Monday, November 29, 2010

Tis the Season...to SAVE

I must confess, like many other Americans amid the holiday frenzy, our family did some bargain hunting this weekend. We bought a pine tree - for cheap.

Every year we take a little jaunt up to the Blue Ridge Mountains to pick out the Maxwell family Christmas tree (cue National Lampoon Christmas Vacation soundtrack). We are able to save a load of money by choosing and cutting a Fraser Fir from one of the many, independently owned Christmas tree farms near our home. It's sustainable. It's a tradition. It's a steal.

Besides, we get the benefit of a large selection. Marinda is really, really fussy about our tree. There have been years when my daughters and I have huddled together with our teeth chattering on a mountainside while Marinda closely inspects each and every evergreen on the farm. It's got to be fat at the bottom, perfectly symmetrical with a proper bough density. And of course it has to be tall enough to nearly touch our ceiling. This year we may have gone a bit overboard on the height. The girls and I have fondly nicknamed our pine, Treezilla.

Treezilla is a monster, and we got her for a song.

Did you go out on Black Friday to save fifty bucks off the Xbox Kinect? Were you clicking like a madman at Amazon.com on Cyber Monday? If so, you should also try to save on diabetes supplies throughout the year. As we trim the tree, I'd like to share a few things you can do to help trim the medical costs:

1. Never ever buy a glucometer. Strips are expensive, and the glucometer companies know that if you choose their monitor, they can count on a tidy little sale from you month after month. Call or email the company or ask your diabetes medical team to introduce you to the local rep. Sometimes all you have to do is ask. Also, keep your eyes and ears open. You can catch ads in the paper or diabetes magazines that offer coupons for free meters with the purchase of a batch of strips.

2. Buy in bulk and buy online. We like to buy from online pharmacies for non-perishable supplies like strips, insertion sets, alcohol swabs, syringes and lancets. We've used fifty50 and edgepark medical supplies with great success.* Plus, Fifty50 donates half of their profits to diabetes research.

3. Finally, don't bother lugging around an ax or messing with a chainsaw to cut your own tree. Christmas tree farmers are pros with chainsaws and they'll even help you drag it down the mountain. Avoiding macho bravado in combination with sharp power tools may save you a REALLY big hospital bill.


*Full Disclosure- I don't get sponsorship money from either of these online vendors. We just really like doing business with them. Their staffs have always been wonderfully helpful and friendly. Besides, I don't accept ANY advertising or promotional money on my blog- that's just the way I roll.

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