@KittyConner How could they be threatening to send those to collections, then? Or... uh, was that an editorial flourish that went over my head? (I'm embarrassingly literal sometimes.)
Please please please please please call your hospital and ask for financial aid on those unresolved bills. Please! Even if they say no, they'll freeze your account (i.e., no getting sent to collections) while they decide.
Jessie, from one Internet stranger to another: I am terribly proud of you and the choices you made in order to conquer your debt. Well done, A+, excellent work all around. I think it's totally normal to feel a bit apprehensive about your life post-debt (I went through some very similar feelings), but you'll find the right balance between boredom/impatience and needless lifestyle inflation. It's fine if you stumble a few times, too; I certainly did. But you'll be okay! You'll be more than okay. Girl, you saved SEVENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS IN THREE AND A HALF YEARS. You know what you're capable of. Buy yourself a pair of boots. And buy yourself both those bikes. And start investing. (Again, well done! Brava!)
No, they're just not analogues. When you want to save money, you're working on a concrete, discrete thing that you have a lot of control over (e.g., packing your lunch instead of eating out; calling your credit card company to get your interest rate lowered; using the fan instead of the A/C). When you want to earn more money, you're entering the wide world of the marketplace, where so much depends on factors entirely out of your control. There are things that you can do that will increase the likelihood of you earning more money, but no guarantees.
Really excellent piece. I think the writer hits the nail on the head when she talks about how this kind of schedule is just "redistributing some of the uncertainty of doing business from corporations to families," and honestly, that doesn't seem fair. I'm really glad it worked out for the woman in the article, but I'm sure that ultimately had something to do with the fact that the Times was doing a piece on her...
Wow. Yes, this sounds incredibly exhausting. I got stressed out reading it. I've read a lot about how persistent financial problems takes up an inordinate amount of mental energy, and while you only touches on that aspect of it very briefly, Heather, I really appreciated reading about how disaster thinking manifests day-to-day from someone who's actually living it. Your last piece talked about how you were moving to take a better compensated teaching job. Do you think financial stability would eventually allow you to stop preparing for worst-case scenarios, or do you think that this will follow you for the rest of your life?
@KittyConner OOOOOHHHH, got it, thanks! That makes a lot more sense now!
Continuing to love this series. Great job, Jen and Stina (yay for commenter contributions!); get on with your bad-ass saving selves.
My primary care doctor bills my insurance company $200/visit; I pay $25 and my insurance pays $34, so perhaps you could negotiate routine but nonpreventative office visits with the doctor ahead of time? Labs can definitely get expensive, though, and it seems like it would be more difficult to negotiate with them. I had something UTI-ish, and the full bill for the labs was > $200, although my insurance only paid $35. For medications, a lot of pharmacies will have reduced prices on generics.
This is the goddamn greatest. Thanks for being an awesome person, Angela! I would love to foster kittens and cats, but unfortunately, I don't think I could handle giving them back. Also, we already have two cats, and my partner/destroyer of dreams says we can't have more cats than people in our apartment.