Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Dilemna: Should the Conservative Poor Take Benefits?

I have two camps of critics when it comes to taxes and benefits.

"You should take more government benefits."

Many readers advocate that we take more benefits, like WIC and Food Stamps. Right now, we receive health insurance, which is for emergencies only, although we have used it in the past, and we take the Earned Income Tax Refund (EITC), a tax credit based on my husband's income.

We don't take WIC, Food Stamps, Section 8, or heating assistance, all of which we qualify for, because we don't need them. My husband makes enough to cover these expenses without a problem, and we usually have enough money left over at the end of the month to throw some into savings.

"You should take less government benefits."

Readers have said that my viewpoint is not valid or genuine because we take some government benefits. I advocate small government and am generally opposed to government spending, although that is not the focus of this blog.

For these critics, I want to go over some of the fuzzy math involved in government spending.

Taxpayers pay for roads, bridges, highways and traffic lights, along with all of the administrative work it takes to have and maintain them. Can you be sure that what you pay in the gas tax is more than how much you wear down the road? Have you ever taken the last exit before a toll on the highway to avoid paying the toll? Is that stealing from the tax payers, or being smart with your own money?

One of my pet peeves is public school, not that it exists, but that people don't calculate it as a benefit. If you have one child in school for one year, it costs tax payers an annual average of $9,866.

No one can calculate the cost benefit of a war on our quality of life. Although I don't agree with all of our foreign policy, I do know that our life would be different if people weren't fighting for us.

Property taxes are a common complaint of homeowners. Believe it or not, I pay property taxes as well. The property owner isn't taking a loss on me. He has calculated how much the property costs in maintenance, taxes, mortgage, sewer, and heat and he charges me my share.

Public transit costs more than the cost of a token. If you use the bus or subway, that is being subsidized by tax payer dollars.

We pay Social Security taxes, which we will never see again. I am 24, my husband is 29. We don't expect to receive anything from Social Security, but we still pay it.

To say that you pay taxes and I don't is untrue. To say that I receive benefits and you don't is untrue.

The Math:

As far as crunching the numbers, we estimated that based on the national average cost per student, if we had ten children (we want a big family) going to public school, it would cost the taxpayers

10 (kids) x 13 (years, K-12) x $9,866 (the national average cost per kid per year) = $1,282,580

What if God doesn't give us ten, but only gives us these three? Well, I hope that doesn't happen, but,

3 (kids) x 13 (years, K-12) x $9,866 (the national average cost per kid per year) = $384, 774

We get the EITC, which combined with the Additional Child Tax Credit and any refund, as Dan had taxes withheld for part of the year, is about $6000. It will be different in different years, depending on Dan's income, but for the sake of a round number, we'll call it $6000. It will not go up with more children. Here is a link to an EITC calculator, in case you don't believe me.

If we get it for forty years, which is about how long we would qualify for it if we had ten kids, it would be $240,000, costing much less than sending our ten kids to public school, which we will not do.

If we get it for twenty years, if this were our last kid, it would cost tax payers $120,000, still much less than the cost of public school for three kids.

We don't know how long we will need this tax credit, so I'm not sure we will take it for this many years, but it shows the numbers clearly. If there's nothing wrong with sending your kids to public school, I don't see anything wrong with accepting less money in a tax credit that moves our family closer to our goals and toward financial independence.

Where can we save the tax payers some money?

Weeks ago, a reader suggested dropping the insurance and in case of an emergency, picking it up again. My husband and I have been discussing this and are for it. We would save the tax payers the administrative costs of us just being on the insurance. We know that with our income, they would put us back on with no trouble, and our state insurance will pay up to three months of back bills in certain situations, so we wouldn't have to worry about paying massive bills that we incur before we can fill out the paper work. We are, of course, hoping that we never have to resort to this.

I am hoping this will be the last post I write on this topic. I am hoping that it will put all of the questions about our position to rest. I am hoping I was clear enough.

105 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi! I am just curious how you pay for the delivery of your children. If you are planning to have a child every year or two, that will add up to a massive amount of medical bills over time. Do/will you pay that yourselves?

Emily said...

Yes, we are have already paid for this upcoming birth, and have covered how we do that in several other posts.

http://under1000permonth.blogspot.com/2009/09/having-back-up.html

youngwomanswallet said...

This post makes me think. Most people can easily accept a parent's choice not to send her child(ren) to public school, because there is generally a value system behind that reasoning. And most people would not call into question that parent's reasoning - it's a personal choice.

That same value system can apply to other benefits as well. You have a value system (articulated above) for what benefits/assistance you do and do not accept. While your choice is less common (most in your situation, I assume, would take more assistance) it should be just as respected as school choice.

And yes, now I do understand your decision much better.

-Julia

Devon said...

Hi Emily! Are you just ready for that little one out? Hopefully today!

I'm going to pitch my viewpoint on the insurance again. Please please please do not drop it. In my opinion, it is irresponsible to get rid of insurance, even if the government is footing the administrative bill. Reason being, again, my experience. My son was in the hospital for 2.5 months when his disease manifested. Medicaid will pay back three months, but what if (heaven forbid) you are in for six? A year? Of course you can fill out the SSI Medicaid sheets, but Medicaid takes time to take effect (trust me, I know). If we had not had our insurance for my son, we would literally be millions of dollars in debt.

I know that's a worst case scenario, but it happens. What I do know for sure is that I will never regret having that insurance for my son. We had no indication that he would be ill (he has a genetic disorder that manifests around three months), but I'm glad I listened whisperings of the Holy Spirit that made me get that policy.

Please, for your kids, don't drop the insurance. Give up the EITC, but not insurance, especially if the reason is naysayers regarding your lifestyle. Who cares what they think if your child is on governmental insurance? If you drop it for you, fine, but not the kids.

Jessica said...

I don't know why people give you a hard time about the EITC. According to the calculator, married couples with three or more children can earn up to 48,000 and still get a small credit. That could apply to many young families living on one income and I seem to remember you saying that it was not something you could just turn down.
I completely agree with you on the public school thing. It drives me crazy when people complain about homeschooling/private-schooling families, not realizing that these families essentially pay twice for their children to be schooled (taxes and then curriculum/tuition).
Sorry for the rambling comment.

Jen said...

It's not that you cannot afford to pay for food. What bothers a lot of people is you are leaving yourself no fallback. If you had WIC or foodstamps, the money you spend on food could go into the bank for when you need it.

Car repairs will be needed someday. That costs a lot of money.
You call dental a luxury but do you have any idea how painful an abcess is, or how much it costs to fix?
Are you going to allow your children to do any outside activities such as sports, music, art classes?
If, God forbid, something happens to your husband, and he is no longer able to work, then what?

I guess for me, it ties more into spending all you have and having no backup plan at all. I don't think that even your biggest critic wants to see you fall Emily. Just something to consider.

Emily said...

Jen, we have a back up, one that I have written about before, and have already mentioned in this comment section. I wrote a whole post titled "Having a Back Up"

http://under1000permonth.blogspot.com/2009/09/having-back-up.html

Diana Par-Due said...

I'm all for homeschooling. I was homeschooled and because if it not only did I get a well rounded education but I also learned alot of things that have helped me in life. My mom taught us wood working, gardening and sewing as well as the usual reading, writing, history, science, language, etc.

As far as government programs I find that it's always better to be less dependent. Certainly if you don't need to use them don't. I am in complete agreement there.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry you have to defend your choices!! You sound like a smart and thoughtful person and a wonderful mom and wife. God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever considered eventually getting a job yourself to help your family out more? In this society many times it takes two working parents to fully support a families dreams

crabcakes said...

You can not opt out of the EITC. Unless you lied about having children, it's applied automatically. And many more people qualify for it than you would thing (And I'd venture that more people receive this benefit than admit).

Also, I know families who receive the benefit who don't even know they get it. They just call it "tax refund". They think that it's extra money they paid in.

Emily said...

Anon, no, I am a housewife and stay at home mom. That is my job. However, if we need extra money, I have a back up that I can do for one day or even a few hours until I make what we need.

http://under1000permonth.blogspot.com/2009/09/having-back-up.html

Captain Cleavage said...

I understand your reasons behind turning down other gov. programs like wic and food stamps. I actually worked for a year at the WIC office a couple of years ago and was trully disturbed by the number of people who came in to recive their WIC and would BRAG about how they didn't need it but they paid taxes and deserved it blah blah blah. It made me angry and dissapointed. As far as homeschooling goes I am all for homeschool. That was actually an option hubs and I discussed when we found out I was pregnent with Penny. we decided to hold off on the desicion until she was older as we only plan on having 2 (and bless you by the way...10 babies! wow!).

My one question (and perhaps you have answerd it and if so just point me to the blog) is this.

Do you get things for yourself and children like vaccines and well child well woman cheack-ups? I was diagnosed with skin cancer 2 years ago and my family has a long history of breast cancer. Hubs family has a history of colon cancer so these screenings are uber important to us for the simple reason that we want to be around for our children and we want them to be healthy. Do you use gov insurance for that?

sorry about the looong comment! lol

p.s.Your little one is almost here! yay! are hoping for a boy or a girl or just another healthy baby?

Stacy said...

Hi Emily,

Well, first, happy Due Date Day! I hope your baby comes soon. I remembered it primarily because it is my son's birthday today, and he is two years old. It has gone by so fast!

Anyway, you know what I think after reading this post? You don't owe anyone any kind of defense. You're not doing anything wrong, and you will never "have" to explain all of this stuff. My opinion is that I would move away from that whole type of conversation and don't respond to the negative comments. Just share your money-saving tips with the many people who are interested, and let those who are contentious deal with themselves.

Blessings on you and your new baby--I will pray for you today.

Anonymous said...

You need a job so that you're not collecting ANY government assistance. The fact that you think that you can keep having children and collecting ANYTHING when you have the ability to go out and earn your keep is irresponsible. This seems like a game or a challenge to you to stay under 1K, but your blog should be called 'under1000permonthwiththehelpofUncleSam.blogspot.com.

And, ten kids? REALLY?
GET A JOB. A real one, that earns money and takes the weight off your husband and this country. Do you really think that it's okay to cook, clean, and make babies and take in any kind of assistance? Amazing.

Anonymous said...

I would have to also ask you not to give up your health insurance. What if God forbid, you had a horrible accident or illness? Many times these will be considered pre-existing conditions and you will not be able to get any coverage. Or if you and your husband were incapacitated no one would be able to put your children back on on the coverage or yourself to cover your hospital bills. I would vote for keeping your insurance, government paid for or not. It will cost you and the taxpayers much more if you are without coverage and incur large hospital bills.

April said...

There are genuine honest arguments about what gov't should and shouldn't pay for, and I believe in those debates. I have issues with the ones who put absolutes on it, or judgments on anyone for accepting (or not accepting) assistance from gov't programs.
I just have to disagree with you on one point. Public school is essential in order to continue to have a well-informed society that can take us into the future. It's become clear in the last year that many people didn't understand what was happening. We need gifted mathematicians, financial analysts, contractors that can build stable houses. If public education is a benefit, it is one that can benefit our entire society. (When done effectively, of course. And believe me, I have my own set of issues on how we're doing it now!)

Anna said...

To the anonymous commenter who basically demanded Emily get a job:

If Emily did get a job, she would most likely not be able to find one that paid what she would need just to cover childcare for her three children. She would also most likely qualify for goverment assistance to pay for the childcare and would be using more assistance. For what? So she could have more money to spend on frivolous things? Or she should take daycare assistance to cancel out the other "assistance" she is getting?

Really? Her earned income credit, like everyone else said, is a tax refund. The government put that in place, Emily did not request it. As for the insurance, the program is called ALL KIDS. That means that all children, regardless of income are entitled to it. And their tax dollars are paying for it.

Did you know that a family of five can make up to $206,000 a year and still qualify for insurance for their children. Yep, go check out allkids.com and see for yourself.

So tired of this attitude that we need to ship our kids off to someone else to take care of, so that we can make more money and buy more stuff.

You should be commended for working hard to stay within your budget in order to not seek out assistance. I can't believe you would be slammed for accepting a tax refund and insurance that is clearly meant for all income levels!

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, how long do you plan on homeschooling your children? Through high school? Do you plan on getting tutors for some subjects, such as math or science? Will you get your children music or dance lessons? What about participation in sports teams?

Anonymous said...

I would have to agree with the other posters about not giving up your insurance. Not only for emergenicies or major illnesses but for minor ones as well. Kids get sick. They do. What will you do if your child is sick enough they need medication or to see a doctor. We all pray for our children to stay healthy but the fact of life is, Kids Get Sick.

My other question involves WIC and formula. What if one of your children will not breastfeed. I was going to breastfeed my son. I was prepared to do just that. He had other ideas. We spent close to $1000 (your entire monthly budget) on Lactation Consultants, and occupational therapy to get him to breastfeed and it failed. I was so very upset but in the end chose to formula feed after 8 long weeks of exclusively pumping. My child could not breastfeed. 200 years ago, he would have died. Today, we have formula. It costs us close to $100 per week to feed him the type of formula he needs. We are trying to get it covered by insurance but right now we are paying out of pocket. Without insurance or WIC how would you feed your child? I didn't want to be in this situation (not breastfeeding) but it's where we are. Where would you be?

Anonymous said...

"So tired of this attitude that we need to ship our kids off to someone else to take care of, so that we can make more money and buy more stuff."

More stuff?

I "ship my kids off" to provide a safe home, healthy food, INSURANCE COVERAGE, financial security so my children won't have to take care of me when they're adults, educational opportunities, etc.

Not for fancy cars or clothes.

Ironically, perhaps I would be able to not ship my child off if so much of my tax money wasn't going to pay for those who just decide not to work and let everyone else pay for their decision.

I live in the same state as Emily. It's funny, if you look around at who has the large families these days. It's not the educated populace with two parents working hard to provide for their family - because they're the ones who can't afford it. But those who sit home and rely on government assistance? They pop 'em out left and right - because, really, if you don't have to figure in additional costs of insurance, daycare, etc. then what is it to you?

Anonymous said...

Emily, I don't really think you answered Jen's question about having a back-up plan. To me, that post says in a round-about way that you don't really have a plan. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

Just because you aren't sending your children to public school doesn't mean you aren't benefiting from the public school system. Unless you also receive all services that are beneficial to you from home-schooled individuals you are benefiting from the system when you hear your pastor speak at church, when you visit your doctor/midwife, when you take you car to a mechanic, when you receive your EITC which was likely processed by someone who went to public school, etc. The list goes on and on.

And if you think you are only going to have 10 children in all of your child bearing years without using any method of controlling when you get pregnant, I would like to enter as exhibit a the Duggar family on the TLC show 18 kids and counting. She is pregnant with number 19 and they didn't even have their first until they were the age you are now. Perhaps you should think about how to support 20 children.

Captain Cleavage said...

Anon I dissagre with your point about the staying at home parents and in some ways I also agree. I am a stay at home mom (well I will be in january)My hubs and I made the choice that was best for our family right now. We don't take gov. assistance because we do not need it but we do as a single income houshold qualify for it. We do not plan on having more than 2 kids. I know for a fact that their are those out their that abuse the system but I don't think every stay at home parent is like that. In fact I would like to belive that for the most part stay at home parents make the choice to do that because it is best for their family...of course i could also be living "over the rainbow" thinking like that! lol

Emily said...

Anon, on homeschooling, I am adding your question to the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Anon, on Jen's question, yes, we have a means of making extra money if we need it. I consider that a back up.

Anon, on benefitting from the public school, excellent point. As I said in the post, we can't measure in dollars exactly how much we give to or recieve from the government.

Anonymous said...

I am not following your philosophy. You say that you are in favor of small, limited government, but at the same time you are planning on having 10+ kids and letting the taxpayers foot the bill for medical care. Sounds to me like you are actually in favor of a large, bureaucratic nanny state government that will take care of your family.

Your desire to have a large family does not absolve you of personal responsibility. If you bring ten+ kids into the world, you need to be able to provide for them, and that means no government assistance.

Millions of families in America do not send their kids to public school, yet the majority of them do not rely on taxpayers for health care. Thank goodness for that, because if they did, our government would be in an even deeper financial hole.

Emily said...

Anon, Actually, as I said in the post, we are dropping the health insurance. Maybe you should read the post before you comment. We have paid for the upcoming birth ourselves out of pocket.

Anonymous said...

Don't drop your health insurance!!

Sarah said...

I respectfully disagree with one of your statements.

You do not pay property taxes. While it is true that the property owner may have included property tax in the calculation of how much rent to charge, he also might not have included taxes. Whether your landlord is taking a loss or not is like comparing apples & oranges. Regardless, you personally are not paying property taxes. If you look up the property tax records for your county, your name would not appear nor are you billed. To say you pay property taxes is simply not accurate.

I too would like to know if you have well child / well woman visits. According to my pediatrician, this includes taking the child to the dentist by the age of 3, then every 6 months afterwards. Without dental insurance, it would be very expensive.

Anonymous said...

I did read the post. You said you are dropping the insurance but will go back on in case of an emergency. That means you are almost certainly not permanently dropping the insurance.

Hopefully, you will never have a true emergency - but emergencies or not, with ten+ kids (or even just a few), you are going to have expensive medical bills. Even treating things as commonplace as the flu or ear infections is costly.

I stand by my belief that you should not be having kids if you cannot get by without government assistance.

If you are able to make it without taxpayer-funded health care, that's wonderful. I find it difficult to believe that that will be possible given the large family and very low income lifestyle you have planned.

Devon said...

Emily, I really think you should sit down and really consider the ramifications of dropping the insurance. WHY? What is your logical reasoning for dropping it? Not that I want an explanation for myself, but because I am hoping you think about this. I personally don't have insurance, but I would eat Ramen noodles three times a day every day to ensure my children were insured. It is INSANE to not have it for your children.

Anonymous said...

Emily,

I don't know why you are defending yourself against obviously ignorant individuals. If they could only stop to think about all the "government assistance" they are receiving themselves without even being fully aware of it, then maybe they'd have a clue. I bet you my right arm that most of them are part of the "huge majority" of people that are advocating government run health care for everyone in this country. Yet here they sit, criticizing you for using (in an emergency) the very benefit they are all so amazingly pushing on this country.

While I wouldn't purposely choose to live the life you live for myself, I do commend you for choosing to live how you deem fit. You're a good mother to your children, you have worked out the details of your finances to the last cent, and quite honestly, I don't see how anyone can come down on you for your choices. You're leaving a far less bigger dent on society than the majority of this country, let alone the nay-sayers that post comments on your blog.

I say quit justifying yourself to them. Go back to blogging about how to live on under $1000 dollars a month. Don't pay attention to the negative attitudes who obviously will never understand and will fight you just to fight you. It is apparent that no matter how well you justtify yourself, they will never give you the benefit of the doubt because of their stubborness and greed. Forget about them and move on with your life. Your blog has taken a wrong turn and I for one would love to see it just go back to the way it was.

And best wishes on a speedy and easy delivery! My due date is today as well...here's to hoping we don't hang on for too much longer.

Good luck!

KAR said...

You're not saving administrative costs by dropping insurance. If Maine, as most states, provide "plastic" cards instead of the old school paper cards, then the administrative costs average up to having your name printed on various reports each month and the one inch space it takes to hold your record in a case manager's office.

Taking your family off the roll is not going to save the government anything because when you DO have an emergency, they're going to pull in a social worker from the hospital to put your application in with the RSM case manager who will then review it and approve or deny the case which will then be transferred to a DFCS case worker and possibly also be spotted for supervisor review.

So instead of spending thirty minutes of one case manager's time each year in going over a medicaid review (which would work out to something like $6.50 to pay the medicaid worker depending on what they're paid in that state) you're going to let this go through three or four people who make somewhere around 12 bucks an hour and each person is liable to spend around 20 minutes reviewing your case.

Then if you persit in closing out the case once the emergency is through, then the case manager has to spend more time closing out your record and possibly sending it to a supervisor for review.

So if you do this each and every time you have a medical emergency you can't handle, you are putting that much more on the system.

I'm telling you that you are adding an unnecessary burden to a system by playing that game. You're not descreasing the size of the government by doing it, you're increasing it. The feds require monthly numbers. They need to know the number of intake applications, number of child care apps, etc, etc. This report is used by the state to determine their federal funding for the next year. Everytime you add another application to that, you're potentially increasing the amount of funding that goes to that state. The report does not ask who is applying. They don't know that you already have a file or you just applied six months ago. Your application counts as ONE. ONE everytime you go in. So say you apply for emergency medicaid four times in one year. Your family now counts as FOUR applications recieved within that year. Not one. But four. The federal government doesn't see your or your plan, they just see four applications.

Plus, you can go the emergency room if a child breaks his arm. Or if a child get's some sort of infection. But you cannot go to the doctor's office or the pharmacy and just say, "I've applied for emergency medicaid" and they're going to be okay with that and give you what you need for your children.

Most emeregency rooms only set an arm in a soft cast and tell you to follow up with an orthopedist in X amount of days to give time for the swelling to go down so it can be put in a hard cast. From my experience, it's three or so days. Medicaid, regardless of the emergency, is typically a 30 day application process. You do not apply for emergency medicaid and magically get emergency medicaid. Emergency medicaid is retroactive and goes back to pay those bills.

So explain to me how this plan to drop medicaid is reducing government cost again?

Emily said...

Sarah, on property taxes, we may not be in the county records, but according to the IRS, we do pay taxes and qualify for a refund.

Heather said...

hi. i'm a new reader of your blog and it is an interesting read. very different from my way of life. a couple of rambles from me...

don't give up health insurance if you don't have too. long story short-i got myself out of a very stressful job of several years without first finding a new one (bad i know, but i was stressed to the max and as you'll find out with reading this, i was also sick). money was tight and i cut out our insurance. it was a private policy not through any employer. shortly after i cancelled it i got a new job and benefits were available at the first of the following year. we were uninsured for 3 months, not a long time really. but...within 3 months of having the new insurance i was diagnosed with cancer. i actually had it longer but it took several months for doctors to figure it out. anyway, it scares me to even think about how close i cut it. sure, there are back payments but the reality is (i'm a nurse as well as patient) that you can be refused treatments and it does happen too often-because of lack of insurance. the ER "catch all" has it's limits. i won't go into detail here about it. but please, keep the insurance!

next thought...you are extremely frugal and put so much thought into things. i can tell that you and your husband want to be as self sufficient as possible. that includes not taking WIC, food stamps, etc. why not just go ahead and accept what is rightly available to you? you don't "need" it but isn't it sometimes nice to just splurge? i don't agree with abusing the system and it sounds strange that i'm saying splurge-but take those food stamps and treat yourselves to meals and treats you wouldn't normally have. save money on groceries and then use that money for something necessary or even just as a family treat! life is so short and it's hard...i believe everyone deserves fun things and treats. i know you will say that you do splurge and have treats, but surely there is *something* that would be nice that you would otherwise do without. especially since you work so hard at doing things efficiently. like you mentioned-social security may be defunct by your retirement age. maybe look at it as receiving the benefits of your contributions-just in a different way.

all that being said...i am fairly certain that our political beliefs and other beliefs are different. and that's ok! i do strongly believe that people should have children they can afford and my personal opinion of that extends to their college, etc. it's a big reason that i don't have more children. i'm an only child and i've always wanted a big family. but i know that i can't likely afford to have as many as i'd like and do them the financial justice that i believe in. even moreso now that my health keeps me from working. no real purpose to saying all of this, other than giving you a glimpse of me.

i am glad that i've found your blog. i will probably never live like you do nor will you live like i do. but i really enjoy learning about a different way.

Pat said...

From your previous post about you being a stay at home house wife. Do you ever have bigger dreams to do anything else then to have house children and take care of the household? Do you think your doing your children a disservice by showing them that mommy stays home while daddy comes off to work? How will you show them that women do have an equal opportunity out in the world

Captain Cleavage said...

I'm still curious about the well woman/well child exams and immunizations for things like the flu chicken pox and what not. I know here in the state of florida if you have kids and no record of them ever being taken to the pedi then DCF will usually show up and investigate child neglect.

to be clear I am NOT saying you are a bad mom or neglectful if you choose not to do these things but just curious as to what your position is on them and if you consider them a luxury like the dentist.

Atheist Mama said...

You don't need to dedicate entire posts to justifying your choices. Some people will never get it and they just want to argue. It's YOUR life...we're just here watching ;)

Also, about the tax refund...who cares? It's your own business what you do with it! My x-husband made just over $40,000 a year and with our ONE kid we still got back $5-6,0000 in taxes! He was on partial commission, so he got taxed differently than if was on salary only...but did I feel guilty about taking the refund?

NOPE. Not at all! Especially considering some of his checks had over $1,000 taken out in taxes!

I LOVE tax time! I can't wait until we get our refund this year...it's going straight into our emergency fund.

youdontknowme said...

Why is he only paying taxes for half the year? And homeschooled kids are still considered public school since they are supplied with everything from the public schooling system.

Emily said...

Pat, I think it is noble to devote my life to homemaking, and I want my children to think it is noble as well. By staying home with them, I am insuring that it is my and my husband's values that are instilled with them, and our lifestyle is in ine with our values.

Captain Cleavage, no, we have the right to refuse treatment, as do citizens in Florida. This is being debated in extreme cases, like cancer, but there is no debate about well child or well woman visits. We still have the right to refuse treatment on those. That is ALL I'm going to say about it in the comment section, though, and I will add it to the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Atheist Mama said...

Well women exams can be given for free at a clinic...and most of the time well-child exams are mostly to give a kid vaccinations...not every parent is pro-vax (Not sure emily's stance...just saying!).

My DS is over 2 months old and besides his initial doc. visit at 2 days old, he's never gone to the doctors. He's chubby, healthy and happy :)

I'm also only planning on giving him ONE vaccination - the DTaP, so I don't think it's necessary for me to go see the doctor when he's not sick, simply to have him weighed and measured.

Scottish Twins said...

Pat - "From your previous post about you being a stay at home house wife. Do you ever have bigger dreams to do anything else then to have house children and take care of the household? Do you think your doing your children a disservice by showing them that mommy stays home while daddy comes off to work? How will you show them that women do have an equal opportunity out in the world?"

I find that extremely offensive. Emily is a college-educated woman, who has choices. It's not as if her husband has her under his thumb, forcing her to stay at home. She has the choice to do whatever she pleases. She can show her children that a woman can be whatever they want from the comfort of her home.

It bothers me that in our society we don't see value in women being home with their children. Your comments make it sound like the life she, and many other women have chosen, is not fulfilling and "enough". Since when does a job have to be the only big dream a person can have?

For people like me, my dreams include having a happy, healthy family and serving my God. I don't need a fancy degree, a corporate job, or to travel the globe in order to achieve them.

Anonymous said...

I really do not comprehend all these negative comments directed at Emily and her family.

This is her life, her choices for her family.
Everyone should respect her decision to stay home and raise her children.

I am new to this blog, and look forward to any tips she may have for saving money.

As for the cynics who posted above, please remember this is a young woman who has dedicated her life to raising her own children.
There are many two income families who may have more, but in many ways have alot less then what she has.

Keep up the good work,
Terry Lynn,
Ontario Canada

Atheist Mama said...

Pat - WOW. I find your comment extremely ignorant. What do you think homemakers DO all day? Sit on their ever-expanding behinds and eat bon-bons while their kids run around dirty, making messes?

Um, NO.

Being a homemaker is an extremely difficult and rewarding job. You are not "just" a homemaker...

I'd venture to guess a lot of people aren't cut out to be a homemaker...but a lot of people ARE.

I LOVE my job as a homemaker and quite personally, think I kick serious butt at it.

Being a homemaker is NOT anti-feminist. Who's claiming that woman HAVE to stay home? I'm pretty sure the feminist movement happened so that women would have the RIGHT to choose...not be forced into the workplace if they don't want to. It's about having the right to do what we want to do - what makes us happy.

Some women, like myself, are perfectly happy being "just" homemakers.

DaisyRaeDesign said...

While I avoid commenting for the most part this post and some of what I have read are very disturbing. You do know that if you drop insurance you will have a harder time getting it back. Most companies will not cover anyone who has not had coverage in the last 90 days. I work with insurance on a daily basis and this is a said but true fact in most cases (i said in most cases before i get chewed out by anyone ha!) Also in the state I live in you do not get this baby bonus money for every kid at tax time. We have a limit. I thought this was the same for every state but my friends with multiple children have informed me that getting money back for every child is simply not the case. Maybe I missunderstood where this money you get was coming from. Thanks

Emily said...

Daisy, it's not a baby bonus, it's the EITC, calcuated every year, not just the year you have a child. It's federal not state. Check out the calculator I linked to in the post.

http://www.cbpp.org/eic2009/calculator/

Jenny said...

Several interesting comments...

I agree that since you are already receiving gov't insurance that it would probably be most cost-effective to simply remain on it rather than closing out your accounts and then re-applying for emergency coverage at some point.

I've seen you asked numerous times but haven't seen an answer yet about your stance on preventative care. Do your children go to well-baby visits? Do you have annual PAP smears, cholesterol checks, etc?

Also, since you're having a homebirth, are your midwives able to offer labs and other services such as prenatal testing and ultrasounds? Both of my children were also born at home and I paid out of pocket for my midwife's services, but we still incurred a couple thousand dollars in blood work, ultrasounds, etc. that had to be done at the back-up OBs office.

As far as your backup plan, with all due respect it's pretty lacking. The ability to make a few dollars reviewing a fast food restaurant is not going to go far in an emergency.

I also agree that dental services are not a luxury. Regular dental cleanings are vital and it has been shown that gum disease can contribute to other health problems. Even with good oral hygiene some people are just more susceptible to cavities that need to be repaired before they lead to something more serious. When you're in severe pain due to an abscessed tooth dental care becomes an absolute necessity, not a luxury.

And to the commenter Anna: Emily could work if she chose to, she simply choses not to do so. I am in a similar situation to hers in that my income alone would not cover the cost of childcare, nor do I really want that for them anyhow. As a result I work nights while my children are home with their father. I've been able to make it work without too much difficulty even when pregnant, being a breastfeeding mother, and needing to care for the children during the day. I resent the implication that my husband and I both work to "so that we can make more money and buy more stuff." No- we work to provide them with food that doesn't have to be rationed out, adequate shelter, health care, eyeglasses, dentist visits, school tuition, and other necessities. We're don't own a McMansion in a gated community, fancy cars, boats (unless you count our old beat-up canoe, LOL), cable TV or fancy clothes.

I don't begrudge Emily at all for using gov't health insurance or the EIC that she gets each year on her taxes. She qualifies for them and I'm happy to have my taxes go to support such programs because I don't want to see any child suffer for their parents choices. But when all is said and done, this comes down to choices. Emily chooses not to work. They choose to be quiverfull. Her husband choses to only work part-time.

Viktoria said...

Pat and Scottish Twins-- Re: the SAHM debate

I see both sides of your argument.

I have a degree from one of my state's top 4-year public universities, and my teaching certificate. If the economy would just cooperate, I would, as we speak, be standing in front of a classroom of 8-year-olds, and putting my paychecks directly in savings. But we all know that the economy seems determined to derail plans right now. ;-)

My dream is to stay at home with my (hopefully) four children. I want to be here for them, teaching them to garden, sew, cook, etc. I want to spend our days making crafts, chasing bugs in the backyard, walking our puppy, and getting dinner ready for when Daddy gets home. I will supplement their education, as any good parent does, with valuable experiences and conversations. Once my youngest is school-aged, I will return to work. Since we will be used to living on my husband's salary, we will save my earnings for our children's college educations.

But...given experiences in my family, it is also vitally important to me that I 1) have a true back-up plan (Respectfully, Em, I don't see how secret shopping is going to support you if your husband, Heaven forbid, were to be entirely incapacitated) and 2) provide an example of a Godly woman who uses her talents outside the home to improve society. I know that's not how everyone operates or believes life should be, but that is my choice.

So, to wrap up my ramblings, Pat, a part of me thinks it is incredibly sad when women have no aspirations beyond the home, because I cannot understand it in the context of my own life. Emily's post about how she used to want to be a mathematician broke my heart. I want my daughters (and sons) to dream big and pursue those dreams.

On the other hand, I agree with Scottish Twins: our society has lost so much of the art of keeping house and childrearing, and I think the younger generations, in general, suffer because of it. I want to believe that some women can be truly happy staying within the sphere of home life (but I know this is not the case with me so it is hard to imagine).

I am choosing the middle road, and while I would never choose to be a traditional drop-the-kids-off-at-daycare working mom nor a stay-home-exclusively mom, I respect the rights of women to choose. I believe the ability to make that choice is what makes living here and now so great.

Emily, happy due date! You and the baby are in my prayers!

Jen said...

I will add my voice to the chorus supporting stay at home moms! I have 2 bachelor degrees, and had a rewarding career in science before I decided to stay home and raise my child myself.

I also find Pat's comment offensive. My mother stayed home and raised me, and I am doing just fine for myself. Obviously it didn't prevent me from knowing that I could do anything I wanted in my life, and pursing my dreams. One of those dreams was quitting my career in order to raise my own child.

All you have to do is look around at a lot of kids today in order to see that something has gone wrong. There are a lot of problems that I personally believe would not exist if a parent raised their children, instead of shipping them off to daycare. This includes cooking from scratch and feeding them real food, instead of all the processed junk that causes so many health, neurological, and behavioral problems.

In my case there was NO WAY I was going to put my 6 week old baby into daycare for 10-12 hours a day, and work to pay someone else to raise him. We are doing just fine on my husband's income, and it IS possible. It's a matter of priorities. My son is at the top of my list.

Emily said...

On the independent contract work, I worked one day a week over the summer to pay for the midwife. Working ONE day a week, over four months, I made over $1700. That is enough of a backup plan in my mind, as I can match my husbands income with kids in tow.

Viktoria said...

Hmm...maybe I need to go back and look at those links you provided for finding such contract work! (And maybe you could do a post about it in the future to provide more info.)

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I have been questioning your reliance on government assistance, but just wanted to say that I admire your commitment to stay home and raise your kids yourself. I have been a SAHM since my oldest was born 11 years ago and know in my heart that I am doing the most important job in the world (and yes, I am very happy doing it!) I grew up with a working mom and spent my childhood in daycare or home alone at much too young an age. No way would I do that to my kids.

Olivia said...

It's your life, and you shouldn't have to defend your & your families choices. You are a bright woman, and you know what you are doing.

I'm a new reader, and I'm enjoying your blog.
May you have a swift & smooth delivery!!

Anonymous said...

I want to add to the chorus as well, being a stay at home mom is such a rewarding career in and of itself, it may have little pay but the benefits of hugs and love from your children far outweigh the almighty dollar.

I am a former Early Childhood Educator who worked in day care for a long time, after seeing the ramifications of child care I choose to stay home with my boys, my mother left her career as a school teacher to raise my brother and I and I am forever thankful she did so.

One thing about equal rights of women, it also allows us to have the freedom to choose whether we want to work or to stay home, every mom is a working mom regardless if they work out of the home or in it :)

Terry Lynn

Anonymous said...

Ok.. So, my name is Crystal. :) Hi.

I want to comment about using food stamps, because I think that you may have misunderstood how the food stamp funding system works.

I work for the state human services department. What I'd like to tell you about state assistance is that the more people who qualify and receive benefits, the more funding the states and counties receive. It's important that when you qualify for benefits, you use them, because then more funding becomes available and we have the funds to aid more people.

It's a system that is designed strangely, and there are a lot of misconceptions about it.

Also, know that you pay into it. Every hour your husband works, he pays taxes that go into the system so that when you qualify for it, you can draw on it. you'd be getting back your own money.

Please consider it. Not just for yourself, but because it really does help other people.

KAR said...

Can we please discuss how this is a is a cost cutting effort for the government?

Esther said...

I could tell you all the reasons I disagree with some of your decisions. I could explain all the ways our lifestyle is different from yours. But what really stands out to me is that you seem to have chosen this path under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. My husband and I have chosen differently because the Lord has called *us* to a different ministry and different lifestyle to fit that ministry. If you've chosen this path with prayer, Bible study, good counsel, trying your best to seek the Lord's will for you and follow it as well as you can, He will take care of you, just as He already is doing so.

Treva said...

The whole thing about going out to show your children that women can do more than just stay home irritates me! I think people forget that feminism (in its origins) was about giving women a CHOICE about what they do with their lives and not being frowned upon for that CHOICE -- be it working for a paycheck or working in the home. I hate that SAHMs are discouraged when they are taking for themselves and their families the very choice that feminism gave them.

On another note, I understand the reasoning behind the post, but I don't feel you *have* to justify your choices. You can keep the blog going without explaining every little thing or keeping explanations simple, like, "This is what we choose for XYZ reason. I will not discuss it further." If readers want to stick around and gain some information, great. If they can't stomach the lack of reasoning, they can choose not to read.

Feminina said...

An interesting article: "No Sister, Feminism is Not About Choice":

http://www.cannold.com/media/2006-10-12/

I'm still processing whether or not I agree with the sentiment, but it is interesting nonetheless.

Liz said...

"Pat said...

From your previous post about you being a stay at home house wife. Do you ever have bigger dreams to do anything else then to have house children and take care of the household?"

This attitude really irritates me. Why is there an assumption that choosing to be the one to take care of your own children full time, and to spend time with them is not a big dream?

♥ JB said...

To the Anon Comments:
If you don't agree so much with what one person is doing and you're so perfect, why on earth are you wasting so much time on the internet trying to put a mom down?

You don't need crap because your life is all butterballs and lollipops - right? Well, guess what - you obviously have SOME issues if you have to come and leave an anonymous comment to make yourself look like the Holy Goat.

Get a life.
I'm a 21 year old stay at home mom and my oldest daughter (I have 3) is 5 - I've had my fair share of moronic people and it turns out they were unhappy living the life they had because they didn't get what they wanted...

So go, find a shrink and MOVE ON.

♥ JB said...

re: Pat
I'm also a homemaker (whoo!) and being my husband is a very traditional italian - we do show them those traditional roles of daddy working to provide for the family and mommy having all of the housework done and dinner on the table the second daddy gets home.

Not every family is the same.
However, while we DO support OUR own traditions, I have picked up a side job or two for my OWN benefit and our girls understand it's okay for woman to work.

Why do people judge other peoples lives so much? Wow.

The Pittsburgh Pair said...

How are you earning $1700 in four months working one day per week? If you are working on the Independent Contractor basis, you realize that you need to save 15% of that pay towards Medicare and Social Security taxes, right? I've never seen mystery shopping and sampling pay be that high. I'd love to know your sources for this as someone involved in that industry myself.

This question is somewhat related to your post, but you stated that your DH is 29. What did he do between earning a bachelor's degree and entering seminary? Was he working somewhere? What did you do before having a child (but after getting married)? I just wondered.

One of my issues is that you are using the money from the EITC to tithe. I think the EITC should be used for living, not tithing. My tax dollars should not support your religion. If you truly don’t want the EITC and don’t need it, why not donate it back to the government in some way?

Also, I tried your bread recipe and it did not work at all. I don’t know what I did wrong, but the bread was completely tasteless and unfit for human consumption. I’ve had success with every other bread recipe that I have ever tried though, but I’m not a very good cook. Not flaming, just wondering.

Juliette said...

Emily:

Thank you for blogging. I also live in Maine and appreciate your simple and sufficient living style. Quite the debate you have sparked! I hope you do not waste any energy on the negative comments - you have a baby to birth!

Juliette

Lyn said...

Emily, I enjoy your blog but have to also agree that I think it is getting a little side-tracked by explaining your reasoning for all that you do. I say put those things in your FAQ section and get back with sharing how you are living on your income. To me that is what is most interesting and helpful. Your choices, whether they be religious or political, do not matter so much to me, because they are your choices. Just a suggestion! I hope your delivery goes smoothly.

Lyn

Emily said...

Pittsburg Pais, making $90 in one day is pretty easy. I don't do just on contract per day, but fill my day with contracts. Yes, I know how the taxes work, I've done this before.

My husband and I were married and got pregnant rigt away. He worked for several years between the two colleges.

As far as tithing, I've said before, it's mere budget shuffling. And we do want the EITC.

My bread recipe uses no sugar. The sugar helps the yeast to rise, so my bread takes more kneading and than regular bread. The lack of sugar wouldn't effect the taste much, as yeast eats the sugar in regular bread. However, if your yeast has an off flavor (but is still good), you won't notice it with regular recipes, but will with mine, as mine is so minimalist.

Atheist Mama said...

For those who have problems with Emily using her EITC for tithing...well, I just don't get it?

What difference would it make if they tithed out of her husbands paycheck and just saved the tax refund and rationed it out throughout the year for living expenses?

It works out to be the same.

Bottom line is - love it or hate it - it's Emily and her families money.

Methinks some of you are probably just jealous of the refund.

Elaine said...

Hi Emily - Just a couple comments. You seem very bright and thoughtful. I hope people asking questions don't make you feel too defensive. It's just a new perspective for a lot of people, and they're going to be curious, and some will be judgmental. That's blog gold for you though! Makes people want to come back and see what's brewing over here today.

Just a word of advice - keep the links handy for the posts in which you explain these FAQ, and then willingly supply the links. As you get more and more new readers, they'll ask the same questions over and over. You come off a bit impatient with those of us who haven't been following along since the beginning. A simple link to a previously answered question would suffice. Good luck - you're doing great!

Jen said...

I'm pretty sure there are no strings regarding how people use the EITC. That includes tithing. Would I make that choice? No, but that doesn't mean I get to decide how someone else runs their life. I don't agree with people who go into a spending frenzy (only to be broke again in a few days), or gamble it away either. If fact, I would prefer the tithe to that, since churches do a lot of good in the community.

I'm also pretty sure, as was stated above, that Emily and her husband pay taxes too. So in fact, THEIR taxes are supporting their religion. They have the right to make that choice.

Anonymous said...

Emily

Concentrate on your, especially since your due date is now! Not everyone will agree with you at all times and that is OK! Putting your life out there on the Web is going to attract some negative feedback and you had to see that coming.

I don't agree with all your choices, but find your blog very interesting.

Please keep your health insurance, you have been blessed so far with 2 (hopefully 3) healthy children. That can change in an instant. A friends baby was a month early and spent several weeks in the NICU. Those sort of bills can bankrupt, even a well-prepared and financially stable family, very quickly.

Nota said...

To those who are objecting to the use of tax dollars for tithing, tax dollars are used for religious purposes all the time - specifically to support a government that allows for freedom of religion. Supporting freedom of religion is supporting the ability of all people to practice their religion.

When I first saw this blog, I reacted the same way about the EITC, but there's nothing Emily can do about it. It's not an elective credit and I believe at one point she stated that she tried not to take it and they made the family take it anyway. Get over it and write your Congressperson. She can use it however she pleases.

Scottish Twins said...

While Pittsburgh Pair may not want her tax money going to support someone's religion, I don't want mine going to support someone's abortion, or free birth control, or other things I disagree with. Everyone has their own issues with the way gorvernment money is spent.

The great thing about this country though is that we can choose to spend our tax refunds in whatever way we want to.

Anonymous said...

People are forgetting that in some states every single person is required to have health insurance. (Like my state, which is barely an hour from Maine).

That means in Emily's situation, were she in our state, she would have no choice but the state provided insurance. You don't get to decline it (and if you ignore it, you face fees).

I don't think people need to be calling Emily an abuser of the system for taking government insurance.

I'm proud that MY taxes go to something like health insurance and I wish MY taxes contributed to a health system that covered all of us. There are far less noble things our taxes pay for. It's not a political thing..it's the humane thing. Every single citizen deserves health care when they need it. How selfish to think otherwise when our taxes pay for lots of things we'd all be shocked to hear about. Health care is the least of our worries and I'll gladly keep paying my taxes.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I think it's great that you even care about these things so much and have done the research. You care about government spending and are trying to do your part- however small it is. Yeah, we're not all going to agree, but no one can fault you for not trying.
Ryann

Virginia said...

Emily, I found you thought www.moneysavingmom.com (I think). I have spend the last several days reading all your posts so far.
1) good luck with baby #3
2) thanks for the tips and sharing your story 3) I disagree with living my life according to several of your plans, but that is you not me
4)This is a great debate, but not a proper place to make such a harsh debate. We should only use this as a place to make comemnts or questions.There is seldom a reason to attack another person's personal beliefs.
5) I am a stay at home mom of one. We do get all the tax credits allowed to us, but nothing else (food stamps, WIC, etc.) There is NO way I could make as much working as it would cost me to enroll my child in daycare.I love my son. I am blessed by a husband that is willing to work. It is my choice and desire to stay at home. I will raise any of my daughters to know that they can do anything they desire to do is that means be a SHAM, Dr., teacher, lawyer, or WalMart employee. I also believe you should only have as many children as you can afford, but it looks like Emily can afford at least the two she has. How silly to get so upset over events that haven't even happened yet!

I agree with not getting too mad when newcomers come along and ask the same questions over. Even if you only point them to the FAQ section. This took me a while to read all the way through (especially once I realized the comments were so vital to the communication) Thanks for sharing your life with us.

PS as a personal note to Atheist Mom, usually when I see the word Atheist I run the other way. I have really enjoyed hearing your side of the debates and value your open mindedness and not judging Emily. I have even begun to check out your blog.

Emily said...

KAR, to address your question, we wouldn't be getting on and off insurance four times a year. My paretns never took me to the doctor's as a kid except for shots for school. My husband was taken to the clinic twice and it was paid for out of pocket. It seems we don't have the same definition of emergency as everyone else. Also, there ARE administrative costs. We have to meet with a worker annually, fill out a lot of paperwork, and we recieve a lot of paperwork and literature.

KAR said...

Emily, this is what really, really ticks me off about you. You are being willfully obtuse and not addressing the entirety of the issue, but sticking to an idea of a "plan" that you think you have.

Since not everyone has the same definitation as an emergency, please define that for us. What is an emergency for you and WHAT constitutes going to the doctor? Do ear infections, ear aches, and sinus infections warrant a trip to doctor? Do broken bones, concussions, blue lips require a trip to the emergency room? Do potential allergens deserve to be tested? What if a child is born with asthma or reactive airway disease and requires a nebulizer and medicine every month?

While it's all nice that your husband that you and your husband's parents never took you to the doctor as a child, you can't say that you will never have a medical necessity arise that requires medical treatment. If you do have a medical necessity arise that you DON'T treat then that absolutely qualifies as medical neglect and is worthy, at the very least, of a CPS visit wherein you will end up recieving medicaid among other things. Medical neglect is a real term and it is CPS worthy.

And I KNOW there are administrative costs involved with medicaid. Were you not paying attention when I spelled it out for you? You can't run off with this one. I worked at a local DFCS office for over five years and I pretty well know what I'm talking about. You can't tell me that you know how many times you are going to apply for emergency medicaid. You don't know if it's going to be once, four times, or ten times. I have just explained to you that every time you apply for medicaid, you run the administrative costs UP. Instead of your review going through one or two people, anywhere from two to four people are going to touch your case. AND that's not counting the people in the background handling the back bills and the person at the hospital who has to deal with medicaid and your back bills. Those are just the people between the hospital and DFCS.

Everytime you apply, you add that much more federal aid to the state coffers. that much more money comes down to help you. It comes out of taxpayer money.

This has nothing to do with saving taxpayer money because you aren't even bothering to listen to how it's NOT saving taxpayer money.

Emily said...

KAR, you're right, this was something I wasn't clear on. An emergency worth reapplying for is something over $4000, which is the cost of our midwifery care and what we consider a threshold we can afford. As to what actual future situations require us going to a doctor, that's pretty hard to define and will be taken on a case by case basis.

Jen said...

Emily,

I think it is awesome that you have apparently never had a real financial crisis. When I asked about a backup plan, I am talking about money in the bank now, not what you are capable of earning. I have to put a roof on my house by 11/2 or my home insurance is going to be dropped. I was able to come up with the money necessary. You will not have to worry about a roof as you are renting, but what about your vehicle? I once had a computer go out on my vehicle. Cost to fix, $1700. It took you 4 months to earn that. Even if you can earn it faster than that, can you do it without a car?

Enjoy the comments Emily. The controversy is what keeps such a heavy readership going. I have to commend you for that.

Jenny said...

Another question regarding medical care: you stated that you never use the medical benefits that you currently have yet this is your third baby in the past 3-4 years. This is also your first homebirth, correct? If so, is it safe to assume that your first two children were born in a hospital? What coverage did you use to pay for your first two children's births and prenatal care?

Also, with your current track record of two babies within a 13-14 month period, do you really think that it is reasonable to expect that you could potentially end up with about 10 children? You're so young that you could easily have another 20 years of childbearing ahead of you. I would think that planning for a potential of 15+ children would be more realistic.

Emily said...

Jenny, I actually said I have used the insurance in the past, but we don't now. My first two children are exactly two years apart. My second two will be 14 months apart, so something in between is what we expect. I speculate 10 as it is a round number to work with. This coud aso be our last. There is no accurate way to predict how many children we will have.

Jen, we have money in the bank to cover a car repair, or small medical bill. I would then work to reimburse our savings. We have an older car, in good condition, so there are not as many computerized parts.

KAR said...

So am I to assume that you currently have $4000 in emergency medical savings?

kooolaidred said...

What year is your car?

Devon said...

I feel like I'm beating a dead dog at this point, since you are obviously going to drop the insurance no matter how many good points are made, but let me ask you one more question. Ok, so say that your 3 year old develops a painful issue of some sort. One that wouldn't be an emergency, but that would require surgery at some point to alleviate the pain. And it would be more than 4000.00. Would you really make him wait the time to let the Medicaid take effect? It can take a month or more. Would you let him be in pain? I'm asking this because I have seen it happen: a child who I taught when I was teaching elementary school had a painful problem with her kidneys. Her mother, though she could have financially, did not carry insurance for the poor girl. She had to suffer as a result of her mother's irresponsibility, and what I believe could be called neglect. She was in pain.

What if?? Like I said, this is no doubt beating a dead dog, but would you let your child suffer in pain because you didn't have the insurance to help him? Frankly, I am a little shocked at your attitude toward this. You seem to be a loving, caring parent, but it almost looks like you are dropping the insurance so you can keep with your "Under 1000 Dollars A Month" schtick and not really thinking about the possible consequences of this. I know it is difficult to imagine a worst-case scenario unless you have lived it, but take it from one who has lived through the worst-case scenario: it is not worth dropping the insurance just to say you live without government assistance. It is shocking that you are willing to take that chance with your children, Emily.

Beating my head against a wall...but whatever. It is your life. I just don't think your children should be subjected to your desire to live without assistance if you cannot afford to provide private insurance.

Jess said...

Since my last comment didn't make it through approval...

If you know that you can make that $1700 in four months working just one day per week, WITH children in tow...why wouldn't you? Why not help alleviate some of the financial stress? It just doesn't make sense to me.

Also, I really, really hope you're taking your children in for well visits. They are much more than getting shots, getting weighed and measured. They can pick up on any issues early. If you're going to have the state insurance, I really hope you're using it.

Emily said...

KAR, no, our savings was depleted by the last medical bill, the midwifery care, but we are building it up now.

koolaidred, 98

Devon, There are so many hypotheticals of what could go wrong, I'm not going to go through every scenario that could and say yes to this, no that that. I am sorry that things have gone wrong with your child through. As far as the "Under $1000 Per Month" schtick, this actually goes completely against it, because I am saying that there will be times when we have to step out and earn more.

Emily said...

Jess, we published our comments at the same time, but I am doing those jobs to build up savings now. It is not to "alleviate the financial stress", it is to build our savings that were depleted from the midwifery care. I am not doing a full day a week, and am currently not doing any as my due date was yesterday, but I plan on picking up more when I can commit to a time without worrying about going into labor. I don't want to do it as a full-time job, though, as my job is homemaker.

Devon said...

Emily, that is my point. There are too many hypotheticals to take a chance with it. That's why people have car, house, fire, flood, life and health insurance--for the hypotheticals when you won't be able to pay up front. My question is why you are not willing to alleviate the risk by keeping the insurance.

Emily said...

Devon, I understand that concern, and maybe my DHHS is different than some, but I don't think it would take a month to be covered. We weren't covered when I was pregnant with our first but I went to my hospital midwife several times without insurance. When we finally decided to get the insurance, they paid the back bills.

We didn't know about home birth midwifery at the time or we would not have gotten onto gov't insurance in the first place. As we are growing in our understanding of alternative health, we feel the standard medicine is for emergency use only, like life threatening car accidents, where we would not be denied treatment in the ER. These controversial posts seem a little scatter-brained to a casual observer, but it's all tied into our own world-view, which is admittedly different than most.

mary bailey said...

Wow. I was staying away from this debate, but just feel compelled to add my two-cents worth now which is:

1. Good for you, Emily, in choosing to publish the good, the bad and the ugly comments. I don't know if I myself would be brave enough for that. I agree with the other poster who said that your comment section is really building up your readership.

2. I know you said you and your husband rarely went to the doctor when you were children. I don't think that can be a reliable measuring stick for how things may be with your own kids. Neither of my parents went to the doctor as kids, b/c they couldn't afford it, but when I was 2yo I developed asthma which required years of serious medical attention. There's no way of predicting something like that.

KAR said...

If you have a '98, then you do have a lot of computer/electronic parts. You might not know about them, but they're there and they'll cost you a nice big dime or two. Most common problem parts are sensors. While they're small an O2 or MAF can run you a couple of hundred bucks a piece just for the part. You don't get to ignore sensors. If a sensor goes bad, it's liable to shut your car down. Period. End of story. There's no driving it.

If you want a car without electronic parts, you're going to have to back up about 20 or 30 more years.

Also, while I'm all for alternative medicine and I do utilize it, there are certain things you need to see a doctor for. I'm not talking about viruses and colds.

Staph infections can be prominent in certain areas and that is not something you can throw some TTO on and call it day. Unattended ear infections can lead to hearing loss. You can't set a broken bone at home. With each child you have, the greater the likelihood that you are going to need to seek traditional medical care.

My youngest son, WildBoy, was born GBS+ which caused sepsis, was on Oxygen for a number of days for something they could never identify, had higher than what I was used to biliruben levels due to the infection, spent three days at the local hospital and seven more in a NICU 45 minutes away. After that, we spent four years dealing with reactive airway disease

This was a complete freak thing that, medically speaking, should never have happened. While 50% of all women are colonized with GBS, they rarely, rarely ever pass it on to newborns. And if so, it's usually if the labor has been prolonged after the water breaks or the child was preterm, among other things.

My labor lasted a total of four hours from start to finish, he was born on term, weighed 8lbs 15oz and there was NEVER anything to indicate this could have happened to him. Nothing.

If it had not been for his pediatrician guessing that he was BGS+ from his symptoms and starting him on antibiotics within the first two hours after birth, then he would have beed dead. No ifs and or buts. Dead. I wouldn't have brought a baby home.

I met a lady at the pharmacy a month after he was born and I was waiting for his Xopenex who randomly told me how she'd given birth to a GBS+ baby some time previously and he'd died because he was not treated in time. I was blown away. I never told this woman our story. It's information she offered without knowing our struggle and it really, even after the stress of watching him in the NICU, brought home how absolutely and without a doubt that his medical doctor and her decision to treat instead of waiting on the three day test saved my son's life.

Frankly, with your seeming lack of life experience, you are not in the position to deem what may be life or health-saving treatment. While I think that you do love your children, you will continue to let your pride and "world view" stand in the way of what is best for them. I hope you come to terms with that some day.

Anonymous said...

I tried posting this yesterday, but it must not have gone through since it is very on topic. Actually, if your is getting a refund due to the EITC, your is NOT paying any federal income tax. If their income is $15K (assume he brings home $1K a month and she does $3K of mystery shopping), the standard deduction of $11,400 and exemptions of $14,600 (2 kids, as I did not count the 3rd yet) wipe out their taxable income, so they pay no income tax. They then receive a child tax credit of $350, a "Make work" credit of $800, and an EITC of $5K. They do NOT pay any federal income tax.
Also, please keep the insurance. I would hate for one of your children to be born with diabetes, cancer, etc. that was not diagnosed for years and thennot be covered since they are pre-existing conditions and they never had insurance.

Emily said...

Anon, I didn't post your comment yesterday because it was irrelevant. You were trying to disprove something I didn't say. I didn't say we paid federal income taxes.

Anonymous said...

Why do you not acknowledge some legitimate comments? I just think it's weird that you ask for comments then screen them and ignore comments that had perfectly valid points. And please don't respond that they were "attacking" you because they weren't. It makes you lose credibility in my book by choosing to answer the easy questions and the ones that you truly have no response to (because the point makes sense) you ignore. I look forward to reading the debates you have on here, if only to see how narrow minded/stubborn you appear to be. If you aren't going to address the tough comments that raise legitimate issues, then you shouldn't answer any at all. As you well know I'm sure, life isn't about the things that come easy to us. Life is about the things that we struggle for; the tough decisions we have to make. I just find it a little bit on the ridiculous side and honestly I think you'd have more readers if you responded to the tough questions that you apparently have no answers to.

Anonymous said...

After reading the post above I understand why it wasn't posted. You choose to ignore the fact that you're logic doesn't make any sense in terms of a trade off in schooling for health care since you don't pay into the system anyway. Just remember, a dollar is a dollar is a dollar. Whether in health care, schooling or food stamps. Most who recieve schooling put their dollar in the pot.

Jenny said...

"While I think that you do love your children, you will continue to let your pride and "world view" stand in the way of what is best for them. I hope you come to terms with that some day."

Perfectly said, KAR. I really think this perfectly and succinctly sums up exactly so many of us readers are banging our heads against the wall.

Emily said...

Anon, I've posted a lot of comments that were attacking me, just read through them. Many comments are repetitive, and I had already responded to the sentiment. So, no, I'm not going to spend all day writing the same thing over and over in the comments. If people don't accept my answers as good enough, there's nothing I can do.

Anon, no, the comment was written to disprove something I didn't say. I didn't say I pay federal income taxes, but I did say I do pay taxes, which I do, and I listed how in the post.

Anonymous said...

What are you going to do if the government passes it's health care reform? Under it you will be required to carry health insurance and in your case it appears your only choice would be a government policy. By declining care you will be fined heavily. Based on your views regarding government, if you stayed true to your views you would refuse the insurance and take the fine. However I doubt you can afford this. Will you take the government insurance in order to avoid the fine? Thus going against your supposed beliefs. Although it seems you tend to contradict yourself and your beliefs from time to time.

Accidents happen and with 10+ children (even just 3) something is bound to happen. Coming from a family of 4 rather prissy girls we have had our fair share of broken bones, sliced open head injuries, and illnesses. And we spent our childhoods inside reading or playing in a sandbox, not climbing trees or exploring woods like rowdy boys.

What if something went wrong with your delivery? I have seen a 5th time mom with a prolapsed cord and a 17th time mom sent to c-section because baby's heart rate was in the 40's. 2 normal deliveries do not guarantee a 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. normal delivery. This could require a visit to the hospital and costly care.

I think it is irresponsible to drop your insurance. I can't imagine it costs you much per month (in my state it is $40 max OOP per family regardless of number of children). A freak accident, illness will cost the taxpayers much more than what it costs them for you to cover insurance each month.

Anonymous said...

Here's some real math for you

The Average American Family
*These values are medians as they are more useful in comparisions

Household Income: $48,000


For earnings up to $53,400 per year the federal tax rate is approximately 7.65% of that.

Federal Taxes Paid: $3600

State income tax varies from state to state which the lowest rate being 0% and the highest rate being 12%. We'll take an average of 6%. It's actually 9.9% in Maine.

State Income Taxes Paid: $2800

We all pay sales taxes. I think it goes without saying th at you actually pay less in sales tax since you make less and thus have less to spend, even so I'll call that even. As for completeness purposes it ranges from 0% (Oregon is an example) to 10% in states like (Louisiana is an example). So, let's assume we pay 6% if they spend 30% of their salary on consumer goods. Again, here it's 6% in Maine.

State Sales Tax: $800

We'll assume everyone pays 9% of their monthly rent/mortage in property taxes, which is actually high but a typical rate passed on to renters. Most american's spend 34.1% of their salary on housing.

Money Spent on Housing: $16300
Property Taxes Paid: $1400

We also pay taxes on gasoline but again, for the sake of not making this more drawn out, we can assume that to be equal.

So adding all that up, the total that the average American family pays in taxes is $8600.

Now, based off of your own figures (just talking income here). If Dan works 30 hrs/wk at roughly $8/hr

Annual Salary: $12480

You pay federal taxes like everyone else again at 7.65%.

Federal Taxes Paid: $1000

State income taxes I think you said you didn't pay so I'm not going to include it, but if you did it would be at 9.9%

State Taxes NOT Paid: $1200.00

Breaking numbers down roughly, at 1000 per month and 600 going to rent, we'll assume you spend 40% on consumer goods (which is higher than the average number I used above).

State Sales Tax: $300

Property taxes I'll assume to be 9% of your $600 in rent/mth.

Property Taxes Paid: $700

Your Total Taxes Paid (without paying state income tax) is $2000.

So, you pay 1/4 of what the average American pays in taxes. I think we hold all other variable things equal in terms of road use and all that other stuff that you talked about. The average American family has 2.5 kids. So assuming your $9000/yr figure is correct, the amount that comes out of the federal budget to send their kids to school per year is 22,500.

I understand that you pay federal taxes but the amount of taxes that you put in, comes NOWHERE close to the amount that the government would pay to send your 10 kids to school per year at 90,000.

They pay in 4 times as much in taxes as you do and get out 4 times LESS than you would if you sent your kids to public school. So even if you say "oh the government saves 90,000 a year from me not sending them to public school" It still doesn't equate the difference. In a dollar for dollar world, the average american family should get public schooling AND health care for the cost of your public schooling alone. And even if you don't have 10 kids and the number shifts downwards, it doesn't matter because the ratio in taxes is still 4 to 1. They're still technically entitled to 4 times as much as you.

I'm not saying you shouldn't have it. I'm not saying you don't deserve it. I HOPE that you remain on public health care because I can't imagine having to watch a child, let alone my child suffer. But you're not entitled to it. There is no justification. It's a hand out, and if I was in your situation I'd be the first one in line avocating for my children. It isn't based on dollars and cents its based on the value of human life. You and your children are worth every penny. But, there's no way that it's YOUR penny that's paying for it.

Anonymous said...

If you're not going to post about your finances, you might have to change all your posts to be about placenta recipes. The very second your blog changes to normal and not controversial, you will have no more readers. Placenta recipes is good place to start though with new controversial topics. We're past the 1000 dollars a month and your "recipes". We want the juice, and placenta recipes. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Whew! First time commenter.

I'm with Atheist Mama, in that it sounds as if some people resent your EITC out of jealousy.

I also think that many of the judgemental commenters are either young or naive about the "big picture" of a large family. As the years go on and Emily's family grows, her finances are going to change. Most likely, because she and her husband are so organized and on-track, their finances will be improving year after year. They are not going to be living in this home, with this job and salary, in 5 or 10 years. I doubt that their habits will change--therefore, their savings will only grow. The big picture for Emily and her family is that eventually, they are going to own their own home out-right, be debt-free, and have no government assistance at all. It is going to take time, but I wonder how many *dissenters* will be in the same place as Emily and her family at that time? I have a feeling that many won't, which infuriates them.

I don't know why frugal living enrages some people, but it does--I've seen it. I suspect that the commenters who attack get annoyed that others have more will-power with "luxuries".

Emily said...

Anon, on comparing tax brackets, I NEVER said I deserved it. I NEVER said I was entitled. I know I haven't. Thanks for the rundown, though.

Anon, on "the juice," I'm not sure why I wouldn't continue posting about my finances. I have a two week menu rotation, so I'm more likely to run out of recipes than financial ideas.

Anon on jeaousy, thanks for your understanding. (:

Anonymous said...

KAR,
Frankly, you seem a little obsessed with Emily. You are border-line threatening her with CPS--stalkers enjoy that sort of behavior. "Medical neglect is a real term and it is CPS worthy."

You're talking in hypotheticals while hinting what? Medical neglect and CPS? There are absolutely no grounds whatsoever for your hysterical thoughts.

This sentence beats all:
"Frankly, with your seeming lack of life experience, you are not in the position to deem what may be life or health-saving treatment."

Arrogance and superiority at it's best.

Rebecca said...

I would agree, don't drop the health insurance. I ONLY say this because your children can't fend for themselves if they need medical care.

If it weren't for that, I would say you shouldn't be accepting any government assistance because YOU are CHOOSING to live the way you do. So because of YOUR choices, I have to pay for you.

My husband and I are a young couple who have worked very hard to have a home and to pay our bills, so why should we be paying yours too. Sure we get benefits from the government in other ways, but you are getting those same benefits plus more that we are not because of YOUR choices.

I do have another question, one that I have never understood and maybe you can shed some light... this is in regards to homeschooling. I read your reasoning based on numbers and such, but honestly, what makes people think they are qualified to teach their children through home school. Sure there are lesson plans that you have to follow, but you certainly don't have the qualifications or resources that a public school has to offer. What about the lessons that are learned outside of the books that you can ONLY get in schools?

finding my purpose in the 2nd half said...

I'm new to your blog and am enjoying reading your postings. I also have a dream of self-sustanance and always look for information to help me get there. I also hope you little boy is doing better - it sounds like a VERY scary situation. But, I do have a question and a commnet: First, the question. In the following comment to Sarah what refund are you qualifying for? Are you taking a property tax deduction? Sorry if I missed something along the way.

"Sarah, on property taxes, we may not be in the county records, but according to the IRS, we do pay taxes and qualify for a refund."

And my comment and I know you got a bunch regarding this:

It is certainly your right to drop Medicaid but with your son's recent illness I hope you don't. But please don't use saving governmental administrative costs as your reason because it simply can't be true. Having worked in business, including Human Resources, dropping and adding coverage of any kind, always increases administrative costs.

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