Showing posts with label how to save money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label how to save money. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Survey Says: Consumers are leaving money at the pharmacy counter

We recently conducted a survey where we asked 1,000 consumers about their spending, shopping, and savings habits when it comes to purchasing prescription medication. The results revealed that while a majority of people taking prescription medication and are interested in saving money, only a small percentage has actually attempted to do so at the pharmacy.



Over 65% of respondents said that they take at least one prescription, and 50% said that they fill at least ten per year. And over half – 59% - are spending $150 or more on their medication on an annual basis. For many people, this price can be too high to pay, and even skip their medication because they can’t afford it.

With an estimated 80-100 million Americans currently uninsured (and many millions more who are underinsured), it’s not surprising that people are spending too much.

The survey also brought to light the harsh reality around the limited awareness regarding prescription savings options.

The FamilyWize card saves an average of 42% on prescriptions, and in many cases gives a deeper discount than insurance – but only 18% of people have ever even tried to use a savings card. That’s the equivalent of 4 out of 5 people never using coupons or looking for deals when they shop for groceries.

Why are so many people missing out? Awareness could be a key issue. Only half or the consumers polled had ever heard of prescription savings cards, meaning there are many people out there who are missing a chance to save simply because they don’t know that it’s out there.

What can we do to change this? We can start by spreading the word. FamilyWize works with partners like United Way, the American Heart Association, and the NCOA to increase awareness about the savings offered by FamilyWize. By working together, we can strengthen communities nationwide.


Know someone who you think might be spending too much for prescriptions? Print out a free card for them at http://familywize.org/card, or direct them to the free FamilyWize app, available on iPhone, Android, and Windows Phones.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Saving Green by Going Green

Fancy yourself an expert on frugal living? In today’s economy, saving money is a priority in most households. Environmental concerns are also on the rise; everyone seems to be buzzing about “being green.” Thankfully, there are ways to save your money while doing your part to save the planet. We have compiled a two-fold list of helpful tips to capitalize on this win-win initiative.

Energy efficient lightbulb


In your home


This is obviously the space where you have to potential to save the most money. Running a household is downright expensive, but there are some simple ways to conserve both energy and water in your day-to-day activities. Check out these ideas about where to save your money indoors:


    Woman loading the dishwaster
  • Weather-stripping: Take the time to either improve or repair weather-stripping and caulk on windows and doors. When properly done, weather-stripping should cause resistance when you use the door. This will help to cut energy costs associated with heating and cooling.
  • Light bulbs: Make the switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Although they cost a little more than traditional light bulbs, they use about 75% less energy.  They also tend to last about ten times longer.
  • Outlets: If you aren't using your television or your phone changer, those things can’t hike up your energy bill, right? Wrong. If it’s plugged in, it’s using something called “phantom” energy. Take the time to unplug everything when not in use, use power strips that allow you to cut off energy with the flip of a switch.
  • Thermostat: Adjust your central air temperature by a mere two degrees. This small shift up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees in the winter can save up to 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually while lowering your energy bills by about 5%.
  • Water heater: How hot do you really need your water? Does it have to be scalding? Turn that water heater down to 120 degrees; that’s warm enough.
  • Use cold water for laundry: Heating water accounts for about 90% of energy usage during a wash cycle. Detergents work just fine without heat, and set-in stains won’t magically be removed by using warmer water.
  • It’s best to use the dishwasher: The technology in today’s dishwashers actually makes more efficient use of water than hand washing. Typically, they use under ten gallons of water in one cycle. Trust your dishwasher and save even more water by not pre-rinsing your dirty dishes. Also, only run the dishwasher when there is a full load of dishes. 
  • Shower smarter: Shorten your showers and avoid water-hogging baths altogether.
  • Get creative with DIY cleaning products: Most cleaning products are toxic and harm the environment. Do everyone a favor by creating your own cleaning concoctions. Many use common household ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemons. Check out this TLC article for specific, cleaner-substitution recipes.

Outdoors and in your travels


Most money saving moms only think green about their indoor energy and water usage. However, if you’re a money saving expert, you also know how to save your money beyond the walls of your living space. Here are some of the best ways:

Grass: About 50 to 70 percent of the water homes use goes into their lawns and gardens. For the most efficient use of your water, only water your lawn early in the morning and keep grass three inches long in order to prevent the water from evaporating right away.

Hang-dry laundry: You don’t need to use a dryer if the weather outside is decent. Set up a clothesline and harness natural energy.

Hang-drying laundry

Plant trees: Trees are green, but in more ways than you might consider. How do trees help you reduce energy consumption and save money? When they have leaves in the summer, they help shade your home from the summer heat, reducing the amount of energy needed to cool your house. Conveniently, when they drop their leaves in the fall, trees allow sunlight to shine in and help heat your home.

Grow your own food: Planting seeds for a crop is a great deal cheaper than repeatedly buying store-bought produce. As an added benefit, no fruits and vegetables are fresher than those fresh out of your own garden.

Now you know how to save cash and how to be more green. You’re welcome!


Amanda Gilmore
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 8, 2013

Getting More for Less: Tips for a Frugal Family

It's almost springtime, which calls for some seasonal upkeep inside and outside the home. Frugal moms, take note: there are quite a few practical things you can do to reduce your household expenses and keep the whole family happy at the same time. Here are five:

Transportation


From the annual registration and insurance costs, to fuel and tires, driving and maintaining a vehicle is expensive. Lifehacker.com has some great tips on negotiating that can help you stay on top of vehicle maintenance. Try exchange babysitting services or homemade meals for car repairs or new tires, and don't be afraid to ask for a loyal customer discount. Also, make sure you compare rates from other companies and ask the mechanic to match his competitors' prices.


Woman shopping for a used car
Many families can't find reasonably priced vehicles, especially if they have bad credit. If finding a used vehicle you can afford is your problem, you may want to try an option like DriveTime bad credit auto loans. With a simple two-minute online application, moms find out if they're qualified for a used car that won't break their budget.

Food


Feeding a growing family can feel like you're throwing your cash into a never-ending money pit. Moms can feed their families healthy meals and stay on track financially with a variety of money-saving tactics:
  • Clip coupons. This enables families to buy the groceries they love at a reduced price. Coupons are available in the Sunday newspaper, online and through coupon exchange sites. Use them before they expire and combine them with store sales to increase your savings.
  • Stock the pantry with foods when they're on sale. Grocery stores place the same items on sale every three to four months.
  • Store brands cost less than brand names and usually taste just as good.

Coupons for food
Coupons can help make mealtime more affordable

Shelter


Refinancing a mortgage isn't always possible, but frugal moms can save money on utility bills and other expenses. Turn off the lights before leaving a room and unplug unused electric appliances. Lower the thermostat during winter months and raise it in the summer.

Also, investigate if electric deregulation means you have an option to choose your energy provider. It depends on what state you live in, but one phone call may increase your family's disposable income without sacrificing indoor comfort.


Entertainment


Buying new books and seeing movies at the theater are expensive ways to stay entertained. The local public library offers numerous resources for frugal moms. You and your family can get free movies, books and magazines rentals, as well as Internet access, free children's story times and adult book clubs. Many libraries even offer free museum day passes.


Clothing


Keeping closets stocked with cute clothes that fit growing kids challenges even the most frugal moms. Secondhand stores are the perfect places to find quality, affordable clothing.

Consignment stores sell brand-name, gently used clothes and shoes for the entire family. Moms can earn credit toward clothes by consigning the clothes that don't fit their kids anymore. Thrift stores offer clothing, shoes and household goods that are usually less expensive than consignment stores. Savvy secondhand shoppers search the dollar bins regularly and buy items during half-off sales.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Saving Your Change - Dollars and "Sense"


pennies worth
A penny saved is a
penny earned!
Did you ever wonder just how much you could save if you started saving all those loose coins from the washing machine? I am always pulling out quarters or dimes and nickles from the bottom of my machine. Some years ago I started putting them in a can just because I didn't want to carry all that weight around in my wallet. I believe in a penny saved is a penny earned! I still have that can and it weighs about ten pounds now. I have yet to count it all.....I like surprises!!
In days gone by, pennies actually could buy something.  I am old enough to remember "penny candy" from the local grocery stores.  They had bins full of little bits of sweetness for sale for just a pennies worth or two!  Of course, it was displayed right at the eye levels of many of the eight year old customers! Unfortunately, those treats have long disappeared from the shelves due to current health and safety requirements of the grocers. But it could still pay off to save those pennies and other coins if you want to treat yourself to something else down the road. 
change counters
Turn your pennis worth into cash!

Some people think that saving their change is a complete waste of time. But it can actually be a great way to save some extra cash, and I think you might be surprised just how fast it can add up to some real money! I will concede that it is harder nowadays to save your change as so many of our purchases are made with debit and credit cards....thus no change! However, the banks have gotten in the game and started a similar program through your online banking programs. They will round up your payments and then put your "change" in a savings for you. 

A Treasurer Chest of Savings!


You might set up a "Mom's Savings Jar" and have everyone in the family drop in their loose change every chance they get. It could be used as a vacation fund or family night out fund, so the whole family might benefit from the little extra effort. Another great idea would be to let the family pick a favorite charitable organization to donate it to when it gets full. This can be a very rewarding experience for the kids and mom and dad. It could be donated to a childrens' Christmas Fund during the holidays. If you start your savings jar in January and keep "donating" to it all year, by the time December rolls around you will be amazed at just how much you might have in your stash! 

You could use your change for the kids' lunch money each week or extra gas money, if needed. We all know how the higher prices of gasoline have hit our pocket books lately! It might ease the pain just a little to know you have a little extra to count on. 

Five...Ten....Fifteen...Twenty..................$$$


One thing that I have found is that it is harder to get the paper type coin rollers these days. We used to be able to just ask the bank for extra rollers, but so many now use plastic wrappers that are rolled by change countersOh, but for the good ole days!!! However, you can find the coin wrappers at some of the dollar store chains and at some banks. It is really kind of fun to sit in the middle of the floor with a pile of coins as you roll them and anticipate just how much you will end up with. Of course some banks and super markets have change counters where you can pour your change in and watch it be counted. Some make it a little contest where you guess how much you think you have, and you win a prize for coming within a certain range.

This is actually a good way to teach kids how to save money.  They can start filling their piggy banks for something they might want to buy for themselves down the road.There are also websites set up to help you track your savings such as www.savingyourchange.com. They make it a type of game and offer information on saving and investing if you are so inclined.

And don't forget that if you need to save money on prescription medications, download the free FamilyWize discount prescription card and save an average of 30 percent at the pharmacy. Over $400 million has been saved nationwide. That's a lot of savings!

So save that change and make it count. In these tough economic times turn your loose change into cash and make every penny count!


Cindy Foley
Contributing Writer


Monday, September 17, 2012

Teaching Children the Basics of Money

money lessons
Teaching money skills to kids will make them happy.
Kids LOVE money so why not teach them great money skills? I think the more kids understand about the value of money and how to save money the better off they will be when they become adults. 

You can teach your child how to count money just like you teach them to count numbers.  There are a lot of activities for children that teach them how to count money. Learning through games, counting money worksheets and going to the store with you are great ways to learn about money.  Many parents taught their kids about money and how to use it by having them total the cost of groceries with a calculator as they put items in the basket. This helps them with their math skills and helps them grasp the cost of things.


Money Doesn't Grow on Trees

In our household of four we have two spenders and two savers. Our youngest, like me, loves to spend. Our oldest likes to save, like my husband. Our kids were able to see how to spend and how to save, which was valuable. If my husband and I both liked to spend, they might not have learned the value of saving. We tried to teach them at a very young age the famous saying "Money doesn't grow on trees." 

When they were preschoolers the money lessons were very easy. We used piggy banks where they could save their money.  After saving some, we took them to the store and let them buy something they wanted.  Although they didn’t completely understand the concept at that age, at least they knew that saving coins in their banks meant they could get something that they really wanted. As they got older it was easier to explain.

That’s when we started assigning chores and an allowance for our kids was established.  Not only did they apply saving money, but they also had to start making decisions about purchases based on their savings.
 
Learning by Doing
Money skills money lessons
Chore chart to track progress.

Keeping a chore chart and paying kids an allowance at the end of each week lets kids see their progress. Free Behavior Charts is a website where you can print out a free chore chart. They can be customized with popular characters your kids know and love. Goal for It also has free customizable chore charts that you can print, or use on line. Computer savvy kids might love that!

Putting up a visible reminder also adds extra fun and motivation to chores and will gives kids a sense of pride when they can track their accomplishments. Add some colorful magnets and it's even more fun!

For children under ten years, a list of chores and activities like this could work well:

•  Brush teeth
•  Feed pets
•  Homework
•  Make your bed
•  Clean your room

For kids over ten, your list could look something like this:

•  Dishes
•  Clean up after pets
•  Mow lawn
•  Vacuum
•  Wash car

Make learning about money a family activity:

•  Have a "Money" game night and play Monopoly, Pay Day, or my favorite Life. 
•  Make a lemonade stand that the whole family can enjoy.  Let them borrow the money for supplies, and explain that they need to pay back the loan with their earnings. This teaches kids about what a bank does and the importance of paying back a loan.

As our children get older their toys become more expensive. If they understand the value of money they may understand why they can't get that expensive toy right away.  Our girls kept asking us for a Mac laptop and we just kept telling them to save their money.  Finally last month, they had both saved enough money to each buy one. They are very nice computers and my daughters take very good care of them.  I think it is because they know exactly how hard they had to save and work to buy them. They appreciate something they worked hard for and they both have a sense of pride when they tell everyone that they saved up for it all by themselves.  It also made me very proud to know that my girls are responsible and they understand that you have to work hard to get things in life.  Oh, and it was also nice to keep my checkbook in my wallet while they spent some of their hard-earned cash!

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer 
 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Furniture Finds at the Thrift Store

We're buying a house!  Well, sort of... my dad owns a few rental properties and he is getting to the age where he wants to relax and only worry about what my mom is making for dinner.  Can't blame the guy!  To get the peace of mind he is looking for, he is selling one of his rental properties and...I will be buying it! (Hopefully with a daughter discount.)

Budget Furniture Shopping
The shelf, paintings, and bird cage were all
found at a second hand store!
The house has really good bones, but needs A LOT of work--new floors, new carpets, new siding, new appliances; the list I've started is getting looooooong.
However, I am totally up for the challenge!

I love to make things look beautiful and my boyfriend is a welder/fabricator so we are more than capable of taking on the challenge.

Since I'm semi-fresh out of college and haven't learned how to budget money too well and build up my savings account, I know enough to use the money I did save on those core structural items that need to be done.  Even though I would much rather spend it furniture shopping.

The money I will be spending on home furniture is coming from a box of savings bonds my mom has saved for me through the years, which adds up to around $2,000.  Does it sound impossible?  Filling a house with affordable furniture is probable with the help from local thrift stores.


Why Thrift Store Furniture?


It's Not Just Junk - There is a stigma clouding thrift stores that all they are is a roof on top of unwanted items.  So not true!  There are many reasons why these items--mainly furniture--are brought to second hand stores.  For example:

  • People move or have to downsize, the furniture that cannot be taken is deposited at thrift stores where people know it can be resold and go to a good home.
  • People pass away and family can't take or do not want any of their belongings, the thrift store is likely to gain those things too.  
Bottom line - it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with the furniture, it just didn't have a home.

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder -  If you pass by a dresser or shelf that catches your eye, but it's not the color you're looking for or it's missing a knob, don't let that stop you.  There is so much potential in used furniture if you don't mind using a little elbow grease.

Thrift Store Furniture
After stripping the layers of paint that were caked
on this dresser, refurbished furniture can look amazing!

Thrift Store Furniture Don'ts

Even though I'm all about thrift stores and would buy groceries there if I could, there are some things to keep in mind when you venture out to buy cheap furniture.

Mattresses- Hmmmm. You might want to pass.  Even though a new mattress is on the expensive side , mattresses are best when not second hand.  With the whole bedbug craze, it has taught us that we are never alone in bed!  I suggest splurging on new because peace of mind is included in the price.
  • Couches- Need a new couch? Proceed with caution! With the living room being the most used room and the house and the couch getting the brunt of it, make sure you zoom in on the couch you're thinking about buying.  If it visually looks like it's in good shape with no rips or stains and it's sturdy, you can make it yours if the price is right.  If it has a good frame, but has an outdated pattern, there is an easy fix.  Buy or make slip covers and it will look like a million bucks.
  • For more used furniture don'ts, check out this How to Buy Used Furniture article by Quickanddirtytips.com

More Ways to Fill Your House

Get to Know Craig and His List-  If you can't seem to find that perfect piece you are looking for, you should check out Craigslist.org.  It is a huge online community bulletin board where people post things they are selling in your area.  One of the categories hitting close to home for me is -- appliances.  It is often difficult to find appliances at second hand stores.  Plus they are heavy and it is not often worth the effort to take them to a thrift store.  We resorted to Craigslist.  I hopped on the computer and skimmed Craigslist.  I found an awesome stainless steel refrigerator that a guy was selling for $400 bucks because he bought a bigger one.  Being the thrifty person that I am, I negotiated the price down to $350 and we picked it up that night.   I looked up the retail price and the same refrigerator "new" would have cost over $1,000.  We are pretty sure we got a good deal!  You can find almost anything and everything on Craigslist.  If you're looking for a hard to find part for your car or even a Barbie to add to your collection, start here.  
thrift shopping
All these yard sale end tables needed was a good sanding,
white paint, and little black spray paint!

Yard Sales - I LOVE a good yard sale primarily because of the prices.  Thrift stores are often a resource for a charity to raise money and their items are priced accordingly.  And although the prices are low, they are high compared to the prices at yard sales.  People who have yard sales just want to get rid of their stuff!  The goal is to not have to bring it back into their house!  You can find really good deals at yard sales and they are the perfect place to try out your negotiating skills!

If you have some awesome thrift store finds or tips on buying second hand furniture, please share!

Krysta W.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thrifty Shopping- Clothes for a Cause

cheap clothes thrift shops
One of the many outfits I've worn to the office,
courtesy of the thrift store!
All of my friends know that if they want to find me on a Saturday morning, I will be at one of two places: my house or my second home-- the thrift store.

For all of you who are thinking to yourself, "Really, Krysta?  Why on earth would you spend your Saturday mornings there?"  Well, my question to you is "Why not!?"

When I was a kid, all I knew about thrift shops is that when something didn't fit anymore or if I no longer wanted something, that's where it went.

For the past couple of years, I have been doing the opposite- going to second hand clothing stores to purchase stylish yet cheap clothes.  Who would have thought!  Not only do I come home with all kinds of goodies, but my girl instinct to shop benefits many people in the process.

My love affair with thrift stores began when I was in college.  I was given the opportunity to intern at a newspaper.  In order to do that, I needed clothing: dress pants, dress shirts--the works.  I didn't want to spend a ton of money because I would only be needing the clothes for the semester and my taste in clothes changed like the weather anyway.  Getting discount clothes gave me a wardrobe to meet my needs -- affordably.

I knew that second hand stores existed, but I was too proud to step foot in one.  A building full of people's old stuff didn't really appeal to me and might not appeal to you either.  But have you ever borrowed a girlfriend's dress or a buddy's suit?  If you're guilty like me, you wore someone else's clothes.  The way I looked at it, thrift store clothing gave me a huge selection that I can borrow permanently!

Here Are Some Reasons You Should Shop Thrift Stores:

 

You're Benefiting Your Community - Thrift stores like The Salvation Army and Goodwill have all of the proceeds go right back to helping those in need.  For example, The Salvation Army's Older Adult Rehabilitation Centers are 100% funded by the proceeds of their family thrift stores.  Shopping at Goodwill helps to support job placement and training programs for people with disabilities.  Whether you buy donated goods at Salvation Army or Goodwill, you're helping your wardrobe and others in the process!  You can visit their websites for store locations and for more details how both organizations help your community.

You Won't Buy Children's Clothes Ever Again! -  Attention parents!  Thrift shops are jackpots for children's clothing.  Kids grow like weeds and before you know it, shirts are too tight and pants look more like shorts.  Whenever I go shopping at second hand clothes stores, the biggest section of the store is almost always the children's section.  There is a huge selection from onesies to winter jackets for all ages. Whether you are preparing for a new baby or need a one-time Easter dress for your little girl, savers should visit second hand clothes shops for clothing your kids will only wear a handful of times.

second hand store
Over 20 pairs of dress pants--all from the
thrift store!
Inexpensive Work Clothing - College graduates and bargain hunters alike can have their money go a lot further by staying away from pricey department stores.  After I graduated from college, I needed professional clothing to go on job interviews and then clothes to wear to work when I eventually got a job.  I scored a dresser full of work pants and paid a fraction of the price new pants would have cost.  Here's a tip:  If you find a pair of dress pants or jeans that fit like a glove but are too long or too short, no problem!  Most of the pants I've brought home were that way.  For pants that are too long, take them to your local dry cleaner so that they can be hemmed for around ten dollars per pant.  Or I discovered a great invention called hemming tape (its about three dollars for a roll) that can provide a temporary fix preventing your pants from dragging on the floor.  If the pants are too short, turn them into capris or walking shorts and wear them to the office during the summer.


$ales! - Just like department stores have sales, so do thrift stores!  (And they're way better!)  The thrift store I go to has specials every day.  One day of the week you can fill a whole basket of clothing for six dollars.  Other days they offer a percentage off of the ticketed price.  Keep an eye out for specials to save even more money on top of the already discounted clothing.

New Clothes - If you can't shake the thought of buying other people's clothes, there is usually a section of clothing with tags still on them.  Discount fashion clothing with tags are usually sold at 50% or more off the retail price on the tag.  Last year, I found an awesome blazer with the tags still on it.  I get tons of compliments and people look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them I got it at the thrift store!

The next time you want to go shopping, skip the mall.  Venture into a second hand store and you will be amazed at what people donate.  One person's old clothes can be another person's treasure.  And your thrift store finds help many people who really need it.

Thrift stores are a great place to add to a wardrobe, but there is more to them than just clothes.  Keep an eye out for another blog filled with tips to furnish your house with the help of thrift shops!

Krysta W.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pool Savings - Healthy Solutions

Salt Water Pool
My Pool Oasis
We are in the thick of Summer and I am sure a lot of you are thinking it's time for some pool fun.  Some of you may have pools and some of you are thinking that you need to get one.  As for my family, we do have a pool and I don't know what we would do without it.  Our teenage girls are fishes and pretty much live in it all summer along with all their friends.

When we first decided to build a pool my husband Phil searched through a lot of information on regular chlorine pools and the new rave of salt water swimming pools.  As for me I just wanted something that didn't turn all our hair green or leave our skin feeling starchy and smelly.  So of course I said a salt water pool all the way.  I really didn't know if it was better for us, all I knew is that my hair wouldn't look like the Wicked Witch of the West by the end of summer.

pool for you
Who wants to go swimming?!
With all of Phil’s research we decided to go with the salt water pool mainly because he is a penny pincher and this was the cheaper route plus the benefit of lower swimming pool maintenance.  In addition to big savings, we also discovered this was a healthy pool solution for a family who swims all summer long.  Our choice of swimming pool water means my family has green free hair, soft skin, and every now and then we get a taste of salt that makes us feel like we are at the ocean.  Plus Phil doesn’t have to work too hard to keep it looking crisp and clean.

Salt Water Pool Information and Supplies
The original set up was about $400 (we have a 30,000 gallon pool), which paid for the salt water system and the 12 bags of salt which lasts all summer.  We built our pool six years ago and since then the cost of a salt water system has almost doubled, but it is still worth it since you are not always having to go buy chlorine.  The generator actually regulates the chlorine through the salt that you initially add in the beginning and keeps the pool’s chemicals balanced.  So instead of having to check the pools chemicals everyday and constantly maintain it; the generator does it for you.  The generator has its own little brain that thinks for you.  The salt level has to be between 1600-2400 parts per million and if it isn't, the generator will let you know if it is too high or too low.

healthy Pools
Marco....Polo....pool fun.

What's Lurking in Your Pool

I have to admit that I never checked into the health aspects of a salt water pool until after we built one. Then I started to wonder what the effect of chlorine in the water does to you and can chlorine cause any health issues?  I decided to look into the health benefits of salt over traditional chlorine pools.  I found out that both salt and chlorine pools disinfect and kill the germs that naturally occur.  The difference is that in a chlorine pool the levels of chlorine are harder to keep under control and this can cause germs and bacteria to form more quickly if the levels aren’t maintained correctly.  Traditional chlorinated pools also have a lot more chemicals then a salt water pool.  With a salt water pool you have the salt generator to maintain it at all times and you are less vulnerable to having unwanted germs in your pool.  The generator keeps a steady and continuous supply of chlorine flowing through the pool which keeps the chlorine levels at the recommended amount.  If they aren’t maintained you will definitely know.  Have you ever been in a pool and all of a sudden your eyes start stinging and then they become blurry or the odor of chlorine is so bad that you want out?  These are big signs that the pools chlorine levels are out of whack and chemicals are on overdrive. Studies at Southern Illinois University School showed that swimmers who have been in a poorly chlorinated pool have had asthma like symptoms, lung irritation, red irritated eyes, and skin rashes.  Once I read that, I knew we made the right decision on going with the salt water pool.  

I hope this helps you choose the right pool for you.  If you are looking to save on pools, then salt water pools are for you.  You will also have a healthy pool and have huge chemical savings down the road.

For us, it is so nice to have a refreshing plunge in the heat of the day into a pool that is odorless, clear, and free of unwanted harsh chemicals and germs.  We definitely have a healthy and fun pool that everyone can enjoy. 
Pool Fun
Back dive or half twist, diving into a healthy pool is fun!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Oh Boy - A Baby at FamilyWize! Pass the Baby Wipes Please

Oooh Baby - It's a Boy! 


having a baby
Team Leader Amber at Familywize.
But we knew that!  What we didn't know was when this little bundle of joy was going to join the FamilyWize family!  And we are very happy to announce that the FamilyWize family just got a little bit bigger!  

We shared the surprise party we threw for our team leader Amber (Amber's Shower), but now we want to send a big hug and congratulations to Amber and her husband on the new addition of their family on July 3rd!

Amber and husband welcomed their sweet baby boy on Tuesday and none too soon!  

The Fun Has Just Begun!
Having a baby is only the beginning!  There are sooo many things to think about.  Although Amber and her husband were well prepared with baby shower gifts and pre-baby shopping, a baby in the family brings a reality check to your life and your wallet.

From baby clothes to formula (if you are nursing) to diapers and baby wipes - it seems once you have a baby the money tree in the backyard can't grow fast enough.


baby wipes
Making your own baby wipes saves money.
So I shared a little secret with Amber on the day of her baby shower - homemade baby wipes!  

Making Your Own Baby Wipes

Having babies doesn't have to be expensive.  You can make your own food, make your own baby wipes; there are many ways to save money as you grow your family!  With three children of my own, saving money when adding babies to the family tree can sure come in handy!

As with everything FamilyWize, we believe in paying it forward!  So I am going to share a baby wipe recipe that was given to me after my first baby - AND I rarely bought baby wipes after that!

Recipe - Baby Wipes:
1 roll of paper towels (soft, cotton paper towels)
2 cups of hot water
2 Tbsp. of Baby Soap
1 Tbsp of Baby Oil or Olive Oil

Directions:  
  1. Lay the roll of paper towels on its side.  Cut the roll of paper towels in half with a sharp knife - setting aside one half.  
  2. Carefully remove the inside cardboard of the roll.  You will be pulling the wipes from the center.  Doing this step makes it easy to take one wipe at a time.
  3. Put one half of the roll in an empty diaper wipe container or other container large enough to hold the half roll of paper towels.
  4. Mix water, baby soap, and baby oil in a measuring cup or bowl.
  5. Pour the mixture over the towels in the container.
  6. Let it sit for about 15 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed. 
You now have your own baby wipes that you can use immediately! 

Be sure to share with us how you save money having a baby in the family!  Also - please share this recipe with all your young mom friends!

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager


Friday, June 29, 2012

Options for MediCare Part D Prescriptions

Working at FamilyWize really gives me assurance that there are always options when it comes to getting needed prescription medicine - even those of you in the donut hole who are probably asking, "Now what?" 


medicare prescription assistance programs
Light on the other side of the Donut Hole.
If you are new to Medicare and the Part D prescription coverage gap, then there are a few things you need to know:
  1. There is a temporary gap in prescription coverage depending on the plan you've chosen so your monthly prescription medication costs may rise.
  2. Whether or not you enter into the coverage gap is based on your drug plan spending for those drugs that are covered.
  3. Once you enter whether or not you will exit the donut hole additional funds and qualify for catastrophic coverage for the remainder of the year is based on your out of pocket expenses while in the Medicare coverage gap.  
Confusing? For more information or help go to www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE or check with your pharmacist.


If You Calculate That You Won't Spend Enough Money Out of Pocket to Qualify for Catastrophic Coverage... Then Here Are Tips to Make the Best of the Coverage Gap While You Are In It



If you do enter the coverage gap, as promised from last week's blog "The Dreaded Medicare Donut Hole"; here are some options and resources on how to land softly and survive the donut hole dunk! 

If you think you will spend enough to get out of the gap - DO NOT use these options.
  1. Compare, Compare, Compare - If you are not going to spend enough to get out of the donut hole, say it with me-COMPARE!  There are many options from manufacturer rebates to store programs that may be able to help you save a chunk of money.
  2. Chat with your Pharmacist - Your pharmacist is aware of different programs that can be used in conjunction with Medicare Part D insurance.  Talk to your pharmacist to see which program would work best for you based on the medications you are prescribed.
  3. Talk to your Doc - Your doctor doesn't necessarily know what health insurance you have because there are medical billers whose jobs are to handle insurance matters.  (I know this because a good friend is one!)  Let your doctor know that you are a Medicare Part D recipient and have fallen into the donut hole. See if your brand-name prescription medications have generics that could be just as effective.  Your doctor might have some other tricks like changing your medication's strength or dosage to save you money or even hook you up with some samples to get you through to the other end of the gap.  Who doesn't love samples! 
  4. Resources - National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a non-profit and advocacy organization that works with various organizations to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their community.  It offers a free service called BenefitsCheckUp.  After you answer a series of questions, it creates a personalized report of the programs that may be able to assist you in areas such as medication, food, and housing.  You can also view different State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs put together by Medicare.gov that may be able to give you a hand.
  5. Talk it Out - Check out message boards or blogs to connect with people who are in the same boat you are.  It might make the process a little bit easier.  Online support can be a great resource.
  6. FamilyWize - We can help Medicare recipients who have fallen into the donut hole.  If you know you won't get out, you can use FamilyWize FREE discount prescription drug card to save up to 75% on your generic medications.  FamilyWize can be used for FDA-approved medications in and out of the gap that aren't covered by Medicare when purchased at a participating pharmacy.
Whether you are in the donut hole or are able to spend enough to get catastrophic coverage,  we want to help you find options!  If you know of options that are not listed here, please share!

Krysta W.

Monday, June 25, 2012

How to Save Money This Summer at Your Local Movie Theater

It seems the cost of everything is going up these days!  From prescription medications to groceries to utilities, gasoline, and more!  As I chat with family members and friends, I continually hear how expensive it is to do much of anything beyond paying the bills.  The mere cost of living often prevents many people I know from taking a summer vacation or doing the relaxing activities we all need.  Cut backs aren't just an employment issue, they are a household issue.

So beyond our free prescription discount drug cards, part of what we aim to do at FamilyWize is to provide you with money saving ideas.  I love to share ways on how to save money while doing fun activities for kids, date night with your spouse, day trips with your family and friends!  Each week I will share some ideas I've found, or those you've shared, of simple ways to save money, cut your budget, and plan affordable fun activities - such as....

Summer Movie Theater Discounts and Coupons!
Looking for affordable options for movies in theaters?  Know where free movies at theaters are, as well as other summer movie coupons.
fun activities
Check with theaters for summer discounts and coupons.

Regal, United Artists, and Edward Theaters  - Summer Movie Express is a family fun special that runs for 9 weeks.  You can see G and PG rated movies for only a dollar at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This festival also benefits the Will Rogers Institute.

Marcus Movie Theaters - this movie theater provides $5 coupon deals on Spotlight movies on Wednesdays and Thursdays - who says date night needs to be on a weekend.  They also have a Young at Heart® program for those aged 60 and over. And for fun activities for kids check out their Kids Dream Summer Film Series on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 10 a.m.

Carmike Cinemas - their 2012 Summer Kid Series, which started June 7th, offers 10 weeks of summer movie viewing every Thursday for only $2, which includes a drink and popcorn.

Rave Cinemas - has summer movie fun for the whole family!  Their Free Family Film Festival offers a variety of FREE G and PG movies twice a week for nine weeks at 10 a.m. Dates and times are available by state on their website.

Cinemark (Century Theatres) - has a Summer Movie Clubhouse. For only $5 you can see 10 movies (movie tickets must be purchased in advance; otherwise each movie is $1 at the door or $10).  For a list of participating movie theaters, dates and times, just click - Cinemark.

Second Run Theaters - all across the country are smaller mom and pop theaters that offer second run movies at discounted prices. These theaters don't just offer summer pricing - their discounted prices are year round.

Although I didn't list all of the summer movie theater discounts and coupons, there are many more summer movie specials for early birds, coupons for discounted food items, and group discount tickets.  Check out your local movie theaters for the best movie deals near you.

Be sure to check in and let us know what summer movies you are watching and where you are by liking us on FourSquare FamilyWize or twitter us about the movie when you follow us at Twitter FamilyWize.  Or just leave a comment about your favorite summer movie savings right here!


Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager at FamilyWize