I recently received the following email:
I never have written back to you so I first wanted to thank you for all your great articles on BP. I also have a suggestion for something to look into. Have you ever written about the problems of single people with bi-polar who have financial problems. I see lots of great ideas for people who have a strong support network of family and spouses but I haven’t seen anything recently on the issues of single parents, singles and financial management for someone who has to earn enough money to pay for every penny of living expenses and mortgage and manage their Bi-polar. I’ve had to amend my schedule and work a lower paying job to reduce the stress, but I can’t afford not to work full-time.
i hope you have some good ideas for people like this?
Beth does raise some good points in her email, and asks some really good questions, and they should be addressed.
One area where you can save money right away is in the area of prescription medications. Even if you have a prescription plan or Medicare, you still have to pay some money out-of-pocket for your bipolar medications, and that can run into a lot of money, especially if you’re on several medications. For Beth and people like her, who are only working part-time, or who cannot work at all (or who are on Disability and only have a limited income), you can contact the drug manufacturers directly for what is called a Prescription Assistance Program. For example, Astra-Zeneca, manufacturers of the bipolar medication Seroquel, have a Prescription Assistance Program called AZ and Me. If you are eligible, you can get a monthly prescription of Seroquel
for only $25. Each manufacturer has its own regulations, so you need to check with your drug manufacturer for details. If you’re not sure who makes your medication, just ask your pharmacist, and they can tell you.
There are also prescription cards available to you to help you pay for your prescriptions. For example, there is a prescription card that is available on a county by county basis. You can find out about these discount prescription cards by going to www.needymeds.org There is also other prescription help available that that website can direct you to. So, saving money on prescriptions can definitely help you stretch your dollar.
Also, your doctor can sometimes give you free samples of medication if you ask them. Sometimes, the drug manufacturers will also give you a free 30-day supply of a medication (with a prescription) – you need to contact the drug manufacturer directly to find out if they offer this, however.
Another idea is to get a “medication sponsor” from your family – someone who might be willing to help you get your medication for, say, a month or two to help you out. They can even pay the pharmacy directly if they want to.
You can make your dollar stretch further by going to food banks and getting free food as well. This can be done on a continuing basis. Every community has these – check with your local Red
Cross or United Way to find out where your local food banks are. Usually the only requirement is that you are low income.
You should be able to lower your power bill by asking to go on budget billing (most power companies now offer this service) – where they will average your monthly usage and you pay a lower monthly amount.
Single parents can sometimes get daycare on a sliding scale. Some churches offer day care for less as well.
For some people with low income on Medicare, some doctor/psychiatrists and therapists will offer services on a sliding scale as well.
It goes without saying that you need to keep excessive spending to a minimum (such as credit card debt) and to try to live within your means. If you already have credit card debt, try to pay it off so that will eliminate one bill that you have to pay every month.
Scale down to only what is necessary, and sell off the rest. Have a yard sale and/or put your clothes in a consignment shop for extra income. You might even want to consider selling things over the Internet for extra income.
Although it is difficult to make it financially when you are a single person with bipolar disorder, it can be done. Hopefully, these suggestions will help you.
Well, I have to go!