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.

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