Friday, 11 May 2012

Saving on sickness

I have the flu.

But it's not as bad as it could be. Why? My frugal habits.

I have a first aid kit which is stocked with painkillers, bandaids, bandages, throat lozenges and strapping tape for when I break a toe once or twice a year. And guess what? They all cost me a LOT less than they would if I had to go to my nearest chemist to buy them now. Buying these necessities when they're not necessary saves you money. It also saves you from having to venture out into the world when all you want to do is stay snuggled under your blanket for the next three days.

I always have a well stocked pantry. While I must admit to begging Perfect Boyfriend to get me some rainbow paddlepops while he was out last night, already having plenty of easy to prepare, tasty and nutritious food in the house helps no end. When I make large batches of meals and store some individual portions in the freezer, I'm insuring myself against just this kind of situation. You're not going to be up to cooking when you're sick. It's far better to reheat some frozen mushroom risotto (mmm) than to have to starve, eat nothing but the dry crackers you've found hidden in the cupboard when you have a sore throat, or survive on takeaway while your body is desperate for some decent nutrition.

I take care of myself. I must admit, this is a fairly new thing for me. I used to work too much, take too much on in my personal life, and generally just run myself ragged. My health has suffered a lot as a result. Now? I get eight hours of sleep most nights, I eat three nutritious meals most days (nobody's perfect) and when I get sick, I go to the doctor. This way, the severity and duration of my flu is not nearly as bad as it would have been if I caught it after a weekend of hard partying, no sleep, a twelve hour day at work and a Mars Bar for lunch. Taking care of yourself is the best. I wish I'd figured this out sooner.

I've signed up to automatically receive my medicare refunds. Medicare now allows you to sign up with your bank details and they'll send you the refund on medical bills automatically. While I still have to pay the full amount on the day I see my doctor, within the next few days I have a 50% refund sitting in my account. Confession: back when you had no other option but to line up at a medicare storefront and hand over your receipts to get your refund, I didn't always bother. For a start, those medicare offices are only open during, you guessed it, office hours. If you haven't already signed up for automatic refunds check it out here.

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