Bad News, the Good News, and Easter
So this is the bad news. The very, very, very bad news.
The worst news.
I guess something like this is what you wear to your boyfriend’s funeral. To the death of your future as you knew it. A black dress, black tights, black shoes, a black veil. And I think you carry his teddy bear and I think you smile sometimes because there are only so many tears for a day, only so many tears for a moment, before you run dry and after that I guess you smile a little with sad eyes and unbelief in your heart so you don’t die even more inside, too. And because for some reason someone is taking a picture of you at a funeral and that’s just so weird. I don’t know.
Get Your Craftsy On!
Have ya’ll heard of Craftsy? I’ve told you about them before 🙂 I love their simple-to-follow but really informative online classes and the prices are great. Even better? Their free digital e-guides that you can download at any time! These are all at least a $4.99 value, for free. Grab ’em all!
It’s the time of year for cabin fever which means it’s time to learn something new or dive deeper into a favorite or forgotten hobby. Let’s talk about this free doughnut recipes class. Or watercolor. Or SUCCESS with container gardening, which cracks me up, because they don’t just say “container gardening”…it’s SUCCESS WITH, which is a class I need, given my perpetually brown thumb.
Check them out here:
eGuide: Understanding Exposure for Better Photos Now: Beginner Photography Tutorials
eGuide: Not-So-Basic Buttercream Decorating Ideas
Food & Cooking
eGuide: Delicious Doughnut Recipes You Can Make at HomePaper CraftseGuide: 6+ Stash-Busting Paper Craft Projects
eGuide: Drawing the Human Face: A Primer
eGuide: Beginner’s Guide to the World of Watercolor
eGuide: Success With Container Gardening
eGuide: Woodturning Basics for Beginners
Rain + Red Lipstick + Christmas-ing
Nuts & Bolts: Open Enrollment #benefitsmatter
I like to occasionally talk about the more “Nuts & Bolts” aspects of life…frugal february, budgeting, and the like. So, along with Alfac, a Fortune 500 insurance company, I wanted to share some of my personal tips on how to get the most out of open enrollment season for health care plans. I know how easy it is to get overwhelmed with the options and paperwork. It can be a tricky business to navigate, and Millenials are statistically less likely to be prepared. Here are a few of my tips (with my boyfriend’s help!) on how to save for and make a good decision during health care open enrollment time.
Low- vs. High-Deductible Plans
I know health care can be expensive no matter how you slice it, and it’s tempting to go for the cheapest monthly-cost plan. While this may be good for your budget in the short run, it could leave you high and dry should something come up (and that’s the point of insurance, right, in case something comes up?). I personally prefer to budget more each month, knowing that I’m well-covered and wouldn’t need to scramble to find several thousand dollars out-of-pocket for a higher-deductible plan at an already stressful time. If you do go for a higher-deductible plan, check out an HSA to go with it (see below).
Cross Your T’s and Dot Your I’s
It might seem dull, but it’s important to read the fine print of all the available plans. You’ll want to make sure your hospital of choice and the physician of your choice are “in-network,” meaning you won’t have to pay extra to visit them. Take a look at co-pays, prescription coverage and ER visit coverage. These will vary by plan, so find your priorities and try to balance them with your budget. For instance, if you have a lot of prescriptions, good coverage is important. If you have kids and envision ER visits in your future, good ER coverage is important, too. Of course, no insurance is perfect, but at least you’ll know you’re getting the best for your particular circumstance.
Consider an HSA
A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a great way to supplement whatever health care plan you choose, particularly high-deductible plans and for people with families. The savings account (you generally set these up through your bank or your employer) allows you to set aside money for everyday medical expenses, everything from Band-Aids to eyeglasses. You get to keep this money and it can be incredibly useful to have socked away should you need to cover an expense that doesn’t meet your deductible. If you put $25 a pay period (assuming a bi-weekly pay period) into your HSA, you’d have $2,600 at the end of the year to help meet medical expenses that might come up. Aflac’s post about how most of us are “One Emergency Away from Financial Data” shows the numbers and why an HSA may be a good idea. One emergency could greatly damage your credit and financial future.
Don’t Forget Incentives
Once you’ve chosen your plan, don’t forget to take advantage of incentives. Some plans will give you a discount if you don’t smoke, plan to quit smoking, get a dental or eye exam, commit to regular exercise, etc. It can be easy to forget about these, so don’t let them slip through your fingers! Also don’t forget to take advantage of free physicals or other health screenings your insurance might offer. Preventative care is best!
Even if you’re young and healthy, I personally think insurance is an important investment. Health can so easily be taken for granted, but if it fails, you won’t want to be stressed about finances. So take your time this open enrollment season to take control of your health and future. And please note this is all based on my own experience and I am not a professional. Be sure to fully investigate your options before making a decision.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
What are YOU up to this weekend?
Happy Birthday, Prince George!
There’s so much to tell you in this post!
First of all, I’m an Auntie for real! It’s so exciting to welcome Avery Kate to the world, the first daughter of my brother and his wife, Stephanie! Isn’t Miss Avery cute??? My brother and Steph ain’t too bad lookin’ either 😉 Love you guys!
Stephanie just so happens to be the amazing photographer/baker/writer behind Girl vs. Dough. Be prepared to drool once you head over there. But you should definitely head over there today becauseI’m sharing an amazzzzzing recipe. I’m more than happy to bake delicious things so they can snuggle Avery extra for me.
Caramel Apple Crumb Cake. Say no more. I swoon thinking about this cake. Even the smell of it is highly intoxicating, not to mention its depth of crumbs and caramel-y goodness. Oooo, you need to make this! Just in case that photo doesn’t get your mouth drooling, how about a video of the caramel drizzle:
I present to you: Caramel Apple Crumb Cake. #makeitnow
Lemon Bars with Almond Crust
Gooooooooooood Monday morning! How are you on this beautiful, fresh start to a new week? How about some cheerful, bright-yellow, deliciously summery lemon bars to whet your palate? (Also, I am in love with this photo. It looks like a snowglobe and I could look at it for hours. And yes, they really ARE that yellow in real life, thanks to the technique of using a baked lemon curd on top of the crust…more about that in the link below!)
You can find my delicious recipe for gluten-free lemon bars with an almond crust over on Big Girls, Small Kitchen today. Don’t mind me while I eat one with my tea for breakfast-dessert #duh.
Reese’s Eggs on Big Girls Small Kitchen
New recipe for Big Girls Small Kitchen (BGSK) today: Homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs! Anyone would be more than lucky to get these tucked into an Easter basket (and I definitely just ate one for breakfast, so there’s that). Click here for the recipe!
Unless you follow me on Facebook, I haven’t been sharing these amazing recipes with you, and for that, I offer my apologies. Here are a few of my favorite delicious (gluten-free!) recipes I’ve had the pleasure of creating for Cara over at the wonderful BGSK.
Here are some of my favorites!