Q: why doesn’t this blog have an f.a.q.?

1 06 2010

A: actually, i’m working on it. right now.

here’s a secret for you- during this summer/fall, i’ll be working on transforming this site from a free wordpress blog to my very own broke207.com domain. actually, i already bought it- but right now there’s just a crappy place holder page that both looks stupid and doesn’t make any sense. hopefully, with the miracle of modern technology (and my friends over at ibec creative), things will slide over all sorts of seamlessly- with a few minor upgrades that will make your life better- or at least probably not any worse. i hope that one of those upgrades will be the addition of an FAQ, but i haven’t figured out yet if there are enough unanswered questions about me and my pet blog to devote a whole section to answering them. that’s when  you arrive to clear up the confusion. if i were going to install an FAQ, what would you ask? or, do you think it’s a terrible idea?

here’s a starter question we can all try on for size:

Q: i find your use of all lowercase letters to be infuriating. are you some sort of crazy uneducated idiot? do you think you’re channeling e.e. cummings you pretentious prick? why do you torment me so?!

A: wow, those are some harsh words. why do you have to be so mean about it? actually, i have a college education (with a few extra courses on the side for emphasis), and have been capitalizing appropriately/successfully for many years. i even do so every day at my day job without complaint. i do enjoy e.e. cummings’ work very much, but my insistence on lowercase doesn’t have anything to do with him or his fantastic poetry. actually, kind of cranky reader, i do it because i have OCD (that’s obsessive compulsive disorder for those of you who missed the MTV true life– i have OCD). i am fortunate enough that my affliction is not so severe that i have to be medicated (although i have been medicated at various points), or prevents me from doing the things that i love to do, but it does creep into my life in funny ways sometimes that make me seem a little off/out there. i won’t eat a sandwich unless it’s cut diagonally (i will actually throw it away and get another one, or possibly cry, or more possibly both). i will throw away anything that i am hand writing if i make a mistake- rather than make a cross out (including post-its and informal notes to self). i am also obsessed with symmetry. i can’t even begin to calculate how much of my life i spend lining things up to make them parallel, or nudging them to make sure that they are square with the edges of the table. and that folks, is where the all lowercase happens. proper upper/lower writing is lopsided, and i find it visually displeasing. i can do it when i have to (work), but when it’s my turf (blog), i can do whatever the hell i please. i do find all uppercase writing to also be acceptable (my handwriting is all uppercase), but on the internet, people just think you’re yelling at them (thanks KANYE). thus, all lowercase it is! fun fact: my iphone auto-corrects all my improper lowercase letters, and i actually take the time to go back and undo the correction so that my symmetry is preserved. anyone know a hack for that?

so there it is… one question down. more to come? or TMI?

$5 a pill.

2 01 2010

no, it’s not the street value of the valium you found in your mother’s drawer (that’s more like $2-$3 )- it’s how much i used to spend on my acid reflux medication when i didn’t have insurance. don’t get me started on what’s wrong with the current health insurance situation in america… i have experienced it firsthand! the 2 years i spent without it were some of the most horribly stressful of my life- and no small contributing factor to my current huge personal debt.  as it so happens, my parents are genetic minefields, and i’ve wound up with a host of non-life threatening but totally irritating chronic conditions that require daily medication:

1. debilitating allergies & chronic hives

2. acid reflux

3. athsma

4. ok, this one doesn’t have anything to do with my parents- but i am also on the pill. (genetic predisposition to not want to get knocked up?)

so when i stumbled across this article about low cost health care, i thought maybe it would have some helpful tips that i could share with other people who might be in the same position i was  a few years ago. maybe there were some resources that i hadn’t found on my own… OR NOT. this was the lamest article i’ve ever read. thanks for the tip on sending CDC e-cards… or getting free ice cream… what the fuck? somebody needs to jaunt over to the l.a. times and give francesca lunzer kritz a good smack in the mouth. i seriously can’t believe somebody actually paid her for that garbage.

but on to some things that are actually helpful! the l.a. times might not know shit, but i figured out a few things when i was slumming it (medically speaking) that might come in handy to some.

6 things you can do to lower your prescription drug costs:

1. go OTC. i once paid $152 for a medication that had already gone over the counter under a different name- and my doctor never even bothered to tell me. it is always worth checking with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of your meds have gone over the counter. now, instead of $152 a month (or even $30 when i had prescription coverage), i pay $10 or less at the rite aid or cvs (depending on who has the better deal, and what coupons i can scrounge)- and with programs like rite aid zyrtec rewards, i often end up getting cash back.

2. go generic. if you can’t get it over the counter, ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a comparable generic drug. most of the time, doctor’s aren’t thinking about the lowest cost option- and generally prescribe the name brand medication (which is always more expensive). there also might be a different similar drug that is a lower price.

3. beg for samples. in my most dire of financial straits, my doctor would always hook me up with (literally) bags of free samples when i explained to him my situation. medical offices get tons of them free from drug companies in an effort to get the doctors to pimp their products. a kindhearted physician will often use them to help a girl out.

4. hit the big box. both walmart and target pharmacies have big lists of prescription drugs that you can get starting at $4 a month, or $10 for 90 days. it doesn’t cover everything- but they both have a solid range, and the prices can’t be beat.

5. pay a visit to the planned parenthood. if you want birth control and you have no money, a visit to the planned parenthood is always in order. their services are generally on a sliding income scale. also, don’t forget to grab a handful of free condoms on your way out the door (university health centers are also usually good for such things).

6. check out the hospital outpatient clinic. because my doctor’s office is part of the MMC family, my doctor was able to write me a prescription for my meds (everything but the birth control) that i could pick up at the outpatient pharmacy at the hospital. they had a pretty wide selection, and i never paid more than $15 a month for anything.

really, the real moral of this story is always to TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. they want to help you, but they don’t necessarily know about your financial situation unless you tell them. chances are, they have more than a few resources in their lab coat pockets that can help you out. also, don’t forget to cash in on those $25 gift cards that cvs & rite aid are always offering to bring in your new or transferred prescription.

you may have also heard about saving money by getting drugs from canada, or signing up for prescription discount cards– but when i looked into both programs, i wasn’t able to find any significant savings (only lots of hassle and additional monthly fees!). not worth it!

these 6 are the best ways that i’ve found, but i’d love to broaden the list if anyone out there knows any tricks that i missed!

looking back.

30 12 2009

2009 was a crazy-ass ride for me. i actually can’t remember a year that was more wonderful and more awful all rolled up together. the ciff’s notes version of my 2009 (in rough chronological order): i got divorced, started therapy, started medication, gained 30 lbs, bought a house (well, condo really), renovated perviously referenced condo, stopped medication, stayed fat, started blog, costumed nightmare burlesque show, was diagnosed with hypothyroid, got through nightmare xmas, ended up here.

after such a blitz of total insanity, i think it’s hard not to make a boatload of outrageous resolutions about how at this time next year i’m going to be a totally different, and totally better, person. but for right now i’d like to hold off on the plans for next year for a minute, and look at some of the things what went right this year (blogwise of course):

i got 5 boxes of cereal for $1.50

i got 18 bars of soap for $2.49

the coupon goddess made me feel like a rockstar

i bought all of my OCT meds for dirt dirt cheap

portland finally got a magical cvs coupon machine

i paid $.84 for hot pants

i got famous. twice

i capitalized on other people’s laziness

more than anything, i survived. i got through all the chaos, i learned A LOT, and i think i might actually be better for it. why does self improvement have to be so traumatic?