Affording Natural Treatments Series, Part III: Asking for Discounts… On Everything

One of the incredible blessings that has come out of Ryder’s cancer diagnosis is how many people (mostly complete strangers) have helped us in some way or another.  In general, we have learned people WANT to help. But in order for them to be able to, you have to let them know you need it. I usually have a very hard time asking for help with anything, but the knowledge that every dollar I save is another dollar I can spend on my son makes it much easier. Here are just a few of our examples:

Supplements: This is where the idea first came from for us. Even though they were for a little guy, the costs on these started adding up real fast. For each supplement that I was buying directly from the manufacturer as opposed to a third party reseller site such as Amazon, I wrote them a very genuine email explaining my son has cancer, I have selected their product among many others to treat it, and that I’m having a hard time affording everything and can use all the help I can get. I also made sure to thank them for caring enough to make such a quality product as not everyone does, and I really meant it every time. It helped my credibility that I had an account with each manufacturer and they could see that I had already bought the same thing several times. Some of our more notable discounts have included an ongoing 20% discount across one company’s entire product line, and another gave us a $500 credit on our account! Definitely worth the time of writing an email.

Food / Produce: Think carrots are cheap? Try buying 20 pounds of them every week!! Juicing at a therapeutic level is incredibly expensive. We were shocked at how much money we were ripping through pumping the good stuff into our son and couldn’t imagine how much more it would have been for an adult. There are a couple different local chains of smaller organic grocery store that we get most of our produce from. We wrote the one we go to the most explaining the situation, and before long we had an agreement to buy any produce they carried in bulk for 10% above their cost! Again, they told us afterwards that they get all sorts of different financial requests, but it was how sincere we were in our letter combined with the story itself that made us stand out. If that hadn’t worked out or if I lived in a place that didn’t have local stores like that, I would go to a larger one like Whole Foods or even a more conventional grocer that does carry organic produce if need be and ask to speak to the store manager. I’ve also been meaning to try to cultivate relationships with local organic farmers themselves (a farmer’s market would be a great place to start) to get the best deal possible. On that note, start thinking now about what you can grow on your own and act on it as soon as possible… You’ll be thanking yourself in no time.

Rent: Finding a new place to live was quite the ordeal. When we moved states to try our luck with hospitals elsewhere, the first place we rented, although arranged itself by a few very wonderful people who we will be forever grateful to, was a bit too high in EMFs for our liking and we soon decided to look for something else. The problem we ran into was that every single house we looked at was sending our [amazon text=EMF meter&localise=1&search_link=0&multi_cc=0&live=0&asin=B00LJ7YOTQ] through the roof. Except of course a house in the most expensive part of the state that was considerably out of our price range. We wrote the owner of the home an email explaining the situation, and why we needed his house as opposed to a less expensive one to begin with, and wouldn’t you know it, he knocked a few hundred bucks off the monthly rent for us. It’s still more than we should be paying given all the other ways money is pouring out of our pockets, but our motto has been to put Ryder’s health first no matter what and the rest will work itself out in time.

Hospital Bills: The hospital is getting plenty of money from your insurance, it doesn’t need any more from you. Be sure to find out about what sort of financial assistance programs your hospital has, and apply for all of them. While our default position towards hospital social workers is to avoid them, helping inform us of our options in this department has been one thing they’ve been really good at. We’ve ended up getting substantial amounts of our portion of bills written off and even a few grants from charitable organizations under their guidance. For any amounts we haven’t been able to get excused, we’ve found as long as you’re paying SOMETHING every month, they usually won’t give you too hard of a time. Our typical approach has been to call and ask to set up a payment plan, and ask what the minimum amount they can take every month is. Whatever number they give, see if you can cut it in half explaining you can only afford this lesser amount right now and that you’ll try to catch up later. Next month, call up and see if you can cut it in half again. As long as we’re not paying too high of interest, we feel it is best to pay the least possible amount every month to free up our money for our immediate bills.

Professional Services: The nice thing about these is that the guy or gal providing you with the service is usually the ultimate decision maker on how much you pay. We’ve caught a lot of breaks on substantial bills, in a lot of cases without even having to ask when these people find out what we’re going through. Most naturopaths are quick to offer discounts on treatments (for the purposes of supporting cancer patients) such as IV vitamin C, especially for children. Our chiropractors we (including Ryder) had been going to for some time before the diagnosis gave our whole family a year’s worth of free service without being asked. Teddy had been in a fairly serious car accident before Ryder was born that required an attorney. The case ended up closing right around the time we found out about the cancer. When the lady we had hired found out, not only did she get us a nice settlement but she donated her percentage of attorney fees! We have lots of these kinds of examples from our own experiences and hopefully you get the idea… It doesn’t need to be limited to “cancer services”.  A dollar saved is a dollar earned.

Hopefully this provides a little inspiration on what might be possible. Have a good story on how you’ve been helped out? Tell us about it!