IMPROMPTU SCRIPT: Rising costs of medications don’t have to affect your budget

Not all medications are created equal, especially in the eyes of the health care companies that are paying the majority of costs for them.

Consumers who wait patiently on line at their pharmacy of choice are incredibly grateful when they compare the actual cost of the medicine versus what your co pay actually ends up being. That $5, $10 or $20 price tag far exceeds the potential of paying in upwards of a few hundred dollars for one prescription.

But what if you can’t afford health care or you have one particular medication that either isn’t covered or your insurance company only takes care of a small piece of an otherwise large expense. That means you’re responsible for the remainder, and that hefty price tag might be too much for you to handle.

Spending as much on medicine per month as you would on a car loan or mortgage is more than enough to sink any thoughts you might have of saving money.
Aside from shopping around and buying health insurance on your own, that still doesn’t account for co pays on specific medicine that might be too much for you to handle. If that situation arises, you don’t have to sacrifice what money you have stored away or go deeper into debt just to ensure your health isn’t compromised.

You have options that go well beyond taking out a loan to cover these added expenses.

Consider ordering your medication in bulk through a mail order company that specifically deals in generics. Even if they don’t have generics are part of the equation, ordering large amounts at one time cuts back on the overall cost.

As part of your doctor’s office visit, you can always ask the physician for some free samples in the short term or inquire with the office manager about any types of assistance programs, whether those are on the national or state level or done directly with the drug manufacturer.

Some of these programs are directly related to your income and can drastically reduce your out of pocket expense. A $50 copayment, for example, could go down to $5 just by asking a few questions and filling out a bit of paperwork.

And when in doubt, you can always go back to an old reliable: coupons or various promotions offered by the retail. Plenty of weekly circulars from the likes of K Mart and Target toss incentives toward customers in the form of gift cards or discounts if they switch pharmacies. When it comes to prescriptions that become remarkably difficult to pay for, every dollar off counts.

The toughest aspect of medication as it pertains to saving money is knowing that, no matter what, you’re going to need the prescription. How you go about securing them and, more importantly, paying for them determines your financial fate moving forward.

TEAM EFFORT: Financial struggles shouldn’t have to be just your burden

Struggling from one day to the next, worrying about bills and how you’re going to pay them or hoping and praying you have enough money this month to cover all your expenses is the epitome of stress and certainly adds to a daily regimen that is riddled with concern.

So with that, do you really think this is something you should tackle on your own?

A number of reasons may factor into why you believe that you should forage into fixing your finances on your own. Perhaps the mentality that pushes to the forefront most is blame, specifically you accepting it thanks to your savings account and overall portfolio not being in tip top shape.
Even if you are the one that put yourself in this financial pickle doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t ask for help to turn this thing around in a hurry, especially if your significant other also is indirectly involved in righting the ship.

Before you begin working together as a team, there are a few basics you can implore before that moment arrives. You should take stock of the entire situation and truly determine what exactly is causing you the most trouble. Maybe you’re spending too much on entertainment or perhaps that clothing budget is busting at the seams.

After you narrow down your financial shortcomings, you can pull yourself out of the muck that is your checking or non-existent savings account. Being able to broach the subject to your wife, husband or partner as to why money isn’t favorable in your household is a lot easier if you can be specific with the issues and offer realistic options moving forward.

Once you bring the second person on board to help discuss where you want to go money wise, you can troubleshoot together and fully understand their perspective and come together with plenty of ideas that transform into a well-rounded plan that encompasses the scope of the entire household.

Far too often, you want to assume all the burden and tension that is associated with having money and budgeting issues. This isn’t done with deceit or disinformation in mind but rather to spare the feelings of the people they care about and, truthfully, to not look incompetent as the person in charge of the finances.

But not asking for help or getting another opinion is only going to exacerbate the problem and leave you in an even less enviable position: trying to explain not only why things got out of hand financially but how you let this far along without speaking up.

SPOT ON(LINE): Saving money starts with buying right items online

Pinpointing shopping as the root of all your financial misgivings might be a bit of a shortsighted comment if you consider not so much what you’re buying but where you’re getting it.
Shopping online is convenient, but also carries with it a sense of saving more money by using this particular medium, at least when it comes to certain products.
Whether you’re buying in bulk or taking advantage of online only promotions, fulfilling your product wants and needs online often means not only shopping from the comfort of your couch but counting all the extra cash you’ll be saving.
Take for instance if you have a pet.
Between the cost of food, flea medicine, snacks, leashes, litter and anything else associated with these cute and cuddly creates, you might spend far too much time and money tending to their needs for the sake of forgetting about yours.
Buying those items online saves you not only the time and effort of buying one can of food at a time but also stocking up and saving in one fell swoop. Plenty of online pet stores put prices at bare minimums, including free shipping, that it is easy to ignore those retail powerhouses and brick and mortar stores with relative ease.
It’s also incredibly easy to skip buying books or magazines within the confines of a physical store. That $4 or $5 magazine or $20 hardback book could easily be found online for more 50% off the retail price. Magazines especially come remarkably cheaper online with a plethora of subscription based sites that are practically giving these periodicals away to the tune of less than a $1 per issue.
Knowing that, why would you continue to spend five times that much while waiting in line at the grocery store?
Those small dollar figures might not seem like much, but over the course of a calendar year could equate to easily a few hundred dollars.
And as long as you’re online deciding between ordering Sports Illustrated or Good Housekeeping, you may want to take a look at buying your electronics there, too. Maybe you feel more comfortable buying the big ticket items like tablets, laptops or computers in person, which makes sense given the nature of the purchase. But what about the ancillary products associated with those larger items?
Cell phone cases or screen protectors are two perfect examples of things that you’ll find much less expensive online than in person, without sacrificing buying a lesser brand or an item devoid of quality or durability.
Satiating your shopping needs might be a little smoother sailing, with just a simple change of venue

Social Insecurity: How to avoid being broke beyond retirement

Enjoying your “Golden Years” might be a lot more difficult if you’re struggling to stay afloat post retirement.
A growing trend in the United States puts retirees in the unenviable position of attempting to live comfortably after they’ve decided to call it a career. The transition from 40 hours per week to living off the wealth and savings you’ve amassed during your time working has been anything but seamless for a generation of hard workers who find themselves flirting with poverty or forced to go back to work in some form or fashion.
That sad tale has transformed from the exception to the norm. A shocking number of retirees or those ready to retire in the next decade don’t have the kind of money set aside that they’ll need to live out the rest of their life without fear of foreclosure or bankruptcy.
The first mistake that demographic makes is the assumption that Social Security will be enough of a monthly income, in addition to what money they have saved. That fact is incredibly narrow minded and shortsighted, especially if you’re approach the age of 62 and are still carrying debt or paying off your house or car.
Social Security is only a piece of what should be a much larger retirement puzzle as you approach your post work lifestyle. That memo needs mailed out to the masses, particularly the age groups that should start thinking about their retirement at this very moment.
If you don’t already have a 401K or IRA either on your own or through your job, you should strongly reconsider participation, especially if the company matches what you’re putting in as well. It’s hard to imagine anyone balking at the idea setting aside a pretax percentage of your pay, plus what your employer adds to that total.
Let’s say you struggled to save money your entire life, and you’ve convinced yourself that Social Security and the little you do have is going to cut it. That blueprint is a recipe for disastrous results, which is why you should turn your financial misgivings over to a professional to put you on track and make investment suggestions.
And if all else fails, just employ a little bit of logic, and reassess your necessities versus luxuries and start prioritizing accordingly. Eliminating a few spa treatments or extravagant vacations now will afford you the opportunity to breathe much easier money wise later.

EMOTIONAL SPENDER: Buying based on how you feel can sink your budget

Everyone has bad days. Some are few and far between, and others can string together for what seems like an eternity.
Your job isn’t exactly panning out the way you thought.
You’re working too many hours, and find yourself completely stressed.
You may be in the midst of a porous relationship or can’t seem to get on track with accomplishing any goals, whether that’s exercising, eating better or spending more time with your family.
All of those aforementioned scenarios, at first glance, probably have very little to do with spending or saving money or your monthly or yearly budget.
Emotionally charged spending is quite a bit more prevalent than you would think, mostly because the people who participate in this tumultuous type of buying don’t believe it to be a problem. How many times have you heard the phrase “I’m having a bad day; I’m going to buy myself a present.”
Those famously foreshadowing words often lead to spending gratuitously to the point that you’re not only buying items you don’t need, but also are incapable of saving money.
This type of shopping hardly is confined to just clothing and can extend to food, more specifically, eating out in restaurants frequently, or simply redoing a room in your house with the purchase of expensive, unnecessary furniture and accessories that you simply don’t need.
The simple fact is buying makes you feel better in that very instant. Once the credit card bills or bank statements start rolling in, you instantly feel a sense of regret for the purchases you’ve made. When you’re in the midst of feeling bored, sad or not appreciated, it’s easy to fall victim to clever, savvy advertising that convinces you that you need a jet ski, even though you don’t like to swim.
The trick is channeling your energy away from newspaper ads or television commercials in favor of perhaps a leisurely stroll with a set of headphones. You might want to consider calling an old friend that you can seamlessly bounce your emotional status off of without fear of judgment or rejection.
This tips take only a few minutes, but ultimately will afford you with the wherewithal and restraint to banish that debit card back into your purse or wallet or filling out a credit card application at a department store while trying to hold back tears.
Buying and how you’re feeling today, this week or for the entire month run parallel with one another, but the key is capturing that emotion and transforming into something a little more positive than wrecking your budget in one fell swoop.