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When you feel like you live at the hospital and doctor’s offices, it can be easy to have out of control spending. You feel like you are going and rushed 24/7. Swiping your debit card left and right can add up. Planning and using a few simple tips can help you have a ton of money when you’re at the hospital.
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How to Cut Expenses & Save Money at the Hospital: 7 Tips
1. Bring your Own Drinks and Snacks
Snacks and drinks add up quickly. You can spend $5 on one little snack and a bottle of soda at the hospital where everything is double the price (or more) of other places. If you go to the doctor or hospital a lot, just have some drinks and snacks on hand and ready to go.
You can make a list at the store and go ahead and divide out the drinks and snacks and put them in a Ziploc bag ready to go. You just go pull out a gallon Ziploc bag and all of your snacks are in there. Just grab a few drinks out of the fridge and you’re good to go.
2. Take Advantage of the Free or Discounted Trays for Parents and Spouses
Did you know hospitals have parent and spouse trays? If you are the only one in the room with your child and can’t leave (like during Covid-19), you can have one brought up to your child’s room when they are making rounds with the food. Most of the time, parent trays (and spouse trays) are free or deeply discounted. Your spouse can even get a tray when you’re having a baby. This can save you a ton of money on any meal. Usually, I would do this and only eat out if I didn’t like what they were serving that meal.
3. Discounted Meal Vouchers
Your social worker or nurse might be able to give you meal vouchers for the cafeteria too. This will also help if you don’t like the meal. You can go down and get some pizza or whatever else you like.
4. Bring Easy to Prepare Items
Bring food that is easy to throw together. You can bring instant oatmeal, instant grits, PB&J sandwich stuff, etc. Most of the time (at least pre-Coronavirus), you can put your food items in a shared kitchen with the other parents on that floor. You just have to make sure it’s labeled so it doesn’t get thrown away. Sometimes, in the common area, there will be donated food and drinks. Some charities donate food and drinks to parents and keep them in the common area for parents/kids to share so they don’t have to buy their own.
5. Buy Discounted Gift Cards
You can buy discounted gift cards to your favorite restaurants at places like Costco who sell them in bulk or Raise.com. Costco sells a pack of like 5 gift cards for the price of 4. Raise.com is a site where you can search your gift card by store name for a price less than face value. Some of the gift cards are not discounted a lot and, in my opinion, not worth it, but some do have larger discounts and every little bit helps.
6. Use Restaurant Apps for Coupons and Points
Use restaurant apps to get coupons and build points for free or discounted food. I get free food at Chick Fil A all the time with their app. Almost all of the restaurants these days have apps with a built-in reward system.
7. Bring Things from Home
Remember to pack a good hospital bag so you don’t have to go out and buy stuff when you’re away from home. Make a list of the things you need and keep it on your phone. I use the Cozi app for this (LINK TO COZI AFF. LINK). I keep an updated list for the hospital all the time. I put anything on the list I feel like I will need at the hospital like food, clothes, books, tablet, phone chargers, toothpaste, etc.
Creating a list ahead of time is so helpful and when you remember something, you can add it to the list right away because you always have your phone. Creating a list helps me not forget anything. When I’m finished packing, I just remove the checkmarks by each item and use the same list the next time. That way I’m not creating a list from scratch every single time.
Staying at the hospital or doctor’s offices a lot can be a budget-buster, but you can be smart about how you do it and save some money. You don’t have to spend a car payment on forgotten items and food every single time your child goes to an appointment.
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