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52 Weeks: Medical – Prescriptions

Prescription medication can be prohibitively expensive. There are several approaches to dealing with this.

First, if the cost is a problem, make sure your doctor knows this. Oftentimes there are alternatives that will work as well or almost as well, at a fraction of the cost of the first thing they thought of. If the pill is a type that can be cut in half, see if the doctor will prescribe twice the dose, with the understanding that you will take half a pill to get the dose they really want. I’ve been doing this for years. The higher dose doesn’t cost twice as much as the lower, so I save a lot of money that way.

Second, choose your pharmacy. A wonderful resource is http://www.goodrx.com  Put in the exact name of the medication and the prescribed dose, and they will show you the price at many drugstores near you. Sometimes there’s a coupon you can print out for a discount at one of the stores.

Be aware that many supermarket pharmacies give away some basic medications free. In my area, Publix gives away metformin (diabetes), lisinopril (high blood pressure), and seven antibiotics.

Walmart has a very long list of generic medications that cost only $4 a month, or $10 for a 90 day supply.

 

 

 

Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack

Communication: Cell Phone Plans

Most single people I know who have a low income have a cell phone only, no landline. For one person the right cell plan can cost no more than basic landline service. And you can take it with you! I like having it with me in case I need to call for help in the car. It’s nice for calling manufacturers right there in the grocery store to be sure whether their product contains something to which I’m allergic.

Virgin Mobile’s Pay Lo plans start as low as $20 a month. The unlimited plan is $40. I suppose a couple or a family could share this if they left the phone at home–just like you leave the landline phone at home–and only took it with them when they went somewhere together. Usually, a family plan costs less than a separate plan for each person, but not always. It can’t hurt to do the math and compare different providers.

Walmart’s Straight Talk cell phone plan gets good reviews online. They give a fifteen-day trial period that allows you to see if the service and the phone will work for you in your area. Several sources say that the unlimited data plan may have some unstated limitations in practice.

Ask your provider–and competing providers–about special discounts. There may be discounts for educators, the military, seniors, any group of which you are a member. Not all discounts are widely advertised and it can’t hurt to ask.

If your data bill is higher than you expected, consider this. If someone on your plan doesn’t log out of Facebook, data will stream any time one of their friends updates their status. So make it a habit to log out of Facebook and similar sites to keep the data bill under control.

 

Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack

Communication: Make the Cable/Internet Company Jealous

I was considering getting my internet from a different company where it was less costly. That would break up the bundle with the company I have now, so I’d only have cable with them.

When I talked with the sales department at my current company, they didn’t have an offer for slower internet and just basic cable that was less than $120 a month. That’s outside my comfort zone.

I priced internet alone at the competitor. Then I called back and asked for the department that handles reducing or cancelling service (instead of the sales department). Suddenly, they could give me 2 mbps internet and basic cable for $60. 2 mb is more than plenty for what I do. No one here plays graphics-intensive mmogs.

Make them think you’re transferring your affections to another, and suddenly they can offer a competitive rate.