PB62: Financial Tidbits ft. Donna Freedman

You may remember Donna from our previous episode PB31: Save Where You Can ft. Donna Freedman. Donna’s back with a new book, Your Playbook For Tough Times Vol. 2, some great personal finance advice and much more! For those of you who are new here, Donna has been a college dropout, a single mom, a newspaper reporter in Chicago and Alaska, and a late-in-life university student. She has over 20 years of experience writing and helping people on media organizations like MSN Money and popular online publications like our former guest’s J.D. Roth’s website, Get Rich Slowly. Her passion for helping people is evident on today’s show and in the great giveaways she has for our audience. On this episode we discuss:

  • Actionable tips from her new book and why, unlike some other top financial gurus, she doesn’t assume your financial situation is always caused by your own doing or bad financial habits
  • The opportunity cost — money you could spend or invest elsewhere — of student loans and why students, and parents of students, should always use a student loan calculator before signing any new loan agreements
  • Simple ways and resources you can use to negotiate lower (or free) dental and health care costs
  • How the “four gifts” rule can help you save money on Christmas and birthday gifts


  • Click here for a free download of Challenge Yourself to Save the popular and a fan favorite chapter from Donna’s first book, Your Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul, containing 31 tips you can immediately use to save money today!
  • Click here to visit Donna’s direct platform and enter discount code PAYCHECKS for a $5 PDF copy of Your Playbook For Tough Times, Vol. 2!
    • Interested in the original, too? Enter discount code BALANCES for the first edition of Your Playbook For Tough Times!


  • The Healthcare Blue Book – provides free online tools designed to enable consumers to understand how much they should pay for healthcare services
  • The Fair Health Consumer – this tool estimates your costs for dental and healthcare procedures and services in the ZIP code where you want to receive care.
  • More Helpful Tips & Recommendations from Donna:
    • If you’re uninsured: At Healthcare Bluebook, type in what’s needed (foot surgery, biopsy, etc.) plus your zip code and get an idea of what you might pay for that treatment in your area. As the website notes, the cost for the same network procedure can vary by up to 400 percent. Even if you do have insurance, using a tool like this could mean having to fork over less of a copay (e.g., 20 percent of $300 rather than $500). Or use Fair Health Consumer’s cost lookup tool to get an idea of what an average service or treatment should be, then print out something called a “binding cost estimate.” This basically says, “This amount is what we know to be less than a billed charge but more than a typical insurance payout.” Present it to a potential provider, say frankly that cost is a huge issue for your household and you’d like to know if you could get the needed treatment at this price. You can strengthen your negotiation by offering to pay in full at the time of the visit. If you can pay in cash, that might be enough of an incentive to get the provider to agree. Even if you had to use a credit card you’d at least be getting the best possible price for treatment.
    • Keeping prescription costs down: Common meds may be free! Some supermarket pharmacies offer certain antibiotics, generic Lipitor, prenatal and children’s vitamins, the diabetes drug Metformin and other medications without charge. Among the grocery chains providing free medications are Amigos United, Giant Eagle, Meijer, Price Chopper, Publix, Reasor’s, Schnucks, ShopRite and Wegman’s.
  • Contact Info:
  • ICYMI – PB53: Broke Millennial ft. Erin Lowry


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Read Marcus’ book on how he buried and dug his way out of over $30,000 in debt by age 30, Debt Free Or Die Trying, on Amazon.

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