We Recouped $80 in 3 Minutes

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From the children’s book “Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Ben Franklin”

One of the benefits to budgeting even after you are debt-free is that it forces you to pay attention to the expenses you incur.  If you get too relaxed, the little things will definitely add up and bite you.

I recently had an annual eye exam.  We have no vision insurance, though the eye doctor likes to submit the claim to our health insurance in case there is something medical they will pick up (such as eye disease).  Usually my bill just gets kicked right back because my eyes are healthy.

DH saw the claim pass through and noticed the high cost ($ 225 plus refraction) right away.  We both recalled having an issue with their billing process in the past.  We decided to wait until the eye doctor billed us, but you better believe we were fully ready to engage in battle!

The bill arrived yesterday and I had it open before I even got to the front door.  They had billed us their “insurance” price because they had submitted the bill to medical insurance and it was denied.  I called right away and politely said that I didn’t think that was the right price for “self-pay”.  The billing clerk said she could take 30% off for self-pay, and in a minute I had recovered 80.00.

I wondered how many people get the bill and just pay it?  Anytime you have any sort of medical or dental claim denied, it is absolutely worth it to inquire if you can have the “self-pay” price.  

Have you ever asked for the self-pay price?

 

Saving… In the Pink

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Happy Valentine’s Week! Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays because I love flowers and beautiful pink and red decorations during the otherwise drab winter.

We are having a quiet weekend because DD is down with a head cold.  Sometimes it’s nice to just stay around home and appreciate what we have here instead of going in search of more.

Earning

DH received an email about a class action lawsuit against Yahoo for a data breach.  You may be eligible if you had a Yahoo account between 2012 – 2016.  We already have credit monitoring services in place (from another data breach, naturally), so we have applied to receive a cash payout (up to 100.00).  You may have received an email, but if not read more here.  Props to DH, who is a master at both rebates and responding to class action lawsuits.

Saving

I used my time at home this weekend to make cut-out heart cookies to give as Valentine’s gifts.  I was able to use some of the butter given to me by the person I am house-sitting for.

Went grocery shopping with DH on Saturday and we used up a Jimmy John’s gift card to bring home a quick lunch.  I don’t like to lose track of gift cards, but this one I have had for a while.

We came in under budget last week, and were able to put that money back into our savings, vacation, and home repair budget lines.

Watching

I am watching Playing With Fire on Amazon Prime (using my free video credits from selecting delayed delivery on packages).  I’m enjoying this documentary about the Financial Independence-Retire Early movement and one family’s attempt to get on the path to FIRE. Have you seen it? Thoughts?

It’s very snowy here tonight, so we will raid the freezer for a simple meal. Tonight I will firm up a meal plan for the week ahead and make a grocery list. This gets my week off to a good start even if we have to make changes along the way.

 

 

Heart Health Freebie

While reading my grocery store flyer for the week I noticed that Kroger-owned stores are offering a free promotion for February’s Heart Health month. You can schedule a free cholesterol, blood sugar, BMI, and blood pressure screening at your local store. Go online to see if there is a location near you! I scheduled my 15 minute appointment on Valentine’s Day, which I am following up with a trip to the dentist — LOL.

Rolling into February and Saving

The days are ever so slightly lighter in the evening and my friend’s chickens have picked up their egg production — I’m feeling optimistic for spring even if it might be a bit premature!

Saving

  • DH and I just made it under the data limit for our phones last week!  That’s $ 20.00 easy money.  I think I had been off wifi at home for a little while and that does not mix well with Instagram!
  • The last two times I have bought grass fed ground beef on sale at a particular market they have not rung it up at the sale price.  I’m on to them!  I check the price per pound as soon as they pass me the package across the meat counter.
  • I’m taking advantage of the sales on “party foods” for the Super Bowl and cherry-picking some of the loss leaders at local stores.  Frozen pizza isn’t something we eat often, but at 1.99, I’ll take one and be grateful we have it if there is a snow storm or a late meeting at work.
  • My little joy for the week was getting a bar of Dr. Bronner’s Rose soap for $2.90.  I love having a good bar of soap for my bathtub, and it smells so pretty!

Earning

I sold a Keurig machine that we were no longer using on a local mom resale group.  $20.00.  We have gone back to old fashioned Mr. Coffee type of coffee machine.  I am happy to reclaim the counter space.

Investing

When we rolled my Roth IRA over to Vanguard from Ameritrade, DH was careful to maintain our asset allocation so that we wouldn’t fall too heavy into stocks (we already have plenty of stock exposure).  With the Coronavirus affecting China so heavily, this seems like a good move for the short term any way.

Maintaining

In the “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” department…..

Got the car in for an oil change/tire rotation.

Cleaned the washing machine with a cleaning tablet.

Budgeting

DH and I will usually go over out budget every Saturday night and see where we ended up for the past week and allocate any unspent money to savings, home repair or vacation.  Those are our budget categories which are always hungry for MORE!

Hope your week was good!

 

 

 

Brrr….Saving This Week

Vintage-Winter-Birds-Image-GraphicsFairy-1024x392It’s been a slow, quiet kind of weekend for us.  Our daughter has been studying for her mid-year final exams.  We also got a pretty decent snowfall Friday into Saturday, which gave us another great reason to stay close to home.

Savings and Earnings this Week…

The Cell Phone Game

We have unlimited data (teenager), but if we stay under 2Gig, we get $10.00 back per phone.  Our daughter blows through that in days, but this month both DH and I are close to losing our our 10.00!!!  We are determined to squeak in below our data limit for the 10.00 each!  Ah, its the little things…

Selling

I sold a doll item for $  10.00 in a mom group on Facebook in my community.  This is a great way to sell things without the hassle of Ebay.  I usually just have a porch pickup, which means they can get the item and leave the money.  If you have toys or kids’ items to sell, see if there is a sales group on Facebook for your area.

Dining at Home

There were many opportunities to eat at home this week – we had pea soup in the freezer that I added chicken and apple sausage to to jazz it up the second time around.  We also had tofu bowls with rice, veg, and marinated, oven baked tofu — it’s an inexpensive, vegetarian meal that is always well received.  I also made steel cut oats and froze them in individual packets in the freezer.

I try to eat dairy-free and wheat free most of the time because I have eosinophilic esophagitis, an allergic autoimmune disease.

Staying Healthy

I got an eye exam this week and scheduled some dental work now that we are in a new year for our flexible spending account (money taken out pre-tax for health expenses not covered by insurance).  Every year we use all of the FSA money, so I had been holding off on these two appointments until the new year.  A flexible spending account is a great way to reduce your taxed income, and if you have medical needs, or children with braces or going to physical therapy for injuries (ahem!), you will use that money right up!

Short week ahead for all of us.  We will be staying close to home and celebrating the end of exams by binging on the last episodes of “Cheer” in Netflix once DD is done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saving Money this Week and Snowmaggedon

How was your week?  We prepared for a big snow event this weekend which kind of fizzled out, but we are enjoying being home, watching football playoffs, and eating the groceries we have instead of going out in search of greener pastures.

Saving this Week

Groceries

I had success this week using my Kroger store’s online ordering/curbside pickup.  Ordering online forces me to be a little more disciplined and think through my meal plan instead of wandering off to the store after work every day.  I can also take advantage of their online coupons which are so much easier to use than the old days of clipping coupons.  This week I saved 31% on my order there, purchasing things we use regularly.  They also gave me a bouquet of flowers which I have been enjoying all weekend.

Medical

Last week I mentioned that our health insurance allows each member two free Teledoc  visits per year.  I tried it! I used the dermatologist for a simple need and I had a response and prescription for a cream within an hour of submitting my request and photos.  No taking off of work, waiting for an appointment, etc.

Investing

DH and I decided to close one of my Roth IRAs which was invested in a variety of funds and individual stocks and consolidate it with Vanguard in a Lifecycle fund.   Simplify.

Planning

This week looks to be a bit busier than last week, so during the evening football game I will get my planner out and make sure I have a solid meal plan for the week.

Earning this Week

I took an extra recess duty shift this week.  I always feel like I’m really sacrificing when I do that!  Hey, I got some free Vitamin D from the winter sun and thankfully no playground concussions or other issues occurred on my watch!

Mining for Wellness Money

When January rolls around I do two things: I look for deals on natural and healthy foods as I mentioned in my last post, and I log in to our health insurance to see what financial incentives are available when we make healthy lifestyle changes.

It took me no more than 30 minutes to:

  • Take their Wellness Assessment questionnaire for which they deposited $50.00 into a debit card I can use to pay for co-pays and other medical expenses.  My wellness score was higher/better than last year, so that was a nice surprise! My buds and can also earn $ 50.00.
  • Review other computer-based health coaching opportunities that pay $30-40.00. These are online check-in programs for things like asthma, high blood pressure, etc.
  • Take note that this year they have offered each family member 2 free “tele doc” visits (online medical consultations) for things such as dermatology, allergy, mental health, nutritional counseling, and general medical concerns.  I definitely will take advantage of this because it saves a $ 30-40.00 copay, plus the stress of trying to get out of work and get to the doctor for an appointment.
  • Quickly check to make sure that our prescription prices haven’t changed in the new benefit year.

It’s kind of amusing to me how my husband and I both have money-saving areas where we excel… for him it is getting the best price on cable/streaming TV, taking surveys, and maximizing Amazon subscribe and save prices.  Utilizing our wellness benefits is one of my specialties!

Does your health insurance have wellness benefits?