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Guess who got a job!?!

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It is official. Princess has her first job. She turned 16 earlier this week. Applied for jobs the next day. Went in for an interview the day. And was hired on the spot. Score!

Princess turns 16

We are not sure how many hours she will get per week; although, she told them she would like to work full time. She will make $8 an hour at a local fast food restaurant as a cashier.  Unfortunately, there has been a delay in getting her drivers license due to logistics within the state so she won’t be able to drive until the end of the month.

A New Car in the Family

As a result of all this, History Buff is ramping up his plans to get his own car. I am not sure how this will pan out as I do not know how much he has saved.

And for now, there will be no other car for Princess, so she and I will share as originally planned. Her dad changed his mind about coming for her birthday at the last minute. And at this point says he doesn’t have the money for a car. All of which is fine, and not a complete surprise. Just disappointing since he told her repeatedly she would get a car for her 16th birthday and that he was going to come for her birthday. But frankly, neither of us was surprised when neither panned out. But I was disappointed for her.

The Increased Cost of Auto Insurance

I did call our insurance company to find out how much our auto insurance policy will go up when she becomes a licensed driver…

Wait for it…$1,898 for a 6 month policy. And that’s if we do not add a 3rd car to the policy. I’m not sure what it will be if we add another car. I also quoted removing one or both of the twins in case that would be cheaper, since they pay their own insurance. But since they are under 25 and still live at home, it continues to be cheaper for them to stay on the family policy.

When Medical Bills Hurt

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When Medical Bills Hurt

Remember my cancer scare back in March? Turns out all those tests were expensive. I’m grateful for the peace of mind, but YIKES. (I can only imagine the medical bills if I’d actually been sick!)

Our health insurance is terrible as a small business, so we have high deductibles. That means that those screenings and ultrasounds and MRIs were pricey. I was so caught up in finding out what was going on, that I didn’t even think about how much it would cost.

And the timing of the bills was bad.

I don’t know when anyone wants to get medical bills like these, but I can say with certainty that during a pandemic is not it. We were already stuck with no income, a broken fridge, a dead car battery, and a slew of other worries, and a $701 bill was the last thing I wanted to see.

I was overwhelmed and just too depressed. So I did the mature thing and I just set the bills aside. I mean, I stacked them on the desk… it’s not like I shredded them, so that’s something, right?

I just couldn’t process them. And I waited so long that I was getting second notices, and in one case even a third. I usually handle paying the medical bills, but I should have confessed to my husband that I was too off my game.

So this week I finally paid them.

I picked up the dreaded stack and got on the phone. Some were small and less painful. $37 is okay. $81, ugh, but doable. But then there was that $701 one.

Gratefully, there was one silver lining:

I have a trick for reducing big medical bills.

Okay, maybe less of a trick and more of a common technique. When I started having regular sinus surgeries several years ago, I read online that doctors and hospitals will often give you a discount if you’re paying in full! It was a revelation to me, but I just couldn’t do it at first. It felt tacky and embarrassing.

But then I thought who am I to feel cheap? We’re broke!

So I tried it. The first time it was over the phone, and it seemed less mortifying. I reached my surgeon’s billing office, and red-faced and apologetic I said, “Is there a discount if I’m paying in full?” Without skipping a beat she said yes, and BOOM—I saved 10%.

Now I ask every time. Sometimes they have to check with a supervisor, and usually it has to be over $100 or more. But I’ve saved between 10-15% again and again. And every little bit helps.

So this week I got 10% off: $701 became $631. Still high, but hey, it’s something.

I keep getting calls, wanting me to schedule another appointment to get another MRI to double check everything on my liver. However, I don’t want to skip into a hospital right now without a really good reason. And let’s be honest, I don’t know if I can handle the cost again!

Do you ever negotiate your medical bills?