Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Financial Help With Dental Care

My son looks like a chipmunk right now because he had two impacted wisdom teeth pulled yesterday.  I thank God that he was able to get it done without my having to go into huge debt in order to pay for it.  Let's go back four months when I found out that I had reached the maximum 15 months coverage on the COBRA dental coverage from my old job.  I scrambled to get private coverage and found something reasonable online with the same provider we had before I retired to care for my mom.  However, since this was a new private policy, even though we had been with this provider for 15 years straight, we had to start over as new members, making us ineligible for major services until next year.

My son's wisdom teeth did not want to wait until next year.  They were growing in sideways. I was going to have to pay a large amount of money out of pocket. Money that was probably going to have to come from a credit card. I'm trying my best to get out of debt, so I really felt defeated when I thought about having to go deeper into the hole I was in already.  Then I remembered that my kids are eligible for Medicaid (called MediCal here in California. I searched their dental care benefits (which used to be very little) in order to see if I could get any assistance on this bill.  It turned out that Medicaid does pay for dental extractions and would pay for my son's wisdom teeth to be pulled; however, they would not pay for the top teeth.  They don't think that extracting top wisdom teeth is a necessary procedure.  I asked the oral surgeon about this, and he agreed that the top teeth could wait for a while.  I just hope that they can last until my private insurance benefits kicks in next year.

If your income is currently low, and your child is in need of dental services, I encourage you to call your local Medicaid office to see if your child is eligible for assistance.  When I was a teacher, I saw too many kids suffering unnecessarily with tooth pain because their parents could not pay for their care.  While trying to get help for my son, I saw that in some cases, children can even get help with orthodenture, something that previously has been out of reach for most low income families.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Teaching Children to be Frugal

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all the mothers out there.  I hope that like me, you had a wonderful day with your children.  I woke up to breakfast in bed cooked and served by Son #2.  I thoroughly enjoyed my French toast, eggs, and sausage, especially since someone other than myself cooked it.  I got to lay in bed for a few minutes and read the newspaper before it was time to get ready for church.  That in itself was a treat, but there was more to come.

The boys had chipped in and gotten me a card and some chocolates (can't go wrong with that combo).  After I oohed and ah'd over their thoughtfulness, my frugal ways started to whisper in my ear, "I hope they didn't pay full price for this candy.  Walgreen's had some on sale for $3.99.  Why didn't I tell them to check the sales paper?"  The reason why I didn't tell them about the sale was because it was their gift and their decision to make, so I stepped back and let them handle it.

Now I realize that I need to get both my kids more involved with couponing and shopping for bargains so that I know that when they shop on their own, they don't spend more than they have to. That's not a difficult thing to do with Son #2 who has been couponing on occasion since he was 14.  He actually went out shopping for me on Black Friday three years ago when I had gall bladder surgery.  Son #1 can't be bothered.  The boys both get a small allowance which they have to manage on their own,  but Son #1 doesn't seem to mind when his cash is long gone, yet his bargain hunting brother still has money.

I think that I'll give both sons a budget and let them plan our meals for a week based on what they can find in the sales papers.  Whatever they don't spend, they can keep for themselves as long as they provide us with healthy and reasonably filling meals (I don't want to live on bread and water for a week).  The extra money might give Son #1 the incentive he needs to use coupons for the first time.  I'll let you know whether it works or not.  If you have any tips for getting your kids to be frugal, please leave it in the comments section below.

Friday, May 9, 2014

My Doggie is Sick

I should say that he is my kids' dog, but after about two weeks the excitement of taking care of a new pet wore off for the boys, and the dog became mine.  He always knew this would happen even if I didn't.  From the beginning he followed me around wherever I went, even to the bathroom.  Yes, since the door doesn't close completely shut, he could push his way in whenever he wanted..  He would sit at my feet until I' was done and then walk me out as if I couldn't be trusted to make it out on my own.   I have to admit that he has worn me down.  After all, he's the only one in the house who doesn't argue with me.  I'll say, "Get off the couch, Rover (not his real name), and he doesn't ask why his brother can't do it.  I say "Come eat dinner, Rover," and he comes running.  I don't have to call him three or four times.  And, he gobbles up the same kibble day after day and never complains.  At my house, the dog is my best friend.

So, it is truly upsetting that Rover is sick, and even more upsetting that the vet can't tell me exactly what's wrong with Rover without giving him a $150 blood test .  I don't want to be cold hearted, but I can't afford a blood test right now.  I could barely pay for the exam, antibiotics, stomach coating medicine and flea repellent pill that I shelled out $110 for at the end of this vet visit for a hurting paw.

It's times like these that make me wish that I had paid for the pet insurance that is always advertised on the tables in the waiting rooms of the vet's office.  I thought that they were too expensive, but there is coverage available for as little as $7 a month.  Another example of penny wise and pound foolish.

Update:  So far Rover's bill has come to about $400 and counting.  He did have to have the blood test done.  The results are still pending.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Clearance Bin at Big Lots

There were some very good deals at Big Lots today, unfortunately I couldn't buy anything because the line was too long, and I was going to be late for an appointment.  If I can get back tomorrow, and they're still there, I will try to scoop up whatever is left of the Easter decorations which are now on clearance for 90% off the original price.  There were packs of beautiful metallic eggs on sale for 60¢.  I want to use them for our church's annual Easter egg hunt, but they can easily be used as year round decorations for the coffee table or dining room table. Also, they have 8 packs of Peanut Butter PopTarts on clearance for 85¢. I'm in no danger of pigging out on these snacks because I can't eat peanuts.  If I buy them, these will be for the kids, and they will last about two hours tops.

I hope that you are able to find something that you can stock up on for next year. Plain plastic eggs were about $2 before Easter this year, so paying 60¢ for fancy ones now will be a big savings later.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

If You Buy It, You Will Eat

I know that yesterday I said that I would put away the chips and candy I bought on sale until we have Family Movie Night on Friday.  Well, late last night those Doritos started calling me.  "Come and get us," they screamed.  "We're so delicious.  You know you want us NOW"  I couldn't resist the sirens call and wound up hating myself for eating at least a third of a large bag of Doritos in the middle of the night.

Like Kevin Costner in "A Field of Dreams," I learned that if you take certain steps, the inevitable will happen.  He built a ball park, and the ghostly players came to play.  I bought Doritos, and I ate them.  It was a no brainer.  However, in my perfect world brain, I really thought that I could have chips in the house and not eat them immediately.  Even though they were a good buy, for me the chips were not a good idea.

Ironically, when I was broke, I ate a lot better.  My snacks were homemade, and not as plentiful.  I never thought that I would say this, but for me, poverty is much more healthy. Who knew?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Free Neutrogena Make-up Remover

It is unusual that I run out of ALL of my facial cleansing supplies at the same time, but this month I did.  Thank goodness Target had a nice coupon in this week's sales book good for $5 off the purchase of three beauty products.  What's even nicer is the fact that Target sweetened the deal with a package of free Neutrogena Make-up- Remover Towelettes if you buy three Neutrogena cleansing products.

While picking up my facial products, I also found some candy and chips at good prices (I'll save these for Family Movie Night).  I wound up saving about 43% on my total purchase.  I like to get at least 50%, but that's not always possible when you run out of products that you need.  You can get a better deal by purchasing any three of the less expensive Neutrogena products.

Below are the results of my shopping trip.  Please share your Target shopping trip with us in the comment section.  We'd love to hear from you.

Neutrogena Oil Moisture. $9.99
Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner.  $5.29
Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser.  $6.49
Neutrogena Make-up Remover. $4.99
Swedish Goldfish (3 packs @ .38 each)  $1.14. (on clearance)
(2) Doritos Tortilla Chips BOGO. $3.79

TOTAL=$31.69-$5.00 Target coupon -$4.99 for the free towelettes
Final cost plus tax =$21.70

Friday, May 2, 2014

Free Little Debbie Donuts at Safeway

Hi everyone.  This week April 29-May 6, Safeway has a Just 4 U coupon in their ad papers good for a bag of Little Debbie Donuts for $1.  If you combine this paper coupon with the $1/1 manufacturer's coupon (MQ) (available online at the Coupon Like a Man Coupon Database), the bag of donuts will be completely free.  If the store shelves are empty of this treat, just ask your clerk for a raincheck.  The coupon is good until June 15, 2014 and the raincheck will expire in 90 days, plenty of time for you to take part in this freebie.

Just don't make the same mistake that I made.  When the clerk was filling out the raincheck, she asked me how many bags of donuts I wanted, and because I only had one MQ, I told her that I only wanted one.  I should have asked for more since $1 for donuts is a good deal.  Also,  if you go online and save your coupons to your Safeway card, don't do it for this deal.  Sometimes the Just 4U deals cannot be combined with MQ's, so you would have to pay for the donuts.  Combining the paper coupon and the MQ should work fine.

If you have found a good deal at Safeway this week, please share it in a comment below.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

Whenever I open my dishwasher door, it immediately drops to about 1/2 inch above the floor, narrowly missing my toe.  The top rack wants to fly out and meet the door on it's way to the floor, but I usually manage to catch it before it falls.  I have the money to buy a new dishwasher.  My spendthrift self is telling me to buy a new one before the door breaks someone's foot, but I'm not going to.  Not yet.

I want a new dishwasher, but I'm going to try and fix this one first.  It still washes the dishes and dries them pretty well.  It's not leaking as far as I can tell, so I'm going to fix it MYSELF. This will be something new for me since I don't consider myself to be very handy, but I think my time has come. So far I've gone online and found the rollers and the stopper clips needed to keep the top rack from flying out. I purchased them online for a total of $16.  I have a pretty good idea how to install these parts, but if not, I'll go on YouTube and find a DIY video.  I don't know how to stop the door from hitting the floor yet, but I plan to find out.

Am I being penny wise, but pounds foolish? I hope not, but it's worth a try as long as I continue to watch for leaks and the dishwasher doesn't start breaking my dishes or my foot.  Have you become a do-it-yourselfer --these days?  If so, share your story with us by leaving a comment below.