Friday, March 31, 2006

The Carnival is Coming Here!

Hey Next week, (the week of April 2), I will host the Carnival of Debt Reduction.

I plan to update the Carnival frequently during the week.

Please send your debt reduction ideas, comments and questions to me.

I will continue to refresh the Carnival Act until midnight of April 8, EST.


Friday, March 24, 2006


The cost of prescription drugs can add headaches and heartaches during illness, especially if you lack health insurance or prescription drug coverage.

There are, however, a variety of low-cost prescription drug options ranging from free discount access cards to special generic drug programs.

One of the newest is the Together RX Access Card (, a discount program organized by 10 major drug companies. Executive director Roba Whiteley said that Florida is one of eight states targeted this year for outreach.

Enrollment is free and qualifying consumers receive discounts of 25 percent to 40 percent on more than 275 name-brand prescription drugs. After enrolling either online or by phone (800-444- 4106), qualifying consumers receive a card. Eligibility is based on income, ranging for $30,000 or less for a single person to $60,000 for a family of four.

An income-based program for discount prescription drugs is available through Rx Outreach, a program run by Express Scripts Specialty Distribution Services, a mail order pharmacy that manages patient assistance programs for major drug companies.

Rx Outreach enables qualified consumers to purchase via mail 90-day supplies of medicine for $20 to $30. You are eligible if you earn less than $24,500 a year of $50,000 for a family of four. Call 800-769-3880 or visit

If you don't qualify for these programs, there are other options.

For one thing, shop around. If a pharmacy is not willing to reveal prices over the phone, Whiteley suggested going elsewhere.

Meanwhile, many major drug companies offer Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) that provide some name-brand or generic drugs at a discount. Some programs are open to all and others are for those without insurance.

For the uninsured, Merck operates a Prescription Discount Program, which enables consumers to get discounts of up to 40 percent on Merck products. Income doesn't matter. Forinformation call 800-506-3725 or go to sured.

Additionally, patient advocacy groups provide information about discount drug programs.

For more information contact groups such as American Diabetes Association, CancerCare, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, National Mental Health Association, American Heart Association National Alliance for Mental Health, and the National Medical Association.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Free DIY Classes

Home Depot and Lowe's have a variety of free classes that offer practical help for DIY projects. Those in-store workshops range from how-to sessions about floor installations to closet organization. Of course, the chains benefit by improving your skills because trained do-it-yourselfers are more likely to buy ceramic tiles, wood and other home products.

Home Depot has a wide series of free weekly clinics. The schedule is posted at and there is no need to register.

Each month features a different line-up of about a dozen courses. Recent classes includes ''Hanging and Repairing Drywall,'' floor installations, interior painting and bathroom design. Other courses provide information about energy-efficient lighting, air conditioning systems and appliances and are scheduled on weekends.

Workshops for Women and Children

Home Depot also offers free classes tailored for women and children. Workshops for children (ages 5 through 12) are usually offered the first Saturday of every month. The projects -- created from pre-fabricated kits -- are designed to be completed in the store with a child and a parent. Young workshop participants receive a Home Depot apron and an achievement pin.

There are also ''Do-it-Herself'' workshops for women. Home Depot's next ''Do-it-Herself'' workshop will be in May, with information available in April.

Classes At Lowe's

Lowe's also has a list of free classes: laminated floor installations, kitchen updates and faux painting techniques.

For children, Lowe's has a monthly 'Build and Grow Kids' Clinic.''

For more information, check out and select the ''project center'' tab for a list of how-to clinics.

If you don't have time for classes, Lowe's has an online library, also at, with thousands of projects with step-by-step guides for different levels of expertise.

On-Line Craft Guides

The on-line tutorials, posted on the ''Project Center'' of the company's website, range from kitchen organizational tips to ceramic tile installation.

Tips and articles on gardening, basic plumbing and cabinet installations are easy to download and print for future reference.