Monday, April 6, 2009

ING Savings Rate and Other Ramblings

ING, Debt, and Savings

Well, ING Direct dropped their rate for their Orange Savings Account yet again. This time to 1.490% APY (1.50% APR). So, my money is now working a lot less hard for me than it was before.

Still, it’s way better than my brick and mortar bank’s rate (currently 0.05%), and our emergency fund money is safe there, so I’ll keep slowly piling up money there every week.

Also, with savings account rates so low right now, it’s a great time to pay off debt. Do it, do it, do it. Make sure you keep a bit of a cash cushion in savings, but don’t be afraid to pound out some debt right now.

We don’t currently carry any debt (aside from the house), but my student loans used to be at a fixed rate of 3.375% APR. When ING Direct was giving me 4.5% APY on my savings, it made sense to put money into savings, rather than pay off debt. Essentially, we made more money on interest on the savings than we paid in interest on the loan. Now, even with the student loan interest tax deduction, it makes more sense to pay off the loan.

If you’re on the fence about paying off some debt, DO IT. I can’t tell you how calming it feels not to have worry about car payments, credit cards, or other debt.

Insurance Coverage

In other news, we’ve finally completed the finalization of our bills from the hospital for our most recent trip. The hospital charged the insurance company over $16K for my wife and over $4K for the baby, but thankfully we were responsible for much, much less. It was interesting to see just how inflated the charges from the hospital were and how much they'd actually accept from the insurance company. Examples? You betcha.

My wife's stay: $16,757.40. Insurance paid just $4,261.84. I paid $1,065.46. So, basically the hospital wanted almost $17K, but only got a little over $5K. Ridiculous.

The epidural: $3,280. Insurance paid just $880. I paid $220.

Baby's stay: $4,261.84. Insurance paid just $1,032.24. I paid $258.06.

It's crazy to me that the hospitals are willing to write off so much money (and charge so much to begin with). I know the reasoning behind it all, but I don't want to get into it right now. Suffice it to say, the way we handle insurance is stupid (and no, universal healthcare would make it worse, not better). Maybe that'll be another post some day.

Friends and Food

Since the birth of our son, we’ve had loads of people over to visit and especially to bring us food. Before Baby was born, I kind of poo-pooed the idea of everyone bringing food to us, thinking that I’m still more than capable of putting together a meal for us every night. But, I’ll definitely admit that it’s pretty nice having something in the refrigerator or freezer that just needs to be heated. I wouldn’t have believed it before, but it’s a little difficult sometimes to find 30-45 uninterrupted minutes to put together a nutritious meal. We’ve been very fortunate to have such wonderful friends and family, especially ones that can cook!


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