Saturday, April 18, 2009

Take Charge of the Little Things

Sometimes spending a little time or a little money can save a lot of time or a lot of money. Here are just a few ways I've found to spend a little time or money to save money.

Working in the billing office of a medical practice, the most important thing I've learned is how crucial it is for a patient to have a valid referral if the insurance plan requires it. If your plan requires referrals from your primary care provider, I suggest you personally make sure the referral gets to the specialist in time for your appointment.

Driving a 16 year old minivan with almost 190,000 miles, I think the single most important thing that has helped keep this vehicle running strong is getting the oil changed. "How often?" is another question. The quick-oil-change places say to change it every 3,000 miles. My manual says to change it every 7,500 miles for normal driving. Since the car is older, and has to work harder, we compromise and get it changed about every 6,000 miles.

Keeping a budget in hard economic times keeps many of us on our toes these days. Recently my sister told me how she cut a little here and a little there from her monthly bills, and it's surprising how it all added up. Sometimes taking that half hour to shave a few dollars from the budget - make a few phone calls or a few small decisions - can make a difference in being able to balance the budget or in buying something that is more important to us, or perhaps in paying off a debt.

Paying off debts, I have found that taking a little time to make a plan keeps me positive. I almost enjoy writing that check and I rejoice as I see the balance diminishing. It's been kind of fun to take the time once in awhile to tweak the debt repayment plan. "If I paid this much more per month on this bill, how much sooner could we get it paid off?" My favorite calculator for this is provided (free) by CNN

I'm sure you have your own ideas. That's the beauty of brainstorming. If we just think positively and freely, we can often think of ideas to spend a little and save a little...and sometimes we might even hit the jackpot and save a lot.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

May you all have a very blessed and happy Easter!

And remember, it is not just one day, not just one week, not even just one Easter season, but a lifetime, followed by an eternity. May you live in peace, the peace that passes understanding.

May Our Lord grant you His peace and joy today and always.

Christ is risen!
Indeed He is risen!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Rebound Exercise

Until a spring broke in one of the legs of our mini-trampoline, I hadn't realized how much I depend on it. Actually, until then I had felt guilty that I didn't use it more. As I frequently look over at our mini-trampoline as it lies helplessly on the ground, I realize, now, how often I must have gotten on it for a few minutes here, and a few minutes there. And my recent achy legs have been telling me that those few minutes had all added up to something good...something that I miss.

Have you tried rebound exercise? Have you read about it? We first learned the value of it from a book we had many years ago called The Miracle of Rebound Exercise by Albert E. Carter. Visiting this topic on Amazon just now, I see that he wrote the book as long ago as 1979, but that he has written a follow-up as recently as 2005, called Rebound Exercise: The Ultimate Exercise for the New Millenium.

We bought our current mini-trampoline a year or so ago - second hand - through Craig's List. It's an Urban Rebounder and has a balance bar. The spring that broke was in the leg that attaches to the bar and I think family members (who shall remain nameless) bent the bar back and forth absentmindedly (one too many times) -- not while using the trampoline, but while just standing beside it talking. Our new spring is in the mail.

Why is rebounding so great? I've been doing some searches on rebounding this morning to refresh my memory. From the various websites I've browsed, rebound exercise is good for the lymphatic system, the heart, the circulation, the bones, and so much more. It's good for healthy people and it's good for not-so-healthy people. I just read a review of Al Carter's newer book that says he talks about mitochondria. To me, that's exciting. You may have never heard of mitochondria and I kind of wish I hadn't, but hey, knowledge is power. I think I need to order the book. When I do, I will share with you what I learn, but don't wait for me. If you aren't familiar with this wonderful, convenient form of exercise, check it out for yourself.