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14 ways to save on family care


Working couples can reduce out-of-pocket medical expenses and premiums by carefully comparing the costs of the benefits offered by each employer to find the best deal.

2. If medical coverage is part of your employee benefits and you don't need the coverage, ask your employer if you can get cash back or a bump up in salary.
3. Smoking can add up to 30 percent to the cost of your life, disability and health insurance premiums. Kick the habit.
4. Go to a local park, and throw a Frisbee around. Go walking, jogging or hiking. It's free and good for you. Getting yourself into better health today may lower your medical bills later in life.
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5. Check out the local beauty school for bargains on everything from haircuts and manicures to spa facials and highlights.
6. Contact a local massage therapy school. You'll pay a reduced price for massages so that their students gain experience.

Spend a fraction of the cost at a dental school to straighten and brighten teeth and fix dental problems. Depending on your dental insurance policy, some or all of the dental work could be covered.

8. Be a do-it-yourselfer! Do your own housework, wash and wax your own car, mow your own yard.
9. Save a bundle on taxes by paying your child-care costs with pretax dollars. Participate in your employer's flexible spending account program.
10. Ask if your company offers discounts on services such as child-care providers or gyms.
11. Cut child-care expenses through flexible scheduling. Can you telecommute, job share or work more flexible hours to reduce the hours away from home?
12. Arrange your work schedule to alternate with your spouse's or relative's to reduce the amount of time your child will have to spend in day care.
13. Do you know a co-worker with similar backgrounds and parenting styles? Perhaps you can split the cost of home child care.
14. If your public school district offers a half-day pre-K program for 4-year-olds, enroll your child. It's free and reduces child-care costs to half-day rates.
-- Posted: Aug. 20, 2004



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