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Ask the Readers: Summer Meal Ideas?


Today’s questions is from Christy:

It’s warming up here in Missouri and I am wondering what kind of meals you make to avoid heating up your house more than it already is. We are trying to avoid using our air conditioner this summer to save money, but every evening when I turn on the oven, the temperature rises. I would love some helpful recipes and tips! -Christy

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How 30 Minutes on the Phone Saved Us Over $50!

medical costs

Liza emailed in the following tip:

You and your readers have been so helpful to me in the past, I just wanted to share a discovery I made in the hopes it will help other families.

In the past, when I have received medical bills, I have always just paid them.

Last week, I got a bill from a medical lab for an $80 blood test my doctor ordered as part of my routine annual checkup. Routine checkups are supposed to be covered in full by my health insurance, so I called to ask what was going on. They told me that  the test wouldn’t be covered because I’m not 30 yet — even though I will be in 6 months!

I asked to appeal the insurance company’s decision, and it was surprisingly easy to do over the phone. When we finished my appeal, the health insurance person said, “Well, if we do cover this cost, we’ll only pay the lab $27.22, not $80. Why don’t you call them and offer to pay $27.22?”

I called the lab and offered to pay $27.22, rather than $80. They immediately agreed! Also, if the insurance company accepts my appeal, I’ll get my money back in about 60 days. If not, I’m only out $27.22, not $80.

Thirty minutes on the phone saved my family at least $52.78.

In the future, when I get a medical bill, I’m going to:

1. Call my insurance and ask them to cover it.
2. Appeal it if they don’t.
3. Ask how much they WOULD pay the provider, if they DID cover it.
4. Call the provider, and offer to pay them that (lower) amount.

I wish I had known this years ago! Health insurance and medical companies don’t play by the same rules as everyone else — prices seem to be VERY negotiable. The bottom line is, don’t pay your medical bills without calling to see if they’ll accept a lower payment.

photo source The best online grocery & household deals this week

Amazon Deals

Here are some of this week’s best grocery & household deals from, courtesy of Terry and Mandi from Jungle Deals & Steals. Many of these prices are higher than what you’d pay by combining coupons with sales, but they may be good deals for you if you live where there aren’t many stores or deals are scarce:

Traverse Bay Fruit Co.: There’s a great deal now on Traverse Bay Fruit Co. Dried Blueberries. Pick up the 4-pound box for as low as $23.79.

Oral-B: Get an Oral-B 3d White Action Power Toothbrush for as low as $5.07.

Gerber: Here’s a great deal on Gerber Baby Cereal (8-ounce containers). Get them for as low as $1.44 each $8.62 for the pack of 6).


Udi’s: Stock up on Udi’s Gluten Free Granola. The 12-ounce bags are on sale for as low as $3.39 each ($10.16 for the pack of 3).

Systane: Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops on available for as low as $4.49/.33 fluid ounce bottle ($8.98 for the 2-count).

Old Spice: There’s a really good deal on Old Spice High Endurance Fresh Scent Men’s Deodorant – as low as $1.55/4.5-ounce container ($3.10 for the twin pack).


Dropps: Pick up Dropps Fresh Scent Laundry Pacs for as low as $0.13 each ($10.72 for the 80-load pouch).

Swiffer: Get a Swiffer Sweeper 2 in 1 Mop and Broom Floor Sweeper Starter Kit for as low as $5.28.

Dish Towels: Here’s a great deal on Keeble Outlets Kitchen Dish Towels. Pick up the pack of 12 for $17.99 (that’s $1.50/towel).

Highland Sugarworks: Highland Sugarworks 100% Maple Syrup is on sale for as low as $15.29/32-ounce bottle.

Terry & Mandi are a busy mother-daughter team that look for ways to save money without sacrificing a lot of time, and they share their love for all things at Jungle Deals & Steals.

Cents of Style: Little Kid’s Shoes for $14.95 shipped!

Kids Shoes- $14.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code MSMKDIS
This week only, Cents of Style is offering an exclusive deal for my readers on Little Kid’s Shoes. These shoes are regularly priced at $32.95, but when you use coupon code MSMKIDS at checkout, you’ll get them for $14.95 + FREE SHIPPING!

Kids Shoes- $14.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code MSMKDIS

There are five different styles to choose from and 20 different color choices!

Kids Shoes- $14.95 & FREE SHIPPING with Code MSMKDIS

Use coupon code MSMKIDS to get all Little Kids Shoes shown here for just $14.95 shipped per pair — this week only.

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