stage 4 July 20, 2009

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If you don’t have any money left over after your bills…you need to look at your budget and cut expenses. If you have some money left over then you need to look at your debts and start paying on the smallest debt until it is paid off and then move on to the next larger debt. If you have no debts…then you can start saving that extra money for something you really want…like a house, a car, kids someday…

5 Stages to Create a Budget: Stage 3 July 19, 2009

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STAGE 3: Figure out which paycheck will pay for each of the bills. It is important to use your last paycheck of each month to pay for the next months rent or mortgage payment or anything else that is due on the first. If you always wait until the first paycheck of the month, you could get hit with interest charges or late payment fees.

5 Stages to creating a Budget July 17, 2009

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STAGE 2: Write down all of your monthly bills. Use a program like excel if you can to make it easy to read and change. Don’t forget to include the due date, interest rate and the minimum payment. Use an above average figure on utility bills.

5 stages to create a budget and be debt free July 16, 2009

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STAGE 1: Figure out how much your household makes each month. That includes all income…main jobs, side jobs, babysitting… I mean everything. Add it all up and you are finished with stage 1.

Bankrupt: Not Always! June 26, 2009

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If you feel that you are bankrupt, you are not alone. Many families give up the fight before they even try to get out of debt. Bankruptcy should not be your only answer. It can haunt you for 7 years on your credit. It can effect you getting a loan, getting a job and your marriage. It’s tough for families that go through something like this. Look at our 9 steps to getting out of debt and see if they can help lead you down a different path. If you need help, contact us.

Brown Bag It: This Summer for Lunch. June 24, 2009

Posted by 2bdebtfree in Quick Tips.
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You can sometimes find Banquet meals for less than $1.

You can sometimes find Banquet meals for less than $1.

A quick tip to save money is to not go out for lunch. Many execs and middle managers get comfortable going out with clients for lunch because they don’t have to pick up the check, but this can become a bad habit and even when they don’t have meetings they will still go out. It’s not that you have to bring your lunch all the time to work but it will save you money. Get organized and you can buy a frozen dinner for $1 – $3.50 or even bring leftovers for next to nothing. Most of the time you will spend anywhere from $5 – $12 for lunch. That’s 3 times as much! If you bring your lunch and just save that $4 each day, you will save an extra $1,000 each year for your budget. Just imagine, if you were someone that spends $12 on lunch every day, you could save up to $2,750 each year. You could use that money to pay down debt, use it for your next goal or spend that money on an all-inclusive vacation. This is a great way to save money and get out of debt. Watch the newspaper grocery ads for hot buys on frozen meals. Especially, at the first of the year, you can get some really great deals on healthy meals.