SoCS — What’s In YOUR Mailbox?

57493DD2-FB35-4435-83BC-CF42B85998C0For this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, Linda G. Hill has asked us to “look at the latest ad you got in the mail (if it’s a store flyer, choose the product right in the middle of the page) or choose the next online ad you find, and theme your post on whatever the product is.”

Before I get into this, I would like to pay homage to our mail carriers, who, for the next month, will be loaded down with thick, heavy Christmas catalogs, which they will be delivering to our homes. I’ve already gotten a number of such catalogs, and they almost always go directly from my mailbox to my recycling bin.

But this post is not going to focus on those holiday catalogs. It’s Medicare open enrollment season. It started on October 15th and runs through December 7th. Medicare open enrollment gives Medicare recipients the opportunity to review their medical and prescription drug coverage and make sure the plans they subscribe to best meet their needs.

My wife and I have hospital, doctor, and prescription drug coverage through Medicare. Because Medicare has deductibles and coinsurance that we’d have to pay out-of-pocket, we purchase Medicare supplement plans to reimburse us for those out-of-pocket costs. We also buy so-called “Medigap” plans for dental and vision services, which Medicare doesn’t cover.

So, with that background, I will finally get to Linda’s challenge. I’m going to talk about the plethora of flyers we receive from various Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medigap providers, each trying to persuade us that their plans provide the best benefits at the lowest costs of all such plans.

Just in today’s mail we got flyers from United Healthcare, Anthem, Kaiser, Stanford Health, Sutter Health, and AARP. It’s enough to make my head spin, and I’m not talking about my vertigo condition.

I’m not going to go into the details of these plans, but I will say that I’m fortunate that my career involved understanding employee benefit programs, including healthcare plans. Thus, I am able to grasp what these flyers and brochures are all about.

But I feel sorry for all of the seniors around America who are being inundated by these materials and are clueless when it comes to figuring out which choices would be the best for them.

Good luck old people!

Is This Really Necessary?

I understand that the folks who bring us WordPress have to make money. And since many bloggers take advantage of the fact that WordPress makes its site available for free, one way for the company to make money is by placing advertisements at the end of people’s posts.

But one would hope that those ads would not be disgusting to see. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case. As evidence, I present you with this example of what I saw at the end of one blogger’s post this morning.F6EBACCA-47B7-4D4A-88F8-7B8C45B7FC34Eww! Jeez, WordPress, is displaying such a gross ad really necessary? I was drinking coffee when I saw this and almost did a spit take.

This is one of the reasons I opted to upgrade to a paid plan. It doesn’t cost that much (I think they start at $3 per month) and it eliminates all ads. I figured that was a small price to pay to not expose my readers to vomit-inducing advertisements. I’m not suggesting that others should opt for a paid plan. I’m just making you aware what other bloggers might see when they go to visit your site if you’re using the free plan.

Something to think about.

M is for Monetize

FA498330-24D7-4C45-969D-3286237640C7You love blogging, right? You put a lot of time, effort, and energy into your blog, and you’re proud of it. I bet you’ve even said to yourself at some point, “How cool would it be if I could make boatloads of money from my blog?” I know I have.

A lot of bloggers dream about being able to quit their day jobs and to make enough money blogging to live on. But the hard truth is most of the millions of bloggers today don’t make enough to support themselves just with their blogs. One survey I came across indicated that, of those who attempt to monetize their blogs (i.e., make money blogging), 81% never make even $100 from blogging. And the vast majority of bloggers who try make just pennies per day.CDB8DF21-34C8-4870-874D-A6225DFACDFAThere are schemes that people use to try to make money blogging. There are ads, or click bait, where you can make small change if people who read your posts click on ads that appear on them.

There is “affiliate marketing,” where you can earn a commission on a sale when your readers buy products or services companies.

If you have a specific niche or expertise, you can offer courses or coaching for which you can charge fees.

You can sign up for subscription services like Patreon, where you can offer memberships for “patrons” to gain access to your creative content.

Or you can be like me, someone who blogs because he loves blogging and has no interest whatsoever in trying to monetize his blog.

Previous A to Z Challenge 2019 posts: