Posts Tagged ‘health’

Ways to Cut Everyday Health Care Costs

I know I am not alone in feeling a little panic when facing the skyrocketing costs of health care in the U.S. on everything from an aspirin to surgery to insurance premiums. It seems everyone is looking for ways to combat the rising cost of medical care.

Here are a few pointers and resources with tips that may help reduce your everyday health care costs, without compromising quality:

Always ask. Ask your doctor, hospital, lab, pharmacy, etc. if there is anything they might suggest that would lower the cost of treatment. You’d be surprised at what they might be able to do for you.

  • Ask if discounts are offered to members of groups like AAA, AARP, veterans, government employees, professional or trade unions, or any any other organization or profession you can think of which may qualify you for an affiliated discount, don’t be afraid to ask!
    • Prescription Drug Discount with AAA - This short video explains the AAA prescription drug discount program. But additionally, AAA members also may receive 15 % discount on nutritional products at GNC stores, reduced membership fees at Gold’s Gym and 30% off on regularly priced items at Reebok Outlet Stores.
  • Ask your physician if generic medicines would work for you.
  • Many pharmacies have a list of flat rate $4 or $5 generic prescription medicines available. Ask at the pharmacy for a list of those medications and bring that list to your doctors. Ask your doctors if they might be able to prescribe medications for you from those on the list.
  • Ask your pharmacist if there might be other prescription options that would cost less, and if so, they can call your doctors for approval.

Your county may be providing free prescription Rx discounts cards.

Shop around. Pharmacies vary on the prices they charge for prescription medications just as they do for everything else on their shelves, so shop around to find the lowest prices. Don’t overlook ”big box” stores and membership discount stores like Costco and Sam’s Club for rock-bottom prices, on prescriptions and eye care. The price of membership may end up being worth the savings offered.

Keep a look out for free samples and ASK for free samples, from your physician and pharmacy, not only for prescriptions but on a variety of drug store items, too. In addition to asking, there are many websites like our partner,  ShopAtHome.com, that offer special promotions, discounts, giveaways, free shipping, and free samples – for in-store and online shopping.

Use coupons and loyalty programs, and combine the discounts you receive from those with store promotions or sales whenever possible.

  • Coupon Stacking Explained - How coupon stacking works, how easy it is, and a simple tip that adds up to big savings at the cash register from Julia Scott, CEO, BargainBabe.com

Amazon has a “subscribe and save” service that can help cut the cost of anything you buy on a regular interval and offers free shipping with sign up, which can often bring down the cost of regularly used items, like razor blades, toothpaste and tooth brushes, and shampoo at prices well below many big-box discount stores.

Opt for longer lasting items. When you shop for sundries, opt for the items that will last longer, like toothpaste from a tube instead of a pump, or bar soap instead of liquid.

Use less and use it all up. You may be using far more than you need to. Advertisements show us toothbrushes loaded with toothpaste, and luscious streaming waterfalls of shampoo, conditioners, and lotions, but in reality, most often all that is required is a tiny dab. Cut open the tubes when you think they are empty, you’ll be surprised at how much is actually left.

Consider a little do-it-yourself. Several renowned beauty experts have all relied on natural items that you probably already have on hand in your kitchen to achieve the same, if not better, beautiful results as expensive cosmetic treatments, lotions, scrubs, moisturizers, hair conditioners, teeth brighteners, and bath spas. And there are several at-home products that may be effective in treating minor itches and sunburns, too.

Eyeglasses: Register for email notifications from websites like Coastal.com, to receive notice of their deeply discounted sale promotions, as well as their free eyeglass events. An example of a recent sale: 11 eyeglass styles for $11 each. You can even “try on” eyeglass frames online!  I have personally ordered contact lenses from them and was very pleased with their service.

AAA members may receive 30% discounts on eyeglasses, and 10% discounts on contact lenses at Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical and Target Optical.

Consider Bartering –  Bartering is once again emerging as a popular viable option for receiving goods and services, and many medical practices are participating. There are several online bartering sites where you “bank” your skill and/or time for points, and then “swap” your points for medical services.

  • Time Swap – The New BarterConsumer advocate Stacy Johnson from MoneyTalksNews.com explains one online bartering site in this video.
  • Bartering for Health Care – The story of one medical center in Maine that is participating in a barter bank to help make health care more accessible.

Here, from one of our favorite resources, Bottom Line Personal newsletter, from their interview with Clark Howard, host of The Clark Howard Show on CNN’s HLN network.(Volume 32, Number 21, November, 1, 2011), are tips for those not covered by health insurance to receive lower prices on services, prescription medications and eyeglasses:

  • Get health-care providers and pharmacies to bid for your business online. If you requrie a medical, dental or vision procedure that is not covered by your insurance, enter it into the free website PriceDoc.com (registration required). Health-care professionals offer lower-than-normal prices through this site to bring in new clients.  This site tends to be most useful for finding low prices for dental and cosmetic procedures. It’s sometimes possible to obtain discounts of 25% to 30% or more.
  • For prescription medications, check out the free website BidRx.com (registration required). Enter your prescription medications into their site, and pharmacies will offer your their lowest prices. Only reputable U.S. pharmacies are allowed to participate.  If you cannot wait for a medication to arrive by mail, the site can restrict the search to local pharmacies.  Savings of as much as 50% are possible.
  • An online site for eyeglasses at very low prices is Zenni Optical. They offer prescription eyeglasses online for less than $20 — lenses, frames and shipping included. Eyeglasses with special features such as lenses can cost $50 or more. The lenses are ground in China and theframes are not brand names, but the product is good quality. You can upload a picture of yourself to the site and “try on” frames. One downside is there is no post-purchase care or adjustments. You’ll have to bring them to a local optician to adjust fitting issues.  To help ensure a proper fit, make sure your eye doctor checks and records on your prescription your pupillary distance (PD) — the distance between the centers of your pupils.

More from experts on health care savings:

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Why Bank of America Employees are Bringing Their Lunches To Work

A recent headline on a PBS radio show caught my attention. It said:

Why Bank of America Employees are Bringing Their Lunches to Work.

They then went on to describe how, when employees got word that their employer, Bank of America, may be cutting 40,000 jobs, they immediately went into “austerity mode” and stopped buying lunch out, even hot dogs from the wagon on the sidewalk in front of the building, in order to start holding onto their savings because they may find themselves out of a job in the next few weeks.

Hmmm… am I understanding this correctly? Extravagance and unconscious spending don’t matter if you have an incoming salary? Isn’t saving “always” critical? Isn’t “pay yourself first” the general rule? Isn’t growing one’s emergency savings always a priority? It strikes me as ironic that perhaps the simplest bit of money-saving one can do on a daily basis is one that is ignored when everything “seems” to be okay, but is the first to go when saving “seems” critical. There are many big ways to cut expenses to free up some money to balance your budget or add to your savings like re-negotiating mortgages and insurance policies, but you can still receive notable savings benefits from changing some simple habits, like bringing lunch.

I’m not implying a mindset of deprivation. I’m not a frugality fanatic by any means, and I don’t come even remotely close to being an extreme coupon master, but I do try to be conscious of waste and wasteful spending, like buying lunch out everyday. Taking the easy and accessible alternative of bringing a delicious lunch most of the time is a simple way one can enjoy feeling abundant without unnecessary spending.

We did an earlier post on how much money breaking the bottled water habit would save, and discovered that a family of four could save as much as $2,878.57 per year with the use of a simple home water filter. What about bringing lunch vs buying out? Using Bankrate.com’s Lunch Savings Calculator, we found we could save close to $900 per year, per person, based on lunch purchased out at $6 a day vs BYO bagged at $3.  And what if you choose to go more eco-friendly? What about the added cost of purchasing reusable containers, reusable bags, and running extra dishwasher loads?  Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar blog did the math and found that it only takes one or two lunches to recover the initial cost of the containers, and the cost to wash is just about 3 cents.

Not only does bringing your own lunch save you money (money that could go toward your retirement savings, emergency savings account, or for travel, or holiday fun) but it’s better for your health, too! So why wait?

Related Videos:

Bring Your Own Lunch: DIY vs Pre-made Products - It might be quicker, but does it cost less money? See exactly how much pre-made lunch products are costing you when Grocery School does the math.

Grocery Shopping: Cut Your Tab in Half - Save money, as much as $70 a week, on grocery shopping without sacrificing health or taste, and you can even do it without coupons! Tips from the Good Housekeeping Institute.

 

Healthy Foods on a Budget?You can afford to eat healthier foods – even on a tight budget.  Get tips from nutritionist Natalie that will help you make wise spending and shopping choices and healthier ones, too!

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10 Luscious DIY At-Home Spa Ideas for Almost Free

Watch for Spa Week in April to receive amazing deals on spa treatments in your neighborhood! But in the meantime:

Enjoy our 10 DIY At-Home Spa Ideas that you can do with items you probably already have on hand! (see below)

Excerpt from a San Francisco Chronicle article online about Spa Week, April 11-17, 2011:

Spa Week: An Affordable, Healthy Wellness Lifestyle for All. Spring 2011 Event Offers the Most Cost-Conscious Way to Rejuvenate
New York, NY (PRWEB) January 19, 2011
Spa Week, created in 2004, is the original, largest and most successful Spa Marketing Event in the history of the spa industry. Nearly 1000 spas across North America concluded their participation in the Fall 2010 Event, and bowing to popular demand,
Spa Week will further expand into even more cities for the Spring 2011 Event. Taking place from April 11th – 17th, the 14th edition of Spa Week will provide consumers across the United States and Canada with the most luxurious and wellness-focused treatments available. Day spas, medical spas, resort spas, yoga and Pilates studios, and fitness/weight-loss centers among other beauty and wellness facilities will offer 2-3 of their most exclusive services, originally costing anywhere from $100 all the way up to $500, for a discounted price of $50 each.

For seven years now, the signature $50 price point has afforded consumers nationwide the ability to try different treatment types at different spas, putting an end to the old myth that the spa lifestyle can only be afforded by the rich and famous.

We hope there’s a participating Spa week salon in your neighborhood and that you are able to take advantage of the opportunity to experience treatments you would not normally have access to, to try something you’ve always wanted to, or to just relax and recharge for a few moments. (Sounds good to us!)

But no matter what week or day it is, you can enjoy your own spa right at home, and virtually for free. We’ve got 10 Top Video Tips for fantastic, luxurious, practically free DIY beauty indulgences that will have you feeling pampered and refreshed in no time, anytime!

Enjoy these Fantastic DIY Spa Ideas you can do in your home with items you probably already have!

Spa Treatments for Less - Consumer & lifestyle reporter Janette Pavini shows how to find discounts & budget prices for spa, hair & beauty treatments to stay pampered without breaking the bank.

Aspirin Facial Mask – How to make your own beauty face mask easily using aspirin to brighten and exfoliate your skin from beauty advisor Michelle Phan.

Tomato Scrub – Michelle Phan shows how you can take a tomato and turn it into an invigorating complexion beauty scrub with this comprehensive beauty tutorial.

Healthy Skin With Rice Water – How to use rice for healthy glowing skin. You can use rice water as a facial toner or  mask for glowing complexion, it’s super simple and practically free! Michelle Phan, the official video makeup artist for Lancôme, shows how.

Beauty Secrets From Your Kitchen – Natural beauty remedies for great beauty treatments that won’t stretch your budget from Rachel Hayes, editorial director of dailymakeover.com.

Beauty Secrets of Models & Celebrities with At Home Items! – The surprising beauty secrets used by models & celebrities for head-to-toe spruce ups that anyone can afford from author and beauty researcher Diane Irons.

Create a Calming Spa Bath – Entertaining & lifestyle expert Colin Cowie demonstrates how to make a calming spa bath in your own home using simple natural ingredients that you probably already have.

Spa at Home for the Guys – Lisa Kasanicky of ArizonaSpaGirls.com whips some simple at-home spa remedies for the guys.

Hand Massage Lesson – Health-Choices Massage School gives an excellent simple tutorial on how to give a gentle relaxing and rejuvenating hand massage for a little DIY spa at home… sounds good right?

Simple Foot Reflexology Massage - A quick demonstration of some of the basics in a reflexology foot massage that you can easily share as part of a calming DIY spa experience right at home.

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Select Money Saving Tips From Bottom Line Personal


  • Receive Even More College Financial Aid
  • Have Your Own Free Website
  • Airline Online Price Search Changes to Note
  • Free Online Books (and you don’t need an e-reader for them!)

We were reading the Feb 15, 2011 edition of Bottom Line Personal newsletter’s in-depth articles on common tax mistakes, divorce and social security, bond investing, DIY household repair, and vital health information, and we came across a couple of quick money savers from Bottom Line Personal’s arsenal of experts that were too good to keep to ourselves. We just had to get these tips out to SpendLessTV.com viewers and readers right away. Here they are,  straight from Bottom Line Personal, “Home of America’s Top Experts in Everything:”

Receive even more college financial aid:  To get more college financial aid be prepared to show the school evidence that does not appear on the federal student-aid form, such as high medical bills. Or show a significant change in family circumstances, such as a job loss.  If you do not have major issues such as these: Look for something specific to request, such as a winter-clothing allowance if you live in a warm climate and the school is in a cold one. What to do: Write a two-to-three paragraph letter requesting additional aid. Send it as soon as possible — aid is often given on a first-come, first-served basis. If the aid appeal is rejected, look into options such as awards offered through specific college departments and private scholarships with later deadlines.
- From Consensus of college financial-aid administrators, reported at Bankrate.com.

Free Web pages: Have your own personal Web profile. Create a site all about you without having to know all the intricacies of Web page development. At BusinessCard2.com or chi.mp, you can create a free account and then create your site. You can use the site to tell people about your interests, job and other activities. You also can link the site to your social networks (Facebook, Twitter) recent photos or videos, blog posts, etc… and you can post ways for people to get in touch with you. The sites enable you to make great electronic business cards and signatures for e-mails.
- From Research Editor David Boyer, Bottom Line Personal’s resident computer guru.

Airline booking site changes: Consumers must now search more airfare sites to find the lowest prices, says travel expert George Hobica.  Fare-comparison Web sites Orbitz.com and Expedia.com recently stopped carrying American Airlines listings amid growing tensions between airlines and travel sites.  Southwest Airlines refuses to list fares with third-party services, and Delta Airlines is no longer on several small comparison sites.  Self-defense: Visit individual airline sites, as well as such sites as Kayak.com, FareCompare.com and TripAdvisor.com/flights, which don’t directly sell tickets but compile listings from other travel sites.  Also sign up for e-mails from airlines.
- George Hobica is president and founder of AirfareWatchdog.com, a low-airfare alert and advice site, based in New York City.

Books for Free: A lifetime of reading:  The Online Books Page has more than one million books available for free downloading or reading online.

For further money-saving and informative tips on everything, visit  Bottom Line Personal online: BottomLineSecrets.com.

And continue saving with the videos now playing on these SpendLessTV.com channels:

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