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Finding more ways to save.

January 23rd, 2008 at 06:05 pm

I happened to mention to my chiropractor that I am no longer covered under insurance and that now I am paying out of pocket. Her response was that once I get on a maintenance plan (right now I'm on a plan to fix something specific) that they will give me a discounted rate so long as I commit to coming in once a month. I was planning on doing so anyway so that's good. Plus they have like a punch card, come in for 12 months consecutively and get a free massage or something like that. I won't complain!

I also got an email from a friend who can get half price bus passes from her work. She doesn't need hers for Feb so she offered to buy it for me instead. I think it will work since right now I tell work how much to take out for my transportation costs and then just turn in a receipt showing I paid that amount. I sent in the slip today to lower the amount I'm having them take out and since she buys the pass at a store there will be an accompanying receipt that I can turn in. Even if for some reason they don't accept it, it's still a worthy savings. I don't know how many months I will be able to do that but I can change how much they take out from my pay as often as I want. It's way more flexible than my flexible spending account. Smile

No more chiropractor coverage.

January 5th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

I found out yesterday while looking over all my paperwork to become a permanent employee that chiropractic care is not covered under my new insurance. This is sad because I am under treatment right now once a week. Because it is needed, not just wanted, I will continue it to the tune of $60/visit and save my receipts for 2008 taxes. My new work has an FSA that I could load up with money to cover the expenses but I'm a little leary of doing so with the whole spend it or loose it philosophy. I will send $50/mo into the FSA to cover my prescriptions at least. Who knows, I may wind up spending it all after all.

This month I don't need to buy any meds so I will use the $180 I budget for medical on the chiro that way I avoid charging it. I'm still doing well in the savings arena too so I may make it out unscathed when all is said and done. We'll see.

I think I can pull this off.

September 18th, 2007 at 08:54 am

I debated about asking my dad for help with insurance. I still might but its hard to ask him for anything even though he tells me to if I need it.

This morning I got another bt offer for 0% until 4/2008 and a 3% fee with a max of $75. That got me thinking along the lines of, should I request a check just to have as backup funds and not cash it if I don't need it?

Here's how it breaks down...

By the end of this month I will have at least $1,000 in savings. Probably more but I won't know til I get paid. Add to that $200/mo repayments from my brothers guaranteed ($100 is via allotment straight to my bank account and the other I have access to his accounts so he is sure to pay me regularly). Over the course of the next 4 months that makes an additional $800. Plus there's the kicker check I'll be getting in December. They say the median amount is $260 or so, I plugged in numbers at a website and it showed more like $500 for me but I'm not 100% sure since I can't find my state tax forms.

I know I'll have other extra cash I'm just plotting worst case scenario. I'm also making the assumption that I can pay all my regular bills with whatever pay I get.

Ok so I will have to pay for COBRA in November and December. October should be covered by what I've already paid since we pay for the next month. January I'm going to go without and just get meds at Costco. That will satisfy the continuous coverage with less than 63 days of non coverage thing so I don't have to worry about pre-existing condition stuff. That's assuming I get hired on in January as benefits would start in February. Total costs for COBRA will be about $840 for the two months.

All told, even with not getting paid for holidays since I'll be contract, and with my first month once I get hired on, having to live on a smaller paycheck as I transition from every other week to once a month, I think I'll be ok.

My student loan that I've been working like crazy to pay off tells me I don't have to make a payment til January. So I think I'm going to take them up on it. I will make monthly payments of $20 + whatever interest has accrued but not my usual $60 plus whatever extra I can scrounge up. That will help. Hopefully I won't have to resort to using my cc to pay bills. But at least I have that option.

All told, I think I'm going to hold off on the bt offer. If I can make it through this and still have $500 in my EF, I will be a happy camper. If I can make it through this without having to charge anything, even if it means draining my EF completely, I will be fine with that too.

Short term insurance options?

September 13th, 2007 at 05:35 pm

I'm jumping the gun here but I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with getting short term health insurance to bridge the gap between jobs? I'm anticipating a job offer soon and since I take medications regularly I'll want something to defray the costs and ensure that I don't have a lapse of more than 63 days of insurance coverage.

I looked at www.ehealthinsurance.com and scoped out a few plans. But all of them seem to have pre-existing condition clauses. I found this on another web site about Oregon specific health insurance: All health plans in Oregon must limit exclusion of pre-existing conditions. There are rules about what counts as a pre-existing condition and how long you must wait before a new health plan will begin to pay for care for that condition. Generally, if you join a new plan, your old coverage will be credited toward the pre-existing condition exclusion period, provided you did not have a long break in coverage.

I suppose the best thing to do would be to call. The plans I was looking at considered anything diagnosed in the past 5 years to be pre-existing but I've had health insurance/coverage for the past 9 so does that mean it doesn't count as pre-existing? Yeah, lots of questions.

I did find out that I can get COBRA to the tune of $420/mo. It's spendy but if it would be less hassle I'm almost tempted to do it. However the short-term Regency policy I was looking at was only $220 for 3 months if I paid all at once. Of course then there's a $250 deductible and then after that I pay 20% of all costs.

Ugh. I hate trying to figure this stuff out.

Edited to add: Well its not an option for me. I just called their info line and was told that if a short term insurance plan were to accept me, then yes I would be covered and the pre-existing condition thing wouldn't be an issue. However, because of my pre-existing condition they will not accept me. So that means COBRA for at least one month.

Suckered into it? Job change?

August 31st, 2007 at 05:07 pm

I pre-ordered Harry Potter 7 not knowing it would result in a $5 gc from Amazon. But it had a catch, it had to be used by the end of August and it had to be used on a purchase of $20 or more.

I had plans to buy a new dvd player and had scoped one out on Amazon for $55. I had one $20 gc from July and was anticipating another from August that never showed up. Since today's the last day I can use the $5 I went ahead and purchased the dvd player, $49.99 - $25.00 in gc plus free shipping making the cost to me $24.99. Not a bad price for an anticipated purchase. I did receive $20 for September via PayPal (the place I was getting the gc's from monthly always had issues actually getting the gc's to me hence the reason I still don't have August's yet so starting for September we switched to PayPal payments) so I did transfer that to my bank account making my total purchase really only $4.99. I'm just annoyed because when the gc for August does finally arrive I'm going to have to find something to put it towards. (what they do is send me a code to log into 800giftcertificates and order a gift card, I just always chose Amazon because I figure there's always something smallish I'd like but can't justify.)

Now that I've made the purchase though I'm wondering if I wasn't suckered into using that $5 off since I could have waited til my gc came through and just let the $5 off expire. But I've been waiting all month to order this and I'm done waiting. It could be another month before the gc for August get straightened out.

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In other news...I may be changing jobs. I had a very promising screening interview yesterday and I should find out more next week. Their high end of the starting pay is about what I'm making now. Their benefits are just about fully funded, which is a big plus. They are in downtown and offer mass transit pass purchase with pre-tax dollars. (my roommate works about 5 blocks away and has free parking through work so carpool options abound) They have breakfast for the whole crew of 85 every Friday morning. Drinks and snacks are provided in the break room. And it would actually be using the second degree I acquired a few years ago along with my current skill set.

Downside...

Because of how I applied, through a middle company, I would be a contract employee for 3 months (unless they bought my contract out early) and that would mean no health insurance in the interim. I've looked into a couple of things, COBRA is $420/mo and I found a short term plan on eHealthInsurance for just $220/92 days with a $250 deductible and after that I'd only have to pay 20% of my prescriptions. It would probably cost me more than if I just like went to Costco for prescriptions but I don't know what the new company's 'pre existing condition' policy is so I'd prefer to stay insured as long as possible. I know my current one would still be active for a bit after I quit just not sure how far ahead we actually pay.

So lots of potential changes. I'm not sure how this would affect my budget. I'd be back to hourly for a time. At least that would mean I would get overtime if it happened. And no more on call/weekend work. More potential for advancement. Etc. Lots of plusses but the minuses must be weighed in as well.

A time ago, when I was researching job changes, my step-mom said they would help me out with my medical stuff should I run into any trouble with pre-existing condition clauses. Especially if that was the only thing keeping me from accepting a new position. I might actually bring it up with them again. It's not that I don't think I could cover it, I do have emergency savings, just I don't want to spend a lot right away since I don't know really how long between paychecks once I change jobs. If I get the offer that is.

few things

July 24th, 2007 at 10:20 am

I am on vacation this week. I'm pretty much just hanging out at home and visiting people that I don't see regularly that are also at home during the week and finding places for the items I'm pulling out of my storage unit that will close on the 31st. I'm trying hard to make that not mean more spending since I have the opportunity to go out more. We'll see.

I called my dr's office and asked if I could pay half of my bill this month and the other half next month. They looked at my account and didn't have a problem with it. While I technically have the money to pay it all right now I'm trying to stick with only using money set aside for medical to pay medical. And I know I can pay the rest of it next month.

I will be co-leading a 2 hour class on Basic Finance Skills in Oct/Nov. I met last night with the gal I'll be leading with and need to come up with a good outline soon. I'm really excited and super nervous. I talk about this stuff all the time but not in this sort of setting. So I'll be rummaging around the 'net so I can have stuff down on paper that way I don't forget my speaking points. Smile

I'm babysitting tonight, probably for about 3 hours so that should mean about $30. I haven't bought a gift for the wedding I'm going to this weekend so I think I'll set whatever I get from babysitting as my limit since I wasn't sure where I was going to pull the money from and the credit card had been calling my name but I've been working hard to silence it. Smile

Where did it all go?

July 18th, 2007 at 01:49 pm

I really wish I knew where my money went this last pay period. I have no good answers for it. I took some from my gas money to pay for groceries and a small meal out. But then I got $15 from winning a pool as to when my friend's baby would be born. Sorta evens out.

Ok so here's where the confusing stuff comes in.

- I do have a roommate moving in sometime after the 21st. She will be giving me money for August rent so I don't have to hold onto money to cover it but I'm doing so anyway because I just want to have all my bases covered. Right now I have $50 in an 'Unknown' category. I'll be adding $60 from my check on the 20th plus $45 from childcare (maybe more if i do any other babysitting, a friend just called to see if i could sit but we haven't finalized that I actually will be doing it). So that's at least $155 not counting any extra in my check on the 5th or the $100 that's auto deposited on the 1st from my step-brother. I need $287.50 for her half of rent.

- I have two medical bills due on the 31st. One from my clinic for $160 and one from my dentist for $28. There's $93 in my medical savings account and there'll be $15 left from my medical savings budget on the 20th. Still a tad short of the total due but I may just pay the dentist and call the clinic to see if I can pay half now and half next month.

- I owe my team captain $114 for my part of the van rental, my part of gas, and my part of water for the relay. It's not due really until August 24th but it's something I need to remember I have to pay. He figured high on the gas money so I might even get some back but it won't really be much.

- My brother has not been fully processed yet so his signing bonus won't arrive until at least 10 days after he is fully processed. I have a feeling that may not actually show up in his bank account until after rent is due. Which means he may need my help to pay for rent ($250+). Though he did just call and said that his recruiter told him today that his packet had left his hands and is at the state office. Once he's in the computer his signing bonus should come pretty quick.

- I need to get my oil changed. I actually have enough in the budget to cover it but it's an added thing that I need to keep reminding myself to do before my trip to Seattle.

- I have almost $70 for my trip to Seattle. That should be enough to cover gas and ferry fare but probably not eating out depending on how much I do and where. Friend that I'm visiting knows how budget conscious I am but she's planning something special for Friday night.

- I have another trip to Seattle planned for in August and I'm hoping I can just tell my friend that's going with me that she doesn't have to pay for the concert ticket in exchange for her paying for gas and taking care of our lodging on Saturday night. We'll see how that goes.

- I bought concert tickets for my brother for his birthday only to find out his friend bought him a ticket and got slightly better seats. I'm debating about using the tickets (I wouldn't mind going but I wouldn't have bought them for me) or selling them since the concert is sure to sell out (Smashing Pumpkins, my brother's favorite band that he never saw live). I could make a tidy profit off them.

- I have two extra tickets for the concert in Seattle, I may be selling them to other friends in the area or just selling them period. I'm waiting til it gets closer and the show sells out.

- I need to have an extra $60 to pay the gas for someone to pick me up from the relay so I don't have to pay $196 to stay one night in a hotel at the finish line. Again, don't need it until August 24th but still need to keep it in mind.

I think that September will be a better month for me. Just because once September hits all the big stuff I have going on should be over and I can be back on a more even keel. Except for the whole going to my current roommate's wedding which is 4 hours away but I'm already planning on car-pooling with at least one other person and sharing a hotel room.

bits and pieces.

June 28th, 2007 at 02:45 pm

I'm a little annoyed with myself. But before I get to that, I've decided to not do the 0% BT. It's not worth it right now as it's too short of time for something to go wrong.

~ The $400 that I had planned on paying off of CC2 before interest started accruing, may not be going anywhere right away and that makes me sad.

~ If I choose to stay in my apartment I will owe my roommate $200-$300 since she paid the deposit but is leaving. I think it was $200 but since I didn't pay it I don't remember exactly. I told her to take it off of July's rent so thats part of why I can't pay off CC2 right away.

~ If I choose to move (I finally heard back from a house I had inquired after beginning of the month) my housing costs will go up slightly. Rent and utilities combined are only $12 more per month and if the house is where I think it is gas usage won't go up that much but I may not be able to walk to work/gym as often. Depending on the new living situation I may still have to have a storage unit but I've spoken with another friend about 'renting' space in her garage for the same price I was paying before.

~ I have to pay $196 for two nights at a motel after the walking relay I'm doing. It's annoying because all hotel/motels in the area require a 2 night stay for that particular weekend and that is literally the cheapest out there. The next cheapest is three times the rate. The money is due before August 1st and is the second reason I won't be paying off the CC before interest accrues. Though I could take money out of savings but I'm trying to not do that I want to build savings not take away from it.

~ If I don't move and I can de-clutter enough to store it all at the apt I currently live in that will save me $60/month.

~ I'm slightly splurging and getting a massage this weekend but it's for medical reasons so I'll take the money out of my medical funds. I think I have/had a pinched nerve. I had tingling sensations in my legs but when I'd shift how I was sitting it would go away. After the first visit to the chiro it went from both legs to just my left leg. After the second visit to the chiro it's lessened even more but now the muscle that feels like it goes from about mid butt to past the knee is irritated by about mid-day which makes sitting in any position un-bearable. My friend is a massage therapist and sometimes gives me discounts because I do computer work for her. I'm planning on paying full price though until she tells me otherwise.

~ I got the explanation of benefits from my last Echo, they remembered to bill my insurance this time. It's $159 that I'll owe and I'm hoping that it'll be on the next billing cycle. If it is, then there's a good chance I can pay it all when I get it. My medical savings is currently at $57.

~ My brother is getting a signing bonus, I just don't know when yet. When he does he'll be paying off the money he owes me (I'm assuming based on how much money he'll be getting). Right now his outstanding balance with me is at about $3,600. But it'll be 10 - 30 days before he gets his bonus and he says knowing his luck it'll be 30 days.

~ I had three no drive days but was hoping for five. Today the weather wasn't right to walk to work though I did get in a 5.8 mile walk before work. But I did drive into work and I now have plans for after that may entail driving straight from work (ie no time to walk home and get the car). But I did bring lunch and dinner to work with me so I won't be tempted to go out for either.

Finding my way back.

June 14th, 2007 at 03:58 pm

In my head it made perfect sense. I was paying more than the minimum on my 10.9% loan because that was the amount already in the budget from when it was a credit card with a higher minimum. Recent changes in required minimums have forced me to rethink things. And considering I'm training for a walking relay, and walking about 6 miles three times a week, I have LOTS of time to rethink things.

This is what I have come up with:
Priority 1: Pay off CC2
Priority 2: EF up to goal
Priority 3: 13.25% personal (not federal) student loan
Priority 4: 10.9% loan and back on track with my Three Phase plan

Priority 1... well you see it went something like this. I had CC2 all paid off. A couple months ago I remembered that CC1 was still the billing card for my website (annual automatic charge) so I changed it to be CC2 since CC2 was paid off and it would be more motivation to pay it off before interest accrued. Only I thought the website renewal was in July and it's really in June so it's been charged already and I have yet to pay it off.

Then as I was looking at something at Ticketmaster I saw that Stomp was coming to town. I have this friend, we've known each other a long time (since '94). Her birthday is coming up end of June and I haven't really ever gotten her something that's really special, something that she'd really appreciate. Usually it's just the token 'oh crap her birthday's coming up I need to do something' type gift. Granted, she doesn't expect anything from me and has told me that on numerous occasions. But, she also has come up with some pretty amazingly thoughtful wonderful gifts for me over the years. (like my justification bit here?) She also happens to Really like Stomp. So I decided to see what tickets were available and found some pretty decent seats. I went ahead and bought two tickets, thinking it was in July and she could just take whoever she wanted to. But after I bought them I realized the show is in June, just before her birthday. So I'm going to surprise her and take her to the show. She knows we're getting together that night for her birthday just the two of us but that's all she knows. I'm really excited about surprising her on the one hand and mildly kicking myself for charging it before knowing that I'll have the funds to pay it off before interest is charged.

And of course then there was my dentist visit on Wednesday. It wound up costing $448, a little more than expected but they did two fillings rather than just one so I knew it would be more. I have transferred money out of my Medical Savings to pay that part off.

Priority two... I just recently realized that I'm never going to get my EF to where it needs to be at the rate I'm going. Which right now is I have a small amount in the budget that goes to Savings but then I take all of the extra money and throw it at my 10.9% loan. It wouldn't take me all that long to make my goal if I'd just put the extra into Savings instead.

Priority three... This loan is the bane of my existence. The interest rate increased after I actually started paying on it and instead of being the $50/mo it claimed it would be, it actually wound up being more. I got sick of the fluctuations in how much to pay every month so I just started paying $60/mo. That at least made my budget simple and meant that I was paying a little extra on it. But I just want it to go away! So I've decided to focus on that soon.

Priority four... I really still want to have all of my consumer debt paid off by April 2010. I feel like I'm going to be behind in my goal if I put other things in front of it but my gut feeling is that this is the way it needs to happen. Besides, then I'll have an extra $60/mo to pay on things once I pay off the 13.25% loan.

Writing this all down is more for me than anything else. I seem to think of all this great stuff but never follow through. Perhaps with it written down perhaps I can actually stick to it.

Careful use of CC

May 31st, 2007 at 11:38 am

I was going to pull money out of my medical savings account today but decided against it. I really want it to be earning interest as long as possible so I think I'm just going to pay for my two dentist visits with my empty credit card and then pay it off after my second visit. Then I'll know exactly how much I'll really need instead of me guessing how much it'll be. I have the money to pay it off before interest is an issue so I'm not worried about that. I am being careful to not get in the habit of using it regularly though.

Sticking it out for three months.

May 24th, 2007 at 05:39 pm

Had a dr visit today. The most awesomest news I could ever hear, the meds are working and my heart is getting stronger! Strong enough to shift me out of the 'need to get an implantable defibrillator' category. That excites me to no end!

We discussed my meds and the controlled release I'm taking now she prefers me to take because it is a more even flow of medication than if I take it twice a day. It's $15 more per month but I think it's worth it. They are working on a generic for that same med (not the controlled release but the twice a day) and when it comes out I may switch back to that because it'd only be $10/mo vs $50/mo. My next appointment is in three months, or it will be when I make it. They generally don't have the schedule set up that far out so I'll call in two months. We'll discuss the medications then.

I'm also excited because the weather is going to be NICE this weekend and I'm going to the zoo TWICE. Getting use out of that zoo pass!

I'm annoyed because for the first time in a really really really REALLY long time I had an overdraft. I have a checking account that I don't use for much of anything linked to PayPal. When I buy something via PayPal I change the funding source to something else to pay with (unless I'm sending money to someone in general then I deposit it into the account and do a bank transfer). Apparently I forgot to change the funding source, either that or I answered No when they asked 'are you sure you want to pay with a credit card?'. So it tried to pull $7.80 from an account that had under $5. But it's all taken care of now so that's good. Thank God for my EF.

Medical billing error, in my favor.

March 1st, 2007 at 12:27 pm

Post #2 today.

I got my Explaination of Benefits yesterday for my last doctor visit that showed that I owed money over my co-pay. I couldn't remember anything different than my usual doctor visit so I was going to call my insurance company about it but instead decided to call the clinic itself.

The office I needed to talk to were all in a meeting but I left a message and someone just called me back. I forgot that I'd had an EKG done, something I'd not had done at the clinic before. That's what the extra charge was for. It's not much, $10 and change, but still. I have memories of my 60 year old grandmother getting charged for labor and delivery stuff when she was in for her gal bladder. So I call on that stuff.

Since I had her on the phone, and I have enough saved up that I could cover it, I asked about the Echo I had done in July. Part of my reasons for starting my medical savings account was to be able to cover tests that I have to have now and again instead of making payments. But I never got anything from insurance regarding it. I did think it odd, but never remembered to call and ask. She looked up the test in question and said that they only billed for the doctor visit. She said that sometimes things get missed and basically left it at my gain.

From what I remember of the first one, my portion would have been $145 at least. I am so not complaining!

Well there's good news and bad news.

February 5th, 2007 at 02:41 pm

The bad news first, of course. The check I got from insurance for $106 was not to cover my glasses but rather to cover my eye exam. Apparently the doctor I switched to (mine left the clinic a year ago) is not in network so they send me the difference and I'm supposed to pass it along to the eye doctor. Which I did this morning, no problem.

The good news is that I'll still potentially get $150 towards my glasses. Of course, I don't know when exactly that will be but if the speed at which I received the check for the eye doctor is anything to go by, it could be very soon.

My brother's taxes got done today. He qualified to file both state and federal electonically for free. Yay! He'll get back basically enough to cover the second part of school. Unfortunately, I don't know that it will arrive before it's due. So we'll pull money out like normal to cover it and then when he gets it in his bank account we'll pull it back out to save for March.

It's exciting to look at CC1's balance and see it read $0. There should just be one more statement with a balance and then at the end of March hopefully I can transfer my consolidation loan over to a lower interest rate. One step at a time. I'm trying to not plan too much ahead.

I'm waiting rather impatiently for the last document I need to do my taxes. I should be getting a 1098 from a property I paid interest on most of 2006. If I don't get this document by February 14th I'm going to use the interest number from Quicken and guess on the low end how much I paid. But I'd rather it just would show up soon. Like today.

I got paid today. I was able to not only cover the few extra things I've been wanting too but I also put an extra $33 into savings! That made me happy. Slowly but surely I'm inching closer to that $1k mark.

Well that was more than I expected.

January 24th, 2007 at 10:18 pm

*sigh* So I read the sign wrong. Serves me right for not asking and just assuming. The deal is, $69.95 plus the different packages. So instead of paying $189 for two pairs of glasses I paid $293.95 for two pairs of glasses. But still, I can't complain since last time I paid $311 after insurance for one pair of sunglasses. I will be submitting a reimbursement request tomorrow and hopefully I'll get about $150 back.

I took quite a hit though in my little check register envelope system. We'll see how it all pans out. So far I've transferred $40 out of my Medical savings account but I'm trying to avoid pulling any more out. I think it'll pan out ok in the end. I still owe myself $214 but I'm hoping to make it up over the next couple of months of medical bills budget overages that would have gone to medical savings.

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I found those cubes that my friend got but I couldn't get ahold of her to find out if she wanted any. Since I was there I picked up 9, 3 for me and 6 for her. But they were a different color. I just found out she doesn't want them if they aren't the same color. Shoot. Well I figure I have about 10 days before I'll be out that way again, to pick up my glasses. So I'll see how many I really need and just take back whatever I don't really want. They might come in handy though. We'll see.

Eye appointment and other stuff

January 23rd, 2007 at 11:55 am

They do a really good job of guiding you out of the exam and into the optical shop. And y'know what? If I had my old insurance policy I totally would just get them there because it's easy. However, I don't have my old insurance policy and they charge extra for things other optical shops don't. Fortunately I got out of my appointment at 9:40 and had to be to work at 10 so I was able to avoid wasting the gal's time helping me find frames.

I did get a copy of my prescription and found out that I shouldn't get the polycarbonate lenses anymore because of my prescription. So that settles that, I was debating about the poly or the hi-index. I guess it'll be hi-index then. They cost a bit more but if insurance does reimburse me anything it'll totally be worth it. I'll go pick out frames tomorrow evening.

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I made my Tuesday Deposit today for a total of $30.05. $25 from childcare, $5 from Pinecone, and the nickel from Bank of America. I didn't think they'd send me a nickel check but they did and I deposited it. I transferred the $30 straight to Emigrant. The nickel can stay in my checking account.

I'm doing an extra night of childcare this weekend, on Saturday. A gal I work with on Sundays asked if they could 'hire' me for Saturday so I don't know what I'll be paid but I will be paid. I'm anticipating $25 like normal.

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Friend of mine picked up these cube things at Home Depot for storage and they worked really well in her closet. You can find them at HomeDepot.com search for 100377339 it's not exact the ones she got are only 12" and brown not blue. But they were only $2.50 each. I need some serious help with clothes storage so I might pick some up for bulky stuff that takes up too much room in my dresser.

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I just checked my student loan online. The little one isn't a federal one so it couldn't be consolidated with everything else. I got annoyed that the payment was never really the $50 they claimed it would be and it kept fluctuating when the interest did so I started paying $60/mo instead. Right now they say I'm paid ahead enough that I could skip a payment. I ignore it for now, I figure at some point I might take advantage of it but not right now. Finally though after five months of actually paying attention to what they say my payment should be it finally changed. From $52.99 to $51.89. I am curious to see how it fluctuates so I'll continue to keep an eye on it. I figure every 8 months or so it should change either by them pushing the payment due date out another month or by the amount of the payment due.

Vision insurance changed...

January 22nd, 2007 at 04:24 pm

I called to see what the procedure/forms were for getting vision hardware (ie glasses frames and lenses) from an out of network provider. I found out the following:

My co-pay is now $20, up from $15 last time.

The amount they'll pay for hardware is $150, up from $100 last year.

I'm still going to the same clinic I've gone to for the past 8 years but my doctor has left the clinic so I'll be seeing someone new. I will be getting my glasses at America's Best. They are running a special right now, 2 pairs of glasses and a free eye exam for $70. However that's for regular glasses and my prescription is such that I get Polycarbonite (sp?) or High Index lenses. Which increases the price to $130 or $190 respectively.

I don't know if my insurance will reimburse me the full $150 since I'm buying two pairs of glasses but when I called to verify it didn't say anything about how many pairs of glasses it could be applied to only that I had a maximum of $150 that could be spent in a year. So I'm going to go with the Hi Index and possibly get one of the pairs made into sunglasses (included in price). It's still a darn good price considering the lowest I could find at other stores (Lens Crafters, Binyons) was $169 for one pair.

I'm bummed that I can't use Goggles 4 U because of the level of prisms I need. But on the other hand, I'm not so sure about the whole not being able to try them on before you get them thing so part of me is ok with it.

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I had a wonderful thought this morning about my brother and funding his education til the GI Bill kicks in (if it ever does). I completely forgot about taxes. As in, my brother probably gets a decent return since he only spent about half of last year employed. Soon as he gets all of his W2s (just waiting on two more) we'll scout out places to file online for free and get that going.

I'm still debating about what I want to do with my return. I did well on guessing my withholdings so I only overpaid by like $60 but because of how much student loan interest I paid, my return will be closer to like $500. Though I'm still waiting for a few things so that may change. Because of all the extra stuff I have to claim I can't do the free filing online which sucks. But oh well. I did decide a while ago that 10% of whatever I get back, rounded to the nearest $25, will be donated to Kiva.org. I may just hold onto whatever's left over to help K get by. We'll see. Parents are going to be in town next week so possibly they'll float him some extra cash. And our Aunt keeps palming him money, for which I am grateful but it annoys him because he so desperately wants to make it on his own.

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One of these days I'll get back into declutter mode and try once again to get rid of my storage unit. Once done, I'll be saving $60/mo.

That makes so much sense!!

December 22nd, 2006 at 10:47 am

Lucky Robin mentioned something about being able to get a 90 day supply via mail. The light clicked on when I read that because on my insurance card it lists the amounts for by mail Rx as being double what it is at the retail pharmacy and I always thought why would you pay double. But if you're getting three times the amount...

I am going to wait until my next appointment to talk to my dr about the possibility of doing that. I'd need a new Rx for a 90 day supply and would have to stay on the ball with ordering it at least two weeks in advance. Plus I don't know if my plan's supply maximum is 90 days. And I'm not sure how many of my meds are stable (ie won't be changing dosage). Definately something to ask about!

I picked up my new meds this morning, two week supply was $2.95. Nice. I'll get one more refill and then it'll be time to see the dr again.

I called my dr about getting a pneumonia vaccination, had to leave a message though so waiting to hear back on that. Insurance covers it 100% though which is nice.

Lastly I called my eye clinic to make my two year checkup appointment. The dr I've seen every two years for the past eight is no longer with them so I'll be seeing a new dr. And the way my insurance works it has to be exactly 2 years so since my last appointment was Jan 20th it has to be after Jan 20th. At least I know when to budget for now.

I have $109 right now left in my 'medical envelope' for this month. It looks like it won't be needed for anything else since my next round of appointments isn't until after I get paid again. I could transfer it out to my medical ING account but I think just to be on the safe side I'm going to leave it in my account until the day before my next payday just in case.

ETA Just called my insurance company and the maximum is a 30 day supply so I'd be paying double for the same ammount. I guess that's not an option right now. Ah well. It was worth a shot.

Santa did come after all!

December 21st, 2006 at 04:24 pm

Post #2 today.

I was just sitting here, minding my own business, when 'Santa' came by and dropped off a $50 Costco Cash Card on my desk. I promised to keep his identity a secret, even though y'all dont know him. Smile

Of course, I already bought the ham last night, spent $20.04 on it. *sigh* But that's ok. I'm not taking anything back and I don't have time to go to Costco before Sunday anyway.

So it'll go in my wallet and hang out with the leftover 'grocery' money and if I'm in dire need of anything after I run out of what's left, perhaps I'll use the cash card to stock up.

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In other news, while I am starting new meds tomorrow (I pick up the Rx tonight) I don't have an appointment to see my doctor again until next month. I have a lab appointment next week but that doesn't require cash at time of service. That makes me happy in the 'I might actually have some money to transfer to my medical savings account this month after all' kind of way.

Tuesday Deposit.

December 19th, 2006 at 12:35 pm

I took my change into the bank today. Came to $18.72. That's not a year's worth, I know I took what I had collected in a couple times over the past year. But I do want to see how much change I do save over a year so I'm starting with a clean slate. Mostly.

Deposited $50 that went straight to my Emigrant account. I'm pleased to say that my EF balance has grown a fair amount, even with paying cash for something that I'm waiting for a reimbursement check on. My new credit card statements should be available tomorrow so I'll have a better idea of where everything stands then. I'm really excited to see the results.

Deposited $11 to cover the excess I spent for last minute baking. I have $6 left in my wallet, about $2 of which will be spent tonight picking up one last skein of yarn to finish a blanket I'm knitting. The rest will go to my Dollar Jar which is money I'm trying to save for a trip up to Seattle in March.

Dr's apt went ok. I paid my co-pay while I was there, the way they do billing annoys me so if I have it I'd rather pay it then. They had me take a trip down to the lab for some blood tests. I'll find out tomorrow if I'll be starting on a new med or not. I've been having random dizy spells and the new med may just enhance that so they want to check the levels of a few things. No new appointment has been made yet, it all depends on the results of the bloodwork. If I go on new meds that means I'll be going in more often for appointments while they work me up to the right dose.

I got my balance transfer check in the mail yesterday. It's how I'm going to be supporting my brother til his GI Bill kicks in. I won't be depositing it until it's actually needed, which will be before it expires in about 80 days. I don't want to incure any more interest than necessary. His last day of work was Friday, the contract ran out officially. School starts January 8th. He works at a bar when needed on weekends, last weekend he made $80 between the two nights he worked. He is going to be filing for unemployment today and he had an interview on Sunday. I feel confident he'll have me paid back in short order, once his GI Bill kicks in that is. Now if we can just make it til then on whatever I've got and whatever he brings home in the mean time.

Got my hopes up...

December 18th, 2006 at 03:49 pm

But it didn't work out. *sigh*

I had to call the doctor's office to have them call in a new prescription since my refills ran out. The nurse asked if I wanted a 90 day or 30 day so we tried for the 90 day prescription since it would work out to cheaper in the long run and if insurance refused it it would automatically revert to the 30 day no harm no foul.

I was a little nervous about this refill because I had forgotten to give myself some leeway between when I ran out and when I got the refill and literally took my last pill this morning, I take one in the morning and one at night. So I ducked out of work briefly to go pick it up, figuring that if there was any problem at the pharmacy the doctor's office would still be open to fix anything.

Got to the counter and wound up actually being helped by one of the pharmacists instead of a tech. He looked high and low and couldn't find record of my prescription anywhere. I explained that I couldn't autorefill it and had the dr's office call that morning around 9:30 and the light went on, he remembered taking the call but wasn't sure what happened after that. So I got to wander the store for 10 minutes hoping that when I went back there would be a refill for me.

I got back just in time, as I got to the front of the line I heard the pharmasist call my last name and put something on a shelf. *phew* Unfortunately it was my regular 30 day because my insurance doesn't do 90 day. Ah well, I'm not really complaining but it sure would have been nice.

I have a dr apt tomorrow, it'll be interesting to see if I get started on new meds.

Tomorrow's Tuesday Deposit will probably be my last this year. I got paid on Sunday for the 17th and the 24th. I have one potential babysitting gig on Friday but it might get canceled. So I'm packing up my change (all but enough to do 10 loads of laundry) and will be depositing that into my regular savings account when I go to the bank tomorrow. It's not much but I'm curious to see how much change I can actually save in a year, especially since I'm using cash for groceries now. Which means I need to clear out my change since it's end of the year roughly.

We had our work Christmas Pizza Party today and nothing was handed out by way of 'bonus'. Usually we get a Costco Cash Card with $50 on it. I was sort of counting on that to buy stuff for Christmas Eve Dinner. But I'll make it work out anyway. I wont' be going shopping until I get paid on Wednesday. There's still time for it to be handed out too, like possibly with our paychecks on Wednesday. Just have to wait and see I guess.

Costco Pharmacy.

November 17th, 2006 at 05:52 pm

I almost had to resort to that today. There isn't a Costco close enough for me to justify having a membership so I don't. But when I went to pick up a refill today they initially wanted $136 for my Rx. Umm. They said it had been denied as my insurance card had expired in 6/06. That's news to me since I've been using it for over a year and this is the first time I've had problems with it. They took my card, and called again. Got everything straightened out fortunately. Not before a slight bit of panic set in though. I would have had to charge it in order to get it imediately and then pull all the money out of my medical savings to cover the charge. Ugh.

I looked up Costco's prices a while back though just to have an idea. And for this particular drug, with no insurance, it was only $57. Definately would have been worth the drive over there to pick it up had they insisted on me paying that. Providing of course that I could have either gotten a new Rx from the Dr or at least some samples to tide me over. I hate scares like that.

Medical savings.

November 9th, 2006 at 01:34 pm

I just opened a second ING account for medical savings. I have lots of things coming up to pay for, new eyeglasses in January, eye exam, sometime next year I need a crown, not to mention whatever tests need to be run for my heart. This month was the first that I didn't have to use the money allocated in my budget for 'medical'. Ok, let me rephrase that, this was the first month I didn't have to use any money aside from my regular medications.

So it occured to me that instead of leaving it in my checking account where I can 'borrow' from it, I should move it to a savings account. But not my emergency fund because I want to keep it seperate.

The plan as it stands right now is if I have a dr apt that month, I'll keep the budgeted money in my checking account until after the apt. Spend whatever I need to up to the budgeted amount and whatever is left over, if anything, gets transferred to the medical savings account. If I don't have a dr apt that month, anything not going to medications gets transferred to the account. That way when I finally get a bill for tests and the like, I have some place to draw from.

I waited til after my dentist apt today to actually open the account. My cleaning was covered 100% but I didn't know if I was due for XRays or not. I wasn't. So the account has been initially funded with $100. Since I haven't seen anything from my ins yet about the Echo I got in July, I doubt I'll get a bill from the clinic this month.

Medical bills

September 1st, 2006 at 08:42 am

I have not received a bill yet from the clinic. Usually I should have received one by now. I'm thinking that means that I don't need to send in a payment this month. When I sent in $100 last month there was only $71 left on the balance, but I also had a dr's apt ($20 copay) and an echo cardiogram ($145) in July that wasn't on that bill so I knew it would be coming up. I'm guessing that they didn't need to bill me for the dr visit since I already paid it and the echo they haven't heard back from insurance on yet. That's just a guess though. The gal I need to talk to is out of the office til Tuesday so I won't know for certain til then.

The reason I want to know is...I got a bill from my dentist. I did read the insurance paperwork correctly and they paid less than the dentist expected. *sigh* Don't get me wrong, I totally appreciate the fact that I have insurance. But until now my dentist has been really good at estimating how much my insurance will cover and how much my responsibility is. It's a struggle when they tell me the bill will be one thing and then two months later I find I have to come up with even more.

If I am correct on my clinic bill, that I don't owe anything right now, then I'll take that $100 I would normally pay to the clinic and send it into the dentist. They want $210 total. I would call and arrange payments but I don't know yet how much I can actually pay and I'm annoyed at them for waiting a month to bill me for it and showing it as 30 days past due. Although in their defense if they only do billings once a month, the insurance payment came after their last billing statement went out.

I am not going to whip out the credit card and just pay it off.

And I thought I was almost done with the medical bills.

August 2nd, 2006 at 08:29 am

I got an Explanation of Benefits from my insurance company regarding my last dental visit. If I'm reading it correctly, I still owe the dentist money because the insurance company didn't pay for as much as they anticipated. Usually it's the other way around, the insurance company pays for more and I wind up with a small credit. Of course, I don't know for certain. I will wait until I get the bill from my dentist. It just frustrates me to no end that there seems to be no end in sight of medical things that need to be paid RIGHT NOW.

Clinic bill arrived

July 24th, 2006 at 08:53 pm

I am down to $71.69! That makes me so happy! However, I'm going to pay $100 on the 5th because the bill was sent the day before my appointment and echocardiogram. The appointment will be $20 and the Echo will be about $145. I'm expecting that since they have billed my ins for the Echo before, they'll bill me for the difference they're expecting me to have to pay. And chances are good that in September I'll have the balance providing they bill me for it. If they wait, I should have it for certain, which will make them happy. Either way, definate end in sight!

I also talked to K today. He checked his mail and there was a check from P for $100. Which really surprised him since when he ended the convo he basically said he didn't expect to see any of it back but P insisted they would pay. It means he should definately be able to pay his rent and possibly buy food or throw a bone at Verizon for his phone bill. Other good news is the bar he hangs out at for their free wireless, is hiring him on for bussing on the weekends. He didn't even apply for it he's just there all the time and the bartenders know him now and know he's hurting for work. Hopefully something will come from that.