Health Insurance And Why You Need It..

Health Insurance And Why You Need It..

It’s important to have health insurance because what if one day you have an accident and need to pay medical bills.

In England they have something called the NHS. This means that if you ever get injured or need any kind of medical attention or medicine then it will be paid for by the government.

On the other hand if you live in the US without health insurance and you find yourself needing non urgent medical care then you are screwed.

Once VC checks out your charity, they cut a check and send it over along with whatever information you chose to provide about yourself and the donation. The rest of your funds stay invested in whichever class you decided on. At any time you can add more funds to your account or move between investments.

When you choose to give your money away to support a cause that is important to you, there’s no need to wonder if you put your spending to the right use. Our $25,000 is in memory of Asparagus, who brought six years of joy to our lives. I called her Cucumber on the blog but it’s time to use her real name.

Today I want to admit something to you, dear reader: I have a non-frugal habit that I’ve been hiding. I haven’t had to fess up to it yet in our monthly spending reviews because it’s only a periodic expenditure, to the tune of about $5 – $10 a month on average. Yep, that’s right, I am a Birchbox subscriber. Dun dun duhhhhhn!

I knew there was a reason I saved all these boxes…

In case you aren’t familiar, Birchbox is one of those monthly subscription boxes where you get skincare, makeup, and hair care samples sent to you in the mail (p.s. that link is a referral link – yes, I love it so much I’m backing it on a blog about frugality). I’ve been a subscriber for a little over a year.

Now I will digress and tell you a brief, subscription box-related story…

Every morning I get the Rockstar Finance featured articles in my email, which is how I find some of the best posts out there as well as awesome new blogs that I’ve never visited before. However, a couple of weeks ago there was an article that made me feel pretty guilty.

This article was all about subscription boxes, and made some excellent points about the conspicuous consumption inherent to this increasingly ubiquitous subscription mania.

I read the article over my morning bowl of cereal, and then I felt shame, knowing that I have at least eight of the above pictured boxes floating around the house. I couldn’t even find any dissenting opinions in the comments of the article.

Obviously, I have no way of justifying that I need anything that comes in a monthly subscription box. Of course I don’t need it, I don’t even know what’s going to be in the box each month! But if you’ll just give me a few moments of your time, I’ll explain why I didn’t cancel my Birchbox subscription in the midst of this cloud of chagrin.

In defense of monthly subscriptions (and simple splurges in general)

It’s pretty cheap. I’ll put this as number one since this is an early retirement / frugality blog, after all. Birchbox for women costs $10 per month (or $9.20 if you pay in advance for a year). Birchbox gives you $5-$6 back in rebates each month for leaving reviews, which can be used on products or on a new subscription if you decide to re-up. This knocks the monthly price down to about $4 / month, or $48 / year. Not too bad considering that I haven’t bought hair gel, moisturizer, eye shadow, lip gloss, or mascara since I subscribed.

It’s a form of entertainment. Where we get into trouble is when we start thinking this is something we need as opposed to want.  A monthly subscription is a form of entertainment that costs money, just like going out to a restaurant or bar, going to a movie, etc. For some people (e.g. me), receiving a bunch of new makeup and skincare samples in the mail each month is something to look forward to and enjoy all month long. It’s inexpensive entertainment that continually provides new excitement every month.

It doesn’t have to be a waste. The samples that arrive monthly in my mailbox last anywhere from one use to a couple of months. If I don’t like a sample or I know I’m not going to use it (sometimes Birchbox gets a little confused about how bright a lipstick I am willing to wear…), I give it away. The rest I store in a couple of the pretty boxes (refer to Figure 1) in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom for easy access.

It doesn’t have to lead to an avalanche of spending. I get to try a lot of cool products by being a Birchbox subscriber, but so far over the past year that I’ve been a member, this hasn’t let to buying the full size version of anything. Maybe this is a little bit of my ADD showing, but often by the time I finish a sample, a new one of the same type has usually arrived in a new box and I forget about the previous one.

Birchbox doesn’t make minimalism, orderliness, or frugality harder. I might go so far as to say that it actually improves the Frugal Paradise scores in these categories. Almost all the products I use, besides shampoo and conditioner, are Birchbox samples. That means they are all tiny bottles / tubes / vials that fit in a small portion of the bathroom medicine cabinet. And each delivery comes with its own organizational system (a.k.a. a sturdy box). This is also a bonus when traveling!

Sometimes we need things we don’t need. (I’m pretty sure Confucius said that.) I put this as the final reason because it is the heart of of this post. It’s fine to occasionally splurge on something that you truly enjoy and appreciate. Don’t feel guilty about it. Just remember to check in once in a while to make sure it’s actually improving your quality of life rather than sucking dollars out of your wallet and piling up random stuff you don’t use in your closet.

Whatever it is for you – your morning coffee, lunch out once a week, paying someone to mow your lawn instead of doing it yourself so you can sit on the couch and watch Netflix instead, whatever! Give yourself permission to enjoy it as long as you’ve got the rest of your finances in order.

To paraphrase another of my favorite bloggers, you can splurge on anything, just not everything.

And as far as subscription services go, I can’t speak for other types of these programs since Birchbox is the only one I’ve tried personally, but I’m sure there are other ones that would fit in with the above as well. Especially the ones where you actually consume the contents. In fact, we once gifted a “beer of the month” subscription and I’m pretty sure that scored us some major ‘awesome friend points’.

All right, now I’m off to go throw out all those extra empty boxes I was saving “in case I needed them”.

In the Frugal Paradise household, most of our Saturdays are spent cleaning the house, buying groceries, and performing various other errands. Super exciting, we know! However, this week Mr. Paradise had Friday off due to the holiday, and while he still went in to catch up on some work stuff, he was able to come home early. Instead of passing out on the couch in front of the TV as I might have done, he cleaned up and made a meal plan for next week, then we went out and got groceries / other supplies after I finished up with work. Due to his diligence, we woke up Saturday morning with a blessedly open schedule and energy to burn.

Our city has an online calendar of “things to do” for each day of the week. We used the entries to map out a day in the life of Frugal Paradise. We packed in a full day of mostly non-errands and spent a frugal grand total of $24.35. Here’s how we did it:

9:00 am: Wake up. As we’ve already established, I hate getting up early.

9:30am: Plan out our exciting day!

10:15am: Fight over who gets to use the bathroom to get ready.

11:00am: Beginner CrossFit class.

IMG_0190Here’s where things start to get exciting. The first entry on the “things to do” website that caught our attention was a free introductory CrossFit class at a gym only a couple of miles from our house. Being completely naive, we both thought CrossFit “sounded like fun”. Today as I write this and can barely move, I may have over-estimated my athletic abilities.

As we were pulling up to the gym, we observed a stream of scantily clad men and women running back and forth in the parking lot carrying giant medicine balls. A couple of them were doubled over in front of the building, presumably unable to stand the sheer joy that one can obtain by working out until you want to throw up.

At this point I declared that “maybe this was a bad idea” and that we could go home and do laundry instead. Had Mr. Paradise not been driving, I think it’s very likely that’s what would have happened. Instead, we deftly avoided the queasy looking gym-goers, parked, and went inside. After signing waivers that essentially said we couldn’t sue them if we died inside the gym, we were introduced to the instructor and met a couple of other people who were joining the class.

Although I was nervous, admittedly our instructor was fantastic and very encouraging. He spent a significant amount of the class explaining how to do the movements correctly, and how to adapt the moves for certain types of injuries. We rowed and did squats, sit-ups, push-ups, and assisted pull-ups with rings (see picture, although it’s not so great, I was trying to be stealthy!). I admitted my pull-up goal, which our instructor seemed pretty enthusiastic about. We left sixty minutes later with shaky arms and legs, but feeling good.

And if you do need urgent medical care and don’t have health insurance then when you wake up then you’re going to find yourself with a huge bill to pay. So don’t skimp on health insurance! And got to HRTW to find out more.