Your Credit Score, Grocery and Coupon Questions Answered

Q: "If you cut out one shopping trip out of four, you are cutting your grocery costs by 25 percent. " What kind of logic is that? By extension, if I cut three out of four, then I'm cutting my costs by 75 percent? Of course not! My food costs are the costs of what I purchase for consumption and storage. If, at the end of the year, I've eaten all the food that I purchased, then the only savings I would incur by dropping the number of trips is the price of the fuel to drive the car to the market!

A: I thought it was obvious, but perhaps I should have explicitly stated that the Not Shopping method is based on having a set grocery budget and schedule. If you shop once a week and budget $100 for the trip, then cutting out every fourth trip will save you 25 percent. Yes, you must have a budget and stick to it, so you don't end up buying more supplies the week after the trip you skipped.


Save on Health Insurance by Paying As You Go

Q: I don't agree with [Leamy's] advice on health care. You should not think that your health care coverage is for the basics. It is for a car accident or other major medical situation. If you have a plan similar to the one that she recommends, you are gambling. But then again, isn't that what insurance is? Legalized gambling?

A: Ahem, bamkmartin must not have done very well on the reading comprehension part of the SAT test. He or she has gotten my point exactly backward. The advice I gave, and continue to give, is that you can save big by paying for the small things like routine doctor visits yourself and then buying a top notch insurance plan to cover catastrophes like an accident or a major disease diagnosis. There are two ways to do this. One way is to choose a health plan with a somewhat higher deductible, which has the effect of causing you to pay for entry level care yourself. The other way is to pay lower premiums up front but a higher percentage of your bill when you actually go to the doctor. That way , more of your money is going directly to your care instead of an insurance company.

Q: Your advice that people purchase a plan that saves in premiums and gives them more costs at the doctor's office is plain foolishness. This only works until someone has an unexpected illness or accident. Note the word "unexpected" in that sentence. You will regret that choice for years if you do that.

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