When Saving Money Is No Longer Worth Your Time But You Do It Anyway

Cash MoneyAfter drinking a couple beers with a buddy a couple months ago, I dragged myself across the street to get a flu shot at Walgreens. Supposedly this season was one of the worst, and I had no desire to get swine flu. I hate needles. The insertion isn’t what bothers me. What irks me is the uncomfortable feeling of liquid getting pushed into my veins as the injector tries to hold the needle still. I don’t know how heroine users do it!

I actually didn’t feel a thing this time around because I was a little tipsy. Perhaps you too should give needle injecting a go after a couple drinks (see doctor for professional medical advice). When I went to pay the bill the pharmacist said, “That’ll be $34.95.

Over the past 11 years I don’t recall ever paying for a flu shot. The first nine years was because my old firm was awesome enough to bring a pharmacist in to our office and inject us all for free. And the last two years my insurance provider paid in full. But this pharmacist was adamant that Cigna, my insurance company, wouldn’t pay for the particular strain I was about to get. Odd.

Normally I would have told the pharmacist to hold up so I could give my insurance company a call and ask them what’s up. But this time, I just couldn’t be bothered with this picayune amount. “OK, no problemo! Charge away.” I didn’t want to have to spend 30 minutes on the phone for the chance of sending in my receipt to get reimbursed $35. Maybe if I was absolutely bored out of my mind with a lot of time to kill I’d go through the entire discovery process, but I just didn’t have the patience.

Can’t Be Bothered Until You Can

As you grow your wealth you begin to stop sweating the small stuff. The fake “freshly squeezed” orange juice at Noah’s Bagel for $3.25 no longer bothers you. The 15 cents extra per gallon at a highly populated gas station is no big deal. The newly instated $5 an hour Sunday parking meters no longer piss you off. Your tennis partner never bringing a can of new balls isn’t as annoying anymore. OK, that’s a lie. I hate it when a tennis player never brings new balls and expects others to bear gifts.

About a month went by when a close friend told me she got a free flu shot at Walgreens paid for by Cigna, my same insurance provider. Now I was annoyed. Did I get lied to? The Cigna representative I spoke to on the phone said they absolutely do insure flu shots and Walgreens was dead wrong to charge me. Even though it was only $35, I went back to Walgreens to demand my money back. They still denied my request because they said I received a different vaccine that supposedly protects the same way, but isn’t covered. WTF?!

Apparently Walgreens ran out of the most common vaccine covered by my insurance company, but had another vaccine that does the same job, but isn’t covered. News to me. At no time did the pharmacist ever explain the situation. If he did, I’d have just come back the next day after they restocked, or walked over to another Walgreens six blocks away. All the pharmacist wanted was to get me vaccinated and move on to the next patient. The main purpose was done, but because Walgreen was to be paid either way, he didn’t care about the insurance coverage process.

Saving Money Out Of Principle

Annoyed, I decided to write this post to encourage everyone to call your insurance company first to know your rights before going to a pharmacist. Make it a good habit to call your health insurance company at least once a year to review important things such as: co-pay, co-insurance, deductible, emergency care costs, and pharmacy costs. (See: Open Enrollment Insurance Checklist)

I called my credit card company to dispute the charge and they graciously credited my account $35. Then I faxed in my receipt with a form to Cigna to get them to reimburse me $35. If they are going to cover flu shots, then cover them all. It’s been almost two months and I still haven’t received a check in the mail.

Saving money is the one thing most of us can control. Good savings habits is the foundation of personal finance. Sometimes saving money is about principle. I hate feeling scammed or ripped off, no matter how little the cost. It’s no wonder why the health insurance industry is so messed up and expensive in America.

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Readers, are there some things you used to spend time saving money, but no longer bother anymore? Are there things you absolutely do spend time on to save money out of principle even though the return is poor?

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. says

    It’s very important to know what is covered by your insurance, but it takes so much time. Twice now i’ve had blood drawn as part of my annual physical. Every previous year it was covered by insurance. These two times I received a HUGE bill. Like $600 huge, from the lab. I called them to ask what was wrong and if the insurance company had denied the charge. They hadn’t, they just said “the insurance company hasn’t paid us in the last 3 weeks…..so we sent you a bill.” When asked if insurance companies usually pay in less than 3 weeks, they said no. I didn’t pay and a few weeks later I was told by my insurance company it was settled for like $45 (which was the insurance company’s prearranged price).

    Clearly the jerks at the lab hope some little old person pays them without thinking…….and they get a huge profit. If a small percentage of the labs 10s of thousands of customers pays…..they make some real money. Damn crooks
    -Bryan

  2. Larry says

    I am reminded of the saying of Coach John Wooden, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

    Yes, even though I no longer need to, I still clip coupons, still call the cable company when they raise my bill, still seek the lower price on gas.

    I guess it’s not entirely for my own benefit, in a way it’s to let companies know that yes, someone is still paying attention.

  3. Greg says

    Yes, PLEASE be familiar with your coverage before visiting a health care provider. As a pharmacist filling 200-300 prescriptions daily along with some immunizations in the mix I would rather spend my time working accurately and safely on those than researching or explaining your insurance coverage. Having that knowledge ahead of time will help us both.

  4. says

    I love this concept. I always look at my time when saving money. Spending ten extra minutes to save a few bucks is not worth it.

    I like to value my time hourly. If the time I spend saving money does not equal my hourly value it’s not worth it. You can do the same thing with work. If I can hire someone to do things cheaper than my hourly value I do it.

  5. Bladedg says

    Funny, I think I’m the opposite of most people. The older I get and the more money I make (although still middle-middle class), the more I try to save and am always on the lookout for being ripped off. I remember being out of college for only a couple of years and taking a cab to work in Chicago because I was running late. Hey, I thought, it’s only 15 bucks. Today, I’d hope on the bus and would have no problem being late.

    I walk around my brother’s upper-middle class neighborhood and am amazed at the number of Hondas, Nissans, and Chevrolets parked in the driveways. My middle-class hood has tons of Audis, BMWs, and Mercedes. It’s no coincidence.

  6. says

    I’d spend 30 minutes on hold to make sure I can save $30 (although it’s more like $150 since I’m shopping for a family of 5).

    Here’s where I let go. Trying to buy some car parts on ebay. I put the item in the cart last night. Price went up $1 by this morning. Instead of waiting to see if the price drops, I just spent the extra dollar. Hopefully I’ll get the parts quickly so I can get the car fixed pronto and avoid $$$ at the auto shop. I also paid an extra $4 for another part to get is shipped this week from a US vendor instead of waiting a month for a HK or China seller to ship the item. It’ll be the same quality item, but I’ll hopefully get the A/C working in the car a few weeks earlier. There, I spent an extra $5 and it doesn’t feel bad at all! :)

  7. Kathy says

    Especially when we were still working, but even now as well, we often hired something done that we could do ourselves, simply because we valued our time more. Currently one thing we hire done that we could do ourselves is lawn care. It wouldn’t take a huge amount of time, but it is just one thing we don’t think about other than once a month writing a check to the lawn care company. We provide work for those who want it and we have more free time available to us.

  8. says

    I like to think of saving money as DYI projects. I had a random charge from Directv which I turned in all my equipment after cancelling, they then charged me $5.99 for a movie that they missed, I certainly called and asked what this was, but this was DIY project that “could have” saved me $6, instead it cost me about 10 minutes of my day.

    On the other hand I repaired our back gate all on my own, I certainly could have called someone, I tried it was just to expensive, so DIY happened.

    Do i go for a Budlight instead of a nice craft brew, absolutely not, i’m willing to pay the extra $5 for the 6 pack for a better more likeable taste. No DIY project there, unless you are including drinking the beer, then consider the DIY project completed.

  9. says

    I agree with you it is not worth fighting small charges sometimes, especially if there is no way around it but what Walgreen’s did was pretty sneaky. They should have told you they ran out and the new vaccine was going to cost you out of pocket. I would have fought that charge and have fought charges as low as $5 when I know the company is being sneaky or ripping me off.

    Insurance companies seem to be denying more claims lately. I have had to fight a few claims that were denied in the last year or so. Eventually I get them covered but it is a lot of work talking to a million different people to get claim covered. I recently had an entire claim denied and received a $4,800 bill. It was for pretty routine blood work. After months of going back and forth between doctor and insurance company, I got the whole thing covered.

    Good advice on the keeping informed about insurance.

  10. says

    For me I run into this with coupons. I am not one of those super addicted coupon maniacs (drawing a blank on the term for them) but I do like being able to use them. Although I really don’t need to be bothered with saving 50 cents here or a dollar there, I get so frustrated if I miss an expiration date, forget to bring one, or find out there’s some tricky clause to spend X before it’s valid.

    I stopped searching for coupons now since I can’t be bothered but when I come across one I save it.

    That’s so annoying about your insurance. Insurance can be so tricky and confusing.

  11. says

    I don’t really sweat the small stuff when it comes to saving money. I’ve never been the type to drive and extra 2 miles to save a few cents per gallon on gas, but I hate feeling ripped off or taken advantage of. I would have definitely complained in that scenario no matter if it was only $35

  12. says

    Good advice about the insurance. It’s important to read over your EOB. I didn’t, and I was once charged for some unnecessary lab work. Surprisingly, I called my carrier and they were really understanding and agreed to cover the charge.

    Yeah, even though it’s not “worth my time” (I feel really silly saying that), I use coupons and dispute price hikes or charges on my monthly bills. Sometimes it’s about the principle; sometimes I just want to save a few bucks! But if I do this stuff in my free time, I figure it’s worth my time. Plus, a few bucks here and there adds up.

  13. says

    There is so much waste and inefficiency in the healthcare system caused by insurance billing practices that I always follow up on billing mistakes on principal. Even if it only saves $10 or $20, it’s the principal of the matter!

  14. Heather says

    I agree that you should know your own health insurance plan. However in defense of the pharmacist, they might not have known another form of the flu vaccine would have been covered. There are thousands of different insurance plans, each with differing levels of coverage. The pharmacist could have just run the available vaccine through your insurance, gotten a rejection, and left it at that. Finding out more information than that requires a phone call, which takes a good amount of time that most patients do not want to wait.

    Also, not all “Cignas” are the same. Each insurance provider has different plans and groups with different coverage. Don’t assume that because someone else had something covered that you will too. Always call member services first. I wish health insurance were simpler, but apparently we Americans like confusing!

    Also, if it makes you feel better, the flu shot (like most vaccines) is injected into muscle, not a vein. Have you considered FluMist? No needles at all.

  15. says

    I’m not at that stage anymore, although my husband thinks differently sometimes! One example is our lawn care. He wants to outsource, and I say in source. So I’m going to take care of it and get a work out at the same time. I don’t mind it.

  16. AC says

    “I called my credit card company to dispute the charge and they graciously credited my account $35. Then I faxed in my receipt with a form to Cigna to get them to reimburse me $35.”

    Do I misread or you are actually about to make $35 between credit card company and insurance company? Of course, it sounds like Cigna has not sent you a check.

    • says

      You read it correctly. I would rather have an hour and a half of my life back than the $35 reimbursement from Cigna which decided to be selective on what to cover and help cause this mess in the first place. Their intention should be to cover flu shot vaccinations, not selectively cover XY but not Z for flu vaccination.

      • valleycat1 says

        But AC’s point is that you are double dipping by getting the charge dropped on the CC AND requesting reimbursement from the insurance. Disputing the charge is a protest against what happened to you at that Walgreens. However, Walgreens will probably submit proof that the charge to the card was legitimate (i.e., you signed the receipt and you received the shot) and it will be reinstated once the CC investigates, unless they are reimbursed by the insurance in the meantime. And your contention that your insurance SHOULD be covering something but does not, is a specious argument. They will not see your claim for a charge they do not cover as anything significant since people submit uncovered claims all the time. If you do get the $35 from CIGNA that money belongs to Walgreens, not you, since they did give you the shot and should be paid for it.

  17. says

    I can’t be bothered with frugality in general, mostly because it annoys me. I’ve had to live “frugally” for much of my life – out of necessity, not desire or pride. Now that I’m bringing in some decent money from my side hustle – I’m trying to stay away from that mindset. I would rather buy time and avoid hassle. The real challenge is training my wife to also get away from the frugal mentality. We’re not rich yet. But we’re on our way and we better learn to act like it.

  18. says

    Saving money can be annoying but it has helped me a lot in the long term. Sometimes though if I’m tired or just want to go home I’ll let it go. Some people calculate their “ROI” while doing certain money saving tactics. While that is logical and it’s nice to know that doing something is like getting $20/hour, you’re not gonna want to do it if you have something better to do.

  19. eli says

    “I called my credit card company to dispute the charge and they graciously credited my account $35. Then I faxed in my receipt with a form to Cigna to get them to reimburse me $35.”

    From the portion of the article below, seems like the writer wanted to get an extra $35. Already got reimbursed from his credit card company and still tried to submit $35 reimbursement from Cigna. Nice

    • says

      Nice indeed of it happens.

      I asked my CC to dispute. But instead of disputing, they just credited my account as a long time client.

      I want Cigna to pay for what they said they would pay. If I could send them a bill for wasting my time, I would.

    • says

      Nice indeed of it happens.

      I asked my CC to dispute. But instead of disputing, they just credited my account as a long time client.

      I want Cigna to pay for what they said they would pay. If I could send them a bill for wasting my time, I would. Don’t let insurance companies take advantage of you.

  20. Ryan says

    This reminds me of that tv show, “Extreme Couponing.” While its very cool to see a grocery bill go from hundreds down to pennies, they rarely emphasize the time value they put into coupon clipping and planning those trips. Some people on that show spend 40-50 hours a week to save 200 bucks. With that time, I’d rather be working and make $1000. Or, if they’re unemployed, I can see that as a valuable money saver but if they posses skills to make more at an occupation, job hunting would be smarter use of their time. My econ teacher in high school used to say, “There’s a reason Tiger Woods doesn’t mow his own lawn. Its not that he’s lazy, its that he could spend those few hours in a photo shoot for Nike and make 50 grand.” Time Value of Money.

  21. says

    I love saving money.Though it takes so much time and effort prioritizing your needs over your wants, in the end it will be all worth it. Despite that I’m already financially stable, I still look into small stuffs which can affect on how I save money.

  22. Jon says

    One of the reasons I make a fair amount of money, is my lack of patience to constantly worry about saving small amounts. I’d rather not fight the living on a small budget battle all the time, and instead fight the fewer, bigger battles that make more money. I’ve spent far more time thinking about how to do a bigger/better deal, than how to save 10% more.

    Of course, I was forced to be frugal in my earlier years when I didn’t earn much, but it was tiresome. It was also tiresome to always reason with my wife as to why she/we should spend less. So I did what I could to out earn our consumption. She has followed my lead on attitude. We don’t go crazy, but don’t sweat the small stuff– under a couple hundred bucks.

    So the $35 shot or $0.15 higher gas is easy. The hard stuff is how much house to build or whether to buy one more piece of investment real estate or not.

      • Jon says

        If I thought I could resolve a $35 over charge in a half hour or less, I’d do it. Otherwise I’d let it go, even if it was unjust. But I’d also consider switching vendors if it was an easy switch. That’s obviously not the case with health insurance.

  23. mysticaltyger says

    I totally agree with you on this one, Sam. Especially with health care, people do not question the cost because insurance pays for most of it. If people actually had to pay out of pocket (at least for the everyday stuff), health care wouldn’t be as expensive as it is.

    • says

      It’s like taxes. If you had to pay a decent amount, or if you had to pay property taxes, or quarterly taxes as a small business, less people would keep voting for more and more spending and more and more taxes.

      But this is how politicians stay in power. Take from a minority to give to the majority. It’s logical.

  24. Steve says

    Some of this depends on how much time you really have. If you’re single and work 40 hours per week, why not take on more and save every penny you can?

    If you’re married, have a kid, work 55-60 hours per week, make good money, I’d submit you need to think a lot more about time value of money. But be careful. It’s a slippery slope.

    I’m in the latter camp, and slipped too far. So I’ve recently zapped about $750 out of our monthly budget by taking on more household stuff and commuting to/from work in a much less “convenient” albeit more earth-friendly way.

    Next move is to fire either our gardner or our house cleaners — which will get us up over $900 month in savings.

    • says

      Please tell me more about the $900 / month you budget for Ye Gardner and house cleaner!

      How big is your house and what is the frequency? I feel bad spending money on stuff like that. Maybe it is because I enjoy gardening and cleaning.

      • Steve says

        Let me clarify, SamuRAI, and correct my earlier inacccuracies! Since January I have actually stopped:

        1) Driving to SF for work. I take a posh commuter bus. No more SF parking space at 75 Howard.
        SAVINGS: $350/month

        2) Buying SBUX 4X per week.
        SAVINGS: $32/month

        3) Buying 2 tanks of gas per month due to less driving.
        SAVINGS: $80/month

        4) Paying a HELPING HANDS woman (she had a baby) to due our laundry.
        SAVINGS: $240/month — and yes, I now do EVERY LOAD…and FOLD IT

        5) Only splurge on a ridiculous SF Fin’l District Lunch once per week instead of 4X/week
        SAVINGS: $180/month

        Cutting gardener would save $150 month and suck up a few hours out of my weekend.

        Cutting house cleaners would save $190 month and suck up a few hours out of my weekend.

        Hope this makes more sense. And yes, I am human, and very very BLESSED…even with these f’ing taxes!

  25. says

    I’ve definitely argued over less, Sam. Part of me thinks it’s about saving money. Another part is the feeling we get when we’ve been insulted, or not given proper service, or just being taken advantage of a bit. The latter is hard to explain but, at least when I feel like a company or person’s wronged me, I’ll go to great lengths (well beyond what’s beneficial for me) to address it.

    Once, a waitress gave my wife and I terrible service, was snotty to her, and then had the nerve to fraudulently write in a bigger tip and forge my signature on a second receipt. It was only for $5 extra, but it really pissed me off. So I called the manager, demanded a copy of the receipt to be scanned and sent to me. When it got to the point where we’d have to call the police and filing a report though, I realized, man, this is causing me more stress than it will relieve…and let it go. Hopefully the waitress got a lesson out of the whole thing.

    • says

      I would totally go after the rude waitress who forged my signature! WTF?!?!

      That is bullshit. If she was nice and provided good service, that might have been a different story since a $5 tip is not a lot, meaning you tipped less. But to be rude and forge. Nuh uh

  26. says

    I recently contacted FreedomPop CS to remove a $0.01 charge from my “free” account. Obviously it was all about the principle – this company charged random fees to my credit card several times now. They remove them when you complain but I need to close my account already.

  27. says

    I often fight out of principle! The fight continues with out regard to the sum saved. I remember calling B of A about a few dollars of interest on my line of credit. I could say it was not the money, but it was. As I dug into it, it was a problem in their system when I paid my bills online. Sometimes, it defaulted to my line of credit vs. my checking account. I got ti corrected and the refund.

    Too often, you fixate on the money, but there is often another underlying issue such as in this case the system error. When it is all said and done, I rather live based on my principles and values! The savings is just part of it.

  28. says

    I hold grudges, I always fight against principal but you’re right at a certain point it may not be worth my time. I do like that you challenged the transaction and asked for your health care insurance to re-imburse you. That sounds like something I’d do haha.

    A couple years ago I wanted to make sure all my preventative lab tests would be covered so I spent all this time researching ICD-9 codes and talking to my insurer about the tests I was going to get. Now I’m well versed in preventative medical coding, what a useful skill haha

    http://yourpfpro.com/preventative-care-with-a-hsa-free-physicals-and-lab-work/

  29. says

    When I read the first part of your post, where you were going to just eat the $35 charge, I took note because I often wonder if I will ever get to the point where I won’t try to save money at every turn. “Maybe I won’t always be this tight!” I thought.

    The second part, where you learned that your friend’s shot was covered and you decided to go after getting your money reimbursed, made me chuckle. I would have done the very same thing! “Maybe I will always be this tight after all!” But it’s all good.

    I hope your check comes soon, and maybe you should use it to go out for drinks again! :-)

  30. says

    I love saving money.Though it takes so much time and effort prioritizing your needs over your wants, in the end it will be all worth it. Despite that I’m already financially stable, I still look into small stuffs which can affect on how I save money.

  31. says

    Hi Sam

    I have been reading your blog for a while. I am a pharmacist, have worked for Walgreens in the past and have administered thousands of flu shots. The way a pharmacy processes insurances in quite complicated. The only thing a pharmacist does is send a claim to the insurance company and see what price they send back. I completely agree with you that the pharmacist should have informed you that they were out of stock on a different vaccine brand which is essentially the same flu shot and provides the same coverage. As a pharmacist, I always mentioned the price to the patient before administering the shot. I think it is a patient’s right to know what the out of pocket expense is before the medication or service is delivered/administered. Pharmacists are extremely busy and barely have a minute but the patient should always be informed. I feel sorry you have had such an experience. As a pharmacist, I loved administering flu shots since I got to speak with patients which is really a learning experience. I also loved it when patients came back the next year(for a flu shot) and specifically asked for me.I would like to add that our insurance companies take undue advantage of patients and complicate situations. I hope you find a pharmacist that takes the extra minute to strike a chord with you.

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by Divya and sharing your perspective. Pharmacists are definitely always busy and I can see how they don’t have time to thoroughly check the insurance co. Mine was free last year at Walgreens with the same insurance co, so I just assumed there was some insurance change as there always is to make them more money at the expense of the consumer.

      This was the only pharmacist who didn’t seem to care. Everyone else has been very thorough and thoughtful.

  32. Alex says

    Love this post, because I can’t help myself in these situations. Whether it stems from frugality, competitiveness, or pride, I always fight back when I feel like I’m getting ripped off, even when the amount is small

    Recently, I have struggled with Dentists and Vets. Multiple dentists I have tried recently slip in slight variations to standard procedures like x-rays or whatever. When insurance balks, I get the bill. Surprisingly the dentist demands I pay, knowing I will fight them and they will lose future business that is worth much more than the paltry fee they are trying to collect.

    Vets are just as bad. Usually they will recommend 5-10 procedures that ‘could’ help resolve the problem. I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure I’m paying them to tell me the most likely problem and address that, not to ask me to pay for every possible option.

    If any type of medical service provider is clearly up-selling their unnecessary options with a payment plan… prepare to be destroyed on yelp.

    Maybe it isn’t worth my time, but the personal satisfaction I get from defending myself doesn’t have a monetary value.

  33. JW says

    Ah, the time value of money…sometimes it’s just about the principle of the injustice.

    I moved to SF nearly a year ago and in the process planned to transfer my DirecTV account from my former home in Denver to my new home in SF, after all they have such great transfer promotions!

    Upon signing the lease my landlord made it very clear that I was in no way allowed to mount a satellite dish to the exterior walls or roof of the building. I started to get worried, I didn’t want to start off in a bad way with my landlord and expected I’d have to pay several hundred dollars to break my contract with DTV.

    I called DTV, explained my situation and simply asked – “given my situation, no ability to mount a dish, is there anyway I can be relieved from my contract?” To my surprise the woman I spoke said that I was able to be released from the contract.

    I only had to have a DTV technician come to my home and confirm that I had no ability to mount a dish to an exterior wall, patio, roof, or space with line of site to the the sky. Technician came out, confirmed this challenge, all should be good, I just needed to call DTV back and finalize the separation of service.

    This is where the question of how much is my time worth came into play?

    DTV now told me that I was wrong and my landlord could not legally refuse me the ability to mount a dish. After much, 3 hours in total over 2 calls, haggling AND allowing the DTV service folks walk me through the law, which they post on their website as support for their claims. I actually found the “exceptions clause” that proved I was right! On the phone there was silence…then, “let me talk to my supervisor, but what he/she says is the final answer.”

    Ten minutes later I was informed that despite the clause in the law proving my point DTV would still require I pay the $300+ contract separation fee.

    I was livid. I said, “how can you do business like this? You praise the law when it works for you and ignore it when it doesn’t!?”

    I finally agreed to pay the fee but asked for the name and address of their General Counsel, because if they’re breaking the law for me they’re likely doing it to many others.

    And upon threatening legal action, and truthfully after I had already surrendered, did DirecTV take a complete 180 and decide to release me from my contract, no further fees or questions asked.

    It’s AWFUL that business do this sh*t to their loyal customers. They buyer NEEDS to beware. Even in this globalized economy, “voting” with our wallet does have an impact.

  34. says

    It seems to me that making a decision that something isn’t worth your time and frustration is just being intentional and thoughtful with your spending. My wife works with some very wealthy people and I’ve noticed that one of the advantages the truly wealthy have is that they just don’t have to deal with all of the stuff that aggravates the rest of us on a daily basis– they have assistants for those things. I try to approximate this freedom in a different way, which is to just get rid of the crap that I would normally be troubled by. We have an old mini-van and we briefly though about buying a newer one, then I realized I’d have to go get it registered, pay the taxes, deal with the salespeople, etc., and said “why bother? What we have is fine.” Cell phone: gone. Cable: gone. Frustrating Windows computer: got a Mac. On and on. Get wealthy enough or simplify. It is the middle class person who is saddled with debt and stuff that is the most frustrated I’d think.

  35. Bobwerner says

    I ran a small health department for 6 years. Old folks were thrilled to get flu shots for free!

    Problem is they are pretty close to ineffective. You can check the stats if you like but the way the process works is generally like this. 1 year before the flu season a bunch of flu scientists get together and guess which 3 of the numerous strains of Asian flu will make the trip to the US.

    This is maybe a 30% correct guess.

    Then they go to cooking up the vaccine which takes about 9 months.

    Of the flu shots given it is generally about 70% effective against the strain it was developed for.

    So basically your getting a 70% chance at a 30% guess. The math is around 20% give or take.

    But it gets worse. If you actually contract a flu virus you build up a pretty good super immunity that will protect you in 30 years when that strain comes along again. If you take the immunization shot it has very little long term effectiveness and wears off after a year or so.

    IMHO, if your not immune compromised or a small child or have some lung disease or history on pneumonia your better off skipping the shot.

    Now as for the pneumonia vaccine — that is probably worthwhile and your insurance will probably cover it. The Walgreens clerk probably didn’t mention any of this to you. At 35 dollars there was probably a 400% mark up on your shot. Probably

    Next year, skip the shot buy a round of beers for that lame tennis playing buddy and if you get the flu, run to Walgreens and buy some Tamiflu or a similar med that will help you over the symptoms quickly.

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