Frugality, Weekly Frugal Wins

Weekly Frugal Wins // No More $350K Hospital Bill!

This is a new series in the style of The Frugal Girl’s Five Frugal Things, where I’ll be posting weekly(ish) about what I’ve done lately to save money and make things stretch in order to further our financial goals, which currently include us paying off a decent hunk of debt. I encourage you to play along and post your own weekly frugal wins in the comments section below!

Another busy week over here! My second child started kindergarten (half day) yesterday, and I’ve been fielding flower farming requests like crazy. I should have posted a pop up sale last Friday to use some spare blooms I had, but I was too exhausted, so I gave myself Friday off. Burnout is always something I’m pushing up against in August and September, and I’ve long since learned that it’s better for me to schedule at least one weekday off rather than try to push through. After all, I still have anywhere from 5-8 weeks left of active selling, then all the fall prep after that!

As far as my husband’s job search is going, he had a second interview with the super promising job from last week, and he was recommended for a third interview with their board of directors. This has the potential to be an excellent fit (not least of which because it allows us to stay put), so we’re eager to hopefully know one way or another on that by next week or so.

This was also a good week for frugal wins. You’ll see why below:

Note: There may be affiliate links to books and products mentioned.

I finally got the baby’s health insurance figured out!!

Ever since Naomi was born in April, we ran into a major glitch with the insurance provider. Basically their system kept spitting her back out so that she was showing as uninsured and that she was on an inactive plan, so we kept getting hit with crazy high medical bills, including one for nearly $350,000 from her six-week NICU stay. I have literally been calling on this at least once a week (but often several times more) for months to try and get it fixed. I eventually went through every supervisor I could, until finally they just switched us to a different person to work on our case, and then it was taken care of within a week or so. On top of her regular insurance situation finally getting sorted out this last week, we also got a final notice back that she’d been officially approved for Medicaid for Disability, which actually kind of makes all the other insurance stuff moot at this point since the Medicaid covers everything back to her birth 100%.

All told, we no longer show as owing hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital bills and I should no longer need to be putting in my weekly call about the insurance, so I’m feeling like it’s been a pretty great week 🙂

I took my own school pictures of my kids

Owning a nice camera (I have this slightly older Nikon model) and having photography and editing skills have added up to massive savings for us over the last several years (not to mention a source of income when I’ve pursued doing that for work for clients in the past). Today is Picture Day at my kids’ school, but rather than pay money to the company the school’s hired, I just take my own pictures of my kids that same morning (since they’re already looking especially nice) and count those as their school pictures for the year.

This also gives them some good practice the day of about giving a relaxed smile and not stressing out about blinking/the bright studio lights.

I canceled an annual subscription

Since my husband’s job situation is still up in the air, we’re cutting everything and anything that we can so that we’ll have enough cash from unemployment insurance and our personal savings to cover this period for as long as we can. Ever since my laptop got hacked back in 2020, we’ve paid extra for yearly ID theft insurance, but now that I have taken stringent security measures on all our devices since then, we feel comfortable saving ourselves the $150 a year and not renewing the subscription plan.

I got my insurance to cover my breast pump rental until December

‘Twas the week of all ongoing health insurance situations to finally get resolved, apparently! While I was in the NICU, my health insurance covered the cost of renting a hospital grade breast pump, which is SO much better and more efficient than the home pump I had from previous pregnancies (which was a really nice pump in itself). I knew that the only way I would stick with exclusively pumping and bottle feeding for the long-term was if I had a highly efficient way to do it, so I’ve been trying to negotiate with my insurance to cover the rental, even though they usually won’t beyond a NICU stay.

Thanks to my doctor’s office sending in extra info and making extra calls on our behalf (and explaining about Naomi’s heart condition and extra health concerns), the insurance finally approved the request through the end of this year. Such a relief, especially since the homecare and hospice people had showed up twice already to try and take back the pump with no warning, and as I no longer have my old breast pump, I would have been left without a pump and had to immediately wean.

I used organza bags to cover my dahlias

As I mentioned in a previous post, our pest pressure on the farm has been insane this year. One of our highest value crops is our dahlias, and every single dahlia that has opened thus far was unsellable because of grasshopper damage. To counteract any future losses due to pests, we’re leaning on an old flower farming trick I’ve seen a lot of people do where you just put organza bags (like these) over each individual bloom before it opens. So far, it seems to be working — the blooms I’m harvesting now look fantastic.

While this was a small upfront investment (about $20 for around 200 bags), this will hopefully save our crop, which could still make us several hundred dollars this year if the frosts hold off.

Other Frugal Wins:

  • I accepted peaches from a friend’s tree, and some meat that another friend offered who was needing to make space in her freezer. I offered them both free flowers in return 🙂
  • Another neighbor dropped off some produce from her garden for us (including literally the best fresh corn both Matt and I had ever eaten in our lives)
  • I used Rakuten to get cash back when I placed an online order to Sam’s Club
  • I used Ibotta to get cash back on a grocery receipt
  • We walked to church and to the kids’ school (about a mile away) rather than drive
  • I baked multiple things at once to only preheat the oven one time
  • We continued to enjoy the plums off our tree, plus picked the first of our own peaches

What are some of your best strategies for saving money right now?

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