Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Waste Not, Want Not, Because Costs Just Keep Going Up


No matter what the government tries to make us believe things are not as rosy as the picture they paint. Obamacare is affecting everyone's medical with huge increases in medical care and drug costs. We had increases of our monthly premium and co-pays in January and now have been told there will be another $220. a month increase within the next 2 months.  Even those on Obamacare are seeing their premiums rise.

People have to worry about Social Security either going bankrupt or coming to the realization that it will not be there for them when they retire or will be a lot less than they were expecting. This is your money that you paid into a government that didn't invest it but instead spent it.

Our cable company is being bought out by Charter Communications. The state no sooner approved the merger and two days later our cable company raised their rates. I expect when the purchase is complete that Charter will raise the rates again. At least we can do something about that. Get rid of the cable.

Gasoline prices have come down but will be going back up again. They are predicting that they will go back up to about $ 2.90 or higher a gallon here by the end of the year  We are at our lowest right now from $ 1.93 to $ 2.01 a gallon depending on where you buy it.

Since you grocery shop, you know that food prices are higher than ever. When you see a drop in one item like beef or chicken, you see a rise in another like cauliflower which is gold right now.

Other items you have to purchase have risen over past couple of years too. Housing prices are again rising in many areas. Automobiles now cost about 150% more than my first home did.

Interest rates on savings accounts have been stagnant. Now the stock market is in the middle of a correction because in my opinion it has been in a bubble for a number of years now and you are seeing the bubble bursting. Markets go up and down and always have. It is a good opportunity to purchase while prices are down.

Utility costs will be going up drastically because of the international agreement on reducing the carbon footprint. Did you really think anyone but the U.S. would pay for it? We will pay the most and always have. But this will mean huge increases in your electric and natural gas bills over the next 5 years. 

Someone has to pay for the $2.1 trillion dollars our government will owe. If not us, our children, and grandchildren will be saddled with ridiculous taxes. BTW, who will pay? The middle class of course. Don't think it will be the rich. There are too many loop holes for them.

Everyone is being affected by these increases. Many seniors are getting to the point where they don't know how they are going to eat or pay for medical costs. People who work for a living have not seen huge wage increases over the past 7-8 years and are struggling to pay for necessities. Some have had their pay cut. Many others have lost their jobs and have not been able to find another. Our government has forgotten these people. They don't even include them in the unemployment rate like they don't exist.

Things have to change in our government. We can't continue down this path. We are over regulated and they overspend.  But in the meantime, while we wait and vote for a change, there are things we can do.

I know that I have talked about using up leftovers and every tidbit of food in the house before. That is just smart economics. But there are many other ways we waste our money. We can't afford to waste not with things costing so much.

Here is a list of  some of things that I am doing out of necessity because I have goals to reach and everyday costs keep going up. I refuse to let these increases or our government put a damper on my dreams.

- Never waste a morsel of food.

- Never waste an ounce of toothpaste, makeup, or any other personal care item. I will cut those toothpaste tubes open and use every ounce of that makeup. I will get the last remnants of that lipstick out of that tube with a lip brush. I will use every last ounce of that deodorant. Do I really need to break off such a large piece of floss each time I floss my teeth? I will water down my thick shampoo and use just enough to wash my hair. I will use up every last bar of soap in this house in the shower or for making laundry detergent. No more razors for either of us. Our electric razors work just as well. I will get as many free samples of these products as I can either by signing up for them or getting tooth care samples from the dentist.

-  We will reduce our medical costs. I have been researching new inexpensive dentists for the past two weeks and will continue until we make a decision soon. We will control how many cleanings and X-rays we get a year.  We are also cutting back on the number of Dr. visits we make. My primary insists on the same tests as our specialists. Hence we end up getting 3 times as many labs done as necessary per year. The Doctors are just going to have to share lab tests because we are going to refuse to get the same tests done over and over again.  If the Doctors write the same tests but just one different one, we will have the orders combined at the lab. We are also researching for a new primary. The one we have is useless. He has made misdiagnoses so many times that I can't count them all, but he was the only one in our area taking our plan when we moved here. One of my specialists is in a practice with a lot of primary Doctors. So we are checking to see if we can get in with one of them since we are patients in the practice. If we could find a good primary, we could stop going to so many specialists which would also cut down on co-pays. All of these tests and co-pays are costing us a fortune that we are no longer willing to pay. Use all of your prescription medications. When my Dr. changed one of mine, I held onto the bottle. Finally after a couple of months, my dosage was twice what I was finally prescribed. So I am using up those medications by just doubling up on them. Only do this if the medications are still within the expiration date. If you get a new medication written by your Dr., ask for some samples first. Don't fill the script until you are sure the medication is going to work for you. 

- We will continue to not waste water by just letting it run down the sink. We will use every last ounce.

- We will not waste energy. We have turned the heat down 2 more degrees this winter. Hubby bundles up in heavier, lined, fleece shirts. Me, I am always hot. So two degrees really doesn't affect me. We change the furnace filters on a regular basis. We also open and close the south facing window shades depending on if the sun is out. The other window coverings stay closed. We only turn lights on when it is dark outside. We only use one light in whatever room or rooms we are in. We keep our furnace and humidifier in top notch running condition with annual check ups. The same for the central air - conditioning. I use the cheapest appliance or oven that I can depending on what I am cooking. We use our Breville toaster oven for most things so that we don't have to turn on the large oven. If it can go in the microwave instead of the top of the stove, it does. I also use small appliances as often as I can because they use very little electricity.

- I  have watered down dish liquid especially the thick ones like Dawn when I used them. I only use a small amount of laundry soap and dish detergent. Using more than you need is wasteful.

- We do use toilet paper but we don't just pull off long wads at a time. We use just what is necessary. We no longer buy paper towels. We use microfiber cloths for most things. We use a sheet of brown paper on top of newspaper to drain fried foods. We use very few paper napkins mostly cloth napkins. We use handkerchiefs most of the time. Kleenex is saved for really bad colds.

- We use glass and plastic containers for food leftovers. We sparingly use wraps. When we do use Ziploc bags, we wash them out and use them over again. The only exception is those that held raw meat get used only once. Aluminum foil is washed and used over and over until it falls apart. We are trying to cut back on how many garbage bags we use. I am still down to a bag and a half but working to get it down to one.

- For those of you with soda bottle deposits, take your bottles back and get your deposits back. My neighbors throw them in their recyclable containers. The reason I know this is because there is a woman who rides a bike through my neighborhood before the recyclables are picked up on garbage day. She snags 3 large garbage bags full every week and we have a very small neighborhood.  It is a sight to see her balancing those while riding.  Then I hear the same neighbors complaining about how expensive everything is. It's the little things that really add up to big money. 

I do so many more things so that we don't waste but they are posts for another day. 

The key is to look at everything you are doing and try to do it a cheaper way without affecting your quality of life. I think many times a day about what I can do.

You can't do anything except vote to get our government to change their ways or anything about the price increases that keep coming your way short of finding a better job (which is not easy in this economy) or taking on another job. For most seniors it is difficult to work because of health issues. 

But you can change your behavior on how you do things to try to make up for these increases. Is it easy? Nothing is easy. Is it worth it? You bet! 

I am always trying to learn new ways to do things that cost us less money. If you would like to share what you do, please leave a comment and share with all of us.

8 comments:

  1. This was a great blog post! We save aluminum cans here. I took a brown bag full of uncrushed ones and got $1.00 for them at our local recycling place, and that took no effort at all. Imagine what we could get if I put some effort into that?

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    1. Hi Belinda,

      Thanks. You did great with the cans. I forgot that some people have no deposits but can take them to their local recycling for cash. Thanks for sharing with everyone.

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  2. You are so right that little things do add up.
    For us, we are trying to use what we have. I have been sewing simple dress up outfits for the grands from fabric I've been given. I am staying home and cooking from scratch.
    I'm also very thankful I just got my prescriptions changed to my providers meds by mail program and when filled this way, I have no out of pocket.
    There are lots of doctors out there and they do vary widely, I hope you are able to find one you like better. After some years of not being satisfied, I am very happy with current dentist and GP.

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    1. Hi Rhonda,

      We should all do what you are doing and use what we have. No sense leaving it on the shelf. That is why I am making blankets for the grands.

      That's wonderful that you have such a terrific plan so that you don't have any co- pay if you mail order.

      I hope I can say that about a new dentist and doctor soon. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Hello,
    On using up the last of everything, I had to do this with lotion. It was getting to the point where i was buying lotions and not even using them, always complaining about the smell or the thickness of it. It was ridiculous so now i refuse to buy any more until i use the last of the bottles or are able to give some of them away.

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  4. Hi Amanda,

    I would bet that a lot of us have too many lotions and should use them up. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Hello,
    I have two doctors that want some of the same tests, but one different. I try to make my appointments with them the same week. I must get labwork done at a stand alone facility. The doctors labs are out of network although the doctors are in network. I began asking one of the doctors to put the others request on the lab paperwork. He did. I also make sure to go to the lab about 3 weeks before my appointments. When I go to the 1st doctor, I always get a copy of the lab work for my file. Then, I make a copy at home and carry it to the next doctor's appointment.
    One way to save some money on dental cleanings (and sometimes work) is to see if there's a dental school nearby and let them practice on you. I live near the University of TN dental school and many retirees in our town have their teeth cleaned by the students.

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    1. Hi Ellie,

      That is a great way to do the labs! Kudos to you.

      Hubby does this too but he just takes the labs with him when they are a few weeks apart and has the lab people consolidate the orders and send them to all of the Dr.'s like you do. We also have a copy sent to us. Ours are all in network but we don't want any money wasted by us or the insurance companies.

      Thanks for the tip on the dental school also. We do have one here and I will check into it.

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