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Few costs can be more daunting than hospital bills. They are high even with insurance! Some people don’t know what to expect. Others even avoid getting medical treatment because they fear the cost. It is important to get the care you need and many hospitals want to make your care possible.
Call The Insurance Company
The insurance company is able to explain how much money is needed to pay as a deductible. They are also able to explain what percentage of hospital costs are your responsibility to pay. This helps us be able to better prepare and plan how to pay our hospital bills. If you have two types of insurance (a primary and a secondary) you will need to know how much each company will be paying and what cost that leaves you. It’s important to make sure that you and these companies are all on the same page.
Talk To The Hospital
Hospital expenses can be broken down in a number of ways. There are physician expenses and actual hospital stay expenses. They can tell you the actual price of these services. They can also tell you how to contact the services that they either outsource or don’t have costs for. They don’t just help you get your financial planning together, they can also register you for planned procedures so you don’t need to fill out paper work while going into labor or surgery.
In some medical cases you aren’t sure how much medical care you may need. In cases of pregnancy there may or may not be a cesarean or epidural. When it comes to dental you may need to be asleep. Other times a numbing agent will work fine. In either case, there are costs that you may or may not have to pay but won’t know until the event happens. In these cases it is best to plan as though you will be paying for these services. It’s better to plan for more than you will need to pay than not have saved enough money to pay.
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Looking for a few good ways to teach children how to spend and save wisely? Children can be taught gradually without too much trouble and make it a part of their lives.
It’s hard to teach a toddler that they can’t always have what they want when they want it, but it is possible. We started by taking our child down the candy or toy section of a store without buying anything. We wouldn’t do it just to teach them delayed gratification. We just didn’t avoid those parts of the store if they were the shortest distance to where we were going.
Having a schedule also helps a child between the ages of one and four to wait for something they want. It doesn’t matter if it’s a snack or story time. When there is a set time for a certain activity children learn to wait for what they want while still knowing that it will happen. This will cross over into their financial life when they are older. They will learn they may have an item later but it doesn’t have to be now.
Elementary School Age Kids
At this age children are old enough to learn that money doesn’t fall from trees. Prepare a set list of activities that they can do to earn money. Do you want them to study? Are there chores that need to be done? Let your children learn that earning money comes before spending money. It may also teach them that what they want is not always worth the work or money.
There are two important parts to this process. First a parent must be clear about the standard of job expected. Don’t tell your child they must get good grades. Tell them they must get at least a B in their classes to earn their pay. Second, if the child does the job, be prepared to follow through on your part of the bargain. This instills in children that work pays off, rather than adults don’t keep their end of the bargain.
Teens and Preteens
The bank of mom has closed. Yes as parents we will feed them, make sure they get medical attention and provide a free bed. Because we love them there will give Christmas and Birthday presents and we will celebrate their accomplishments. We will even pay for all the field trips they go on for band. When it comes to that over priced pair of jeans, however, it’s time to go out and cut the neighbor’s grass. Or go babysitting. No more family generated work. It’s time to make an effort outside the home. We’ll see if those jeans are really worth twenty hours of babysitting.
This is also a good time to start preparing these soon to be adult children for financial independence by letting them see your financial situation. Explain how to set up utilities. Let them learn what a standard electric bill costs. Teach them about late fees, credit and interest. This will prepare them for getting started on their own financially.
So we have gone through the torture of filing our taxes, waited for the money to come in, and now we are rewarded with a nice refund check. Stop and think before spending that money on a huge shopping spree or trip to see Loch Ness. There are other ways that money can make our lives better in an every day sense.
Get Out Of Debt
Nothing gives financial stress relief more than getting out of debt. Pay off credit cards. Bring bills up to date. Pay off student loans or car loans any other kind of loan hanging over our head. Getting out of debt also lowers our monthly cost of living. We no longer have credit card or car payments. If we need to we can lower the coverage of our car insurance to liability (though only if we’re desperate to save some money… which yeah, we are). We save the extra money for retirement, a family vacation, or a rainy day.
Buying a Step Up
We plan to get a better car this year. Not a new car, but a car better than the current vehicle we have. It will be safer and also have better gas mileage. In short it will fit the needs of our family better. We are hoping our next step up will be buying a house. We plan to save what we can over the year and supplement our savings with our tax refund in the hopes that it will be enough for a down payment.
A word to the wise: Always have a plan B when preparing for a needed step up. Tax laws change every year. It is best to use a refund as a bonus, instead of hinging the whole plan financially on the refund.
Preparing For The Future
Are you a little behind preparing for retirement? Use your refund to pad your savings. Is a baby on the way? Use your refund to buy furniture, diapers, and formula. Are you looking for a better job? Use the refund to get the education and training needed for your new line of work.
Preparing for the future is one of the best things we can do with our tax refunds. It keeps us looking to the future instead of looking back and wondering what if.
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