Pre-Paid Discount Birth (And Other October 2015 Expenditures)

Our Halloween costumes--huge thanks to my sister for handing down the baby momma skeleton ensemble.

Our Halloween costumes–huge thanks to my sister for handing down the baby/momma skeleton ensemble.

October was definitely our pre-baby travel and spending blow-out month. We lived it up! Not that we won’t travel after Babywoods is born, but we’re in baby blackout travel mode for the immediate future.

In October, we went to New York City to speak at New York University about the benefits of frugality and the awesomeness of being frugal weirdos, then we jetted off to Rockford, IL for my cousin’s beautiful wedding, and the following weekend found us driving around Vermont for one final pre-baby homestead hunt.

Who says the third trimester is for slowing down? Heck no! I was out and about–after all, why not! My doctor was fine with me traveling and I feel great, so no reason to impose unnecessary limitations on my pregnant self.

As I shared on Facebook, this was also the month in which we dressed Frugal Hound up as a mummy. You’re welcome for bringing these photos into your life. As you might’ve guessed, this was a very frugal Halloween costume indeed, being as it was, comprised entirely of Costco toilet paper. Contrary to popular belief, we did not reuse this toilet paper. Folks, even we have limits. There is such a thing as “frugal too far.”

Mummy Hound. Don't worry, she only wore this get-up for about 30 seconds.

Mummy Hound. Don’t worry, she only wore this get-up for about 30 seconds.

We also fortified our pantry and stocked up on all sorts of foodstuffs for Mr. FW to employ in his freezer meals extravaganza project. Thus far, we have a bunch-o-servings loaded into our chesty freezer, ready to feast upon during our sleep-deprived first few weeks of parenting. Since we’ve heard from many a new parent that they succumbed to take-out more times than they care to remember, we’re hoping to stave off that expense by cooking a ton of meals in advance. A huge thanks to everyone who provided us with your favorite freezer food recipes!!

As we round the corner on 37 weeks of pregnancy (and hence, according to math, a mere three weeks to Babywoods’ due date!), we’re quite pleased with the amount of travel and preparation we conducted this past month. I’m totally OK with our higher spending this month because: 1) it facilitated valuable travel opportunities–visiting family and perusing potential homesteads, and 2) it reflects work towards our post-birth plans in the arena of food–something near and dear to my heart and which I always want to prepare for.

The Best $450 We’ll Spend All Year

Ok I had to include one more Mummy Hound pic

Ok I had to include one more Mummy Hound pic

Our favorite expense by far this month was our $450 pre-payment for the co-pay on Babywoods’ birth. I had no idea you could pre-pay a co-pay, but, I learned this is an option our hospital offers AND they gave us $50 off for paying in full in advance! Our co-pay at the time of birth would’ve been $500, so we’re thrilled to save 50 bucks.

We are extremely fortunate that this $450 is all-inclusive for her birth, the hospital stay for all three of us (partners are encouraged to stay and sleep in the room with mom and baby), all in-hospital supplies/services (including diapers, meals, lactation consultants, breastfeeding class, etc), and covers whatever type of birth we end up having–natural, with an epidural, c-section, etc.

It’s nice to know we’ve already paid for Babywoods’ entry into the world and it’ll make checking into the hospital just that much smoother. I also think it’s kind of hilarious that we pre-paid for her birth–it seems like a very frugal weirdo thing to do. But hey, as I learned with paying in full for my LASIK surgery, there’s often a discount for paying in advance!

Personal Capital: It’s How We Organize Our Expen$e$

Mr. Frugalwoods and I use Personal Capital to aggregate and consolidate our transactions from across all of our accounts. We then drop them into a spreadsheet to provide our below analysis for you fine people.

Tracking expenses is, in my opinion, the best way to get a handle on your finances. You absolutely, positively cannot make informed decisions about your money if you don’t know how you’re spending it. Sounds harsh, but without a holistic picture of how much you spend every month, there’s no way to set savings, debt repayment, or investment goals. It’s a frugal must, folks. No excuses.

Personal Capital (which is free to use) is a great way for us to systematize our financial overviews since it links all of our accounts together and provides a comprehensive picture of our net worth. If you’re not tracking your expenses in an organized fashion, give Personal Capital a try.

How To Read A Frugalwoods Expense Report

My art photo of Washington Sq Park from our trip to NYC this month

My art photo of Washington Sq Park from our trip to NYC this month

The below is an itemization of every single dollar we spent over the course of the month. I do this because it’s the most transparent articulation of how we allocate our resources and managed to save 71% of our take-home pay in 2014 (not counting maxing out our 401Ks).

Want to know how we manage the rest of our monies? Look no further than How We Manage Our Household Finances. Why do we save so much and spend so little? It’s all in service of our goal to reach financial independence by age 33 and move to a homestead in the woods.

Interested in how we keep costs so low? Check out How We Save 65% Annually. If you’re up for some hardcore frugal adventuring, take my Uber Frugal Month Challenge, and, see how we did one year later in How A Year Of Extreme Frugality Changed Us.

We don’t budget and instead live on frugal autopilot. This technique saves us the time and hassle of building a budget (we’re some lazy frugal weirdos). The caveat here is that many people find budgeting incredibly helpful and I in no way malign the budgeting process. If you operate more successfully with a budget, then budget away my friends.

But Mrs. Frugalwoods, Don’t You Pay For X, Y, Or Even Z????

Wondering about common expenses that you don’t see listed below? Our August 2015 expense report has the answers you seek!

Alright you frugal money voyeurs, feast your eyes on every dollar we spent during the month of October:

Item/Vendor Amount Frugalwoods Musings
Mortgage & Escrow for Taxes & Insurance $2,238.50 Yep, it’s high. But, we live in a very high COL city (Cambridge, MA) and this house will be our cash-flowin’ rental after we decamp to our rural homestead.
Co-pay pre-payment for Babywoods’ birth $450.00 The best $450 we’ll spend all year. I was delighted to save $50 off of our co-pay for her birth by paying in full in advance. ALWAYS ask if there’s a frugal weirdo (aka the pay-in-full-in-advance) discount!).
Groceries $402.92 Higher than our usual $300-$350 due to purchasing items for our Babywoods freezer meals extravaganza prep.
Hotel in Rockford, IL (4 nights) $341.96 A rare hotel expense for us. We usually use our Starwood Preferred Guest points to stay free at Starwood properties, but we wanted to stay at the same hotel as my parents and there wasn’t a Starwood nearby.
AirBnB in Bethel, VT (2 nights) $202.00 A worthy Vermont AirBnB expense for our homestead hunting trip last weekend. Always happy to pay for a value-added place to lodge.
Household goods from Costco $184.16 Household supplies (including such things as dog food, toothpaste, toilet paper, vitamins, and more). This total does not include any human food.
Gasoline for Frugalwoods-mobile $77.15 Much higher than normal due to our drive up to Vermont to homestead hunt (of course, getting lost in the wilderness didn’t help either… ).
Utilities: Electric $76.14 Seeing a downward trend in this bill now that our chest freezer has supplanted monster fridge.
Internet $56.95 Necessary!
Uber and taxi to and from airport $52.67 Our flight to Chicago was too early in the AM for us to use the subway (it wasn’t running yet) and our return flight was so late in the evening that we elected to splurge and taxi it home as well.
Oil change for Frugalwoods-mobile $30.00 If we had a garage or driveway, we could perform this routine maintenance ourselves, but in the absence of that, parking on a city street just doesn’t allow for it.
Mr. FW eye doctor co-pay $20.00 Mr. FW had his eyes examined because there’s nothing cheaper than preventative healthcare.
Utilities: Gas $19.25
Beer $16.74 A 15-pack of Founder’s All Day IPA from Costco–cheap and yummy. Life is too short to drink bad beer.
Home improvement supplies $9.34 Tools and materials for various home improvement projects around the ol’ abode.
TOTAL SPENT: $4,177.78  
LESS MORTGAGE: $1,939.28

How was your October? Has anybody else pre-paid for a birth?

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98 Responses

  1. That’s awesome that you’re pre-paying for the birth. For us, we decided on going with a more expensive plan for this year and next instead of our usual high deductible plan. The birth was 100% covered this way. My work has good healthcare options (and great paternity, I got 4 weeks off!!). Definitely one of the perks of staying in the work force… And the pay of course. Still want to get out earlier than most though!

  2. This is awesome! $450 (or even $500) for a birth is a lot less than I would have guessed.
    Well, I just did the final calculations for my month-long ban on restaurant food and takeout (also the month that I finally gave Market Basket a chance, thanks to your enthusiastic endorsement!), and I have mixed feelings about sharing the results here…but I’ll do it anyway. 🙂 My total food bill for the month was $323….and while on the one hand I’m super happy that this is way down from September’s total food bill (which was $565!), it’s also definitely way above what you guys spend per person, even in a “high” month as you consider your October to have been. So I’m trying not to compare, because that’s never useful…But let’s just say I’m *inspired* to try to spend even less next month. 🙂
    PS: My goodness, Market Basket is a zoo on Sundays. I need to remember to go on a different day!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      That’s a fabulous reduction in grocery expenses! It took us a number of months to get into the rhythm of our low grocery bill, so don’t be too hard on yourself :). You’re definitely going in the right direction! And Market Basket is there to help you ;)–yeah, don’t go on Sundays unless you go before 9am.

  3. We called both nearby hospitals before I gave birth without a copay (2nd baby), and learned we could get a 30% discount for paying before leaving the hospital. I switched hospitals because 30% is a lot on a hospital bill!

    The fact that your copay covers your baby’s stay is amazing. We had to pay separately and it seemed outrageous considering the baby was with us except for a few routine tests.

  4. Justin says:

    We had another frugal month in October at $1,015 in spending for a family of 5. And thank goodness, no, we didn’t pre-pay for any childbirths (just a Lowe’s gift card at 10% off). Half of our expenses were on groceries, and that’s hard to avoid with our family size (without eating beans and rice for every meal). We also paid $210 to renew our daughters’ passports (never know when you’ll need to go on an international vacation).

    Amazing luxury for next to nothing!

    • Thefrugalchick says:

      Impressive, Jason!
      I’m trying to see if we can live off $1000 month…..not there yet, and seems impossible with 3 kids. My girls extra curricular activities are around $280 and orthodontist bill $300+ month. I’m most impressed with the gasoline and utilities bill. How is it sooo low?

      • Justin says:

        We sometimes pre-pay utilities to meet spending requirements for credit card sign up bonuses, which we did in August 2015. As a result, we’re just now getting back to owing something on utilities. Typically those are $200-300/month for all utilities.

        Gas is low because we walk most places and don’t drive very much. And we live in the city, so a “long drive” is 5-10 miles to go to the other side of town or go out to a city or state park for hiking. Oh, and I’m retired so don’t drive for work, and my wife is semi-retired and works from home, with generally 1 or 2 monthly commutes to work (50 miles round trip).

        Year to date, we have spent around $1,850 per month. Of course that includes a cruise to the Caribbean and a seven week vacation in Mexico. 🙂 Travel hacking w/ credit cards certainly helps with that.

        • Thefrugalchick says:

          Awesome! Sorry about the name typo, Justin😬 I haven’t looked up our total for gas this month but I’m sure it is several hundred. Living out of town, driving a gas guzzler and being the kids taxi driver sure adds up. I’m envious of the small gas saving cars.

  5. Ha, brilliant! I’m glad your insurance covers so much. I’ve always thought it was criminal just how little some companies cover. One gal I know said that her experience was something like $6,000 all told. Of course, her husband is self-employed, so maybe their coverage isn’t as good as one offered through a job. Good luck with the arrival of Baby FW!

    • Angela says:

      It really just depends on where you live and your company. I had my first son a few years ago and paid $4,000 out of pocket for the hospital birth and I had a natural, read no drugs, birth. I work full time for an oil and gas company in Houston, TX and there aren’t options for health insurance coverage other than the one plan they offer to all employees. We also paid $1400 for pre-maternity costs including ultrasounds, normal lab work like Vitamin D tests, monthly check-ups on the heartbeat, etc.

      I’m expecting my second and the pre-maternity costs are $1900 this go around. Labor and Delivery will be around the $5000 mark.

      So it is criminal!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I have friends who have paid around $250 for their maternity care and hospital stays and others who are nearing the $10,000 mark. I guess it comes down to what your company has negotiated with the health insurance company brokers and how generous they are. Maybe I need a new job? ; )

      • Bonnie says:

        I’m in Texas, too, and it seems like this is getting to be the norm. Higher premiums, higher co-pays, higher deductibles, and higher out-of-pocket maximums. I think some people seem to focus more on deductibles and not enough on out-pocket maximums–and those two numbers are inching closer and closer together.

    • Marcia says:

      It totally varies on the insurance.

      My first son’s birth was a cost of $700 (with epidural). That includes pre-natal care but NOT copays. So if you figure about 12-13 dr’s appointments at $20 per co-pay added to that, it was about $850.

      The actual cost of the birth was $8400, half for the birth + 2 night stay, the other half for the doctor/ pre-natal care. Our first bill was for $3000. I’m not sure how many people pay that, but I got the EOB and the bill from the hospital, couldn’t make sense of it, called them for help, and they “took care of it” to the tune of $700, which was our deductibles.

      Second birth in 2012 was more like $13k to $14k. One night in hospital, no epidural. Talk about an increase whew! Didn’t pay anything that pregnancy because I had double insurance coverage and my husband’s HSA paid all our co-pays and deductible.

  6. Tarynkay says:

    Whoa- this is the power of good insurance benefits!

    Ours is going to cost us between $6500 and $10k, depending on if there are complications, etc. We have to pay for all of the prenatal care after the baby is born, called a “global fee” all of the practices do this now. Our insurance covers nothing until we hit the $7500 deductible, which conveniently reset November 1 (baby is due November 11. He could technically have come this week, but I guess he is not a cheapskate like his mama.)

    The out of pocket max is $10K, so at least we won’t be out more than that if I end up needing a c-section of something.

    • Bonnie says:

      Interesting how close together the deductibles and out-if-pocket deductibles are getting. Vast majority of people will not meet the deductible, so insurance pays nothing.

      • Tarynkay says:

        Yes- we normally get nowhere close to the deductible! So usually, insurance pays nothing. It is through my husband’s office and bc they provide it at all, we are not eligible for the ACA subsidies. Paying out of pocket for better coverage doesn’t make sense for us since we normally don’t use it.

        • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

          Ugh, I’m sorry to hear your birth will be so expensive. It seems totally unfair to charge people so much to give birth! Geez! At any rate, I wish you all the very best in your final week(s) of pregnancy–so exciting :).

  7. Kim from+Philadelphia says:

    Frigal hound mummy pics are the best. So it your beatiful Washington Sq

  8. Jennifer says:

    Do you not have to pay co-insurance? I have never heard of a labor and delivery bill that low. I have an HMO and my labor & delivery capped at $1200, but what they didn’t tell me is that our baby wouldn’t be included in that. Since baby was treated separately and I couldn’t add baby to my school insurance (to do so would cost $350/month) but instead had to add her to my husband’s PPO, her delivery and care added $1000 to the bill.

    • Marcia says:

      Not all insurances have co=pay. My insurances for my two births in 2006 and 2012 had co=pay for dr appts but not for the birth. There was just deductible. $350 for me and $350 for the baby for the first one, don’t remember for the second.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        Yeah, we don’t have to pay anything beyond the $450 co-pay for the birth for baby and me. Babywoods will be going onto the same insurance plan as me and Mr. FW, so she’s covered immediately after birth.

  9. Kim from+Philadelphia says:

    Frugal hound mummy pics rock!
    I also think your Washington Square pic might need to end up hanging in your abode!
    When our son was 6 he swam in the non chlorinated fountain in Washington Square Park and “accidentally” licked a subway handrail. He never got sick. People were shocked to learn that.
    I let him play outside IN DI
    Squee!!! Very excited as you round out the last few weeks of pregnancy, Mrs. F! Babywoods will be one lucky little girl.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! I was pretty pleased with that Washington Sq Park photo myself :). Haha, I love that your son licked a subway handrail–kids are so resilient. Thanks for your good wishes!

  10. I didn’t prepay for a birth, but I did get a big discount after-the-fact. I had a $4,000 deductible and they gave me 30% off if I paid my bill the day I received it. I was like – well, yeah! I saved $1,200! All I had to do was whip my card out and pay over the phone that minute.

  11. Megan says:

    I don’t know how Frugualhound lets you do some of the things you guys do to him, lol.

  12. Frugal Hounds looked very chic in her outfit 😉 All of your costumes are the cutest. This insurance info is really amazing. Sounds like you guys really do have great coverage. Best of luck to you as the due date nears!

  13. Pat Pickett says:

    What a great month! Glad you took advantage of travel and family visits and a wedding. Wonderful!

    When my last child was born, I was sure we’d save a bundle because I was so “experienced!” Everything went pretty much as expected until check-out. I took a look at the bill and was shocked! We had spent exactly 33 hours in the hospital and the bill was over $6000.00! NOTHING EXTRAORDINARY! I didn’t even have time for the labor room. No, she was born. And after being checked out, we both went to the same room. So, what was the main reason for the huge bill? Get this – there was a charge for the ER. I balked at that one – I did not have to go to the ER. “Oh yes, you did,” said the Billing Agent. “you see, no other doors were open when you came in after midnight. The only way into the hospital is through ER and YOU WENT THROUGH THE ER!” Can you believe it $3,000.00 just for being wheeled through the ER?” Okay, that still left another $3,000.00 and I asked for an itemized bill. Kotex – $125? Once I saw that I was in disbelief. Yes, our insurance paid for everything but I realized back then that our medical costs are so high because prices like this are so inflated. I am so in favor of reform in this area. Sounds like you are having a lot better experience with costs. You’re in my thoughts especially these last three weeks. Please let us know when SHE arrives!

    • Bonnie says:

      I would have protested that ER charge to high heaven…and tried to get my insurance company to help me out. That is ABSURD.

  14. Kate says:

    Do you ever cave in or make a mistake? I’d love to see a post about how you deal with that and get back on track.

  15. Gwen says:

    My sister prepaid for the birth of my niece! They didn’t have great insurance, so it was something around $2k. They also got a cash discount for paying before hand. As an added bonus, they made a (rather serious) mistake during the C-Section and refunded my sister and brother in law the entire payment.

  16. Wow, that’s a great deal on your delivery. I’ve had friends who’ve had to deal with bills upwards of 10k – crappy insurance coverage 🙁

  17. Interesting! $450 is great! We also pre-paid for our birth. It was $800 and then because I had a c-section, we had to pay a little more after the fact. We later got slammed with the NICU bills but thankfully we saved up for the beans ahead of time. They ended up maxing out the health insurance at around $4,000 but we were thankful for decent health insurance as the bills could have been over 100k without insurance at all.

  18. Melinda says:

    I got all happy when I saw you came to Rockford, lol. I hope you had a good time here, even if you weren’t here long. 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yay for Rockford! My mom is from there, so I spent my childhood going there at least a few times every year. It holds a special place in my heart 🙂

  19. Hernan says:

    Today, I am going to pay off the mortgage of our house. I am so happy about this! Thanks for the inspiration. Good luck with the pregnancy!

  20. Hannah says:

    I’m about to try to pre-pay for my upcoming delivery! We are going to be cutting it close in between our insurance years, and I would love to make sure that we keep our expenses in a single year (I had to get stitches earlier this year, so we’ve practically met the deductible already!)

  21. Fiby says:

    Nice costume!

    I like this “joke” from Root of Good:
    “This was Mrs. RootofGood’s suggestion, so hate mail can be directed at her. I’m expecting (get it?!) that this tip won’t be helpful to the vast majority of you. But for those that have a These things suck down milk and poop out tax deductionsbaby due around the end of the year AND have some control over the timing of their new arrival, pop it out before the clock strikes twelve on December 31.”
    And the appropriate photo:

  22. “Frugal too far!” Love it. Congrats on paying for the baby early! That is some great insurance! Congrats on a month mindfully lived and the coming months of excitement!

  23. What a deal! We’re looking into ours as we hope to make a mini-me next year. The bad news that the pregnancy / birth is not covered until I meed my $6,450 deductible. The good news is that my employer pays my premiums, and the Mrs. is covered too – so most of the time my health coverage is super cheap. That said, work is changing health plans next year so my fingers are crossed for better baby coverage!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Good luck and congrats in advance ;). You’re smart to explore insurance costs ahead of time–we did that too so that there wouldn’t be any surprises.

  24. Pre-paid baby! Awesome! Great that it covers anything. No woman in labor should ever have to wonder what the 20% copay of an epidural is. (Not sure, because I wound up having a c-section as well, but I can tell you that my Explanation of Benefits showed a $16K charge for anesthesia alone. I paid $0.)

    Funny insurance story: I found I was pregnant with Little Brother (oops!) during open enrollment. We switched right back to the higher-tier plan that covers everything. Once I was safely delivered, once again, of a healthy infant, we took advantage of the “life event” window to change back to our cheaper, less comprehensive plan.

    We had a great October; even though I did some shopping (winter clothes for the boys, rain gear for me, etc.) we still came in with our lowest month since we moved to this house. I also got new glasses. We got free vision insurance this year and I chose the frames that they told me would be free, for a total cost of $143 for no-glare, scratch-resistant Transitions. (I used to have separate sunglasses, or at least clip-on frames–this is NOT a baby-friendly arrangement!)

    • Marcia says:

      Ha! I did the same with little brother (oops). But they lost my form. So I get ready to go to my first Doc appt in Jan, and I don’t have my new insurance card yet. Luckily, our HR signed me up on the spot, even though they couldn’t find my paperwork because she remembered us having the conversation.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        I could not agree more with this: “No woman in labor should ever have to wonder what the 20% copay of an epidural is.” I mean, come on! Like labor isn’t difficult enough already. And, good call both of you on switching!

  25. Karen says:

    Hi Mrs. Frugalwoods! I’ve just discovered your blog not too long ago and have really enjoyed it. I wondered, with Babywoods coming along, if you’ve considered cloth diapering at all? It’s both frugal and environmentally friendly 🙂 I haven’t had anyone in diapers in 10 years, but I’ve linked to a website I put together way back when to explain to a friend how I approached cloth diapering. It’s worth considering. Good luck with the birth, etc. and happy to hear that you’re feeling great through to the end of the pregnancy 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      We’ll be writing all about baby stuff–including diapers–in the coming months, so stay tuned :). Many thanks for your good wishes!

  26. Jess says:

    I’m really curious Mrs FW if you plan to buy diapers or use cloth? I luckily live in Australia so effectively have a free birth in my particular city by electing to go through the public system although any Drs visits are co paid for around $40 each (and I’ll have about 3 of them).

  27. Norm says:

    That mummy picture is nutters. Greyhounds really let you do anything to them! We gave Maeby a bath yesterday. You could tell she hated it, but she just stood there and took it like a big girl.

    Our October expenses were super high. Nothing to do with personal spending though, we had to spend a bunch on the rental apartment. I only discovered there was no outlet for the dryer and no plumbing hookups for the washer a day before tenants were supposed to move in. (Apparently the former owner left the washer and dryer there for decoration?) So that had to get done immediately, and we paid $1,300 total. But what is an investment property if not an investment, right? :-/

  28. Nice job saving money on your birth by paying upfront! We have found it surprising how many ways you can get a discount just by asking, including on things that seem fixed. On our last car accident (not our fault! we used to live in a city with an extremely high rate of fender benders), we had a $500 deductible which we were due to pay directly to the body shop. We asked them for a discount on that and, voila!, they knocked $100 off, and our insurance company never even knew. Then on dental care, we needed a filling, and the dentist office said that would be $80 out of pocket after insurance, to which we replied, is that a firm price? Answer: nope, that was negotiable too. Instead we paid $50 OOP. It never hurts to ask!

    Hope these last few weeks go smoothly for you! Can’t wait to hear that you’ve delivered safely and everyone is happy and healthy. 🙂

  29. Tawcan says:

    Lol @ Frugalhound.

    You have to pay for giving birth? That’s such a strange concept to me considering all the birthing expenses are covered here in Canada.

  30. Mrs PoP says:

    A month where we underspent the Frugalwoods!?! Holy cow I never thought I’d see the day, especially not for a month that felt pretty spendy at the time. =)

    That’s some great health care coverage that it doesn’t matter what type of birth you end up having! It’s a shame all women don’t have that luxury and have to mentally add up the costs (is the epidural worth the $$? how much will this C-section cost?!?) when there are other far more important matters to attend to. Looking forward to next month’s update that *should* have the safe and healthy arrival of Babywoods on it!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Haha, that’s awesome you underspent us ;). And I totally agree–I wish all women didn’t have to itemize every aspect of birth. It’s completely unjust to charge women so much to give birth!

  31. Ashley says:

    Our first birth was to a preemie. My bill was $13,000 for the birth (birth itself was uncomplicated, natural delivery) and his bill was $250,000 for the NICU stay. We had awesome state insurance because my husband worked for a state university at the time and we only paid $150 for the whole thing. Seriously! This time around we will hit our out of pocket maximum ($8,000) with the prenatal care and birth but at least our plan is April-March (baby due in January) so we will get to throw all the expenses into one plan year. It’s insane how much things can vary!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Oh wow–glad to hear you only had to pay $150!! That’s wonderful! Best of luck with your pregnancy–hope all goes smoothly for you 🙂

  32. This was our big chance to spend less than you, and we blew it. 🙁 Stupid train tickets for Europe…you ruined everything!

    Best of luck on the birth and happy early B-day to the little frugalisto or frugalista!

  33. Steve Miller says:

    Sounds like a great trip to NY. I was cracking up seeing FrugalHound mumified!

  34. Joanne says:

    Hello Mrs FW, it’s so strange to read how much money you have to pay for babywood’s birth. Here in the UK we have the fabulous NHS and it’s all free. My first son (now aged 14) was a ventouse birth with an epidural which necessitated a 3 day stay in hospital and my second son (now 11) was 9lb and needed a bit of help to get out so again had a bit of intervention and it was all free of charge. Not only that I got Statutory Maternity Pay for almost 9 months – 6 weeks @ 90% of my weekly wage then 33 weeks at about £136 per week. Will you get anything like this and do you intend to stay home with babywood? I loved being at home and treasure those precious memories of when they were small. My 14 year old is now 6′ tall with his brother well over 5′ tall – I’m titchy at 4’11” tall so it’s amazing to think I gave birth to these hulking mini men!! Wishing you all the best for a safe and enjoyable delivery and birth experience! Xxx

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Ahhh NHS! I am so jealous! Although we’re actually extremely fortunate that we only have to pay $450–that’s very much on the low end for births in the US, so we feel very lucky. And, we don’t have maternity leave benefits like that here either, although I will receive short-term disability for 12 weeks (80% of pay), so again, feeling very lucky to have that!

  35. Suze Wannabe says:

    Don’t forget to get life insurance now that you will have baby! 10x your annual gross salary. I got mine through SelectQuote, my husband started with Zander to find the best deal. You probably want a 20-30 year term, not whole 🙂 Congrats on baby. We are all excited!

  36. Shannon says:

    Awesome idea to pre-pay the baby costs! I can’t believe she is almost here! We prepaid our Invisalign with cash ( for both of us) and got 10% off, so that was pretty significant when you’re talking multi thousands of dollars.

    October was OK. Food and eating out went down (probably thanks to some garden goodies), but alcohol went up! Some big ticket expenses are coming our way. Bought two plane tickets to a CA wedding that is coming up. Of the four nights, 3 of them will be for free at friends’ places, while using public transportation. Last 2 days we’ll rent a car and stay on the other side of the bridge for a mini vacay that will last about 30 hours total! We did get the tickets super cheap on Delta, but we won’t be sitting together. No biggie.

    My 19 year old car is going to be donated before the year is up as its repairs cost 3x more than the car itself. A friend of ours is selling us (even older) 23 year old car for $500 friend deal, but we’ll need to put a couple hundred into it to pass inspection. Out with the old and in with the older! It is a sound car, the mechanics said they’d buy it if we did not. Until we know exactly what we want in a second car, this little cheap mobile will do me fine for scooting around town.

    Also on the hunt for holiday tickets, despite our desire to stay home, H told his parents we’d see them in Portland after a 3 year holiday hiatus. ThenI probably need to fly home to Indiana in January when tix are cheap. I really want to see my nieces and nephews while they are little! A few more plane tickets I foresee in Feb and April too.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Nicely done on pre-paying your Invisalign! I wonder if the 23 year old car can be grandfathered in under “antique” status? I’ve heard this can be the case in some states with 20 year old+ cars and that the inspection requirements are then different. I don’t know much about it, but might be worth checking out. Good luck with the plane tickets! That’s always a big expense for us too–worth it to visit the fam though :).

  37. middle class says:

    Your birth co-pay is low! We had to pay $1,500 with our insurance.

  38. Michelle G says:

    Would be interested to hear which freezer meals you ended up making.

  39. Ruth says:

    Frugalhound is so tolerant!! Love it 🙂 I spent a summer in Boston, and I was thinking: it would be cool to walk home from the airport. It would be a few miles, and obviously not a great idea when you’re 37mo pregnant (congrats!! so excited to see the toes of little Babywoods!), and you’d need minimal luggage. But walking around a city before everyone else is awake is a cool experience! And free! 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Yeah, you probably could walk home from the airport if you got creative about where to walk on the highway… would definitely be an interesting experiment 🙂

  40. SO exciting! My first daughter was 3 weeks early, so any time now! I’m really looking forward to the birth announcement. All the best to the 3 of you as the big day approaches : )

  41. TomTrottier says:

    Move to Canada or Europe – no co-pays at all. Your taxes pay it.
    BTW, we found that pre-toddler babies are very portable, so your travelling days need not be over quite yet. Breast feed & use a snugli & you can still go on hikes, even overnites.
    Toddlerdom will be much more of an imposition. Then you need leashes and gates/playpens, or a very watchful eye. You have gotten plastic “locks” for all your lower cabinets, haven’t you?

  42. Kristen says:

    As a Canadian I forget you have to do things like pay for your birth. That is all covered i our health care. There are “perks” you can get based on private insurance in some medical cases (like a semi-private or private room). October was a good month for us. Even with getting 99% of the Christmas shopping done, we came $500 under our normal variable spending, so I was thrilled. We are slowly finding ways to save extra money!

  43. MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    You know if you have fruits and veggies you could also purée the and freeze it in ice cube trays to make for baby’s first solids! One standard cube equals about an ounce which is what they start on!

  44. I love your Halloween shirt! I don’t think we even had a copay for my daughter’s birth, but it was six years ago, so details are a little fuzzy.

    October was a pricey month for us. Our biggest expense was our $2660 propane tank. However, we think it’ll pay for itself in two years, since we can now shop for much more affordable propane rates, rather than being tethered to our over-priced, former provider.

  45. We actually pre-paid for Will’s birth WAY back in the day and I am SO glad that we had the means to do it because it saved us a bunch of money later on. It’s crazy how much just a natural birth can cost not to mention a c-section. I can’t believe how much travel you have done in the third trimester! When I hit my third trimester, I barely wanted to get out of bed. In the homestretch now, though, and you are still looking fabulous!!

  46. Megan says:

    Frugalwoods, do you plan on homeschooling Babywoods? Just curious! I love following your journey 🙂

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Great question! At this point in time, we’re not. We plan to send her to public school. But, that’s a number of years off and so we’ll have to see at the time.

  47. Linda says:

    Not long now for Bubby Girl to make her appearance.:)

    In Australia, we can choose to go ‘public’ for childbirth and it costs ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Our children (34, 30) were born costing us nothing, our grandchildren too and many family and friends throughout the years have been born without costing the parents a cent. No matter what happens, complications, tests, procedures – nothing to pay. Excellent care too!!! (Although you can choose to go ‘private’ meaning you can choose your own doctor/midwife and have a room of your own after the birth. So people would pay into healthcare if they wanted this choice.) (Although at our hospital our daughter-in-law with a caesarian and then two years later, a natural birth had a room all to herself.) Such a wonderful service and we’re so grateful!!!

    All the very best for your birthing experience and the welcoming your precious little girl.

  48. Katarina says:

    When I read this, I’m soooo glad for our insurance system, here in Eastern Europe 🙂 I didn’t pay anything for my pre-birth doctor visits, nor for the birth itself and for the care after.
    My son unfortunatelly had (is having) some serious health problems, so he stayed another 6 months in hospital, followed by another long stay visits the first two years – when I think how much I would have paid in US, we probably would go bankrupt 🙁

    On the other hand, I have to admitt, the level of accomodation in our hospitals isn’t the best (up to 3 kids with moms in one room), still the medical care is on high level and saved my son life. So I’m very very grateful for our mandatory health insurance for everyone, which is very helpful in case you really need it.

  49. Julia says:

    Just gotta ask – what’s Mr. FW’s Halloween costume in that pic?

  50. Jana says:

    I had no idea you could pre-pay a copay! Good to know. Now I will have to ask, though somehow I doubt that our rural hospital has much of an incentive to offer discounts.

    Of course I have no idea how to figure out what’s actually covered and what’s not, and what the co-pay for birth is. Whenever I call the insurance company to ask if something’s covered, or what a procedure or visit will cost, they refuse to answer–“you’ll have to submit it first, we can’t give you that information.” The only time they gave a yes/no was when I got the EXACT billing codes–20 of them–for genetic testing and had to go through the list one by one. How can you plan if they can’t tell you what is covered or what it will cost?

    Have you written anywhere yet about your childcare plans? I am pregnant now and dreading trying to make arrangements, and would love to hear what you two are planning.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Ugh, yes, I feel your pain with trying to elicit specific coverage info from insurance. I too have resorted to using exact billing codes to try and get exact answers, which does seem to work well. I’ve also found that if I can’t get answers from whoever answers at the call center the first time around, I just try calling back again later and hoping for a different person who is more experienced and can answer my questions (this has worked well for me a number of times actually).

      I also discovered that buried on my insurance company’s website is a manual on what’s covered for prenatal/maternity care–you might try and see if you can find something similar on your insurance’s site. It’s a hassle for sure, but it is nice to see it written down. Through reading this document I learned that our insurance offers a refund for a childbirth prep class, so I’m glad I read the whole darn thing!

      I wish you all the best in navigating the process and I hope you’re able to get answers! We haven’t written about our childcare plans yet but will do so in the coming months–so stay tuned :). P.S. congrats on your pregnancy!!

  51. C says:

    You’re lucky to only pay $450 for the birth of babywoods! I called my insurance before my baby was born this past August, and they told me my co-pay would be $600. What they didn’t tell me was that the baby also had a co-pay of $600. I’m surprised your co-pay includes you and the baby. That’s awesome!

  52. Good luck on your pregnancy, Frugalwoods. I am so excited to see baby Frugalwoods. Yay!

  53. Jennifer says:

    What do you guys do for phones? you don’t seem to have them in your monthly expenses for any month I’ve looked at.

  54. Meghann says:

    Hi, I’ve noticed that your mortgage has been significantly reduced over the past few months? How? I’d be surprised if you were paying PMI.

  55. Ac says:

    I have a different opinion on the medical pre pay idea. We had a baby two months ago. After insurance the hospital sent us a bill for $3900 for mom and $2400 for baby. I asked if they would reduce it and they said no because we had insurance.

    Then I asked about their payment plan. They offered $25/month zero interest zero late fees. Wow! I set my hsa to send a $25 check each month. In only 20 years it’ll be paid off. We will spend $300 this year on hospital expenses. Ob and pediatrician are separate and more painful. Ob was $2440 after insurance.

  56. Jessica says:

    Do you spend money on gifts? you went to your cousins wedding, did you make them a gift or not give them one?

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