My neighbors shake their heads and think I am certifiably crazy, but I have noticed that they are careful how they say it. You see, when we get snow, I am always out there shoveling the sidewalks for three or four houses each way down the street from ours.
"Why risk offending the Energizer Bunny with the shovel?" I hear them thinking. "He might stop, and then we'll have to do it ourselves!"
We get along famously, so I just laugh with them … and wait for an invitation for coffee or something. Continue reading...
Recently, my sister and I were discussing our love/hate relationships with exercise when she told me something that struck me as funny. Apparently, she has trouble convincing herself to jog as long as she should, so she devised a plan.
"When I know I'm not very motivated, I'll have my husband get in the car and drop me off a few miles from home," she said with a snicker.
Once dropped off, she had no choice but to push through whatever issues she was trying to overcome that day, she explained.
In recent posts exploring job searches and the cost of jobs in general, the subject of commute came up in a number of the comments. Readers pointed out that a commute makes a huge difference in whether a job is desirable or not because it has a significant impact on quality of life. I couldn't agree more.
When Jake and I were looking to buy a house, I wanted to be within five miles of my work. As far as I'm concerned, my commute is part of my job, only I don't get paid for it. Oh, the humanity! #firstworldproblems
Commuting is a significant factor for many. According to the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the U.S. Census, approximately 86 percent of Americans commute to work by car, truck, or van. How do you determine the cost of your commute? Here are some things to take into consideration:
My husband and I got married in December of 2005 and spent the first few years of our marriage enjoying each other without the responsibility of children. Then, after a few years, I found myself longing for a child of our own. Unfortunately, a giant roadblock stood in our way -- our health insurance plan did not cover maternity.
Those were the days before the new healthcare law commonly known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and Obamacare came into play. At the time, health insurance providers were not obligated to offer plans that covered maternity and those that did often charged ridiculous sums of money for a "maternity rider" that covered pregnancy and delivery. Unfortunately, I would soon find out just how hard it was to qualify for this kind of coverage in the pre-PPACA era.
Maternity coverage in the pre-PPACA era
From the beginning to the end, trying to secure the proper coverage to have a baby was a nightmare. I quickly learned that few insurance providers in Indiana offered policies on the open market that included maternity care, and the ones who did weren't exactly embracing new maternity customers with open arms. In fact, I applied to Anthem twice and was denied both times due to a back surgery I'd had in my early 20s. Because of my pre-existing condition, my insurance agent suggested that I wait five more months (until it had been five years since my surgery) to apply so that I wouldn't have to mention the surgery on my application.
Though our family has already had one sneak peek, cold and flu season is about ready to really get started.
Because I would like avoid as many sick visits to the doctor as I possibly can, I decided to check out our medicine cabinet and make sure it is ready for this winter -- and beyond.
What you should include in your medicine cabinet
Obviously, what you should include in your medicine cabinet depends on your needs, but here is a list to get you started. Oh, and I am not a doctor. Obviously. Read the labels. Use common sense.
A few months ago, I shared about how to survive without health insurance. To recap, I belong to a healthcare sharing ministry (HSM) called Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM), just one of several ministries that are ACA-approved alternatives to health insurance. But I also want to share about my experiences with alternative health insurance to Obamacare.
What we belong to is not healthcare insurance; therefore, we don't pay a premium (although we pay a "gift" each month or what amounts to a deductible, except it's called a "personal responsibilty"). We chose this option because neither my husband nor I have access to an employer-sponsored plan. The most important consideration for us was cost, followed by coverage options. We opted for the most expensive level, which means that we have a $500 personal responsibility for each medical event that each of our family members experience on an annual basis.
Family of Five Pays $450 per Month for Health Insurance
At the time of the previous article, I was the only member of my family to belong, and I paid $150 per month. Now our entire family of five belongs for $450 per month. Even if our family size were to double, that is the maximum monthly contribution we'd have to make.
Remember when 2014 was new? I'd rather not think about it, but more than half the year is behind us already and we're moving into fall fairly quickly. For me, that's a good time to start thinking about whether I'm reaching my goals for the year and what I need to do to correct my course.
I would like to be in a position to tackle a “single resolution” every year like J.D. Roth did in his Year of Fitness in 2010. I like the fact that, when you eliminate distractions and focus your energy, it reduces your stress level. That makes a lot of sense, but I don't fit the criteria J.D. mentioned where “nothing else mattered.”
In my situation, there are a number of things that really matter to me, so I decided to concentrate on a small set of goals at the beginning of the year and prioritize them. (I don't call my goals “resolutions” either.)
When we asked you how to improve Get Rich Slowly, you told us you'd like an article on "The horrible, terrible, no good, very bad reality of paying for fertility treatments." We can't fit all of that into one post, but we did ask Joanna Lahey, who gave us a series on health insurance, to give a broad overview of the issue in this guest post.
Joanna Lahey is an associate economics professor at the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. The opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of the aforementioned institutions.
When I found out I suffered from infertility, I was lucky enough to be living in Massachusetts and was covered by a Massachusetts health insurance plan. Lucky because Massachusetts is one of the few states in the United States that mandates coverage of infertility treatment. Every test my husband and I went through and every treatment I underwent was completely covered by my insurance. After a year and a half of poking and prodding and medication and monitoring, I knew exactly what was wrong with me. My doctors were able to give the most conservative treatment options so I wouldn't have to worry about risks with names like "overstimulation" or "rupture" or "triplets." My only out-of-pocket costs were for HPT, OPK, and a fancy thermometer. 
This article is by managing editor Ellen Cannon.
Four years ago, my beloved kitty Zito developed kidney problems. She was only five years old, and her littermate, Mikey, was fine and healthy. But Zito had stopped eating and wasn't drinking much water. I took her to the vet.
An x-ray by the veterinarian showed that one of her kidneys was tiny and the other was not the normal size it should have been. The vet said most likely the little kidney wasn't functioning at all and the other was working overtime.
This reader story come from SB, a regular reader and commenter on GRS. SB writes about personal finance and personal development topics at One Cent at a Time.
Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income.
This is my second guest post at this blog. I am grateful to J.D. and his team's humble gesture in allowing me to do it. I hope to provide the same value regular writers of this blog provide to you.