Posts Tagged ‘money’

Before you buy anything that costs more than $20…

March 26, 2010

Ask yourself these four questions:

  • Do I really need it?
  • If yes, can I afford to pay for it with cash?
  • If so, do I already own an equivalent item?
  • If I don’t own any such item, have I shopped around for the lowest priced item?

Before you buy anything that costs more than $20, ask yourself the questions in the blog.If you have a satisfactory answer for all questions, give yourself another 24 hours before making the purchase.  You may end up not making the purchase at all and, thus, save yourself some money.  Try asking yourself these questions on your next shopping trip.  The more you can prevent instances of impulse shopping, the more money you will find in your wallet over time.

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Francis M. Unson

How to Cut Your Medical Bills

March 8, 2010

According to a survey by the National Health Care Trend survey, costs for the most popular types of health care coverage are projected to increase by more than 10% in 2010.  National health care expenditures increased from 16.2% of GDP in 2008 to 17.3% in 2009 due to expenditures outpacing GDP growth.  With the cost of health care going nowhere but up, here are some ways you can make the most of your health care.

  1. Given that health care costs go up every year, here are some ways to keep your medical bills down.Stay well
    Obviously, health care costs are almost nil if you don’t get sick.  What does it take to reduce your risks of costly illness?  Unfortunately, I must defer to the advice our doctors tell us during exams: exercise at least three times a week; eat a low-fat, low-carb, low-sodium, high-fiber diet; drink in moderation, and don’t smoke.
  2. Check out free health care
    I went on Google and searched “free eye exams”, “free flu shots”, and “free blood screening”.  I was surprised to find that various universities, drug stores, and non-profit organizations offered free services, especially blood screenings.  On the first page of Google’s search results, there were free blood screenings for glucose levels, blood pressure, birth defects in pregnant women, and celiac disease, among many others.  Going online is worth your time and potentially a big cost saver.
  3. Read your insurance policy
    The lesson about this is: don’t assume what your insurance policy covers and doesn’t cover.  Look online or call your insurance company’s hotline if you have to.  I cannot personally guarantee what your insurance company covers, but anything that they do cover may require submitting a claim for reimbursement.
  4. Ask about assignment
    Doctors may accept the portion that the health insurance company pays as full payment for your bill.  Does your doctor take assignment?  Ask them.
  5. Scrutinize your hospital bills
    Have you ever been under the microscope and hot lights of the IRS?  Neither have I, but if you want to stretch your health care dollar, look over your hospital bill very carefully.  Why?  If you are having surgery, for example, items are placed in the operating room just in case the doctor needs them.  However, following the procedure, you may be billed for the items the doctor didn’t use.  Therefore, once you shake off the anesthesia, talk to the surgeon and ask if they used all the equipment and supplies you were billed for.  Call the hospital billing department and ask for a bill reduction if you find any discrepancies.
  6. Avoid emergency rooms
    Life-savers in true emergencies, but a financial drain during a nonemergency in which you could be billed up to ten times more than for the same treatment at your doctor’s office.  If you can, call your doctor instead and ask for a prescription or home remedy that can save that trip to the emergency room.
  7. Talk to your pharmacist
    Pharmacists can help you find ways to cut prescription costs.  For example, if you buy a 90-day supply of your medication instead of three 30-day supplies, you may be able to pay just one co-payment instead of three.
  8. Mail-order prescriptions
    A prescription usually takes 2-3 weeks to be processed.  Some mail-order firms deal only with patients belonging to specific insurance plans, but a few places sell directly to the general public such as 1-800-Pharmacy and American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

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Francis M. Unson

How to organize a successful yard sale

February 1, 2010

Why would you have a yard sale? Two reasons come to mind: to get rid of your excess clutter and, of course, to make money.  After all, “a person’s junk is another person’s treasure.”  In order to have a successful yard sale, follow these tips:

  • Follow these steps if you want to organize a successful yard sale.Gather your inventory.  If you haven’t used it, worn it, or it has sat in an obscure corner of your living room or closet for over a year, it becomes inventory.  Don’t give the item a second look; you didn’t give it a second look in a long time, anyway.
  • Do your homework.  No price gouging!  Visit a yard sale or two (or more) and do price comparisons.  Furthermore, depending on where you live, you may need a permit.  Know the rules!
  • Set the date.  Don’t overlook this detail.  Setting a date for the yard sale forces you to manage your time more effectively; you will not decide halfheartedly to do a yard sale “sometime in the spring”.
  • Advertise! Post BIG signs at the entrances of your neighborhood.  Set up a Facebook Fan Page.  Tweet about the yard sale.  Just get the word out!  The more foot traffic you can direct (or divert) to your yard sale, the more successful it will be.
  • Prep and price.  In order to save yourself a lot of time and energy during the yard sale, price every item you intend to sell.  Use masking tape or adhesive stickers.  Bundling will give shoppers added value.  Selling a dozen candlesticks for $10 will go faster than selling each candlestick for $1.
  • Setup shop.  Use your front yard, driveway, or garage.  Make sure that would-be shoppers can see the yard sale from the road.  Set up your wares on foldout tables, plywood, or old rubs.  Use a money-box or even a muffin tray if you are going to make change.  Keep a watchful eye over your inventory.
  • Sell, sell, sell! Just don’t sit there waiting for the customers to come to you.  Walk around, interact with the customers, and talk to them.  Share lots of information about the items.  The more information you give them, the less questions they will ask.  Offer free coffee and sell donuts.  If they’re eating, they’re staying–and if they’re staying, they’re buying, right?
  • Following the sale.  Box the unsold inventory and donate them to charity.  Go around the neighborhood and remove all the signs you put up.  Send a thank-you Tweet on Twitter for peoples’ participation.  And finally, take out the family to well-earned dinner.

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Francis M. Unson

Gift Ideas for Under $10!

January 28, 2010

Have you ever sat down and tried to compile a list of gift ideas for under $10 for any occasion of the year, whether it’s Christmas, Mother’s Day, or Valentine’s Day?  BetterBudgeting.com author, Michelle Jones, has compiled a money-saving list that will help you save money during this down economy.

  1. Whether you need to buy a present for a birthday, graduation, or Christmas, here is a list of gift ideas under $10 for any occasion!

    Gourmet coffees with a personal coffee cup

  2. Pound of pistachios
  3. Child’s artwork, framed
  4. Journal with special inscription inside
  5. Teacup with box of herbal tea
  6. Deck of cards and book of card game rules
  7. Homemade cocoa mix in a pretty jar
  8. Collage of special photos
  9. Gel pens and pretty stationary
  10. Bottle of sparkling cider
  11. Home baked bread, include recipe
  12. Disposable camera or rolls of film
  13. Basket filled with deli cheese and fruit
  14. Craft supplies
  15. Holiday serving bowl or platter

Read all 63 of her money-saving gift ideas here.

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Francis M. Unson

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