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How Moving Saved Us on Insurance, Cable & Daycare

by J. Money on Wednesday, July 31, 2013

virginia is for money lovers

You know how financial experts are always recommending you move to a cheaper area to save money? As if it’s so easy to leave behind your friends and family and everything else you’ve built and come to enjoy over the years? Well, I still think it’s as dumb of an option to recommend since I first heard it, but I gotta admit there’s some truth to the “saving money” part.

While we had a billion other reasons to take on our recent move here, saving money WAS in the top handful of them. And it wasn’t that hard to pull off when you’re coming from one of the most expensive parts of the country (DC), haha…

It’s only been a few weeks since we’ve moved, but here are three areas we’re now saving in:

We changed health insurance. Old: $643 New: $230!

This has been the highlight of our adventure so far ;) We’ll now be saving over $400 for not that much of a difference in service. Or companies, for that matter. The folks at BlueCross BlueShield in DC wanted to attach a ridiculous $300 EXTRA towards our already outrageous premiums of $640 to keep us on the same exact plan we had (can you imagine paying almost $1,000 for health insurance?? Every single month for just 2 people??), and that quickly prompted us to look elsewhere in our new home state of Virginia.

So I went back to my trusty eHealthInsurance.com and plugged in all my data again (it’s an aggregation site of all the health insurance companies and plans in your area – you can read my earlier post on it here) and it spit me out a handful to review and then submit for. And lo and behold there was a BlueCross BlueShield division in our new area too! Only with a different set of terms and management (aka higher copays and deductibles). So I applied for the quoted plan that $230 was attached to, and both the baby and I got approved within a matter of days :) And the differences in out of pocket stuff wasn’t that extreme.

I then quickly cancelled our last plan (which required a physical letter and multiple calls on the phone, ugh), and we’re now waiting to make sure it’s 100% cancelled and I don’t have to pay anymore for a service I’m no longer needing. Insurance stuff gets tricky here because you want to make sure the new one goes into affect okay, but in time for you to cancel your old one so you’re not paying double the premiums. And a $640 “extra” premium for nothing is certainly not chump change :( So wish us luck it’ll all go through okay! And at least all future ones will be cut down by over 60%!

Here’s the revised list of our insurance premiums over the years now:

  • $200/mo – what I was paying 10  years ago
  • $150/mo – what I was paying over the next couple of years
  • $0.00/mo – what I was paying for at the height of the last start-up I worked for!
  • $280/mo – what I ended up paying at the end of 2010 when above startup went under :(
  • $292/mo – what I started paying in 2011 when I went through eHealth Insurance
  • $573/mo – what the new rates were when we added Baby $ to the mix in 2012 (!!!)
  • $643/mo – what it cost after a rate increase a few months later by BCBS :(
  • $230/mo – what it costs now :)

Needless to say I’m loving Virginia right now… And eHealthInsurance.com for that matter. This is one of those things anyone can look into really whether you’ve moved recently or not – just fill out some quick forms and see the quotes in your area (that is if you’re self-employed or carrying your own insurance for any other reasons).

We changed cable/internet/phone provider: Old: $210 New: $145!

(Yes we still use a land line. And yes we still watch TV even though I hear you can become a millionaire after 40 years if you bank it all away at XYZ% and never watch TV again! ;))

This is another one of those things that can be done regardless of you moving or not, but which we were thankful it prompted us to do so we can start saving more money in that area. A $65/mo savings is not too shabby! And it would have been even more had we been able to sign up for a 2-year contract vs. 1 (our plans are to live here for only 1 year, and then re-evaluate after once we know about my wife’s dissertation/job situation).

I should note here that we watch 99% of our movies through our cable setup, as well as most our favorite shows on HBO and Showtime (Game of Thrones and Dexter, anybody?). We’ve never used Netflix – though we’re itching to try it – and rarely go to the movies. So a lot of our entertainment budget comes through this.

We changed daycare!!! Old: $100/day. New: $48/day!

This is both good, and bad news actually.The good is we went from spending $100 a day to “only” $48 a day, but the bad is we now pay for more days than we did before.  4x as many days to be exact.

Back before the move we were paying $400 to have Baby $ at daycare just once a week (so, 4x a month), and now we pay close to that ($480) to have him there for a whole TEN days over TWO weeks! (20x a month). So while we are saving a butt ton on the true cost of day care out of pocket, we’re also using it more and thus doubling our spending each and every month for a total of $960 vs the $400 we used to. It’s a bitter sweet situation. Though I just count our lucky money blessings that we’re not having to shell out the close to $2,000 it would have been had we gone this route in DC!! That’s a freakin’ mortgage payment! Or two!

(Also, $48 looks scary when you see the numbers pulled out “by day” like that, doesn’t it? Reminds me of when we realized we were paying $60/day for our mortgage interest! Yikes!)

So yes, moving CAN save you a ton of money if you opt for a cheaper locale. But the same can be said for just doing some legwork in your *own* areas too. Whether it be for cable, insurance, and even daycare. You won’t save *as* much not moving away, but it’s still pretty smart to do. And the beauty is you just have to put in the effort once!

Anyone else saving some cash by switching services? Any tricks you’d like to share with us? :)

———
PS: I also just remembered that our car insurance is now lower too because of the move (we use USAA). Only by $10, but that still adds up over the years :)


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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aimee July 31, 2013 at 6:56 am

I saved a lot just by moving to a different town in Massachusetts. I moved from a busy town about 15 minutes from Boston to a super rural town. This made my car insurance go down by over $20 per month, and my health insurance renewed at about $8 less per month. The health insurance rate change is partially from state laws though. Rent has changed a lot from $835 per month and rising to $885 including nothing to $750 per month including everything (even internet!). Doubling my commute didn’t change my weekly fuel costs by much because I’m closer to my parents’ and the gym now so it’s definitely worth it! I’ve also changed cell plans within the same company and got rid of the 5 year old Blackberry that was too slow to even use the internet on. I was worried I’d miss the email though, but I don’t! That’s saving me $30 per month.

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2 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Nice work! All wonderful WINS :)

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3 Free Money Minute July 31, 2013 at 7:11 am

One thing I am considering is switching to a prepaid plan for my smartphone once my contract ends. There is apparently this plan where you can get your smartphone bill under $30 a month (and in some cases near $10/month) by signing up with a company that buys service from the big three (AT&T, Verizon and Sprint). The service allows unlimited data in some cases and a lower set of minutes. However, you can use VOIP services to make up for the lack of cell minutes.

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4 Aimee July 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm

How do I get that??!

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5 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Sounds awesome if you can pull it off – but something tells me there’s a trick hiding somewhere?

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6 Lance @ Money Life and More July 31, 2013 at 7:34 am

We shopped our car insurance around after we got married and were shocked USAA no longer had the best rates by about $200 every 6 months. I was sad, but, maybe if I reapply for it later I’ll get a new customer rate or something. I think USAA just really doesn’t like Florida.

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7 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I still can’t believe that… So rare to hear!

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8 Jordann @ My Alternate Life July 31, 2013 at 8:08 am

I saved a ton of money on rent when I moved from a large city into a rural area. There happened to be a job opening there and it was close to family, so we thought, why not? We went from paying $1000/month for a one bedroom to $350/month for a one bedroom house and yard. Not bad! We’re banking the savings and using it to pay off debt.

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9 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

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10 Kevin @ RewardBoost.com July 31, 2013 at 8:12 am

I have lived in the Dallas area for 5 years, and while I’ve moved from one place to another, when you move within a city it doesn’t really give you any of those benefits. The one move that might impact me would be changing my day job. I went through an interview with a different company and their health insurance was $3,000 more expensive than the one I have now!

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11 Michelle July 31, 2013 at 8:31 am

Wow that’s definitely a lot in savings! St. Louis is super cheap thankfully :)

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12 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Especially for going to FINCON this year ;) You ARE going, right?

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13 John S @ Frugal Rules July 31, 2013 at 8:39 am

Nice savings J$, especially on the insurance! We’ve not done a whole lot of shopping around lately for services, but did have USAA ( I LOVE them) lower our car insurance even more since we’re not driving as much as we anticipated now that we’re working from home. I am with you on the cable…we rarely go out to movies anymore and it’s our entertainment – plus we like our Game of Thrones & Boardwalk Empire. :)

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14 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:17 pm

That’s my favorite actually when USAA calls and asks to review our driving habits. Every year they get lower and I brim with excitement to see how much we’ll be saving going forward :) You’d think they’d just quit surveying us, haha…

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15 Lucas July 31, 2013 at 8:53 am

Dude – at least switch to OOMA or something like that for your “land line” the bundled VOIP plans that come with cable and internet are just added cash to the provider. OOMA is $150 up front for the device and then like $3 a month for unlimited calls. We are in Fairfax and have been using ours for ~2 years with good success.

Also i think something is missing from this sentence: ” and now we pay almost exactly that ($480) to have him there for a whole FIVE days a week! ” The math doesn’t add up there to either $960 a month or $48 a day

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16 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:32 pm

We pay $480 for two weeks of daycare, 5 days each week. So $480 divided by 10 days is $48 :) I guess I forgot to mention the “2 weeks” part? Will update that….

Thx for the heads up on OOMA too – will look into.

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17 Debt Blag July 31, 2013 at 9:08 am

I love it! The other great thing about moving is that you’re eligible for all those introductory teaser rates again :)

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18 Brian July 31, 2013 at 9:21 am

Unless I moved to the middle of nowhere, I wouldn’t be saving that much. Where I live has a low cost of living, but still offers plenty of options for things to do. We are usually right near the top for most affordable “big” cities to live in. Of course I don’t really think we are that big, but I guess they have to put some of the smaller places on the list.

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19 No Waste July 31, 2013 at 10:03 am

Our roots run way too deep for me to consider a move for financial reasons but I admire those that have an adventurous spirit and pull it off successfully.

My cable subscription ain’t going anywhere, and I too know what the numbers bear out. Plus I COULD be enriching my mind instead of rotting it. I guess I am who I am though.

Regarding Dexter, we love the show, but for me, the peak season was the Trinity Killer with John Lithgow and it’s been a steady decline since then. I’m glad they’re wrapping it up.

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20 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Yeah, it’s def. not been *as* exciting as it had been in the past, but I did like him tag teaming with a hottie killer in this last round ;)

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21 Rita P @ Digital Spikes July 31, 2013 at 10:23 am

Good savings, We have cut our cable cord for good and save a lot of money. Anyways J I like your findings and keep it up

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22 a terrible husband... July 31, 2013 at 10:28 am

We’re in the process of moving from a good-sized city right outside of NYC to the ‘burbs. I can’t wait to not pay $250 per month for parking!

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23 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Haha oh yeah… more than a car loan to some people )

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24 Kacie July 31, 2013 at 10:28 am

Sounds good! How about taxes? I guess now you’re comparing income taxes and sales tax, and no property tax.

Also, I hope your insurance stays low. I am nervous to see what will happen to privately insured folks like us once next year hits.

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25 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Me too :( But figured we can only do what we can now and deal with later, later. Who knows, maybe I’ll be hustlin’ at a place that offers benefits and can go back to never thinking about it again :)

You’re right that I haven’t factored in property taxes/etc. From what I hear those will be lower too! At least my business taxes. That’ll be for another day :)

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26 Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) July 31, 2013 at 10:43 am

I went to college in grad school in VA and we just loved it. Such a pretty area, such great school, and awesome in state colleges for Baby $. Glad to know the move has been good to you!

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27 Jake @ Common Cents Wealth July 31, 2013 at 11:30 am

That’s awesome that you’re saving money just by moving locales. I just recently negotiated a new rate for our internet, car insurance, and house insurance. It didn’t add up to much, but a little savings helps out.

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28 Retire By 40 July 31, 2013 at 11:37 am

Great job with the health insurance!
Daycare is tough. We are starting preschool in September – 3 days part time.
That seems like a good compromise. Daycare everyday is too much fore me.

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29 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:46 pm

That’s a nice middle ground for sure. Maybe when the wifey gets a full-time job after getting her PHD I’ll start working less and move to lower days too? :)

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30 Skint in the City July 31, 2013 at 11:49 am

Got to say J$, I love how bold you are when it comes to getting financially bare! I could never give away the level of detail on my site about my financial situation that you do – and that’s one of the reasons I love to read you site and how you put it all out there! Strikes me that U.S. bloggers are much more open with their finances that here in the UK. I wonder why we’re so timid over here? Just wrote a piece about how financially naked you dare to go for Get Rich Slowly and I think you were at the back of my mind J$ as one of those inspiring bloggers who isn’t afraid to tell it all like it really is! It’s here, only if you’re interested . . . (just delete if links not allowed – when reading your post just now though I was just struck again by how candid you are about all aspects of your money life . . .) http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2013/07/19/ask-the-readers-how-much-do-you-dare-to-bare/

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31 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Awesome! Will totally go and read it – I’m glad you like that part of the blog :) It’s what got me interested in personal finance myself back in the day. And why I chose (and still choose) to go anonymously ;) Sometimes I wonder if I’ll hit a certain number that will get me wanting to stop doing it all, but for now we keep going and see what happens… I don’t think I could go back to keeping it all a secret anytime anyways, haha..

Congrats on getting on the Get Rich blog!

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32 The Debt Roundup July 31, 2013 at 11:49 am

When we first moved into our home, we were saving because we were out of the city limits. That saved us on taxes and insurance. Now, the city decided to annex us, so we have to pay the higher prices, but don’t really get much more than we did before.

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33 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Woahhh sneaky sneaky!

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34 Debt and the Girl July 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Congrats on the lower prices. I just got a notice today that my health insurance was going up. Ughh!!! Maybe I should check out eHealthinsurance.

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35 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Well, it goes up every year no matter who or where you get it from :( But if you’re willing to adjust the variables like copays and out of pocket expenses/etc, then it’s def. worth at least poking around to get a good idea of the differences in premiums :)

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36 Done by Forty July 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I’m always amazed at how drastically insurance costs can change based on locales. I don’t understand all the reasons why, but I’ve learned that the cost of health insurance should factor into decisions on which city to move to.

Thanks, too, for the information on day care (we don’t have kids yet but I love getting insight into others’ costs). And congrats for getting a better daily rate!

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37 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Great! Glad it all helps :) I didn’t know a thing before having our baby, and even now we’re operating on the fly as we go… def. a learning experience!

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38 Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans July 31, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Whoa, this is awesome!

I moved from San Francisco to a more suburban area sometime last year, but never really got to see how much money I’m really saving! Definitely going to break it down sometime soon!

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39 J. Money July 31, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Oh man, I bet you’re saving a boat load. Unless you took the “upgrade” route to live better at the same cost ;)

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40 Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen July 31, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Woot! Congrats on the money savings! Sounds nice:P

I’ve got good news: I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to GEICO! Haha…actually I really did. Geico has one of the lowest prices and good customer service ratings. So far so good! I filed a report once but haven’t had to make a claim yet.

I was also debating on switching hosting services…but decided to try calling them first to see if they could offer me a deal. Dropped the monthly $2!

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41 miranda@beyondworklifebalance.com July 31, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Hi J-Money. Great that you are saving money. I worry a little bit about the daycare. Daycares that charge so little are probably not paying their teachers/staff very well. That is a big problem for staff retention and quality. Quality staff is the number one thing I’d be looking for, after all these are the people spending time with your child for many hours. Do yourself a favor and call your state office that oversees day cares and make sure they are not in violation and have good records. Our state is heavily, heavily regulated and I was very grateful.

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42 SavvyFinancialLatina July 31, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Living in Dallas means we have a lower cost of living than DC. But money still adds up :(
We saved $10 every month by asking State Farm to add us to their Safe Driving program! When we moved within the city to where we live now our costs went up. Higher rent for a supposedly better apartment.

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43 Holly@ClubThrifty July 31, 2013 at 7:25 pm

We had to buy a short term policy for July and August and we used ehealthinsurance as well! We got the same Anthem plan we had before…at a similar cost. I was so worried about buying a plan on the open market…but it really wasn’t that bad!!!

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44 J. Money August 1, 2013 at 10:31 am

It’s a nice surprise right? I went like 6 months w/out insurance cuz I was too afraid/lazy to start researching it all :( Then someone recommended eHealth and I was literally done within the hour! Haha… go internets.

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45 Lynn July 31, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Do remember one of the downsides of Virginia is personal property taxes. With the cars you own they won’t be much but if you ever buy something newer they will shoot up.

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46 Connie @ Savvy With Saving July 31, 2013 at 9:55 pm

That’s a large chunk of savings. I live in nyc and I’ve always wondered how much I would save if I moved somewhere else. But at the same time, I wouldn’t be making nearly as much. There’s definitely a lot of things to consider, maybe one day!

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47 Romanian August 1, 2013 at 2:52 am

Those are some great savings! Makes me consider moving to a different place (although if I’m moving away from Romania, everything, anywhere will be probably more expensive lol). And for the insurance, to make things even better, you could say that it dropped from 940 since that would’ve been the amount you had to pay :)

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48 J. Money August 1, 2013 at 10:32 am

Haha how much does your home cost there? If you ever want to guest post about what it’s like to live (financially) in Romania, you have a spot here!

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