In Part 4 I’ll show you how to get the most for your money, whether it’s negotiating a bill, finding the lowest prices on prescription drugs, or saving big money on your kids. Click on one of the links below to get started or just work your way from the top down.
Cancel unused gym memberships
I was just talking to someone the other day who paid for a monthly gym membership, hadn’t been there in three months, and said she should go back again soon.
While your gym membership might be cheap – $30/month – that’s $360/year you’re paying for not using something. If you haven’t been to the gym in a couple of months, save yourself the money and ditch the membership.
Or at least freeze it
If you think you’ll be going back ‘sometime,’ meet with the gym manager and ask to have a freeze put on your membership. Most gyms will allow you to put a 90-120 day freeze. It doesn’t cancel it, but it stops the monthly bills. Then after your freeze ends you can decide if you want to keep the membership or not.
Cancel pet insurance
You will hear stories of people who have bought pet insurance and how great it was when their pet got sick. These stories are the exception, not the rule.
When you review pet insurance you will find so many caps and limits on what they cover, along with the high deductibles, it becomes a bad deal. You’re much better off saving the amount you would be paying for insurance into a pet fund to cover any issues for Fido and Fluffy.
Dispute your medical bills
If you have had an emergency and are left with a huge pile of medical bills, negotiate them to save money.
Call the hospital/doctor and ask to speak with the billing department. Tell them you are unable to pay the balance (assuming you can’t) and explain your situation. Ask them what they can do for you to lower the total.
If you don’t get anywhere, consider working with a professional bill negotiator to save you big bucks. Check out DisputeBills.com
Buy generic drugs
Get free diapers
If you have newborns, check out this list of ways you can get free diapers.
Make your own baby food
Instead of buying expensive baby food in jars or squeeze packets we saved $1,000 by making our own baby food (ok, Katie made it all). It’s simple:
- Take whatever you are eating
- Throw it in a food processor with some milk or water
- Stick it in a container
A side bonus is you won’t have picky eaters. Our twins were exposed to pizza, Thai food, hamburgers, and all kinds of vegetables before they ever held a spoon.
Potty train – now
I met three-year-old twin boys at the playground the other day. I noticed both had diapers on. Ka-Ching!
My son was potty trained at 1 1/2. My daughter at age 2. They still have diapers for naps and nighttime. But that’s a combined 2 1/2 years we didn’t buy diapers.
Sign up for a health savings account (HSA)
A health savings account lets you put money away for medical expenses not covered by your insurance. Every dollar you contribute reduces your taxable income by that amount.
HSA holders can choose to save up to $3,350 for an individual and $6,750 for a family (HSA holders 55 and older get to save an extra $1,000 which means $4,350 for an individual and $7,750 for a family) – and these contributions are 100% tax deductible from gross income.
Given the out-of-pocket costs we’re all paying for healthcare nowadays, an HSA is worth participating in either through your employer or by signing up for a plan on your own (depending on your insurance). You can save hundreds of dollars per year on your taxes.
Ask your employer if you have an HSA you can participate in.