Tuesday, April 28, 2009

DIY Car Repair - Great Learning Experience

One of my students, Nicolas, is very good at car repair. In Mexico, he was an engineer. After he came to U.S., he took some auto mechanic classes. In addition to his educational background, he has a lot of hands-on experience working on the several cars his family of six has owned over the years.

Nicolas has been helping us fixing C.J.'s car recently. Nicolas has not only been fixing C.J.'s car, but also has been teaching C.J. how to fix cars by showing him from the step A to Z. He even took C.J. to Pick & Pull, a junkyard and showed him how to find used car parts in a very inexpensive way. How valuable lessons are they!

We just learned that changing break pads takes 20 minutes, not 2 hours; a set of break pads cost only $20-25, not $100. It enrages me to realize that we were paying $120-$150 for such a simple repair work in the past. Knowledge certainly is the power!

C.J. is very exicited about this new learning opportunity. And it feels great to know that we are gaining control over this quite expensive area of our life called car maintenance.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

C.J. Won, Too!

In February, I wrote a posting 'I Won!'. It was about my battle against BCBS's seemingly-intentional mistake. At that time, I briefly mentioned that same thing had happened to C.J., which was still unresolved at that time.

C.J. kept faithfully calling them every other week for the last two months to get the update for the case. Each time he called, they said they were doing 'hand-calculation', which usually takes a long time. Hmm...'hand-calcualtion'...maybe all their calculators broke?

Tonight, after almost 2 months, we finally heard from BCBS: They dropped the total charge of $150 from C.J.'s BCBS account!

Were we bothered by the delay? Yes, we were. A lot. Did we think of giving up the fight? No, not after witnessing what had happened to my case in February.

Again, it's very sad that a lot of unsuspecting people are being ripped off by this kind of 'intentional mistake'. I cry for those who allow their insurance companies to rip them off.

If you feel too tired or overwhelmed to fight with your insurance company, let me know. I will do the fight for you.

I am so proud of you C.J., my fellow TAPO-man!

TAPO (Tenacious, Assertive, Persistent, Obnoxious)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gym Membership

C.J. used to have a membership at Bally Fitness before we got married. I used to buy passes for yoga classes at Glenview Park District. After we got married, carried away by millions of things, breathing has been the only exerice we've been doing.

Then, in March, C.J received a promotion offer from Bally Fitness. Since he was a member before, they offered him and his friend/family member a special discounted membership price.
Once we agreed that C.J. use the gym only twice a week, it came out to be $11 per month per person, which is a great deal.

For people like us who go to the gym only 2-3 times a week for 30-45 minutes work-out, it does not make sense to pay a fortune for gym membership.

If you are looking into joining a gym, ask your family or friend to refer you. Also ask for a discount for using the gym during limited hours or only 2-3 times a week.