This is a Guest Post by Nick Bautista, licensed insurance professional, soccer player and former member of the DPL Staff. Nick, his wife Lauren and Siberian Husky “Zeke” live in Virginia where Nick also brews his own beer and blogs at BareFinance.com

I hate paying for health insurance and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way. Recently, I have been on a search for cheaper coverage.

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Being that I’m young, healthy and I have my own individual health plan because my employer doesn’t offer any coverage, I was a bit optimistic about the Obamacare Healthcare Law that was going into effect in January of 2014. Although I liked the idea of helping those in need of insurance being able to get coverage I was worried about the change in insurance landscape.

My worries came to fruition once I saw the premiums and coverage my new plan would be offering. Besides the 50 percent increase in premiums, my deductible increased 40 percent, leaving me with worse coverage for more cost!

So I thought, what about the subsidy? The assistance is for those who earn 400 percent below the poverty level depending on household size. It just so happens that I make too much to qualify for a subsidy Off course, right? (Check if you qualify here)

It’s safe to say I am over this Obamacare, not that I was a fan to begin with. Read more

 

No one knows your hair better than you do. But is it possible that in your efforts to keep it healthy and looking good, you are washing money down the drain needlessly? Consider these mistakes many people make.

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Some rights reserved by Bellafaye Garden

Mistake: Expensive shampoo. Come on … ‘fess up. You feel guilty using $.99 shampoo because it’s really bad for your hair. And anybody knows the $24 salon variety is so much better especially for chemically treated hair, right? Wrong! Price has nothing to do with it.

The secret to shampoo intelligence is to know your detergents. Look at the list of ingredients. Water (or some fancy name for it) will always be the first ingredient. Next comes the detergent. It’s tricky, so keep this list handy.

  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate – very harsh
  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate – harsh
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – still harsh
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) – mild, great choice
  • TEA Lauryl Sulfate – gentle, good choice
  • TEA Laureth Sulfate – gentle, also a good choice Read more

 

Healthcare. It’s on everyone’s mind these days, and for good reason. Between the soaring cost of health insurance premiums, increasing co-pays and skyrocketing deductibles plus the outrageous cost of some medications—it’s enough to give you a heart attack.

But lest you think there’s nothing you can do to keep your family’s healthcare costs under control, I have good news. You can. You have the power.

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Some rights reserved by Victor1558

The best way to cut medical costs is to prevent them in the first place. I am talking about lifestyle, small changes to save you money and improve your quality of life.  Read more

 

The trouble with bottled water, experts say, is not the water. It’s the plastic bottles the water comes in that are potentially harmful to our health and environment.

The folks at the Mayo Clinic say we need to be concerned about BPA, often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles. Exposure to BPA, they say, is a concern because of possible health effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. The FDA suggests that very low level exposure to BPA is safe, however, the agency is engaged in ongoing research. Sounds scary to me.

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Health issues are one thing, but the effect on the environment is another. According to the EPA, in 2010 the U.S. generated 31 million tons of plastic waste. This is becoming such a problem that Concord, Mass. recently became the first municipality in the nation to ban the sale of single-serving water bottles. San Francisco, Calif. may implement one of the strictest bottled water bans in the country if the its Board of Supervisors approves a proposal to ban its sale on public property. Extreme reactions? Perhaps, but 31 million tons of plastic waste is no small matter. Read more

 

We know it’s important to check the ingredients on food products, but have you ever thought of checking your health and beauty products? I did recently and discovered a lot of unpronounceable words. But there’s one ingredient I would recognize for sure, just as today’s first tipster did. Over the years that discovery has saved her a lot of money.

olive oil spa soap cosmetics

OIL OF OLIVES. I have a better and cheaper alternative for even the most expensive, salon-quality facial moisturizer. I had been using skin-care products from Japan (DHC). One day I studied the moisturizer and discovered that the primary ingredient is olive oil. I’d been paying $42 for a one-ounce bottle of virgin olive oil! I could purchase a gallon of very high-quality olive oil for that kind of money and still have money left over. So I decided to experiment with a bottle of the finest extra virgin olive oil I could find my supermarket. I applied 2 or 3 drops to my face right after cleansing while my face was still warm and moist. It absorbed nicely. After a few months, the results were indistinguishable from the expensive product. No clogged pores, no wrinkles or greasy feeling. That’s been years ago and now I am also using olive oil to deep condition my hair. (Massage a few tablespoons of olive oil into scalp and hair. Cover hair with a plastic  bag or bathing cap and leave on for 30 minutes or more; shampoo twice and rinse.) For me, the results of using olive oil as a beauty product have been wonderful. —Joanne, Michigan Read more

I want to tell you about a shocking encounter I had recently at my local Rite Aid pharmacy. But first, a little background information.

For years, my doctor has prescribed two preventive type medications. Both are generics and together they have cost me about $24 for a 30-day supply for quite a few years. Given that my health insurance at the time included prescriptions, it never dawned on me to check into the details or to search for a cheaper alternative.

Photo Credit: StockMonkeys.com

I changed health insurance providers recently. My new coverage does not include prescriptions, a small matter that slipped my mind as I drove through to pick up my most recent refills. The pharmacist asked if I’d changed insurance, I said yes I had and she responded with “That will be $178, please.” What?! Once I picked my jaw up off the floor, I asked her why the price was so high. She had a long explanation about my previous insurance coverage, pharmaceuticals and the high cost of meds. I could not get home fast enough to search for a cheaper place to get these meds filled in the future.  Read more

If I could magically recover all the money I’ve wasted on skin care products in my life, I’d be a wealthy woman. Who knew that one of the best moisturizers is likely sitting on the shelf in my pantry? That’s just one of the great tips you’re about to read—all submitted by Everyday Cheapskate readers.

OLIVE OIL RELIEF. No matter what moisturizer you use or the skin type you have, the basic goal is the same: To effectively hold moisture close to the skin, without clogging your pores. All you really need is a small bottle of good extra-virgin olive oil, preferably organic. The best olive oil is still cheaper than most mid-range retail products. Wash your face and neck as normal, blot dry leaving your face with a sheen of moisture, and then put a drop or two of olive oil into your palm. Rub your palms together, and pat over your clean skin. Olive oil is naturally humectant, meaning that it draws moisture from the air, and it is quite breathable on the skin. M.T., Tennessee

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DISHWASHER BAGS. When you need to wash small items in the dishwasher, place them in a zippered mesh laundry bag designed to wash lingerie. Tiny items like lids, washable appliance parts and small utensils won’t get “lost” or find their way into the bottom of the dishwasher when they’re safely tucked inside these bags. After the bag is filled and zipped, lay it on the top shelf and run through a regular cycle with the other dishes. Kay, Indiana Read more

Over the past few years, I’ve read about retail health clinics being the wave of the future. It wasn’t until my son Jeremy visited a MinuteClinic in a nearby CVS drugstore that I sat up and took notice. He walked in without an appointment and was seen within 15 minutes. They accepted his insurance, diagnosed his problem, wrote a prescription and had him on his way a few minutes later. When he got a follow-up phone call at home days later to check on his condition, he was sold.

Minute-Clinic

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Located in mini-malls, discount stores and drugstores, this new wave of small clinics is transforming the health care landscape. As we are paying more out of pocket for our medical care, we’re approaching health care with more of a consumer’s eye. We want to compare prices, we want convenience and we want great customer service. That’s what these clinics have to offer.

I was a bit skeptical about treating strep throat just two aisles over from the hair care products, or taking the kids to the drugstore for their camp physicals. Now, I’m changing my mind, and fast. Read more