Friday, December 8, 2017

Dollar Tree for household needs

I stopped in at Dollar Tree the other day, to grab some needed items. I also found some nice items: 3 Betty Crocker lemon bar cookie mixes, 4 pairs of longer length, cuffed cleaning gloves; 4 cans of imported from Spain black olives, 4 bags of Belly Flops, 2 boxes of dish washer powder, a replacement squeegee for my glass shower, 2 new kitchen sink strainers, a holiday card for Mom.

Sluggy has a new giveaway!


Sluggy's got a nice giveaway box:  click here to enter

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thursday supper and a product review

Here are the ingredients that I took out to make pate chinois, a French Canadian version of Sheppard's pie, with leftover corn being the inspiration. I also grabbed 2 pouches of Idahoan instant potatoes, recently purchased, combining a sale + coupon. I have preferred Idahoan brand for years (but will buy any, based upon price for the pantry). I was surprised to discover that this particular type of potatoes only requires hot water: no milk, no butter as it is already in the mix. I mixed them up and can report that they are very good. I did add, as I always do, instant onion powder and black pepper. This type of potatoes would be especially welcomed during a week where funds were tight, groceries on hand were lacking as in save the fluid milk for the kids, or with cereal, in coffee/tea.

The casserole was made early this morning, and placed in the fridge until just now, when I popped it into the counter top, mini convection toaster oven. Tonight's supper got 4 things out of the pantry, 1 out of the freezer, used 2 leftover refrigerator items-a win-win in my book. There should be planned overs for lunches as well as it's dinner for 2 tonight.

Household good replacement

The double kitchen sink of my home came without any strainer baskets. I am pretty sure that there were originally some when the previous owner had a kitchen remodel done, but they were long gone once I bought the home. I priced out kitchen strainer baskets (some were $14!) and chose the mesh screen one pictured at the bottom of the photo. It was purchased at a local Ace hardware in a local town. I've only used it since the end of May when we took residence, so call it 6 months, and it had already developed a hole in the mesh. Grr. I only bought one as one side of the double sink houses a small, Rubber Maid dish drainer. Time to replace the sink strainer. I came across the silicone one pictured at the top of the photo, at Dollar Tree of all places and reminds me very much of the one that was at the kitchen sink in my rental condo. $1.06 with tax was very enticing. Happy to report that it is working just fine. : )

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A meatball weekend

 Yesterday afternoon found me baking off these Carando meatballs with mozzarella that I got on marked down. I added them to a crock pot and simmered them with some jarred spaghetti sauce to make easy meatball grinders for Saturday supper. Half of the cooked meatballs were frozen for another time.
Sunday supper this week is meatball stew, using ingredients pictured

Here's the recipe I tweaked a bit:  Meatball stew recipe

The final product-came out very good, no leftovers!

Completing a few more household tasks

 After interviewing  and getting quotes from 3 new prospective handy "men," I engaged the services of a handy woman this time around. Laundry/half bath curtain rods finally installed (with 2 fused thumbs, my fine motor skills are pretty bad). Now I need to sew a curtain.
 Heavy duty hooks installed in the garage for properly storing some items: extension cord,
 folding lawn chairs
 the extension ladder that came with the home.
Using lumber salvaged from the handicapped access ramps, a new garage step railing, as required by code, was installed.

Goal accomplished, now to start amassing some serious savings for 2018 Spring/Summer improvements and paying down CC debt.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Getting close


With the second order of my $$$$ RX, my second deductible is quickly getting eaten down. My insurance leaves me on the hook for the first $2500 incurred (medical and RX) annually, and then I move to a second deductible with a 30% co-pay system until I hit a maximum OOP of $6600 (going up to $7800 in Jan). I now have a remaining $1085.09 to go until the end of Dec. I will be ordering my $$$$ Rx on Dec 20th, which equates approx. 30% of the charge to insurance (approx $3200/month). The drug manufacturer will pay up to $3250/30 day supply or $6500/90 day supply (won't apply to my situation as my new ins. will ONLY fill a 30 day for this drug while my other RX's they will do 90 day) or a max. of $9000/year on the behalf of patients, so I am left with $0 OOP while my deductible IS credited. Phew! My former insurance company also did the same.

So how is this frugal?

-While I have a $6600 OOP max for this plan year (joined late in the game, so my year is actually the 4 months from 9-12/17), I have incurred actual OOP costs for the following (well woman care, vacinations, annual physical is covered at 100% and doesn't go towards my deductibles): Sept: $824.91, Oct: 862.83, Nov (to date: $54.97 plus estimated charges for PT @ $456.09, allergy shot @ $14.92) so call it approx. $525.98. December will bring a MD appointment co-pay estimated  @ $ 58 before I have my last order of the aforementioned $$$$ RX which will blow through the rest of my co-pay deductible aka the second deductible with $0 OOP thanks to the aforementioned drug co-pay assistance program. So, my projections for actual OOP for my new insurance for this new plan (yet) short year is: $2271.72. My worse case scenario was $6600, so in the end I will have shaved off 66% of what COULD have been my OOP expenses for this short term "year."
-I have been proactive with this new insurance reality, front loading a separate savings account by depositing $500/month into it, reserving these funds (and transferring electronically as needed) to cover my actual OOP expenses. I have deposited funds since the end of August (I get paid at the end of each month). Come Dec 31, I will have deposited $2500 into this account, yet only used $2271.72 (estimated).
-outside of RX charges, since medical bills have to first clear insurance, by the time the EOB comes, it takes a few weeks to a month before the service provider actually mails me a bill, buying me some time. I pay the bills off in full, using a CC that I pay off in full  monthly, transferring the amount needed for the medical bills from my savings account. This is keeping my cash flow in the black.
-knowing that timing is everything as I navigate this insurance circus, once I order and subsequently receive my $$$$ RX around Christmas (they Fed X overnight it to me), I will then order all of my maintenance medications at 90 day supply to get me through into the new year, which will also be a new, this time 12 month long, plan year.
-with the new year, I already have some appointments and lab work scheduled (the meters reset for my 2 deductibles), but anticipate ordering the $$$$ RX (approx $3200/month)around Jan 9th, which will blow thru the bulk of the initial $2500 deductible, keeping my cash flow intact for the most part. It's a matter of timing of when the MD's and hospital lab submits a claim to my insurance. If it's before 1/9 (doubt it will be that fast), then yes, I will have to pay OOP all charges. If it's after 1/9, then it will be @ 30% of costs for the aforementioned MD appointments and lab work.
-The new year means that besides my premiums going up, I have a significant increase in my second OOP deductible co-pay: an additional $1200. Working the system as I expect to, with the drug company co-pay assistance, I should be able to blow through that pretty quickly once again. I await the actual EOB from my November 9th $$$$ RX order to see the actual amount broken down as to what the insurance paid @ 70%, what my co-pay card paid @ $30 %. I have an approximation of $1067. So using that figure, my second 2018 order will take place at the end of Jan for another $1067 towards the $7800. ($7800-$2500 initial OOP deductible =$5300. With the orders occurring roughly twice a month ($9000 cap on the assistance program/year), approx $2134/month will be credited to my co-pay deductible every month. I anticipate that by mid March (time to order all, 90 day maintenance RXs again), I will have blown through the $5300 quite easily, with 5 orders of the 2018 $$$$ monthly RX. I can then easily order all of my additional RX's (both the expensive monthly RX as well as all of my maintenance meds), do all lab work, attend any MD appointments and really have no additional OOP costs from mid March thru to Dec 31. 2018. Caveat, like with my former insurance, is to be sure to use an in plan provider, as my insurance company will NOT pay anything unless it's a unique specialty for which no one else is in the area that is in plan or it's a life saving measure due to an accident.
-life happens, however, as with my sudden back issue (Plan A for Sept-Dec was to minimize medical appointments/costs) and depending upon timing of the submission of claims to insurance, new unanticipated ailments, this may vary but it looks like I've got this.
-I will continue to deposit $500/month into my special savings account which can also serve as an emergency fund, and to save to fund some late Spring 2018 projects .
-I will continue to use additional monthly savings to pay down CC debt from the home remodel