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Archive for November, 2011

Another doctor bill reduced!

November 29th, 2011 at 06:25 am

On my previous entry, I was talking about some doctor bills that came in for both of my older daughters. One had a birthmark removed and one had some testing done. Neither had any prior medical expenses this year so we have not met the deductible....which means I basically had to pay for a lot of this stuff out of pocket! I have already depleted my HSA which is usually only $1000 a year so that was no help.

Anyway - I'm stuck with 3 doctor bills to pay and I wasn't too thrilled about it b/c I'm still trying to get my cars paid off. It occurred to me to just ask for a lower price to "settle" the account. Turns out that works pretty well!! I got the first one reduced from $697 to $600. I recently got the second one reduced from $650 to $500! I tried it on the 3rd one and they turned me down...their reason was that their rates were 'contracted' with the insurance company and to reduce them would be to violate that contracted rate. Blah, o-well....it was a little difficult to argue b/c I don't know anything about that. So they offered to let me pay it out at $65 per month, no interest -- I said ok. I think it is something I will always do now, just ask for a lower price to settle the account. Worst case scenario is they tell you no, best case you save some money! I'm always game for saving some moo-lah.

On another note, I did do some Black Friday shopping. I don't think I like the new format of the stores opening at 10 pm on Thursday night b/c many more people come out!! I prefer the super early mornings where many people prefer to NOT get out of bed. It is still crazy early in the morning, but not quite as crazy as it was last Thursday night. I didn't have too much stuff I was trying to get -- turns out I was pretty lucky with what I did get! I got a $10 crockpot, $10 blender, a $200 Compaq laptop and a few little odds & ends for small gifts and usables for our family. In total we spent $325 and I think we did really good considering what we got. We got home pretty late and didn't do any other shopping on that Friday in STORES but I did snag a few things online. I'm not a huge fan of online shopping - mainly b/c I like to see/touch/try things in the store. PLUS there is rarely any issues with me checking out or returning items, etc. Of course the items I purchase on Friday are with a company that has a huge backlog so I did not get any confirmation of my order nor did anything hit my bank account. So I waited all day and then finally called the customer service department....they don't see the order either and advice me to place another one if I wanted the sale price that ends at 12 am PT. So I place a 2nd order for the same items and go to bed. I wake up to receive an email confirmation of the 1st order that they did not see...and shortly thereafter I get another email cofirmation of my 2nd order. HA -- so then I get back on the phone with customer service to try and cancel one of the orders which have already processed against my checking account. Errrhhhggg...this is why I don't like online shopping, too many things can go wrong and you have to WAIT to get your money back if needed. O-well.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday. I got to spend some time with my mom and her husband. Very fun time and we are looking forward to Christmas now!

Having fun yet? No.

November 18th, 2011 at 02:43 am

Still trucking along with our budgeting and paying off debt, etc. I ran into a little snafu that I completely drove myself into....regarding the HUSBAND and now I am really questioning just how serious he is on getting out of debt.

Here's what happen: Over this past summer we got to a point where we paid off everything but the cars which included my husband's dream truck that was LEASED, my car & my oldest daughter's car - both at 0% interest. Anyway, the truck was a real drag on the bank account due to the payment and the gas consumption ON TOP of being a lease deal. I had broached the topic of selling off cars and he wasn't wanting to do it -- said we needed good cars b/c we had went through hell trying to keep older cars running and stuff before (true story). I told him we didn't have to have old clunker cars but we could get nicer used cars for less money. But he still wanted to just keep what we have, pay them off, drive them forever, etc. Still wasn't good enough for me...I just couldn't rationalize why we would spend 2 more years paying off all those cars when we could get rid of them and be done much sooner. So while all of this is happening, he is also talking about wanting a nicer guitar. He is a musician (not professional) who has been playing a guitar since his teen years -- he is very good and loves music, etc. It is a reasonable request but it was just not in the budget. One day he had started in on the guitar again and I just threw it out there, "we'll get the guitar if you sell your truck!" Suprisingly, he agreed and then we sold his truck. Now he is wanting the guitar and I am still wanting to pay off debt...I'm not backing out of my end of the deal but I was hoping we could hold off for a bit. He is temporarily appeased but his expectation is to get the guitar before we are out of debt. His truck had to be replaced with another car that we owe on so it is not like that payment is gone -- it is just replaced with something much more cost effecient overall (gas, payment, longevity, etc.). Anyway, I made a random comment the other day to his ongoing guitar discussions about "if we got a guitar now, it would have to come out of the emergency fund" -- just trying to see what his response would be. I'm thinking he would say, "no, we don't need to do that -- it is our EF" but all I heard was crickets. He seems to be ok with using the EF for his guitar!! I didn't say anything b/c I know I am the one who got myself into this situation but I was very concerned. I thought we were on the same page...but that is not the case. I am a little saddened but not suprised to be honest. Not sure what to do!!

The wind in my sails....is slowing fading

November 9th, 2011 at 06:09 am

I wrote a blog entry yesterday but somehow managed to wipe out my entire screen before I could post it...so I was very annoyed & decided to put it off, wasn't gonna write it again. So this is my 2nd attempt -- hopefully I don't blow this thing up.

My motivation has been struggling lately...making me feel depressed. We are 11 months into our debt snowball and have paid off over half of our debt and will be on track to have reduced our overall debt by at least $70K by the end of the year. While it is an exicting milestone, it is also somewhat nauseating b/c this has been a big ole whippin!! it is hard to squeeze every penny out of your budget week after week...pushing the limit every month and really restricting our spend. I am also the enforcer - my husband is onboard with the plan but sometimes I feel like I am the one having to keep us on track. I have thought of 'quitting' once or twice but then I think to myself, quit for what?? so I can be broke forever instead of just these few miserable months? So quitting would make me ultra stupid -- just doesn't make sense to quit and go back to what we were doing. So having resolve that internal conflict, I have no fear that I will quit but I can still complain that this plain sucks!! It will be something that will stay with me forever -- will not be repeating this again.

On a brighter note, I did some 'dave ramsey' negotiating today and it worked! One of the things I've been putting off buying are new tennis shoes for me...mine still look good/clean but they are at least 3 years old and they are broken down internally/structurally so they hurt my feet after a while. Anyway, I had a fairly large medical bill budgeted to pay this pay period (about $698) and that is pretty much all that is stitting in my bank account right now. I found some shoes today that are what I wanted and they were on sale for $20 off so I took a gamble that I could call the dr. office and offer them LESS to settle my account in full today. So I went ahead & bought the shoes and made the call to my dr office when I got home. Not suprisingly she said she would have to ask the doctor and call me back when I asked if I could setting in full for $600 today....she called back in about 10 mins and said YES! I was very pleased that it worked out b/c I do feel guilty about buying new shoes right now which is why I kept putting it off, etc. BUT I am tired of my feet hurtingn all the time so I don't think this was a wasteful expenses. I have 2 other larger dr bills I have budgeted to pay in the next pay period...I'm gonna try it again! See if I can knock off about $100 if I offer to 'pay it off today' :-)

I'm back to the grindstone for now -- squeezing dimes out of pennies and quarters out of nickels...wish me luck.