Always Read The Small Print and
Always Double Check
This is not the blog post I planned to write this week. But life is full of bumps. Right now I swear if I were taking a test in life I would fail. Just to recap, we started our debt free journey on April 4, 2017. In just those 15 days we have experienced:
- Storm damage to the house (new fence needed)
- A job loss
- A car wreck
- iPhone going dead and subsequent purchase of a new one
- Emergency dental work
Yes, I know number 4 seems small, but when you have to have a phone, and you are stuck between a rock and a hard spot, a new iPhone is not what we wanted. We had just paid off the one that broke. That being said, number 4 was nothing compared to number 5.
Okay so number 5 is new. And this one was going to be a $2,700.00 bill. With this new bump I can tell you first-hand the test in life is not multiple choice.
With an impending $2,700 bill we now have to figure things out. Yes, I cried all the way home from the dentist office. Bawled was more like it. All the experts say the same thing, the key to getting out of debt is no new debt. I get it! Tell that to the tooth I fractured.
I needed a plan. So I set out on a plan with the help from my husband.
- Calm down and take emotion out of the picture.
- Assess the estimate
- Talk to insurance
- Call the dentist to see about options
- Look for money
- FIGURE IT OUT
Looking at the plan helped tons. To that point, the 2nd and 3rd items on the plan really made a difference. Thus the “Lesson Learned, Read the Small Print.”
I set down and with my husband to look over the estimate. He noticed right away that the dentist had a benefit cap of $2000. We have MetLife, we looked up the information online and started to read the small print. My husband seemed to be correct, and there might be additional savings as we would have a lower deductible and better coverage amounts.
I am truly grateful that MetLife hired a wonderful woman by the name of Jo-Ann (not sure of the spelling). Jo-Ann walked me through each of the codes, the max fees, the percentage they would pay and my other benefits. With Jo-Ann’s help I was able to figure it out. We were right.
A quick phone call to the dentist and Susan (the sweet gal at the front desk) was on it. More, she was able to offer some non-credit options for payment options. I could break up the payments in to four installments (while it wasn’t on a credit card, I still owed the money and well, it was still debt). She also offered me CareNow credit, with zero percent for six months. I politely thanked her and let her know I would make a decision after she was able to get me the new estimate.
Susan rocked! She had me the updated estimate in 20 minutes. (Seriously that’s customer service.) More importantly I went from $2,700, to $2,100. That is a $600 savings! Heck yeah!
That night I was looking on my American Express statement and noticed that I had $500 in “cash back.” I reduced the amounts that I was going to pay towards two of our other current debts by $250 each, and there was $1000. My husband and I looked at our “vacation fund” and decided that we could do our next vacation on a lot less money. And poof there was the other $1000.
The plan worked!
I started to wonder if double checking other things and reading the small print might make an impact on other items. It did. Our final electric bill came in and there was a “monthly charge,” and a higher rate. Mind you I changed services the day after my contract ended. A simple call to them and well, that was gone. Poof!
At the grocery store, pay close attention to your receipt. Some places will actually give you the item free if it “rings up wrong.” We looked at our receipt and poof one item rang up wrong. Thus we got the item for free. Now, I grant you it was just $2. But, $2 is $2.
This week alone, just by reading the small print we saved $612.
Till next time. I’m getting out of debt one dollar at a time.
NOTE THOUGH NOTHING NEW!