Hacking My Eye Insurance (and Contact Lens Purchase!)

Okay, check this:

A couple days ago, I went to the eye doctor. I haven’t been for two years, because I have a system – go every two years, and get contacts and make them last for two years, when I get my eyes checked out again. Sometimes I have insurance, sometimes I don’t.

Well, with my new job, I decided to sign up for the vision insurance so that I could take advantage of it through the rest of the year (December). I did some research and question-asking, and I found out that I could cancel my vision insurance for the following year, because I don’t plan to use it for any check-ups, etc.

So, my premium is under $11 (but we’ll just call it $11, shall we?).

I paid my first premium in August, so the total I will pay for vision insurance is: $11 x 5 = $55

My co-pay on the eye check-up was $15 and my co-pay on the contact lens fitting was $15 = $30

I ordered contacts from 1-800 CONTACTS, which cost me $200 (four boxes total, of 6 lenses each – definitely enough to last me two years, the way I use them – I supplement a lot with my glasses).

Total cost so far out of pocket: $285

However, my insurance covers up to $150 of my contact lens purchase. (I just sent in my reimbursement form online yesterday!)

So let’s bring that down to: $135.

But wait! 1-800 CONTACTS was having a “special” and I will get a mail-in rebate for $50 when my contacts are shipped to me!

So let’s bring that down to: $85.


Before I purchased my lenses, I went to Ebates.com (<— referral link) where I recently created an account. I then did a search for 1-800 CONTACTS and found out I could get 5% back on my purchase. They’ve ALREADY deposited $10 in my account! Woohoo!

So, let’s bring it down to: $75.


I used my Chase Sapphire Card, which is earning us points so that we can travel this summer. I put the $200 on the card, and although it’s only 1% back, that’s $2 to which I will NOT say no!

Total cost for me to get my eyes checked and get 2 years worth of contact lenses: $73!

That’s a value of: $200 + ~$100-$150 estimated for a check-up + ~$100 estimated for a contact lens fitting = $400 on the low side, and $500 on the high side!

Feeling pretty proud of myself that I looked for just about any way I could hack that expense. The only thing I DIDN’T do was use an online coupon, mostly because I couldn’t find one that seemed to fit my order. Most of the online coupon sites just had the deal I was already getting on the 1-800 CONTACTS website itself.

Not a bad way to spend (part of) an afternoon.

Anyone else felt really proud of a non-travel hack that worked out well?

In Which I Gripe About the Elusive “Normal Month”

So, where is this “normal month” that I keep thinking is around the corner?

“Well, last month was not normal because we moved.”

“Well, this month is not normal because we have all of these unexpected car issues to resolve.”

“Next month won’t be normal because we’ll be traveling to visit relatives for Thanksgiving and we’ll have extra food costs because of the holiday. Plus, starting to buy Christmas presents!”

“December won’t be normal because… yeah, Christmas.”

Seriously? A quarter of the year will go by and I will still think of it as “abnormal.” WHY do I do that? And that completely leaves out the fact that I always think of the summer months as abnormal because we tend to travel, and in the past H and I would both be at home with L all day (because… no work!).

I am starting to realize that there IS no normal month. There is no month that I can say, “Wow, nothing weird or unexpected came up. Cool!”

That means that our budget has to be the kind of budget than can absorb these blows. Prepare for the unexpected and all of that.

In December of 2013, we decided we would start a Sinking Fund, and that did totally help – we now save for expenses that we can predict WILL happen (just not always WHEN they will happen). Our sinking fund covers car repairs, gifts, L’s extra costs (school supplies, field trip costs, etc.), H’s business expenses, health care costs, car insurance, and we’ll soon be adding a clothing sinking fund as well.

Unfortunately, things still come up that are outside the categories, or – worse – the costs exceed the amount we have in the fund. We do have an emergency fund (there’s $500 in it right now – we’re working on beefing it up!), and I’m not above pulling from other categories, as long as they get paid back as soon as possible.

Honestly, this kind of problem doesn’t come up that much… mostly because I took the average of the previous year’s expenses in those categories and divided by 12 to come up with the amount to set aside each month.

However, when it does come up, it’s a whammy! And it’s usually car repairs.

Which is what it is this month.

It’s just so frustrating to feel like we just can’t get ahead with some of our goals. It’s great to be saving the way we’ve been able to these past months, but my main goal right now is to LIVE WITHIN OUR BUDGET.



Thanks for letting me blow off some steam, PF friends. 🙂 Anyone else have a way they deal with these “Abnormal Months”? I think it’s a mental thing – any advice?

7 Things About Me

versatileSpecial thanks to Nichole from Budget Loving Military Wife for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! She blogs about being a military spouse who is budget-conscious and totally focused on paying down their mortgage! Her tenacity amazes me. 🙂 She has great tips, especially for military families who may be moving abroad, so check it out!

The rules for the Versatile Blogger Award are: Share 7 Things about Yourself and Nominate 15 Bloggers. Y’all, I simply can’t do 15 – I’m still a newbie at this! So I will nominate some and if you’ve already been nominated…. sorry! 🙂

Okay, the 7 Random Things about Me:

1. I met Jane Goodall and John Cleese

In college, I was fortunate enough to go to a college (2.5 hours away from home) that was right next-door (almost) to the university my friend attended. She is a year older than me, and she was involved in some kind of campus activity that allowed her special access to the guest speakers her school brought to campus. One year they brought Jane Goodall to speak, and it was AWESOME. I got to hear the presentation, then I got to go backstage and meet her! I don’t think we shook hands, but it was still pretty awesome. She smiled at me, this amazing woman!

Another year, I was ecstatic when my friend told me that John Cleese was coming! I did the same thing – got to go backstage afterwards and talk to him. Plus – and this I remember quite clearly – I got to shake hands with him! Another amazing person. But here’s the absolute best part…

2. Shaking John Cleese’s Hand Helped Me Meet My Best Friend

When I went back to my own college, a friend of mine told me, “I know someone who will be so excited that you met John Cleese.” She “introduced” me to another girl (who was in some of my classes, so I really already knew her), and this girl WAS extremely excited. She shook my hand because I had shaken John Cleese’s hand. And then, you know what? That was the beginning (basically) of a beautiful friendship. (Love you, friend! You know who you are.) 🙂

3. I Have High Frequency-Hearing Loss

I am a musician with hearing loss, and I played the flute and piccolo all through middle and high school. We think I damaged my hearing because of multiple ear infections when I was younger (I never got tubes in my ears). For the most part it doesn’t bother me, only now that we’ve moved into an older house, I’m VERY concerned about faulty wiring or some other thing I can’t even imagine causing a fire, and me not being able to hear the smoke alarm (they are quite old). We’re going to buy some newer ones – it looks like that from January 2014 on, new smoke alarms emit high and low sounds to alert you. I won’t rest easy until we actually have them and get them installed, though.

4. My Favorite Holiday is Christmas

…and I wish I could start legitimately decorating in early November so I could enjoy my holiday decorations for at least two months.

5. H and I went to Greece for our Honeymoon

It was awesome.

6. MintlyBlog Isn’t My First Blog

When I was pregnant, I started a blog to chronicle my pregnancy. It wasn’t anonymous – I would let people know on FB that I had posted a blog update, and that way anyone who wasn’t interested in pregnancy stories wouldn’t have to see any of it!

7. I Always Wanted to be a Ballet Dancer

…but clearly not hard enough to actually work for it. Also, I’m not sure my body is the dancer-type. (Meaning, it is definitely not.)

My Nominations (and please forgive me if you were already nominated, since you probably were, as I’m so late to the game!):

  1. BlonderBetterFasterStronger
  2. Blogging for Balance
  3. Journey to Saving – Erin M. just got engaged, too – congratulations! 🙂

And if you wish your blog was listed here, please go ahead and nominate yourself and say it was me! 😉 I won’t give you away, promise.

Thanks for reading!