Friday, October 7, 2016
Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (and One Step Forward, Two Steps Back)
It started out with my son waking up at five am so I ended up dozing the last two hours before getting up for the day. Well hour and a half I should say as then my daughter came in and complained about her stomach hurting, and unlike a lot of other times when I could see she's over-exaggerating her lot in life, this time she was actually legitimately not feeling good. So, I got up and got her a Zophran and prayed that it worked for her to go to school today as it took two days for my snow tires to come in and get studded and I desperately just wanted to get them onto my car and out of the way for the winter. Luckily after a lot of digging around about how she was feeling we figured she could make it, especially once she figured out that if I have to pick her up early from school I have to pick her brother up early from school and he needs the therapy and activity OF school and such (she hadn't thought of it from that perspective before). I could tell she wasn't feeling up to 100%, but prayed we could get through the day as I had a lot to do and knew even if she was up to going with me she'd have more fun at school.
So, I get the kids dropped off and head off to get my tires on the car. That took three hours. Whoever put the tires on my car somehow didn't fit all of the summer tires in the trunk (first time that ever happened) and he stuck one in the back seat, which led to a lot of me flinching as I drove home with it rolling from one side of the back seat to the other. Finally get home and get the tires unloaded out of the way and then I figure before I run to the bank (and subsequently run home after that and get lunch) I'd check the mail.
Man was that a stupid mistake. When I got the mail my appetite for the day was shot.
In the mail was a bill from the sleep center where my husband had gotten his CPAP machine from. When he originally went in for the appointment to get evaluated for sleep apnea, his doctor and the sleep center doctor both assured him that our insurance would cover the cost of everything having to do with the CPAP machine because it was preventative care. And here, in my mailbox, was a bill for over 3000.00 staring me in my waxen shell shocked face.
I called my husband to ask that he handle things with the sleep center as he was the one who talked to his doctor and the sleep center people and everyone else and I figured he was the one qualified to handle it if righteous anger was going to be involved in any way as I had no idea what was going on, but I quickly realized that he didn't have time or the energy to deal with it (he's not big on dealing with any financial stuff, normally anyway). So, I headed over to the sleep center in person to see what I could figure out as I didn't want to do it over the phone if I could help it.
Well, an hour later and many phone calls between the very nice office lady, her billing department in Anchorage and our insurance company and basically it came down to that we got screwed by our insurance company. What everyone was assured would be covered by preventative care, wasn't. They instead just slapped every charge from the sleep center onto our deductible and that was all they were willing to do, period.
I sat and fought tears most of that hour. Especially when I found out that they normally would require us to pay the bill within 10 months at the sleep center and explained to the lady there was no way we could do it as 300.00 a month might as well be 3000.00 a month for a payment right now as we just plain don't have it. I explained about the dental bills and our financial situation and said it just wasn't going to happen. The billing lady, hearing all of this over speaker phone was really understanding and did some voodoo on her end and asked if I could somehow swing 100.00 a month. Even though I'm not really sure how I'm going to do it until the one chunk of dental bills gets paid off in December (as that will free up 100.00 a month) I said yes.
My husband is furious about the entire situation and just wants to not pay the sleep center, but I can't blame them for what happened as they had been told an entirely different thing than what happened when it was all said and done. And the insurance company doesn't care because all they have to do is hold out for three months and then they are out of Alaska anyway, so why WOULD they care. I honestly blame me for this. I was dubious about the insurance company paying for the CPAP and even though my husband kept asking the sleep center about it, I should have called our insurance myself, at least four times, gotten names and answers and figured out if what they had been told was true or not and gotten all of the details. But, I didn't. And now I'm paying for it. Literally.
So, I cancelled my physical next week as there is no way I'm going to be able to afford labs for myself on top of all of the other bills staring me in the face (such is life). And now I know why the Good Lord put all of the deals over the summer my way as we're going to need them as money just got that much tighter around here.
I just got done doing all of that, took a 20 minute nap whether I wanted to or not (when I get depressed I get even more tired than normal), got up and poured myself a quick bowl of cereal because I hadn't eaten anything yet, and then the call comes in from the school to go and pick up the daughter with her stomach problems. Which led to me having to cancel speech this afternoon.
So, yeah, I am thoroughly, thoroughly depressed tonight. Sigh.
Things will settle, my brain will somehow start to function past the panic and depression again and I'll once again figure things out, but for tonight I'm just bone deep tired.
I'm sure there are some bright points to dig up for the week though, so let's list some of those.
1. I called around when I went to order my snow tires and found the outfit we normally used were, once again, the cheapest option. And snow tires were 200.00 less than the last time I bought them, so that was a nice find for sure.
2. When I realized how tight money was going to be at the beginning of the month (because of last month with all the health issues and things) I went on Amazon and redid my order. I cancelled the peanut free nuts I'd ordered and used the 12.00 associate fees I had to put toward the bulk Parmesan cheese I wanted to order. When I redid the order I also found that the Parmesan cheese had gone down in price, which saved me a couple extra bucks. It was a nice find. I also went through and figured out exactly what I needed on Amazon vs. what the cheapest option was. For instance I'd ordered thyme in bulk, but then started thinking about it and realized that a 2.00 jar of thyme on Amazon would supplement my thyme probably through the entire winter and would work okay. And I'd wanted to get Cream of Wheat for breakfast on the weekends (my husband likes it) and had found that Bob's Red Mill brand is super cheap on Amazon, but you get a ton of it (like 4 bags). I just cancelled that and got the box of Cream of Wheat at the store for 4.99. It's way more expensive per ounce, but still 7.00 cheaper to buy just the one box at the store, so that's what I did for now. Just because it was more per ounce didn't mean it wasn't good enough to get us through. As a result of doing things like this I probably shaved about 1/2 the cost off of my Amazon order items.
Now that I'm realizing how bad money is going to be I'm doubly glad I did that.
3. We cut my son's hair this week, which with my arm I've been dreading. This time my son was super awesome compared to how he has been in the past getting a haircut. Normally my husband and I hold him down and just get his head as well as we can with the clippers, but this time he cried and got mad about the hair down the back of his neck, but was super good compared to how he's been in the past. And as soon as we pulled his shirt off after it was all over and got him in the shower he was just fine (normally he's mad for HOURS afterwards at us). It was definitely an upper.
4. I got my flu vaccination this week. I got it at the store pharmacy at Carrs and got my 10% off a grocery store order coupon for my trouble of getting it there. It's good till like July of next year, so I'm going to hold onto it until I need to spend a decent amount on groceries and use it then.
I didn't use it this week as I spent a whopping 30.00 on groceries this week. I just got the basics (soda, chips and milk) and called it good, although I did manage to get some au gratin potatoes (store brand) with some pocket money I had, so I got four boxes of those for 5.00 (normally I'd be a Betty Crocker snob when it came to Au Gratin potatoes, but cheap is cheap and they taste okay, so that's what we're using this winter). And I did get the aforementioned cream of wheat in with the shopping, so I guess I did get some pantry things this week despite the small amount spent on groceries.
5. I traded some #10 cans of dried soup mix that I'd had from the LDS pantry for years (I liked it so I was holding onto it since they don't sell it anymore) for some canned fruit with a friend of mine. I traded two cans of soup mix for a pantry pack of fruit cocktail, a pantry pack of peaches and a pantry pack of pears. I'm thinking between what I have canned myself, the canned goods I bought and those that we're set for fruit for the winter (and the expiration date on the fruit is still good for another year. She had to downsize the stores of things she had in the garage and was moving things out to an unheated shed, so she wanted more freeze friendly foods). Hopefully, with the rhubarb and things at least fruit variety won't get too terribly boring.
6. I enjoyed long phone calls with my mom and step mom this week. Having unlimited long distance for cheap is never going to get old for me. It has paid for itself many, many times over.
7. Even though I couldn't be at a friend's wedding I got to enjoy seeing pictures of it that another friend of mine took. It was wonderful seeing pictures of her so happy on her big day.
8. I went to the used store and looked around for a back up costume for my daughter in case the mermaid costume wasn't to her liking (which I think it'll be fine, but always good to be prepared). I managed to find a home made dress that someone had donated that looked like the pink dress Ariel wore in "The Little Mermaid" for .50! My daughter loves it and is happy to wear it if the mermaid outfit doesn't happen for some reason, so I consider that a victory.
9. I started gutting out our hallway closet and figuring out other things that need to be done around here. I've found my son is just trashing our video shelves downstairs (pulling videos down and yanking TONS of them upstairs with him to the point we have piles going all over all the time) and we just need to move the shelves upstairs to keep an eye on them, so I'm working on finding room for those. When we pull those upstairs I want to move our china cabinet downstairs as it'll go better with the den decor anyway and then the one cabinet my husband and I bought and didn't fit into the kitchen is going in the den to put my sewing things in instead of the dresser I have there because it needs to get out of the garage so my husband can put the snow blower in. It's going to be busy around here for a bit.
And there you are folks. My week in a nutshell. How's everything going with you?