How to Avoid Estate Planning Mistakes Before you Pass on

It was probably Jim Morrison, the infamous lead singer of the 1970’s rock group The Doors, who put it best “no one here gets out alive”. What he was referring to is that, no matter who you are, where you come from or how rich you happen to be, inevitably every one of us is going to pass on one day. Seeing as it’s inevitable, one of the best things that a person can do, especially if they have a lot of money, investments, land, homes and so forth, is to make sure that their estate planning is thoroughly taken care of.

Frankly, even if a person doesn’t have all that much money but has a home that’s paid off and a few bucks in a savings account, estate planning is something that is not only important to take care of before they pass but also will make for much fewer problems for loved ones who are left behind. With that in mind we put together a blog about some of the things that you should do as far as estate planning before you pass and how to avoid common mistakes. We know it’s not exactly an uplifting subject but, if you take care of it now, believe us when we say that your loved ones will be much better off after you’re gone. Enjoy.

Unless you’re actually a certified accountant or a practicing estate planner the first thing you’re going to want to do is contact a professional. Keep in mind that even professionals can make mistakes and research your options thoroughly. If you have knowledge of someone in your family that passed in the last few years and used an estate planner you may want to contact their family and find out who that person is. Remember, any mistakes that your estate planner makes probably won’t be discovered until after you’re gone, leaving your family to clean up the mess.

Here are a couple of examples: In Chicago there is a lawsuit underway due to the advice that an estate planning attorney gave his very rich client. This attorney suggested a ‘60 day rollover’ to be used with what would be an inherited IRA but, unbeknownst to the client, this is a severe no-no with the IRS. It only became clear after his death and so now his family is embroiled in a ridiculously large and costly lawsuit.

In Clearwater Florida a client was told that she should create a trust using a ‘fee simple’ method so that, if she were to pass away, her minor daughter would get the bulk of her inheritance when she became an adult. The problem; with the fee simple plan, if she passed away before her daughter was an adult her daughter’s new guardian, her financially irresponsible ex-husband, would have received a check for practically the entire amount of the residual balance left in her trust, an obviously bad idea that only came to light six years after the initial estate planner set things up.

When setting up your estate planning it is a good idea to take into account anything that could possibly happen and make sure that you have planned for as many contingencies as possible. For example, what would happen if the mother were to die first? How about the father? What would the situation be if both parents were to die at the same time? These aren’t pleasant things to have to contemplate but, when you consider that unpleasant things happen every day, it’s better to talk about them and plan for them before they happen.

Communication between family members that have been left behind is also vitally important. A great example of this is a family in Atlanta Georgia who, after their father had a massive stroke, moved him out of his house, sold the place, shut down all of his banking and checking accounts and had him live in their home until he passed away seven months later. It was only then, when going through his personal things and paperwork, that they found a $1 million life insurance policy. The problem; since the policy was being automatically paid for out of his bank account, and since they had shut down that account, the insurance policy had been canceled and voided due to non-payment and was worth nothing. Bye-bye $1 Million dollars.

Even for people that plan their estate and their affairs quite well and define who gets all of their major assets, there are times when seemingly non-valuable items will be fought over by surviving family members. It is for this reason, especially if a person has lots of tchotchkes, memorabilia or other collectibles, that these things are also put into the estate planning paperwork and given to specific family members.

At the end of the day the best thing that you can do for your family, especially if you have a large amount of assets, investments and money, is to thoroughly plan where it’s all going to go before you go. In this way not only will you have peace of mind while you’re still here but you’ll ensure that your family won’t tear itself apart squabbling over all of the assets you accrued during your life and after you’re gone.

Financial Tips for College Students – Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2 of our money tips for college students 2 Part blog series. If you’re just joining us welcome and if you are returning for more after having read Part 1 welcome back. We have quite a bit more excellent financial advice for you today so let’s jump right in and get started shall we? Enjoy.

While these first few tips may not exactly save you money right away they are certainly worth keeping in mind because they will definitely save you money in the future. One of the first is that you should, at least for the most part, take good care of your health. Yes, we know that college includes frat parties and keggers but that should (hopefully) only occupy about 2% of your time. The rest of the time you should definitely make sure to eat right, brush your teeth and otherwise take care of your body because you’re going to need it for the next 50, 60 or 70 years. (The way science is going maybe even longer.)

Another way to save money is to go to class. Sorry to sound like your parents but, quite frankly, you’re at college to learn and if you skip class too often you’re going to fail classes which is going to cost you money when you inevitably have to retake those same classes a second time. Remember, it’s only in the movies that failing classes and public drunkenness are funny.

Speaking of drunkenness, you’d do well to at least limit the amount of beer, cigarettes and other, ahem, things that cost you money because, quite frankly, vice fueling stuff like this is quite expensive. We have no problem with going out once a week and having a good time and drinking a couple of beers with the gang (and whatever else you might want to indulge in) but if you overdo it you’re going to waste money and waste yourself.

When it comes to buying stuff a question that you should definitely ask yourself, especially if were talking about something that costs more than a couple of dollars, is simply; do I need this? If you think you do that’s fine but we suggest that you hold off on impulse buying and wait a week or two. If, at the end of that time period, you decide that you still need it then go ahead and make your purchase. Truth be told, in many cases you will probably change your mind and in some you might even forget about the purchase completely, a sure sign that you didn’t need it to begin with.

A good bit of advice and something that we would advise any adult to do whether in college or long since finished is to spend less than you earn. Sure, in college you are not making very much but if you can still manage to spend less than you earn you’re going to create a financial habit that will serve you well, well into adulthood. People that spend less than they earn are the same people that, generally speaking, are the most successful at saving for retirement and other important future costs.

If you can do it, starting your own business while you’re in college can be an excellent way to not only make a few extra bucks but to get an idea of what it takes to, well, start your own business. For example, if you have access to a small truck and a couple of your frat buddies you can help people move from one apartment to another. Are you great at making PowerPoint presentations? There is a huge
need for those by other students so why not set up a small side business making them? You can do the same with computers, car repairs and many other services and, if you are any good, word will spread and you may actually graduate college with a business already up and running. That would certainly put you ahead of the crowd don’t you agree?

While you’re in the learning mode you may also consider learning how to invest. Discount brokers like Sharebuilder are an excellent choice and for very small investments you can start learning how to trade.  In 10 years you will definitely look back and thank yourself for taking the time to do it.

That wraps it up for this 2-Part class on money tips for college students. We hope you enjoyed both parts and that, when you have a break between classes, you come back to join us again.  See you then.

Financial Tips for College Students – Part 1

With summer vacation just around the corner and many college students going back into the job market for a few months we decided it was a great time to put a blog together that would help college students better handle their money. The fact is, with just a little bit of advice and help, personal finance isn’t really that big of a mystery. With that in mind we put together a number of concepts, ideas and advice that we wish we had when we were in college. Enjoy

One of the biggest mistakes that young adults make is, when they finally get out from under mom and dad’s rule, they start spending on all of the things that they weren’t able to spend on before. New clothes, new gadgets and so forth. While this may be enjoyable for a time it can definitely set up a person to have money troubles in the future. Better to seek some financial advice and, if you’ve made the Dean’s list, treat yourself to something but don’t spend everything.

Joining a credit union is an excellent idea. Try to stay away from the ones that are giving away free T-shirts or Frisbees and instead find one in your town that has excellent services and fits your needs as a new saver.

Unless you absolutely, positively need one you might want to stay away from getting your own credit cardin at least for a while longer. A debit card is a much smarter idea and will allow you to have instant access to your money if you need it but won’t let you spend any more than you actually have in the bank.

If you are really keen on getting something, say a new laptop, Xbox or smart phone, you’ll be better off saving for it and paying for it with cash than putting it onto any sort of credit line that the store selling it to you will undoubtedly offer. Keep in mind that they don’t offer these credit lines out of the goodness of their heart but because they realize that most young people won’t pay it off directly and that they will make money in interest fees and possibly late payment fees as well.

Organization and planning will serve you well in the future so start organizing and planning now to keep your finances in order. Both are an important financial skill that you will use frequently as an adult. If you have Quicken on your computer you should also track your spending to make sure that you don’t overdraw any of your bank or credit card accounts (if you have them). This will also help you to see what your spending habits look like and, if they’re not so great, change them before they ruin you financially.

Very few successful adults don’t have a budget to guide them. If you want to be a successful adult as far as finances go you’ll thus obviously need a budget, even if it’s just a simple one. This will help you to not only keep track of your spending but see where your money is going and help you to save more of it than you thought you could.

You’ve probably seen mom and dad putting receipts into shoeboxes and, while this may seem a bit silly, it is actually a great way to keep track of not only what you are spending but also make sure that you are not being overcharged for purchases, even if by accident. Of course you don’t have to go ‘old school’ like mom and dad, especially with the plethora of receipt apps available for your smart phone. Get one of these apps and get rid of the shoeboxes.

As far as campus life is concerned here are a few quick tips on saving money that will help you.

  • Buy used textbooks and, when you’re done with them, sell them back or sell them to another student.
  • Skip going on spring break. Frankly, unless you can afford it it’s a huge expense and there are probably dozens of things that you can do around campus that will be just as much fun and much less costly.
  • Keep your car at home. Unless you live home and commute to campus every day you really don’t need one on most American college campuses. Not having a car will save you a ton of money on gas, maintenance, parking, insurance and so forth. If you need to get around on campus use your feet, a bicycle or find a friend with a car and chip in for gas once and a while.
  • Do you hang out with guys and girls who spend big bucks all the time? If you do, but you don’t have the same access to cash as they do, you’ll be more prone to spend your money and end up much more broke than they are.

We hope that this blog has been a valuable lesson in adult finances. (Yes, we know you’re sick of lessons but this one is important.) Anyway, do yourself a favor and use some of them to hold on to your money, get a handle on real-life finances and get a jumpstart on becoming a successful adult. In a few years, when you’re there, you can come back and thank us.

Money Management Tips for Budding Entrepreneurs

There comes a time in a person’s life when one wants to go ahead and take the risk on starting their own business. Gaining financial stability is something that almost everyone dreams of, and many believe that starting their own business would make this a reality. Many employees save their hard-earned money to make this dream come true.

Not all businesses end up raking in money—this is a fact. Establishing a new venture requires hard work, perseverance, and of course a lot of cash. Managing your own business is far more difficult compared to having a regular 9 to 5 job. It’s a good thing that employees can actually invest on profitable stocks or goods in the market while working fulltime. The only important thing to remember is to invest on reliable markets or companies, to avoid losses that would cost them more. Since the stock market is at an all-time low nowadays, experienced investors find gold and silver investments more profitable and secure. Companies like Bullion Vault allow private investors to access international bullion markets conveniently and securely.

Those who are eager to start their business, however, can use these money management tips from business gurus at {Entrepreneur.com} and Wayne Liew:

You need to have separate bank accounts. One of the biggest mistakes budding entrepreneurs make is they keep their personal and business money in one account. This spells disaster as it could be difficult to tell how much you actually have and how much your business does.

Never mix credit card purchases. When it comes to using “plastic money”, it is imperative to have one credit card for business expenses alone and a separate one for personal use.
According to {Wayne Liew Dot Com}, a new entrepreneur should set realistic financial goals. Setting a goal allows an entrepreneur to track the progress of their business, no matter how big or small it is. It also lets them know where they are currently at and helps them plan their next steps.

Tips to Save Money on all your Health Care Needs – Part 5

Welcome back for Part 5 of our blog series on tips to save money on your all your health care needs. The first 4 blog articles mainly dealt with a myriad of ways that you could save a few bucks here and there on everything from prescriptions to healthy food and everything in between. This final blog is going to be focused on what your health plan and your insurance covers as well as using preventative care to make sure that you stay healthy and thus save money. Enjoy.

One of the most vital pieces of information that you need when it comes to your health plan is what it does and does not cover. If you don’t know these facts the first thing you need to do is ask your employer for a copy of your evidence of coverage paperwork. This will explain your benefits in detail, the rights that you have and how your plan works. If you have any questions once you get this paperwork you can usually find the customer service phone number of your health plan on your membership card.

Finding a primary care doctor and then using that Dr. whenever you have any health concerns is an excellent way to keep costs down, especially if there’s a chance that you will go out of your network. Indeed, going to a doctor that is out-of-network is akin to going to a grocery store the charges double for everything; in other words, not a great idea.

If you are having health concerns of any type don’t hesitate to talk about those concerns with your primary health care Doctor, even if you think that they might be silly. The fact is, when it comes to your health there are no silly questions. Getting information early and often is the key to preventative healthcare and will not only keep you healthy but could save you a lot of money.

If you need to see a specialist you’re going to need a referral and also prior approval through your insurance carrier. This is sometimes referred to as an ‘authorization’ and, unless you have it, you might end up paying more for office visits and for tests than you would without it.

Another vital task that’s quite easy to take care of is to always have your membership card with you whenever you visit any healthcare provider. As we mentioned earlier the telephone number of your healthcare provider is usually on the back of the card so that if you have any questions you can call them directly.

It goes without saying that you should keep records dutifully of any and all healthcare tasks, appointments, and anything else so that if need be in the future you can refer back to those. This can help you save money by making sure that you aren’t double billed, overbilled or going out of network.

It is also a very good idea to make healthy lifestyle choices including the type of food that you eat, the amount of exercise that you receive and preventative tests that you should have an irregular basis depending on your sex and your age. (More about that below.)

When it comes to saving money on healthcare one of the most important and vital tasks that you have is to use preventative healthcare services and tests. These regular exams and screenings will not keep you healthy per se but, in the event that you do have an underlying problem that you aren’t aware of, you will find out about it early and be able to do something about it before it becomes a large problem. Some of the most important tests are as follows;

  • ·         Blood pressure. This should be checked every time you visit any doctor’s office.
  • ·         Pap smear / cervical cancer screenings. Every three years after a woman reaches the age of 21.
  • ·         Cholesterol / lipid test. For men 35 years of age and up they should be performed every three years.  For women, if there is increased risk of coronary heart disease, this should be performed every three years after the age of 20.
  • ·         Colorectal screening. This should be performed every year after the age of 50.
  • ·         Diabetes screening. If you have a sustained blood pressure greater than 135/80 this should be done once a year.
  • ·         Pregnant women between 24/28 weeks should have gestational diabetes screenings.
  • ·         Mammograms. Beginning at age 40 this should be performed every two years.
  • ·         Osteoporosis screening. For women age 65 and older this should be performed once a year

Tips to Save Money on all your Health Care Needs – Part 4

Hello and welcome back. This is  the fourth installment of our five-part money-saving tips for your health care needs a blog series. (Try and say that five times fast.) If you have been following the series since the beginning you know that we have really packed some excellent tips and advice into them all, the kind of advice that you can use every day at bring down the costs of your healthcare significantly.  Today’s blog is going to be more of the same so sit back, relax and, as always, enjoy.

  1.         While there are certainly benefits to having a gym membership the simple fact is that, at home with only a basic exercise equipment, there are plenty of ways to get in a workout that will cost much less. Not only that but, when you use free online workouts from certified trainers at the iTunes store or on YouTube or Netflix, you get almost as personalized a training program as you would in person but for a fraction of the cost.
  2.         There are dollars is popping up all over the place and the reason is that people love them. The reason they love them is quite simple to understand; they have dirt cheap stuff. While we will freely admit that some of it is crap the fact is that there are an abundance of great deals on many items. Many health care items like band-aids, cough medicine and aspirin can be purchased dirt cheap.
  3.         If you’re keen on getting exercise but you live in an area of the country where the weather is always agreeable make an inquiry at your local mall to find out when they opened their doors. Many times they will open them early for seniors and anyone else wants to get in some walking without freezing their buns off or in the summer when it’s too hot.
  4.        Cut down on your consumption of meat, including beef, poultry, pork and fish. Simply put, animal protein is expensive. While we are not particularly espousing a vegetarian lifestyle the simple fact is that if you purchase less animal protein you will save money and there are plenty of vegetarian alternatives that will cost a lot less. Even if you cut meat out of your diet for only two or three days out of the week you will still save a significant amount of money.

While we’re on the subject of cutting back on meat consumption we would be remiss if we didn’t remind our dear readers that a diet high in red meat has been to be very detrimental to one’s health. Cutting down on your red meat consumption will thus save you money now and also in the future on your health-care costs.

  1.         Many fruits and vegetables these days are coming pre-packaged. While this is quite convenient the extra cost that you pay for said convenience can be quite high. For example, while a pound of carrots will cost you less than $1.00, 8 ounces of shredded carrots will cost you approximately $3. The same goes for many other fruits and vegetables, especially fruit bowls and cups that are being sold more and more in your local grocery store. If you want to save a bundle of money you should clean,  chop and organize your fruits and vegetables at home.
  2.        When shopping in your local grocery store you would do well to take a look at the items on the lower shelves. That’s where they traditionally place the generic brands, the on sale items  and the store brands.  Avoid the central,  eye-level aisles as that is where the costliest items will be placed to attract your attention. The goes for the pharmacy aisle as well. Things like toothpaste, bar soap, shampoo, deodorant and other healthcare and or hygiene products are stocked the same way as the food, meaning the costliest stuff at eye level and the bargain stuff down below.
  3. Many grocery stores will place their nearly expired items on sale in a specific part of their store. Things like bread that is about to expire and other products with a shortening shelf life will be found. Also, many supermarkets if you a discount if you buy more than one item or a case of one item.  Whole Foods for example offers a 10% discount on anything that you buy a case of, an excellent deal indeed.

Well, we might have gotten a little sidetracked on some great tips for saving at the grocery store but, when you think of it, eating right is a big part of taking care of your health so it fits in with the general theme. Whatever the case may be we hope that you enjoyed these money saving tips and we invite you to come back soon for Part 5. (We promise we’ll get back on track.) See you then!

Top Three Reasons to Repair Your Credit Score Today

The number one way in which you can boost your credit score is to pay your bills on time, but there are numerous other ways to bump up your score as well, such as keeping your credit card balances low, checking for credit report errors, refraining from opening multiple credit cards at once, and avoiding bankruptcy.

Chloe Mulliner is a writer and editor for www.CreditSources.org, a credit related website that provides loan options for people with poor or no credit.

You’ve probably heard that a bad credit score could cause limitations when you apply for a credit card or take out a mortgage, but did you have any idea that it could be the reason why your dreamy blind date doesn’t ask for a second date? Or how about the fact that you could be paying higher insurance premiums just because of the low number on your credit score?

If this is all news to you, it’s worth checking out the following three reasons why it’s a good idea to build good, if not excellent, credit.

A Good Credit Score Could Lead to a Second Date

Credit scores are becoming a huge make it or break it factor in the dating world. So important in fact, some daters turn to online dating websites to find compatible matches with similar credit report values. These people in search of love have begun putting more emphasis on each other’s personal credit scores than the more traditional aspects such as religious or political views.

Finding a soulmate is difficult enough before involving your credit score, so why not focus on building your credit so you can worry less about your score and more about making a love connection?

A Good Credit Score Could Mean Lower Insurance Rates

A high credit score won’t only help you receive low insurance rates when you’re buying a house, but it could also benefit your auto insurance rates as well.

When it comes to auto insurance, the Insurance Information Institute found that consumers with low credit scores file 40 perfect more claims than those who have high credit scores. Because of this, those who have poor credit sometimes end up paying higher insurance premiums. Conversely, those who have good and excellent credit scores generally receive more favorable and lower premiums.

Long story short, build and maintain good credit, and in response, insurance companies will reward you.

A Good Credit Score Could Land You Your Dream Rental

Have you found your dream rental apartment overlooking the beach? Or have you stumbled across a quaint little country house looking for a suitable renter? Whether you’ve found your ideal rental property, or you’re still in the market, we hope you have good credit!

Good credit will come in handy if your landlords asks for your credit report to see your payment history. If you have a tendency to miss payments, the landlord might not want to approve your application for your dream rental.

Best way to receive those house keys? Work on building your credit or ask if the landlord will accept proof of other payment history such as your utilities bills.

The number one way in which you can boost your credit score is to pay your bills on time, but there are numerous other ways to bump up your score as well, such as keeping your credit card balances low, checking for credit report errors, refraining from opening multiple credit cards at once, and avoiding bankruptcy.

Chloe Mulliner is a writer and editor for www.creditsources.org, a credit related website that provides loan options and information for people with poor or no credit.

Tips to Save Money on all your Health Care Needs – Part 3

Hello and welcome back for part three of our 5-Part blog series on money-saving tips for your healthcare. The reason that we put this blog series together is that, just like every other expense that you will encounter in your life, health care costs can be lowered, haggled over and, in many cases, reduced. The only reason that many people do not make the decision to try and lower their healthcare costs is that they believe it is offensive or something that is not morally correct.

We’re here to tell you it is perfectly acceptable, morally sound, and we have many tips to show you just how to do it. The simple fact is that there’s nothing wrong with trying to lower your health care costs and people who are financially wise do it all the time. With that in mind let’s get started with Part 3. Enjoy.

  1.         When you have health insurance there are big penalties for going out of your network. Keep that in mind and make sure that every healthcare professional that you visit is in your network.
  2.         If you prepare your taxes yourself make sure that you deduct for medical expenses.  Many people make the mistake of forgetting this or not deducting enough and end up losing more of their return.
  3.        If you’re self-employed you may think that there’s no way to get any sort of discount on your healthcare. You would be wrong however as there are professional associations and groups that offer insurance plans and, if you joined them, you will receive the savings that purchasing insurance with a large group can offer.  Whatever you do, just make sure you have some form of healthcare.  Even if you are running short on cash to cover the monthly premiums there are always options like taking out loans online if you’re in a pinch.
  4.        Many employers offer a medical flexible-spending plan and, if yours does, you should definitely enroll in it. What this allows you to do is set aside a fixed amount of pretax money for health care costs that aren’t covered by your insurance. Since this money is deducted from your gross income, the income that you’re taxed on, it can lower your taxes significantly.
  5.         Just like shopping for a new car or any other large purchase you should take the time and make the effort to shop around for your health insurance. Whether you’re buying a plan on your own or you will be getting one through your employer you should compare what the plans offer. Making a list of what you need and checking to make sure the plan you are contemplating covers it is also an excellent idea.
  6.         A company called Eyecare America offers free eye disease diagnosis and care for seniors and children. They also cover for several different diseases including glaucoma and diabetes. If you would like more information you can call their toll-free number at 800 – 222 – 3937.
  7.        There are a number of eyeglass retailers including Pearle vision and LensCrafters that offer discounts of up to 30% to AARP or AAA members. If you belong to these two groups a 30% on your next pair of glasses is waiting.
  8.        When it comes to taking care of your teeth the most important tool that you have is your toothbrush. Make sure that you change it every three months and, once or twice a week, disinfected with either hydrogen peroxide or boiling water.
  9.         If you are not happy with your smile or, more specifically, the color of your teeth but professional whitening in a dentist’s office is out your budget you would do well to consider using  one of the major brands of teeth whitening strips. Testing has showed that the results are very similar as well as safe and much more economical.

By now you should have found at least a handful of tips that have lit up a light in your brain. Hopefully you’re starting to realize that they are indeed are many ways to cut down on your health-care costs. We hope you have enjoyed this blog series so far and we invite you to come back and join us soon for Part 4. Until then, be happy and stay healthy.

Tips to Save Money on all your Health Care Needs – Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2 of our 5-part blog series on Tips to save money on all your health care needs. If you have already read the first part then you know that the tips and advice to follow are really quite good. If you’re just joining us than welcome! You’re in for quite a treat because the tips and advice we have for you below will soon have you saving all sorts of money on all your different healthcare needs. With that in mind, and without further ado, let’s get started. Enjoy.

  1.        While we agree that therapy can be very helpful for many different types of psychological and physiological problems the cost is, shall we say, a bit pricey. If you’d like to talk to a social worker, marriage counselor, psychiatrist or psychologist there are a number of new websites online where you can get an E-therapy session for as little as $1.60 per minute.
  2.        Depending on the type of procedure you need, looking into medical tourism may save you thousands of dollars. For example, in the United States the average cost to have knee replacement surgery is approximately $40,000 whereas in Thailand it is only about $10,000. It would pay to research your options well and consult anyone who has had the same procedure before actually going forward but, frankly, you can save enough on one procedure to go back five times for follow-up if need be.
  3.        Search your local area for any massage therapy schools and give them a call. Many times you will find students who, in order to get their credits, need to give a specific amount of massages to the community for free. We don’t know about you but a free massage sounds pretty nice to us.
  4.         Depending on the type of medication that you’re taking you can sometimes find free samples at the pharmacy or get them from your medical doctor. Oftentimes you will find that your eye doctor is giving out free contact lens cleaners and solution as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for these great freebies because your doctor isn’t paying for them either.
  5.         Speaking of your medical doctor, always inquire as to the availability of generic medications. Just like at the grocery store you can sometimes find excellent value and practically identical results with generic medications.
  6.        If you are taking a medication long-term and know that you will be taking it into the future check into mail order prescription services. Many times you will find that mail-order prescriptions are up to 30% cheaper than the same medication at your local pharmacy. While you are at it, always check to see if there are any special deals that you can take advantage of like buying two months’ worth of medication and getting one month for free.
  7.       Oftentimes you will find flu vaccines are much cheaper at your local grocery store and drugstore than they are at your doctor’s office. In some cases there are even retailers that are offering free vaccines to people who are unemployed or are senior citizens.
  8.         Speaking of groceries stores many offer low-cost self-screening tools such as blood pressure cuffs, cholesterol screenings and blood glucose tests. Many of these services are free as well.
  9.        People with diabetes use a blood glucose monitor that can be quite expensive over time. Some of the monitor makers, like Abbott Laboratories, will give you a free monitor if you register on their site as well as coupons, discounts, and even online consultations.

Well that’s it for Part 2. We hope that you have found many or all of these tips to be helpful and have already started using them to save some money. (We will admit to liking #3 the best.)  If you’re keen on getting more of the same excellent tips and advice please make sure to come back and join us very soon for Part 3.  Until then, take care and stay healthy.

Tips to Save Money on all your Health Care Needs – Part 1

After housing costs healthcare costs are likely the second largest expense that you and your family have. The sad fact is that nearly 30% of middle income families are finding it hard to pay for their health care and health insurance and that number continues to rise. It is with this in mind that many people are searching for ways to lower their health care bills and it’s the reason that we put together a 5-part blog series on tips that will help you save money on all your health care needs. There is a lot here to digest so let’s get started. Enjoy.

  1.         If you have small children that need to get their vaccinations but you’re not insured or your plan doesn’t cover the shots you can get those vaccinations for free from the federal government’s Vaccines for Children program. You can find details of the program at www.CDC.gov
  2.         If you suffer from a chronic disease such as diabetes or other common ailments like allergies you can actually join a clinical trial and get free medication and treatment. There are some trials that will even pay you and, if you would like to see the federally funded database that includes all of these private medical trials you can go to Www.clinicaltrials.gov
  3.         There are nearly 900 Planned Parenthood clinics around the United States where women can get inexpensive OB/GYN care and also contraception. Find the nearest Planned Parenthood clinic at www.PlannedParenthood.org
  4.         Screenings for cancer and other deadly diseases is vitally important but can also be quite costly. The Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act was created to provide uninsured women with mammograms, paps, pelvic exams and other diagnostic testing for free or at a greatly reduced cost. You can find a clinic on the CDC website.
  5.         On your next visit to your medical doctor (and all subsequent visits) don’t be shy about asking for a discount. The fact is, many doctor’s offices will discount your cost if you pay cash. Also, if you have had a stay in your local hospital you can contact the hospital and ask for a discount if you’re having trouble paying. The reason here, frankly, is that the hospital sees any payment as better than no payment. In many cases they will be more than happy to work with you.
  6.         If you need to have lab work done you can actually shop around and find better prices at private labs around your area.  Surprisingly, your local hospital may charge you five times more than a comparable lab for your work,  a very strong reason for doing a few minutes worth of research to find a lab near you.
  7.         Unless you have a life-threatening medical emergency avoid going to the emergency room. The reason is simple; the average cost for an ER visit is approximately $1000 while the average cost for a doctor’s office visit is approximately $60. (We don’t have to do the math here for you, do we?)
  8.         Depending on the type of health care situation you have it’s possible that you can use a telemedicine service such as www.TelaDoc.com. This will normally cost you about half as much as a traditional visit to your medical doctor’s office.
  9.         If you need to have a procedure done check to find out if it can be done in your doctor’s office rather than at the hospital. This can literally save you thousands of dollars but your doctor might not offer the information because, frankly, he or she will make more money if you have the procedure done in the hospital.

We think you have to agree that those are some excellent tips and should save you at least a few dollars over the next weeks and months on your health-care costs. If you liked those then you’re in luck because we have 4 more blog articles coming your way, chock full of the same great advice, tips and real-world information that you need these days in order to save a buck. See you back here soon!

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