Insurance Renewal Time: Our Deductible Resets to $3000

laptop and stethoscope

Our insurance plan will renew on December 1st, which unfortunately means that the clock will also reset on our deductible. With a high deductible insurance plan my husband and I will have to shell out $3000 before our insurance kicks in any money for doctors visits or prescriptions.

This is only the second year we’ve subscribed to one of these plans and due to a series of unforeseen medical issues it is the first time we actually met our deductible. Unfortunately we paid $2600, (last year’s deductible), before the insurance company threw in a dime.

Since we’ve already paid the maximum amount this year I’m looking to see what other medical expenses I can squeeze in before year’s end. My first goal is to fill all of our prescriptions prior to December 1st. According to my pharmacist I can renew prescriptions after 75% of the medication has been used. I have two prescriptions to refill. One of them is eligible for renewal just two days before my deductible resets! I actually scheduled a calendar alert to remind me on the day I am eligible.

I plan to get the most bang for my buck by transferring those prescriptions to a different pharmacy. We have three pharmacies within a mile or two of our home, so it doesn’t really matter which I choose. I’ll earn two $25 gift cards just for making the switch. One of the prescriptions cost $25, so that extra money is kind of a wash. The other one doesn’t cost us anything so using the prescription transfer is kind of like earning free money.

As far as doctors are concerned I’m hopeful that my husband’s medical issues won’t require too many follow-up appointments. If we hadn’t already met the deductible his last visit to the podiatrist would have cost us $910! Luckily his next appointment falls a week or two before December 1st and he’s already feeling better from just one visit, which is really great news!

My son also needs a follow-up appointment to the pediatrician. He may actually need two visits and although I can squeeze one in early next week I’m not sure if I’ll be able to fit in another one before the looming deadline. According to the last explanation of benefits a similar appointment will cost us at least $140.

I miss the days of $250 an $500 deductibles, but I don’t miss the higher monthly premiums that come from selecting those options. I keep reminding myself that even if we do pay the entire $3000 deductible again next year we’ll still pay less than we would for a more traditional plan. It doesn’t make me feel a whole lot better, but it’s something.

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November 5, 2014 at 5:13 PM 3 comments

SUV or Minivan?

junkyard

We haven’t purchased a new vehicle since our 1999 Toyota bit the dust a few weeks back. My husband and I drove to the car dealership last week to check out new cars. I was all settled on walking off the car lot with a brand new SUV when the car salesman showed us a deeply discounted 2014 minivan. I really, really, really don’t want to own or drive a minivan. On a day to day basis I don’t need the extra transport room it provides, the gas mileage is terrible and let’s face it no one wants to drive a minivan.

The main perks seem to be very comfortable seating, lots of leg room for my son who is and will continue to be tremendously tall, an extra row of seats large enough to fit adults and sliding doors that make getting children into and out of car seats much easier.

My husband and I tend to hold onto cars until they fall apart, which means this car could very well be around by the time my son starts driving thirteen years from now. I’ll be honest I hate the idea of driving a minivan for fifteen years and while I think the sliding doors would make loading and unloading kids from car seats so much easier, I certainly don’t need to worry about leg room or bringing along my son’s friends in the third row any time soon.

On the other hand since I keep cars forever I can certainly see the need for such things at some point in the future.

So what do you think: minivan or SUV? If you own a minivan what do you think about it?

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November 2, 2014 at 5:53 PM 15 comments

Grocery Store Policies: Inaccurate Pricing

jam

This morning, while I was out running other errands, I dropped into a nearby grocery store to purchase jelly for my son’s school lunches. I visited this store once or twice before, but I’m not particularly familiar with the store layout or the brands available for purchase.

The jelly jars were actually segmented into two different sections of the aisle. For the record it took me a little while to figure this out. The first set of shelves contained the common brands like Smucker’s and Welch’s. The second area, which was located a shelf or two to the right, contained more specialized jars of organic and all natural jams and jellies.

I stood in that aisle for a few minutes longer than I would have liked. I settled on a non-organic product, before realizing that other options were available. Although organic products tend to be more expensive I am willing to pay more for them. This is especially true for food that my son will consume on a regular basis and although I hate to admit it; peanut butter and jelly top the list of things my son eats regularly.

I wasn’t familiar with any of the available brands, so I read the labels on a number of jars, checked the prices and ultimately settled on a brand that was on sale. The final price: $3.99. A similar product with the same flavor and size was also available for $3.99, (regularly priced), but I settled on the more expensive brand because it just looked tastier.

When I reached the self checkout lane I noticed the register didn’t reflect the sale price. There was a long line growing behind me and I chose not to hold up the other customers by trying to figure out the problem. It was only 50 cents more per jar, (I bought two), and for one dollar it didn’t seem worth the hassle.

I began to walk out of the store, but I felt irritated by the whole scenario. I wasted time comparing sizes, flavors and prices. If the little sale flag hadn’t been hanging off the shelf I would have purchased the other brand of organic jelly without any question.

In general I have a rule about approaching customer service; since time is just as valuable, if not more so, than money I will not wait an inordinate amount of time to save a dollar. I glanced at the customer service area and found only one customer standing in line counting out change. I just happened to approach the counter as she pushed forward her last penny and the cashier asked how she could assist me.

I explained the situation and the cashier stepped out without saying a word about what she was doing. I immediately wished I hadn’t approached the counter. I didn’t want to wait ten minutes for the clerk to find the item, look at the price tag and make a decision on whether or not I was owed one dollar.

But as I waited in line I noticed a large sign hanging on the wall that said pricing errors will result in the first item being provided free of charge. Lucky for me the cashier returned within two short minutes, (yes I kept close note of the time), and offered to refund the full cost of the first item plus provided fifty cents back on the second.

Those two minutes, (probably three or four by the time she actually refunded the money), resulted in a $4.99 refund. In essence, I received one jar of organic jelly for free.

It certainly helps to know and understand a store’s policies. I am much more likely to take the time to resolve issues with customer service if I know a two minute wait could earn a $4.99 refund instead of $1.00.

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October 30, 2014 at 4:49 PM 1 comment

COVER REVEAL: The Publicist Book 3

 

It’s finally here, the long-awaited sequel to The Publicist! CLIMAX by Christina George is the final installment in the series. It comes in two parts:

The Covers

 

 

Here is the Bundled set version:

 

About the Book

Release date: December 15, 2014. You can pre-order now!

 

Kate Mitchell has never forgiven herself for breaking Nick Lavigne’s heart. Now he’s back and he’s moved on, and it’s affecting Kate’s life more than she’s willing to admit.
Kate Mitchell has everything. She’s the head of a crazy successful publishing house, engaged to the traffic-stopping sexy Mac Ellis and she’s about to sign one of the biggest authors of her career.
And that’s when everything falls apart.
Everything is perfect…until it’s not.
In a city of 8 million people Kate manages to run into someone she never expected to see again.
Nick is handsome, impossibly kind, every girl’s dream, and Kate’s former fiancé. He’s also the brother of the rising star author she’s trying to sign. Now that Nick’s back in town and has moved on he insists he’s over Kate, but part of him still can’t get past how amazing they were, and his sister won’t let anyone forget how brutally it ended.
When Mac is dealt a life-changing blow, it forces Kate to question every single choice she’s made.
Follow Kate as she embarks on a journey of life and love, navigating through the decisions that will change it all forever.

About the Author

 

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads

 

Christina George has worked in publishing for twenty years (give or take). Here’s what this book isn’t. It’s not a slam against publishing (though it is broken) and it’s not a slam against authors (though some of them are crazy). This book is not autobiographical though many of the stories are true. No you won’t know which ones, cause it’s more fun to guess, right? George continues to work in publicity and helps authors because at the end of the day she does love books, she loves publishing, and she loves authors. She hopes you’ll enjoy this romp through Kate’s world as much as she enjoyed creating it.

Let’s Revisit the Characters…

 

 

Some Fun Stuff!

Head on over to Kate’s site and listen to a sample of the audio book version of The Publicist and enter her Amazon gift card giveaway. She also has a playlist of songs for the book!
So which team are you on? Want to know who Kate ends up with?

 

 

Want to win a signed copy of all three books? How about a $20 Amazon Gift Card?

And now for the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 29, 2014 at 8:00 AM 1 comment

Tuesday Night Link Love

chain

A few recent articles and posts…

… I really enjoyed!

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October 28, 2014 at 5:35 PM 1 comment

Thank You Gifts: When Do You Give Them?

thank you

Once or twice a year my dad invites a few of his friends down south to spend five or six days at our beach house. My parents always arrange the date around a convenient time for us. In essence, they make certain that we won’t have a need or desire to stay at our house during that time.

My husband and I are happy to share the house with my parents and their friends and because they stay during the off season we’ve never asked them for a rent check or any other form of payment.

My parents typically invite three other couples to the beach with them. The first year two of the couples bought us a thank you gift. They purchased the gift together and wrote both of their names on the card. The same thing happened the following year. This time around we received a very generous gift from one of the couples, but nothing from the other couple. The third couple didn’t provide a gift this year or any other.

For the record I don’t expect a thank you gift from any of the couples. I do find it interesting though that some couples always think to send us a gift and others never do.

I am not always great about providing thank you gifts, but I do send cards and notes quite frequently. Do you have a rule for providing thank you gifts to others? If you stayed in a friend’s beach house do you think you would provide a gift to them?

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October 26, 2014 at 9:09 PM 6 comments

Bargain Shopping Fail

carts

My son has been sick three times since starting preschool a little over a month and a half ago. Every time he gets sick he seems to pass those lovely germs on to the rest of us. I’ve gotten sick three times in that same span of time. My husband managed to avoid this last cold, but caught the prior two.

Luckily our little guy recovers quickly, typically within a day or so, but the symptoms seem to linger in me for days on end. This time around my runny nose has turned into a deep and violent cough, which wakes me from my sleep every hour or so.

After a particularly rough night my husband suggested a dose of Robitussin. With my son happily playing at preschool, (most likely getting infected with another virus), I planned a quick, solo trip to Target.

Before heading out of the house I searched for this week’s Target deals. After all, I was heading to the store alone, which means I could take an extra five minutes to snatch some inexpensive deals. Seems simple enough, right?

Honestly, I have no idea why the impulse to clip coupons and look for bargains grabbed a hold of me. Whatever the reason I found myself printing coupons and taking note of the items I wanted to buy before heading out to the store.

I didn’t feel well and I didn’t want to risk the lure of Target’s endcaps so I went directly to the aisles I needed to visit and didn’t hesitate once along the way.

I wasn’t in the store more than five minutes when I remembered why I gave up coupon clipping so long ago.

  1. Problem #1 – None of the items were in stock. Sure I had four coupons for cereal, but that doesn’t do a girl much good when the shelves are bare.
  2. Problem #2 – The prices listed on bargain sites weren’t reflected in my local store. One item priced at $7.99 on my favorite bargain blog was actually $14.99 in the store. Of course, I dragged that item to the price checker to verify the price and back to it’s original location when I realized it wasn’t on sale.
  3. Problem #3 – The promotions offering $5 Target gift cards with a purchase of ‘x’ number of items didn’t work. The cashier said the items I selected weren’t part of the special deal.

I’m certain feeling ill added to my frustration, but after failing to find three of the six bargains I quickly moved on to the register.

When all was said and done I walked out of the store with one good bargain and a roll of shipping tape that was desperately needed in our house despite the fact that it wasn’t on sale.

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October 23, 2014 at 5:31 PM 1 comment

A Three Year Old Birthday Party and Sticking With My Minimum Gift Rule

Very Hungry Caterpillar

After much contemplation I decided against a big party for my son’s third birthday. We invited our families to the celebration but chose not to invite any of my son’s friends. I am so happy we took this approach. We don’t see my brother’s children very often and it was great to see my son playing along side his two older cousins without any distractions from other children.

Rather than focusing on a large celebration we spent time baking a cake with my son. He helped measure, add the ingredients, mix and even pour the batter into the pan. Once the cake cooled we let him choose the icing color, (with the help of a little food coloring), and helped him cover the cake with it. He added a few little decorations on top too.

I didn’t stick to the two gift rule, but I wish I had. Last year I only bought one gift for my son and this year I think I could have stuck to that model. One of his favorite presents was a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar that I purchased for $3.99.

I bought four gifts for less than $20. My son loved all the presents I bought, but in retrospect I wish I’d only given him two and saved the other two for some other time.

I chose to buy him one puzzle, one book, one tub toy and one just for fun toy. On the night before his birthday my husband and I also filled my son’s bedroom with a dozen helium balloons. On one hand you can say balloons are a complete waste of money, after all they deflate in a matter of days. On the other hand I can honestly say that the experience of waking up to a room full of balloons was probably more thrilling than any gift my son received.

As always our families purchased an inordinate number of gifts for the little tike. The pile of presents stood at least eight or ten high. Just another reason I should have stuck with only one or two gifts this year. There were so many gifts in our living room that I have absolutely no idea how we’ll handle Christmas two and a half months from now.

I still have a few of the new toys in boxes and I’m hoping I can sneak them down to the basement for a bit and then add them to the toy rotation at some future point in time.

My son seemed to enjoy the festivities. At night we tell stories about the day’s adventures and he seemed most proud that everyone enjoyed the cake he baked. It just goes so show that the experiences of life are much more important than the things.

October 20, 2014 at 1:04 PM 5 comments

LeapFrog LeapReader Plus Free Book for $31.99

LeapReaderI’ve been keeping my eye on LeapFrog LeapReaders for my three year old son and finally spotted a deal. Amazon is currently featuring $5 off LeapReaders plus a free book or flash card set with purchase.

Simply click the link above. Choose the LeapReader you prefer, (pink or green), then check the box to the left of the free item you’d like to add.

You will NOT see the discounted price until you reach the checkout page. Please note Amazon prices change quite frequently, so make sure the price and deal are valid before proceeding through checkout.

I chose the LeapFrog LeapReader Learn to Read, Volume 1 (works with Tag) as my free gift, which typically costs $14.43. I saved $19.43 after the free gift and $5 discount.

October 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM Leave a comment

A Little of This A Little of That

My finances have been all over the board lately.

On the good side of things:

  • My husband never watches television and I typically only watched Chopped or Cutthroat Kitchen once every couple of days so I downgraded our package and requested a monthly discount. Yearly savings: $324.
  • We increased the deductible on our insurance policy from $1000 to $2500. Actually I asked to change it to $5000 but that wasn’t possible through our particular policy. Yearly savings: $240.
  • Requested off-season rates for internet service to our beach home. Yearly savings: $137.48.
  • Our mechanic purchased our broken 1999 Toyota. We agreed to the deal for $350. That’s not a whole lot of money, but it’s more than a tax write off would have provided.

On the not so good side of things:

  • I opened a new IRA account. Somehow my husband and I missed the opportunity to contribute to our IRAs the last two years! I set calendar alerts to remind me from this point forward. That will not happen again in the future.
  • I ordered new black flats and boots. I actually picked out a few pairs from Zappos with the intention of returning whatever doesn’t fit. Estimate: $200. By the way does anyone know a place to purchase super comfy, good quality boots that don’t cost a fortune?
  • I drained $250 on new clothes last weekend. My clothes don’t fit particularly well right now and I need to prepare for the colder weather.
  • We are closer to choosing a vehicle to replace our old Toyota. My husband originally wanted a commuter car, but recently started dreaming of something bigger.

October 16, 2014 at 12:46 PM 1 comment

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