Life-hacks, Tutorials, Money Saving tips, etc

Ok, I don’t think there are any other threads like this, and I thought it might be helpful.

We can use this thread to post organized tip threads/convos to help one another through a task, a recipe, or even a money saving tactic.
Try to bold the first line of your post and use that line to explain what your tip is.

For example(s):

How to turn an old pair of leggings into a neck gaiter or headband.

How to change your own oil.

How to negotiate a cable bill: Sample Script.

Does that make sense? Lord I hope I’m making sense.

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How to easily increase retirement savings when you get a pay raise.
If you’re already contributing to a 401k at 5% (for the sake of example), when you know you’re getting a pay increase have the form ready to send off to ask for your 401k to be changed to a 6% contribution. You’ll probably still be taking home more money than you were before so it will still “feel” like a raise.

(Brought to you by the 2020 challenge getting me thinking about savings.)

Booking pet boarding for the holidays.
Set a calendar reminder for October-ish (depending on how fast stuff fills up in your area) to call and book pet boarding for the week of Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas (or whatever holiday you might travel for) even if you haven’t gotten your plans sorted out yet. Once you have your travel plans figured out, call back and cancel whatever days you don’t need, keep the days you do. Setting the calendar reminder for next year is the only way I’m going to remember my own tip in 2020. Edit: Our kennel doesn’t have cancellation fees, please keep that in mind if yours does. If you need to cancel within a certain time frame, maybe do a second reminder.

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Nice!! Great tips!
I’d say also keep in mind the cancellation policy & program a reminder for that too! Don’t wanna get hit with unexpected unnecessary fees! :slight_smile: :paw_prints:

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HOW I NEVER PAY FULL PRICE FOR MY GYM MEMBERSHIPS:

There are a thousand different ways to do this, but these are some “hacks” or tips that have worked for me.

For Boutique Fitness:
Email or call the gym owner, call multiple times if you need to in order to catch them in the gym. If you’re mega-introvert like I sometimes am, get to emailing.

Ask if they have any work programs for people who want to offer services to the business or work part time for the gym in exchange for a free or low-cost membership.

  • I operated the after-hours desk for yoga classes once a week in exchange for a free membership to a barbell gym for several years.

  • I cleaned the gym once every two weeks and after major events in exchange for a Crossfit membership.

  • The local Hot Yoga/Barre studio in my city offers a ‘Work to Sweat’ program where you staff the desk 2x/week in exchange for a $5/month membership. This was on their website, but hidden under a tab at the bottom, so sometimes it’s easier to just email a gym/studio to ask them what programs like this they offer and they can link you directly. ALSO… be sure to do the math. Some of these programs offer you little benefit and demand a lot of you. So be sure the math (hourly rate vs. the fees you would have been paying) makes sense for you.

If this doesn’t work, find out if your gym offers a pay-in-full price.

  • You gotta know that you want to stay at that gym for at least a year, but many small gym owners are thankful for the money up front and will offer a big discount for paying in full vs. monthly. I currently pay in full for a Crossfit membership and it’s 55% less than the monthly rate.

Mega/Big Box gyms and community centers:
Dig around on their website or ask on the phone/in person about applicable discounts.

  • Military/family of military discount.
  • AARP/the like.
  • Student Discounts (sometimes offered even with an old student ID).
  • Membership discounts (sometimes evens omething like Geico).

The other option in a big box gym is to work part time in some way for a free membership. This could even be after-hours cleaning or promo work like flyering.

  • I previously did event/promo shows for a gym and flyering at large campus events in exchange for a membership + once a week personal training. This was a big box gym, but they were working on expanding and the manager was open to “out of the box” ideas to get more people in the door. It never hurts to ask.

Other options:

If none of this is getting you into your price range for a gym membership and you do best in a group fitness setting… consider community options.

  • The November Project (google it): free community workouts. My local chapter meets 2x/week and has no less than 100ppl at each meet up.

  • Meet Up dot com: At a glance, my local meet up has a hiking group, a group that does the park fitness loop thing, and about 4 running groups that I see.

  • An online program that has community meet ups. Street Parking is one that comes to mind. Fitness programming that encourages some facet of meeting up with others locally. If I look on Instagram with the hashtag of my city + Street Parking, I see that there’s a pretty regular group who mostly do their workouts at home, but meet once a week at a local park. Neat!


Will post more if more ideas/topics come to mind.

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My nearest city-run pool & rec centre has a small gym, and is free 3x a week. Meaning I work out 3x a week. I prioritize getting to the gym at the free times and so I actually go. It’s good for motivation and for $$$.

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That’s amazing!

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Under the student discount point – some places offer alumni discounts, too! My gym offers a $5 discount to alumni from Grad School Alma Mater, which is pretty sweet.

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General “Negotiation!Lite”

Although it feels uncomfortable, it’s usually worth asking, “Hey, are there any ads or discounts going on right now?” at the end of any transaction. :slight_smile: Got a discount on my glasses that way! Sometimes ads/discounts aren’t well advertised but are happening. Sometimes there’s a discretionary discount people can tack on simply because you asked. :slight_smile: And often it’s a bust, but hey, worth a shot!

Actual negotiation is a 201 course but this is easy and doesn’t put too much pressure on anyone. :slight_smile:

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Search government databases for lost money
These links are for Australians but other countries may have similar lost money databases. Money becomes lost when people move, companies don’t have contact details, companies get liquidated, etc.

Federal


Qld
https://www.pt.qld.gov.au/other-services/unclaimed-money/
NSW
https://www.apps08.osr.nsw.gov.au/erevenue/ucm/ucm_search.php
WA
https://unclaimedmonies.treasury.wa.gov.au/ums/
Victoria
https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/unclaimedmoneysearch

I didn’t find any money owed to me - but did find twenty bux my brother was owed from his university 20 years ago. And thirty bux for a mate from a 15 year old electricity bill refund.

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Good one!! I got $10 a few years ago from the US version.
Thx for this post!

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Thanks for the reminder! I have started the process for 2 piles of monies.

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Hospital Bill Discount (U.S. only, lucky us):
If you have a major medical event you can ask the hospital for a discount.

Planning ahead - At my hospital, and since child birth is a predictable upcoming expense (rare in the medical billing world) they already offered an opportunity to prepay for a 20% discount. It’s worth asking if your hospital offers something similar.

After the fact - We had another major medical event that came up as an emergency and involved several nights in the ICU, so no planning ahead there. Once the bills started rolling in I got in touch with the hospital billing department and said I wanted to pay in one lump sum and asked if all the different departments involved had been fully reported and processed through insurance. This is important - if pulmonology and haematology departments have already reported in but the pharmacy hasn’t, getting the discount too soon means the pharmacy amounts won’t get discounted. They should retain a record that you called in, but ask for a reference number for your call also and keep note of it (never trust them to help you even if the person you’re talking to seems super nice). Having a record that you’re keeping in touch with them and have said you’re interested in paying your bill is definitely in your favor, don’t be afraid to wait a little longer for them and the insurance company to get their bureaucratic shit together.

Once everything has been fully processed, you can still ask for an invoice to review to be sure everything is accurate. (You may have been sent multiple partial invoices already, verify these as they come in if you can to be sure that if you went in for a broken arm they’re not billing you for a ruptured ear drum or something.) If the medical billing codes make no sense, ask google. When you do pay, they shouldn’t have an issue splitting it on multiple cards, it’ll still count as paying in full.

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Separate from the thing above but related - if you go to urgent care, google the medical billing code when you get the invoice. Apparently it’s a common scam for them to bill you at the wrong level. For example, if you walk in for something minor and leave within an hour that’s a certain level (one? I think?) and if you have something more severe and stay overnight it should be at a higher level (four?) Buuuuut everyone knows medical billing is confusing so it’s possible they might “accidentally” invoice you at a three or four when it should only be a one.

Source: currently fighting this now, and also the internet.

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FIVE THOUSAND PERCENT ALWAYS GOOGLE YOUR BILLING CODES.

I’ve worked several legal cases regarding incorrect medical coding. Medical coding is super complex – it’s essentially a chain of interactions (you with your doctor; your doctor writing up the medical record; a coder reading the record; a coder selecting a code from thousands) and there are some really weak links in there. It’s very, very easy to code incorrectly, and that’s without any pressure from higher-ups to upcode a record (which does happen).

ALWAYS GOOGLE YOUR BILLING CODES.

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Wow @meerkat thank you SO MUCH for all of this. It’s very very hepful.
So sad that it takes community rallying and gathering of medical ‘hacks’ and things to look out for in order to even understand your billing in the US, let alone pay it.
BUT, very thankful for your post!

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