Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Accept My Invitation to Fall in Love With Frugality!

"Beware of the little expenses.  A small leak will sink a great ship."  -- Benjamin Franklin

Hello, and thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoy my out-of-the-box frugal tips and ideas, and sign up for my quarterly Frugal Tool Box newsletter that will contain some very useful information to stretch those household dollars that you may not have encountered before. 

Anyway, enjoy the thrill of the hunt for frugal ideas and tips that interest you. There is no one size fit all. It is my opinion and is shared by many, that being frugal is not the same as deprivation. I view frugality as being informed, resourceful, and spending smart. So without further ado enjoy. 


Prescription Drugs Can Strain Your Household Budget. - Frugal Tool Box.            
Are You Or Someone You Know Paying Full Price Our Of Pocket For A Prescription Medication?

I admit, sometimes there is no way around paying full price. However, when I have a prescription to fill I check to see if a discount is available. If this is of interest to you click below to receive awesome savings on your prescriptions. Also, let me mention here that you don't have to be without medical insurance to put this tool to work for you.

For example, sometimes your prescription drug plan may not cover a certain medication. In this case you would pay full price not having a drug benefit. In another case you may be in the donut hole, and again no drug benefit to help offset you cost.

The InCareRx Discount Card is absolutely FREE and ACTIVE right now! One card covers your ENTIRE family (including pets), and can be duplicated to share with friends. This card can be used at pharmacies nationwide (CVS, Walmart, Target, Kroger and many more)! If interested, Print Out FREE Discount Card and present to pharmacy.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE: InCareRx Discount Prescription Savings Card & Save Up To 90% On Prescriptions.
This is the only discount prescription savings card to my knowledge that is HIPAA Compliant, which means your information is private and we don't sell your information. 

The Frugal Tool Box Queen Never Likes to Pay Full Price When She Can Get a Discount.

Truckers make the world go around. Where would we be as a society without truckers? Truckers are hard working, some even independent, all making nice incomes. You probably wouldn't think that truckers could qualify for a free Rx card, however they do. In fact most everyone will qualify whether they have medical insurance or not.

With the price of gas being what it is, in addition to other expenditures your prescription medications can on occasions take a back seat. Without your prescription medications minor illness can sometimes become major.

Maintaining good health can require more than a healthy diet and proper rest, but also prescribed medications. You could save up to 90%! Print out your free prescription card today. Print out and present to pharmacy.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE: InCareRx Discount Prescription Savings Card & Save Up To 90% On Prescriptions

Tips On How To Use The InCareRx Discount Card.

The InCareRx discount prescriptions card is to be used as a standalone, and not on top, but in combination with a drug benefit. Say for instance, you have medical insurance with a drug benefit, but your insurance does not cover that one medication. Well, you can utilize the InCareRx card for that one med, but not for the medications that are covered under your plan.

Sometimes there is no generic version, or your doctor may want you to try a brand name. If at all possible, you would not want to come out of pocket 100%. Of course, it's no guarantee, but check to see if a discount is provided using your InCare Rx card.  

If you are paying out of pocket with no drug benefit you can use the card. If you have Medicare Part D you can use the card if you haven't satisfied a deductible, or in the donut hole with no drug benefit. You cannot use both a drug benefit and the InCareRx card.

Covering Medicare Part D Donut Hole Coverage Gap.

Part D coverage your Medicare drug benefit plan. It is my understanding that, contrary to popular belief, not all medicare part D plans have the same retail price. So it is possible for someone who is taking the exact same medications that you are taking that have not reached the donut hole, and you have. This is a possibility because they are enrolled in a different medicare part D plan with lower retail prices for those specific medications. Shop a medicare part D plan specific to your needs. There is no one size fit all.

All of this may somewhat sound confusing, but in essence all you are doing is putting together your plate from food laid out on a buffet table. Some foods will be a good fit you and some not.

A good thing to know also is not everyone will experience being in the donut hole. It's not a given, but just a matter of understanding the coverage to choose a good fit to lessen your risk of getting into a hole, or coverage gap. Also, remember part D is optional and not for everyone. However, please note that if you do not initially sign up for Part D, there is a penalty issue. You might not require a lot of prescription medications today, but who know about tomorrow? There is a risk if you do not initially sign up for Part D. So you must decide if part D is for you. And if so, which part D provider is a good fit.

Basically, there are 4 parts to your medicare benefits. Part A and B is original medicare, and will not help cover your prescription drug cost unless you add on part D which entails an extra premium. You can have medicare part A and B and elect to add on a Medigap policy, which entails an extra premium for the 20% hole in coverage under your original medicare part A and B.

Now your part C is your advantage plan. Your advantage plan replaces your original medicare plan part A and B. Instead of part A for inpatient, part B for doctor services, and part D for drug benefit, an advantage plan, depending upon the advantage plan you choose can contain all 3. An advantage plan operates kind of like an HMO and can encompass some type of drug benefit. There are many advantage plans, and there are differences. Start early and give yourself time to shop around. 

Make sure to the best of your ability, that whatever plan you choose is budget friendly to hopefully prevent an unnecessary strain on your finances, but at the same time you want the best plan, in my opinion, that you can afford. Also if you have limited funds to pay premiums, you might qualify under special programs for assistance.

Too many people don't understand the value of having a Medigap policy until it's too late. It is my opinion, of course, but happens to be shared by many that just having parts A and B (original Medicare), is incomplete coverage. Your Medigap policy is a hard working tool that  helps protect your assets. Knowing that you have a gap in original Medicare, why not exercise a tool to help lessen your risk?

Your Medigap policy is provided initially without any health questions, and should if at all possible not be allowed to lapse for nonpayment of premiums. If this happens you might be then subject to qualifying health questions if you seek re-admittance.

With all this being said your Medigap (Medicare Supplement Insurance), is not completely comprehensive, which means that a Medigap doesn't cover all gaps in Medicare, for example dental, however still in my view your Medigap is a hard working frugal tool that is worth it's weight in gold.

A Medigap policy is designed to only supplement original medicare and will not be part of an Advantage plan. If you have a Part C Advantage plan it is illegal to be sold a Medigap policy.  

It's important also, I think, to note that for example, you tried the Part C Advantage plan, and for whatever reason would like to switch back to original medicare with a Medigap to supplement your original medicare. If possible, be sure to get what is called a trial right. 

Without a trial right you may not be able to get your old Medigap policy back. In some cases you may not be able to purchase any Medigap policy without a trial right. Tread with care.

Help Paying For Prescription Drugs With or Without Prescription Drug Coverage.
If you are in a coverage gap or in the process of needing a deductible amount, why not consider using a discount prescription drug card? That way you are not 100% exposed. This card is not insurance, and works similar to a coupon. Even if you have insurance you may have a prescription drug that your insurance will not cover. You can realize up to 90% savings on some medications. The card will also cover some prescription pet medications. Print out and present to pharmacy. The card is free, and absolutely no qualifying.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE: InCareRx Discount Prescription Savings Card & Save Up To 90% On Prescriptions.

A discount prescriptions savings card can be a great option to be used as a backup to Medicare Part D, or serve as your sole Rx help to keep you from being without your meds.

"Today, nearly 40 percent of a senior's healthcare is on pharmaceutical medications."
-- Dennis Hastert

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation

PART I I - Eating Cheap Versus Buying Cheap Are Not Synonymous

Invest In Nutritious Frugal Foods That Support Good Health.
"You don't need a silver fork to eat good food."  
-- Paul Prudhomme

My Article Reprinted from GoArticles:

Being Frugal Is Also Eating The Best Quality Food You Can Get Your Hands On by J. McKnight in Health/Nutrition  (submitted 2013-02-19)

In numerous cases, quality has little to do with cheap, or inexpensive. Kale is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to taste, nutrition, and cheap, cheap, cheap. Also, you will be in my opinion hard pressed to come up with a contender that could outshine the taste, and nutrition of dried beans.

What society puts a value on may or may not be congruent with its inherent value. When you pay for those high priced processed food items, in too many cases you are paying for advertising and packaging. You may or may not be receiving the quality that you paid for. 

A case in point is that dandelion greens is absolutely a miracle food and is often viewed basically as a weed. Parsley is a fantastic highly nutritious green that is basically viewed as decoration. What about a sprig of parsley thrown into a smoothie for some extra nutrition? Perhaps a sprig or two of cheap parsley thrown into a homemade soup would be nice. The choices are limitless.

Don't have money for breakfast? What about a 13 cent banana? It surely beats having nothing and is loaded with good nutrition. You would be hard pressed to beat the benefits of a simple banana breakfast. Even a lot of sugar-laden cereals couldn't match it.

Another way to prepare inexpensive nutritious meals is to implement whole grains. You can purchase whole grain oats in the bin for extra savings if you choose, or buy boxed on the shelf. I buy my whole grains in the bins now and I absolutely love the quality so far.

I eat whole grain oatmeal five days a week with a fruit. You don't need much; whole grains fill you up. I sweeten my oatmeal with local honey. The whole grains will take longer to cook so plan for extra cooking time.

With all this being said, there are cases where quality has everything to do with price. This is where using a grocery coupon can be a budget stretcher in offsetting that price. A grocery coupon can afford you to be able to buy the better brands at huge discounts.

I use to think food couponing was a waste of time. However, like many others, I discovered that like any other skill couponing has fundamentals that must be learned in order to food coupon successfully. Hypothetically what extras could you purchase with that 25% savings realized by implementing grocery couponing?

For a large breakfast crowd, I have had fantastic success slow cooking whole grain oatmeal in a crock pot. Break out of that box. You can eat oatmeal for dinner too. It is certainly a bargain when compared with other options that are not nutritional heavyweights like oatmeal.

So with some knowledge and a little planning, it is very possible, even in today's world to eat well. When you are eating cheap you must be careful and be mindful that buying cheap is the way to go. Eating cheap can deprive the body of needed nutrients for optimum health. Eating cheap and buying cheap are not synonymous.

Please note this article cannot be published without full author's details.

About the Author
J. McKnight is a Home Economist and an advocate for consumer awareness. To learn more about frugality see http://www.frugaltoolbox.blogspot.com.

PART III - To Thrift Or Not To Thrift - That Is The Question.

Is Thrift Shopping For You? There Is No Sale Like a Resale!

If you are lucky enough to catch the resale fever it is my firm belief that you will be able to save thousands, and perhaps even upgrading your wardrobe.  

I love to thrift shop. However let me say right off that thrift shopping isn't for everyone.  You have to be willing to put in the work to become a good thrift shopper.

Thrift shopping is a skill that takes some time to learn.  There are, in my opinion, several basic skills that must be learned to increase your chances of success.  My definition of success is to look fabulous in your thrift store finds.

If you are really interested in thrift store shopping, stay with it.  You were not born knowing.  We all had to learn.  Those of us who are good, had only an interest and a love for living frugal.  It's therapy in a way.

There is no shopping like thrift shopping.  If you think thrift shopping is for you, take that first step and give it a try.  You might discover a new love.

One of the major skills you have to master is to learn how to hunt.  It takes a lot of patience, but can prove to be well worth it.  Also, it's a good idea to know about labels.

Some thrift shopping pros can tell you what stores, especially your high-end stores that carry a certain brand.  When you know your labels you are in a better position to know when you are getting a good deal or not.  

Don't make the assumption that everything in a thrift store is a bargain.  I've actually seen thrift store items priced higher than regular retail.  It's also nice to know something about garment construction.

The way a garment is finished will speak volumes about the quality.  For example, the hem of a higher end garment will have more of a finished look than a garment that is not. 

You have to look over every inch of a garment.  For example, I recently spotted a suit that looked absolutely gorgeous.  However, after careful inspection, I discovered that the top was my size, but the bottom was 2 sizes too small.  

A lot of thrift stores in my area have a no return policy so you really have to be careful.  These types of observations done repeatedly will become habit.  The thrill of the hunt, in and of itself is a lot of fun.  

The icing on the cake is that a whole lot of money can be saved by shopping frugal.  This is one of my most valuable tools in my toolbox for stretching a dollar.  There is no sale like a resale.

Thrift Risk -- How to Avoid Bedbugs When Shopping Secondhand

Let's face it bed bugs are everywhere.  It seems that in today's world it's a big probability that you will experience them.  So it makes perfect sense to me to educate yourself on how to lessen your risk.  

I no longer take my thrift purchases directly into my living space from thrift stores and yard sales.  In fact, I give all of my purchases a good look-over before I bring them into my living space.  No, I will not stop thrift shopping.  I will not allow those pesty little bugs to control my life.  However, I don't advocate throwing caution into the wind either.

With good results so far, I transfer my thrift store purchases into a heavy duty trash bag and close all openings including the top opening well.  I then set the bag outside or in my vehicle in 90 degrees plus direct sun for 3-4 hours.  I do this prior to washing or dry cleaning.  A friend of mine uses extreme cold this exact same way with excellent results.

This method may not be for you.  However, I strongly suggest that you do something to deter bed bugs if you are to lessen your risk of getting a bed bug infestation that can last for months.

The Re-Emergence of Bed Bugs

I think it's important to address bed bugs.  So much information exist about what to do after you get them and very little information provided on the proactive front.  Well, first of all in today's world with the re-emergence of bed bugs, I would be proactive in protecting my home as best I can from getting a bed bug infestation which is expensive and can last for months.

Bed bugs are everywhere and anywhere. However, taking a few precautions could lessen your risk.  The days are long gone when, in my opinion, you can throw your thrift finds as well as new purchases directly on the bed.

I also would not unpack my luggage from a trip on my bed.  Nor would I bring in a mattress into my home off the curb, unless I knew what I was doing.  And even though you can find them in any part of the house, they don't call them bed bugs for nothing.

Last but not least, I would no longer throw coats on my bed while entertaining, which was a common practice back in the day.  All of these behaviors are now considered high-risk behaviors and could expose your home to a bed bug infestation.

I'm just touching the surface here, but I am a believer of just doing some of these could lessen the probability of having to deal with a very stressful and expensive infestation.  Also, since it's easy and inexpensive to do, I would consider protecting my mattress which is an investment that can be costly if I had to replace one.  Bed bug mattress and box spring covers are special products and not simply a mattress pad.  

For addition information click link below:
Click Here To Check It Out!

A cousin in the pest control industry told me that a good quality bed bug encasement for mattress and box spring should protect against a bed bug infestation involving the mattress, by keeping them outside and preventing entry into one of their favorite hiding and feeding places, the bed. On the other hand, the bed bugs that are trapped inside the encasement will be unable to exit and will eventually die. This translates to you not necessarily having to throw out your mattress and box springs.  

I also like to mention that I use an inexpensive and awesome frugal tool that monitors the possibility of a bed bug invasion in its earliest stage.  I am a firm believer that detecting early versus late can mean the difference between having to spend thousands of dollars for professional intervention versus possibly using an inexpensive and effective D.I.Y.
  For more information see link above.  

Thrift Shopping Hoopla?

Have you ever wondered what all the hoopla is about concerning thrift shopping?  In three words it makes cents. A case in point is when my child was little, and I was in the market for another coat, I thought about checking out a thrift store to browse.

To my surprise, I came upon a very dirty cute little coat for $1.00.  You heard me right $1.00.  This coat if new would probably retail for about $200.00.  I know my labels.  A lot of high-end merchandise pass through thrift stores.

You had to have the vision to see this diamond in the rough.  After careful inspection and I do mean careful, because most sales are final, I saw that the coat was in excellent condition having next to no wear.  I also noted that it had a good label and would probably take a good washing well.

So I decided to take a chance and purchase the coat.  After only one wash the coat came out great.  I always use a colorfast detergent to preserve the color.  Let me say that it’s been my experience that thrift stores do not sell dirty items from wear.  However, this coat appeared to have gotten dirty after falling from the rack and walked on.

It’s been my experience that a lot of thrift stores will mark these items down for a quick sale versus throwing them in the trash.  Thrift stores appear to hate waste almost as much as I do.  I guess they figure some amount is better than nothing.  And I agree 100%.

I am not above purchasing dirty floor walked on items.  I’m sorry, I’m just not.  I am however above trying on any dirty items and will eyeball whether the garment will fit or not.  I figure that if it doesn’t fit the material could be added to my quilt pile if nothing else.

Or perhaps some other child in need of a coat could benefit after it’s been washed of course.  So far as I’m concerned this was a good buy.  If you made three good buys per year you could realize $300.00 or more in savings.  Now that, in my opinion, is worth some hoopla.

"The dictionary defines frugal as 'thrift'. And, thrift is defined as 'economy; careful management; providence'. Whether you call it thrifty or frugality it all comes down to getting more for your money."
-- B. Pulsifer

Who Knew? ThredUp: A Thrift and Online Consignment Store That Rocks!

Have You Heard of ThredUP?

*Shop ThredUP, The Largest Online Consignment & Thrift Store. I have been a fan of ThredUP for many years and appreciate their online availability where you can consign as well as shop.

Expecting Delivery?
Newborns can be expensive without doing careful planning.  There is a lot of good quality gear for newborns at thrift stores, garage sales, and resale shops. An idea one of my friends had was to purchase a container to be used to stockpile her baby thrift store finds.  Once the due date gets close the items are taken out and washed.

This saves time, energy, and yes money.  It's so much stuff out there you have to be careful not to over buy.  If you are having a baby shower you are in a better position to tell friends what you want.

Some things you might want to purchase new.  Shopping frugal, is the way to go, in my opinion.  Babies outgrow their clothing extremely fast.  

Don't Forget Recalls

Keeping up with consumer recalls is especially important to the frugal shopper.  A lot of times you find good deals on toys and furniture, but do not get the opportunity to fill out a product registration card.

It's a good idea to be proactive and stay up to date on all recalls by signing up for alerts, and doing whatever else out there that can keep you abreast. One agency you can sign up with is http://www.recalls.gov

There has been a lot of media attention about infant cribs.  Be sure and do your homework prior to purchasing your crib.  Do not just buy looks, buy safety too.

I Shop New Too!

Click Here To Check Out Zulily!
As nice as thrift shopping is, sometimes we may want to shop new, especially for gifts. Well, there are options other than shopping at a brick and mortar store. One of those options is an online retailer called Zulily that specializes in products for kids, moms, and the home. They are headquartered in Seattle Washington. 
Click On Image Above To Save Up To 70% Off Daily Deals

PART IV - For Extra Income Reselling Thrift Store Finds.
The skill of thrifting can be an awesome tool in your frugal tool box. Not only can you save money, but make money too. The retail therapy is awesome, but if you are not careful thrifting can become an addition that can sneak up upon you. The result is you can stress your storage space, and or have to donate or possibly resale a few items to generate some extra income.

As you probably already know, eBay is a well known vendor for resellers. There is a learning curve, especially for selling clothes. You could also consider reselling on consignment. This seems simple enough, but also you have to know a little something about consigning. You might even entertain a garage sale or two. However, be aware that some neighborhood will restrict the number of garage sales that can be conducted annually per household. Renting a table at a flea market can also be an option. The possibilities are endless.

It might be a good idea to visit a few yard sales or flea markets to pick up a few tips. Most people that I know that do this business full time successfully learned it through somebody. This is a full and part time business for a lot of people. They purposely buy to generate inventory, and resell for a profit.

You probably will be taking mostly cash, but might need something to take an occasional credit card. There is now a payment device called Pay Anywhere that allows you to turn your Smartphone into a credit card reader. Some customers do not carry cash, and a pay-as-you-go mobile credit card processing system can come in handy. People often will buy more when you are able to accept credit cards.

With New Technology, You Can Now Accept Credit Cards On-The-Go Using Your Smartphone Or Tablet.
You may already have a pay-as-you-go system that you are not completely satisfied with, and seeking something else. Pay Anywhere could be your answer. It is my opinion that it is a good idea anyway to have a backup. Someone I know opened up a dedicated savings account to be used with her new Pay Anywhere earnings to purchase a better vehicle. The versatility is awesome.
Pay Anywhere can be used with different types of businesses such as garage sales, food trucks, nail shops, lawn care, flea markets just to name a few. The customer can even sign the receipt on your smartphone and receive a receipt via email, or you can use an optional mobile printer from your smartphone. Pay Anywhere is even compatible with Apple, Android, and Blackberry devices. I think Phone Swipe is a smart little tool.

Accepting Credit Cards - The New Normal vs Cash.

Again, you can now turn your smartphone or yes even your tablet into a mobile merchant account to accept credit cards with no additional equipment to buy.  If you don’t do a lot of volume, maybe an occasional garage sale. Click on Pay-As-You-Go Option link for more information and to get started with no monthly fee incurred, only a low competitive rate per transaction.  Click on Pay-As-You-Go Option to sign up or for more information.

-       OR –

Of course, if you have a lot of volume for instance a nail shop, food truck, or perhaps a lawn maintenance service, you might order our very popular Custom Option for a very competitive monthly fee, and a lower competitive rate per transaction. Click on Custom Option to sign up or for more information. This product is backed by North American Bancard with an A+ BBB Rating.

Got Pay Anywhere?

In summary, I have been affiliated with Pay Anywhere a long time, and I love the fact that:

1. The Standard Pay Anywhere credit card reader is free. You can swipe credit cards and read the EMV chip.
2. The money from credit card sales goes directly into my personal bank account within 1 to 2 business days, unlike some other pay-as-you-go systems.
3. The only pay-as-you-go system, to my knowledge, that has 24/7 live customer support, versus basically being on your own.
It could be a good idea in today's world to have more than one payment option. Sign up for your Free Pay Anywhere Credit Card Reader today. 

When someone is ready to buy, being ready and able to sell is a good idea. It is my opinion, that it is better to have it and don't need it than to need it and don't have it. Sign up is easy. 

PART V - Frugal Beauty Anyone?
I am of the opinion that whether you entertain commercial or natural products quality matters. I entertain, and enjoy both worlds. I would like to mention also that maintaining beauty has a great deal with not only what you put on the outside, but also eating the right foods too can impact significantly on how you age. 

Got A Beauty Box Subscription Anyone?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Makes an Awesome DIY Moisturizer.
Maintain Beauty on Any Budget.

A Toothbrush Can Be A Gigantic Budget Stretcher

I am of the opinion that you can save yourself a lot of money just by being proactive with your teeth.  You probably already know that a toothache demands attention.

A toothache will not wait, and neither should good dental care. Daily cleansing as well as good nutrition will go a long ways in providing you and your family with good dental checkups.

I make my own special tooth paste that has saved me a lot of money, and has served me well over many years.  Basically my recipe consists of my toothbrush, and Baking Soda. I buy in bulk when I can; it saves money. I like aluminum-free. I brush twice a day.  I try to remember to brush at night, especially when I have had a sweet treat.

I floss too, once a day. Cleaning between teeth matters too. Every surface area of a tooth demands attention. Proper cleaning is a big part of maintaining healthy teeth, and proper nutrition is also a big part of it. I have allergies to some foods that have a high content of vitamin C. I discovered in my research that Vitamin C is critical in maintaining gum health. My dentist recommended I supplement vitamin C.

My baking soda over time has kept my teeth nice and white.  Baking soda tends to whiten somewhat slow, but in my opinion, is a good economical tool to whiten stained teeth.  I have been using baking soda for years with excellent results. 

Today, I usually ace my dental checkups.  But it hasn't always been that way.  I use to have some serious dental problems where my teeth were moving around in the sockets. Someone recommended to me to start gargling with sea salt which helped tremendously. I have had some extractions and loss a precious tooth in the front.

I have had some expensive dental care that I will always respect.  I preserve that dental work that took me 18 months to pay off.  I decided to spend some time on my teeth, and clean them properly.

Teeth work very hard for us, and deserve our utmost attention in keeping them healthy, and intact. It's been my experience that dental insurance very seldom pay  the entire bill.

I had a great deal to pay for out of pocket over and above what the insurance covered.  Dental work is just so expensive, in my opinion.  So it makes cents for me to exercise my frugality working my toothbrush, and flossing daily.

A Dental Savings Plan Can Be A Perfect Fit For Some.

When going in for dental services a dental plan can save you a lot of money.  With dental insurance there is usually a waiting period and an annual cap sometimes $1,000 to $1,500 which can be used up pretty quick.

Suze Orman, a personal finance guru have a lot of good things to say about dental savings plans in helping to stretch those budget dollars. It works similar to a coupon. You get a discount, and pay at time of service. Having a discount plan in my opinion is so much better, in a lot of cases, than having regular dental insurance and surely better than having nothing.

(Click Older Posts Below To Continue)