How Much?

Over the past few months I have never received more emails than those regarding energy and health care costs. The concern and fear that people have cannot be understated. Each year if income only rises between 2 to 4 percent and energy and health care costs double that, at what point does energy and healthcare become unaffordable for the average person?

I know, I too have been to the gas pump lately, and looked at my quarterly payments to my healthcare provider. But I don’t want this essay to focus on a negative approach to these dilemmas that many of us face. We do have more power than we think….how so, you may ask? Well to start with, you have the money in your hand….just like if you were going in to purchase a car, buy a house, or get a new refrigerator….you do have the power to negotiate. How can you negotiate at the gas pump? Many wholesale merchants, like BJ’s, Sam’s Club, Walmart,and Stop & Shop, etc. have gas at facilities that give their members discounts at the pump. Also, conservation and carpooling can do wonders for the pocketbook.

How many of you out there have recently seen or received in the mail advertisements offering huge discounts on selected items? Hey, it’s on the television everywhere that we must be in a recession….this doesn’t escape or go over the heads of retail chains that have to meet their payroll and bottom line each week. If you have the money, you can negotiate for a better price on just about anything. If you go into a store, don’t necessarily accept the price that you see on an item….many times the salesperson or owner are quite happy to give a discount to close a sale.

And last but not least…healthcare. How many of us out there, before we go to a doctor or dentist, ask them, when possible, how much their service costs? Unfortunately, quite often we walk in with a blank check, freely accepting whatever the price. More and more healthcare insurance companies, each year, decrease what they are willing to pay for our healthcare visits. I have been told by my insurer that whenever possible, I am to call them before I go to any practitioner, so that I fully understand what is and what is not covered. An emergency is an emergency….and in those cases one does not have the luxury…but overall, as long as we hold money in our hands, we do have a right to say, “how much?”

There are so many other issues that each individual grapples with daily. These are just the tip of the iceberg, but many of us out there, overall, are extremely concerned about runaway costs. We do have the power….we are not alone….and just about everything can be negotiated more than we think.

Spend wisely,

Jennifer Avalon

© 2008 Jennifer Avalon

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