Friday, October 21, 2016
Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap
I've been on the phone a lot this last week going between my insurance company and the sleep center to try and get the bill reduced and also get to the bottom of the truth of what in the Heck happened with the entire affair. The sleep center was ready to slap us with the entire bill, told us that it was basically a valuable lesson about how deductibles worked and were about as helpful as teats on a bull. I then called our insurance company and asked to speak to a supervisor who was really nice, friendly, and most important HELPFUL. She went through and literally read to me the exchange between the sleep center and the insurance company as every time they talk to a doctor's office they make a point of saving the entire transcript of conversation for back up just in case. In this case it spoke VOLUMES to me as she read it.
The results? The sleep center out and out LIED to my husband. They told him that the insurance said they'd cover it under preventative care, the insurance company told them that it was a medical procedure, would go to the deductible first and then would be covered 60/40 (in no way does that say "covered 100%" to me). Furthermore the supervisor, when I asked her about the rent to purchase on the CPAP told me to immediately return the machine as they only do rent to purchase at 13 months, not the three we had been told, and she didn't want us left holding the bag for 345.00 a month rent on the CPAP with the sleep center when we we could buy a CPAP for a about 400.00 online. She didn't want us to be left holding the very big bill when we were dropped in December, was very sympathetic and explained that it was, unfortunately, a very expensive lesson some people had to learn to always call the insurance company and double check coverage and to make sure bills had been submitted for payment.
So, I called the sleep center back and told them straight out I was returning the machine, that I wanted a refund for it and that we were getting a discount on the bill one way or the other or I was going to court (by this point they'd been FAR from helpful in the billing department mind you). They were just going to wipe out the last two months of rent on the machine and call it good until I started going down the line items on the bill where it said, "purchase of..." and demanding we get refunded for those things as we weren't PURCHASING the blasted machine. Once all the "purchase" bi-lines had been changed to rentals and I'd haggled on every aspect of the bill, I got over 1/2 the bill wiped out (I'm still waiting for an adjusted bill to confirm all of that, but I do have a receipt that I demanded when I returned the machine), got 800.00 that was going to GO ONTO the bill reversed out by returning some spare (overpriced) parts that they'd sent us for the machine that we'd never used.
So, basically, I'm probably going to end up paying about 1300.00 for an overpriced sleep study we never would have gotten done if we'd known we had to pay for it, but at least it's not close to 4000.00. A friend is going to give us a spare CPAP machine she has (she ended up having to buy a new one when she moved to Alaska as her things got delayed in transit) as soon as she unpacks it (as she's moving to a new house). The sleep center drew the line in the sand that they'd never put "preventative coverage promised" in any of their notes as to not reduce the bill even further (seriously, who would even write that?) even though my husband had been told it numerous times and if I miss a 100.00 payment one month they are immediately going to add everything back onto the bill (which if that happens they can go hang as I know that's not legal). So, a new goal is to wait for the new bill and get rid of that as quickly as possible and then tell everyone I come across not to use the Wasilla Sleep Center unless they are sure their insurance covers things as they lie.
So, anyway, the machine is returned and I'm in "wait and see" mode on the final bill, but at least for better or worse it's over with for now.
I've also been dealing with a sick hen this week as one of the chickens developed stomach issues, probably from the move and then my friend inadvertently buying a type of feed the chickens weren't used to. So, I've been making doubly sure to keep the water clean in the coop and make sure they have plenty of it so she stays hydrated, and making sure the grit is always topped up for her to hopefully calm her down a bit. And I've been adding straw to the coop a lot to keep the area clean as well. My friend is bringing over some probiotics to feed her tomorrow, so hopefully she'll start to feel better pretty soon.
1. Some good things did happen this week, though and the most notable of them is up at the top there. See, I have exactly two items that I REALLY want that I've put on my "Christmas list for myself" as I like to call it (I end up doing the shopping, including for my husband and I usually as my husband gets busy and things around the holidays) and a tea strainer so I can make some pots of loose leaf tea has been on there for a while. I've had that EXACT tea strainer in my Amazon cart for ages, but always found other things to use giftcards and stuff on, so I just keep going back and looking at it from time to time, but this week I found one at the used store! For 1.50!!! The smile on my face lit up half the country I swear *laugh*.
Now I just need to find a pie bird at the thrift stores or find one super cheap on Amazon and my list to me will be complete *laugh*.
2. Grocery shopping went well this week. I spent 56.00 on groceries this week, all of it at Carrs. Carrs had some super sales going on this week and I went and took advantage of them. Some highlights was getting a bunch of different spice mixes by McCormick for 1.25 each (down from like 4.00 a pop), so I bought a bunch to make things like chicken a bit more interesting for dinner. I also got 10 cans of tomato sauce for 1.00 per big can as they were on a buy 10 get them for 1.00 each sale. I also go the usual soda and chips and a dozen eggs for .99 with in-ad coupon. And I got a TON of Idohoan mashed potato packets for .75 each after discount (digging through the 50% off stuff is seriously awesome sometimes). Since this is one of the things I had on my "stock up" list over the next couple of months, it was definitely a welcome occurrence to run into those. I even bought a head of lettuce because I really wanted salad to go with dinner.
When I was paying I stood in line with my favorite cashier, a really nice older gentlemen who always talks to me and is super friendly and patient (as I'm always going through with TONS of reduced things, I always appreciate the patient part). We were chatting and laughing a little bit and he asked me if I was doing the Farberware giveaway (it's a thing where for every 10.00 you spend you get a sticker and after so many stickers you can trade the sheet in for free pans). I told him of course I was and he said, "Well, there's been a couple of people that went through who weren't doing it and they asked that I give them to someone who was. I forgot to do it earlier, so here you go..." and he reached over and grabbed a little pile of stickers that he'd saved from those other people. I got 12 stickers!!! I was thrilled as I'm trying to save up enough to get a new non-stick skillet as the one I use for pancakes is the cheesiest thing you've ever seen (I think it was 3.00 brand new years and years ago, is spot welded together, thin and warped) and the handle is really wobbly and about to come off any time now. That definitely helped me on my way to getting the pan I have my eye on :). On my way out he also asked if I'd like a balloon as they'd dismantled a display for the new Ice Age movie and his managers had told them to just give the balloons away. I said sure as my son LOVES balloons. It was a nice mylar balloon that has, so far, survived three days of constant abuse by my son and he's still loving it. Really awesome freebie that was :).
See, making friends with your cashiers definitely pays off as time goes on!
3. I made all of our meals at home this week, which definitely saved us money.
4. I paid off a chunk of dental bills this week. It's definitely led to a bit of hurting on the financial end, but it was a relief to get that off of our backs (it was one of the "pay by this date or you'll be sorry as interest will kick you in the head" types of bills).
5. I've been reading "The Family Save All" online on Google Books. It's a book that is referenced a lot in "Victorian Farm" and I was watching it and got intrigued and sure enough the book is available to read online. Saves me from having to buy it for the time being and gives me something to do when my arm hurts and I can't sleep (or when my son won't sleep, which I've had both things happening lately).
6. I've been really trying to lose a bit of weight as due to my arm just hindering my ability to excercise I stepped on the scale and got upset when I realized I'd gained 10 pounds just due to inactivity. So, I've been really hitting a diet that works well for me (basically a diabetic diet, but I moderate things like sugar containing desserts and things, but I don't cut out sugar completely) and so I've been actually eating decently cheap by eating things like oatmeal for breakfast and things. I'm hoping my energy improves soon as I've found in the past (and it's proving true now) that the more weight I gain the more tired I become, so I want to make sure I get back down to a weight I'm happy with as soon as I can. So far I've lost 3 lbs over the last couple of weeks, so I know it's working (I usually lose about 5 lbs quick and then hit a plateau for a while...I'm sure you're interested in reading about how dieting effects me aren't you? *Laugh* sorry!).
7. I've been using up older canned goods in the pantry, so things on the menu this week included meatball subs (using up an old jar of tomato sauce) and things. I'm feeling pretty good about things in this area as really using up most of my pantry the last couple of years has resulted in cans that are still super fine even by store standards until 2018.
8. We got six inches of snow the last 24 hours, so hopefully sledding in the back yard will be on the agenda for tomorrow. Yay for free fun :).
9. My husband took my daughter to a free event at the school tonight where they will be giving out prizes and having a bunch of games. My son is home not feeling good (he seems like his stomach is upset), so I hope my daughter gets to have a lot of fun at the event :).
And there you are folks. My frugal adventures for the week. How did you do?