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Archive for November, 2005

medicare plan D search

November 30th, 2005 at 11:49 pm

Trying to help my parents sort through all their drugs and insurance and medicare info to select a drug plan. They aren't computer literate, let's just say they are TERRIFIED of the computer. So, trying to sort through the plan sites. The government site is helpful for sorting through all the plans in their area with their SSI and med requirements, but the site is BOGGED down, and it's a pain.

But it's worth it. No way could I sort through all this myself. And, since their meds were $12K last year, even buying from Canada, the plans actually do help them. If we live through the process :-)

Rollercoaster day, but savings on gifts.

November 30th, 2005 at 10:40 pm

Okay, in between all the phone calls on health matters, I buckled down and did some serious shopping/savings.

For my littlest niece, used a $10 disney g/c win, a 25% discount promo, and a sale to purchase a beautiful personalized princesses sweatshirt, regularly $25 plus shipping, my total was $2.

For my littlest nephew, used 2 $10 g/c for Scholastic from hubbies win on Juicy Juice and sales to purchase $20 of spiderman activity/coloring/other books for $5 shipping.

For my other niece and nephew, costco sales on two toys, with coupons, total $60.

For DJ25 and hubby, two $100 g/cs for the new house, but eBates, coupons, etc. down to $100.

For DJ13 a $90 electric keyboard with features (!) on sale for $59, minus a Sharper Image $20 coupon minus rebate minue free shipping minus 20% friends and family, so approximate $30.


For DR16, let hubby do the shopping, Target gc for $100 (OUCH!) but he is like a son.

so, down to parents, hubby, and shipping costs.

So for today, $435 down to $237. Not nearly as much savings as I planned, but the gift cards will be appreciated, and will DEFINITELY save on shipping costs! Everything is DEFINITELy worth more than the money I paid, is perfect, but still higher than budget. Need to review where things are overall.

better

November 30th, 2005 at 08:11 pm

Sister just called, and Dad is doing better. We don't need to fly out there this weekend, which is a savings, but mostly a relief. Now I can joke, I ordered him a peanut-of-the-month club, so he had better stay on this earth for the year! Deep breath.

Guess I should stop the stress spending! Shopping for the holidays while waiting for health tests is NOT a good way to save!

shipping costs surprize

November 30th, 2005 at 07:40 pm

Well, it has been a bumpy week personally. Father is in heart failure, or not, and trying to get answers from the west coast while I'm on the east coast has been a roller coaster. So, we've been rearranging schedules, moved my MRI to Friday, trying to get the dog into the vet for travel while she is still recovering from surgery...

In the midst of this, we are still managing to focus on SAVING. I actually finished shopping for CA family and got everything wrapped. Now we just need to get it shipped, and we will be SO far ahead of the curve.

I was surprised on the first shipment we made. 9 pounds, bone china, great buy except for the shipping charges. Previously we've shipped at the last minute, and shipping was over $500, so our goal is to get them out. Anyway, I priced the ship with USPS, and $17 to ship standard ground, and $17.50 to ship priority 2 day. I know the size versus weight of the package changes costs, but this seemed odd. USPS worker said they are encouraging people to get things out of the queue, so it benefits them if you do priority now. Who knew.

So, we ARE making progress in our weekly goal. Have to total spending so far later.

Insulation challenge cost came out free!

November 28th, 2005 at 07:56 pm

Well, didn't get the decorations up. Had a family medical crisis, everyone is holding their breath, and I had to reschedule my MRI for Friday.

That said, we did figure out the insulation and saved!

We planned to put in R-39 for the attic, but the cost of insulation was $700. Even with the 10% coupons, $100 g/c, and $150 rebate, we would never get the cost back or justify spending that much.

BUT...Home Depot had some free pamphlets on insulation which noted that it was possible to layer levels of insulation to achieve the higher level. So, since we already have R-13 in the space, we bought one roll of R-19, which will bring it up to R-32, and it was only $51 total. Throw in another $20 for hanging tape, and with the $100 g/c it still came out FREE. THAT's a cost we can recover!

Hubbie says savings is $600.

I'm not sure how to count it, but hope to see some decrease in the heating costs, and definitely less chill in the bedroom walls! Certainly less expenditure than we had planned for.

YEAH!!!!!

Some success

November 27th, 2005 at 05:54 pm

Well, I'm still having a Humph after the holidays, but I'm working on it.

I made a 13x9 pan of Turkey Divan and used up the white turkey, gravy, rolls, uncooked broccoli, stuffing, and some mayo that had been open awhile. Always strange to me that MD likes the easy recipe better than the fancy one that DOESN'T use up leftovers.

Had planned to use half the turkey for turkey manicotti. But, he did think I was overcommiting myself, with all the other plans we have for the weeks. So, chopped up the dark meat until it was small enough for our sick little dog to eat while her mouth heals from the surgery. The ricotta, non-fat, I purchased for half price minus a coupon, and it will last another week along with the free eggs (thank you Land of Lakes!), and it's easy enough to throw together the pancakes and filling for the manicotti next week. Toss the unopened bag of cranberries into the freezer, and leftovers are all accounted for. YES!

Today, need to research my parents prescriptions, get them enrolled into some of the discount programs, and review their medicare D. I've been urging my sister to go to the medicare site for months, but she waited until enrollment is underway and she can't get into the web site.

It is an EXCELLENT web site. You enter all the prescriptions and some basic medicare info, and they come back with various insurance plans that would be best for your $$ and needs.

Pfizer and some of the other sites have also come up with great literature on how their programs are changing, since discount cards etc. are out the door. Pfizer is GREAT with helping sort out how to afford their meds. I'm printing out some info to send my parents from www.pfizerhelpfulanswers.com.

Better get to it!

this week's challenge

November 27th, 2005 at 01:25 pm

Well, of course hubbie and I must receive and ship everything to complete last week's challenge, so that has rolled into this week.

Also, we are really feeling the NEED for the insulation in the attic. I finally received a 10% off everything coupon from Home Depot, we have a $100 g/c from MD's bday, and Home Depot has a rebate on insulation, $75 off every $250. Sounds expensive, and outer wall/attic insulation is! The higher the number/insulation factor, the more it costs. MD is calculating out how much we need. I already priced it, so hopefully we will have a good idea of the costs before we purchase.

So this week - finish up the gifts to CA, and purchase insulation. Hopefully install the insulation, but we need to put decorations up inside and out, and with medical and all, that may be pushing it. We'll see.

last week's challenge follow up, and more gift savings!

November 27th, 2005 at 01:15 pm

Okay, we did not get everything packed and shipped last week, but we did complete the purchasing. Already posted the in-law sales, don't know shipping yet. MD did wrap up and prepare the heaviest items for shipping yesterday, so that will go in tomorrow.

So, for Hanukkah gifts:
We found a beautiful Lenox china menorah, was $172, got it for $38.38, and a Lenox Hallah tray, was $200, down to $63, plus a Lenox coupon for $30, brought the total down to $72, plus shipping. More than I planned to spend, but it is DJ25's first house after living with hubbie and two kids in a 600 sq ft garage while she went back to school and saved for the house. So, finally, she has room for nice things, and she loves to entertain.

Christmas:
For brother, a leather Executive Gift set (writing pad, portfolio, card case, memo pad, all leather, and a calculator), was $50, got it for $5.96 at an outlet sale BEFORE Thanksgiving.

For sister, a leather messenger bag specific to carrying papers, which is what she needs. She uses a purse for everything else. Was $100, got it for $8.96 at the before Thanksgiving outlet sale.

Also purchased clothing during the summer for DR1 and DR21, which is already at my sister's house, original cost was $272, final cost was $23. So they are taken care of.

So, $794 for $110. But, the Lenox was not on my list, so not sure if it counts as savings.

Still have my parents, nieces and nephews and little ones to go...

****

In addition, DR1 and DR21 are both extra large extra tall, so I caught the Casual Male big and tall sale BEFORE Thanksgiving. Will send these to my sister in CA to balance out Christmas and then over the year for birthdays or as needed.

So, got 3 pairs of pants, one sweater, two dress shirts, a sweater, and two long sleeve tee's in 2XLT and 4XLT, original price total was $272, total final was $66.

Back on Track

November 27th, 2005 at 12:58 pm

Thanksgiving wasn't bad, I think we spent a total of $50. Now the trick will be to use all the leftovers! Friday we had thanksgiving rerun. Now it will become turkey divan, turkey manicotti, stale could make bread crumbs to top the divan...and things we didn't use after all I need to get into the freezer!

Last night we had an easy dinner that was basically free. A few weeks ago a local store had Campbell's Select soups on sale for $1.29 each, but also a deal that if you bought 8 items on the page, including these, you received $8 off at checkout. And Campbells had a separate deal, buy more than 3 cans, receive a store credit of $3, which they also applied at checkout. So we got bread to use up the rest of the money. There was no limit, not sure why, but we did stock up for the winter at that price!

I'm just in a slump, trying to get past one holiday and on with the next. MRI is tomorrow, so the tension is NOT helping focus on savings. I like to spend when I'm tense, and looking for holiday gifts is the wrong time to do it!!!

So, time to get back on track!

Perspectives on Black Friday

November 25th, 2005 at 12:43 pm

'Tis the seaon of sales!!!

The problem for me is, that doesn't always mean savings.

I realized this a few days ago, while I was ordering some diabetic candy for my mother. A pound was $15, but shipping was $10!!! BUT FOR ONLY $5 more I could change to a 2 pound box with the same shipping charge. I started to do it. It was a "better buy". It was also an extra $5 I COULD SAVE. Mom doesn't need the extra candy, but I do need to save the extra $5. There are other gifts to buy for her that I need that $5 for!

Black Friday has it's own challenges. Everything on sale, everything hectic, caught up in SPENDING and catching those great deals. I have to remind myself that the great deal is SPENDING LESS, not necessarily BUYING MORE for the same money. Yes, I've budgeted a certain amount for a purchase, and it is SO tempting to SPEND that amount -- if I can find something cheaper, I want to roll the savings into MORE GIFTS. I'm tempted to buy things that are on sale that are not actually what I wanted to give. And in the crush of a "hot deal" day, it's so difficult to step back and think about what I am spending and why.

The reality of savings, and taking advantage of sales, is that I MUST stop and think. The GOAL is NOT to spend the budget, but to get the gifts I WANT to give for as far under that budget as I can. There is a balance in the question "do I need the extra gift, or do I need the extra money in the bank".

My mother taught me as a child "everything is ALWAYS 'on sale'. That is up to the store. Whether or not it IS a sale is up to you".

HUMOR for the day.

November 24th, 2005 at 12:56 pm

I decided to order the Philosophy products that my mother actually likes for part of her gift. It's never on sale, but I did go through eBates to get 5% back, drugstore.com gives 5% credit, I added in the philosophy product I'm out of and have been meaning to buy, and received free 3 day shipping, a free gift, a diamond deal freebie, and the Philosophy gift set that was on MY Christmas list as a freebie ($45!).

So, I thought I was doing well. The package arrived, my husband took everything out, I handed him the gift set and told him this was one of the things on my list.

Hubby HATES when I buy my own gifts, as well as ruining the surprise, and he gave me that LOOK. I reminded him it was a $45 item, but he still had THAT LOOK. So, I actually said it: "IT'S NOT MY FAULT IT WAS FREE". I NEVER thought I'd say that!

HE did come back, 15 minutes later, smiling, and said "hey, free isn't bad!"

Go figure.

emotions, gifts, and savings

November 24th, 2005 at 12:49 pm

Tis the season. I love giving gifts. I love saving. I love taking care of everyone.

I'm making progress on finding gifts for friends and family without blowing the budget. But I am really feeling the tug of emotions to do more for everyone.

It's been a difficult year for our family. Brother had a nasty divorce, moved 1000 miles away with one of the kids, while his ex-wife, whom I love, kept two of the children with her. My brother is hurting, the kids are hurting, and my SIL has become the crucible for everyone's anger. They are SO poor, barely getting by before the divorce. Hubby and I have had our own medical problems.

Sister still struggles with cancer, and everyone is struggling with diabetes, heart disease, money. In addition, brother came out of the closet, and for some reason my mother announced that the man who raised me is not my father. He is hurting. Mom is hurting.

I find myself torn, the desire to buy everyone whatever it takes to SHOW them that I love them, I support them, it will be okay. To try to make it better for everyone.

It's particularly difficult because we are retired, living off of savings. So, I can see the money in the bank, it would be so easy to just spend away until *I* feel better. Worrying about having money 10 years from now, well, that's 10 years from now. The holidays are NOW.

But the reality is that no amount of money can buy back the past, or change the present. I have to choose the future that we are all going to inherit. Gifts are not a fix. Having money available in the future might be.

BUT IT IS SO DIFFICULT.