There is Skilled Labor in the Medical Mom Community

There is a large untapped labor pool that – if someone can figure out how to access it – would provide a significant amount of skilled labor to the marketplace. This set of people has a broad range of skills from software development to professional writing. Some individuals in this mysterious category excel at art, music, or storytelling. The one thing they have in common – a child with a medical condition whose care would cost more than they could earn working.

I recommend employers take a look at this community of people and sincerely evaluate whether or not they can put them to work. They will be part-time employees unless paid more than childcare costs for their child’s unique needs. Some of them may need to make enough, even part time, to replace what they get through state assistance in addition to funding their childcare needs. It won’t be easy or straightforward – but it’ll be worth it.

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Advantages of using an HSA or FSA

Advantages of using an HSA or FSA

In order to deduct medical expenses off of your taxes, they need to reach 10% of your adjusted gross income per the IRS rules. Did you know there’s a way to reduce your tax burden on medical expenses even if you’re under that 10% threshold? You can do it by using an HSA, FSA, or other tax-favored plans. There’s a lot of legal jargon in the references. The main gist is if your employer offers one of these options it would be a good idea to take advantage. Just make sure to read and understand whatever paperwork they give you to describe the plan and its features.

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How to Decide if Working for Yourself is Right for You

How to Decide if Working for Yourself is Right for You

Working for yourself definitely sounds amazing. Everyone I’ve talked to about my new journey has thought the idea is wonderful. It’s easy to agree setting your own hours is a nice perk. I decide what projects to start, which projects to end, and what makes something “finished.” There are pros and cons to the whole process and some of the cons aren’t so obvious, so I thought it would be helpful to mention a few of each.

The benefits are most of what you hear people talk about when they say they work for or would like to work for themselves. The primary advantage is setting your own hours and deciding how much time to commit to each task. There’s no one telling you they need you to be available from 9 am to 5 pm. It’s likely you’ll find a lot of the things you need to do can be taken care of at 2 am just as well as 9 am. Your work can be accomplished in your pajamas… in front of a TV… with a glass of wine on the side table.

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4 Ways to Save Money in Less Than 5 Minutes

4 Ways to Save Money in Less Than 5 Minutes

Tip #1 – Huck cloths. These towels will not only replace your need for paper towels, they also absorb significantly better. I find these to be especially helpful for vomited formula. They will add a little to your laundry load, but not very much. I put them in a rinse cycle with the rest of my son’s vomit-drenched clothes, sheets, etc. before washing on a regular cycle.

Estimated savings: ~$20 / month after the initial investment. This will vary significantly from family to family. We probably saved more because of how frequently our son tends to vomit. We spent ~$45 on our towels and have had them for about a year.

Tip #2 – Slow Cooker. A lot of busy people end up ordering out because they simply don’t have the time or free hands to cook. Most of the things I use my slow cooker for, I would never be able to do otherwise OR they come out much better when they can spend more time over heat. It also makes it significantly easier to have food ready when you need it ready as it can easily stay on “warm” for an hour or two without negatively impacting the food in most cases.

Estimated savings: ~$70 / week if you eat out daily. It will probably be closer to ~$10 – $20 / week if you are already eating in, but the slow cooker allows you to buy and cook in larger quantity. You also may be able to buy less expensive dishes than you already prepare now that you have the additional cook time. For example, a roast with potatoes and carrots is an inexpensive staple which is much easier to prepare in a slow cooker.

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Medical Expenses and Taxes

First and foremost, the rules change every year. I’m not a tax expert. My information comes from the IRS website. It’s important to consult a tax professional if you need help with your taxes. Now that the legal stuff is out of the way…

If you have a ton of medical expenses every year you have three main options as far as taxes are concerned.

  1. Health Savings Account – Pre-tax money for use on medical expenses
  2. Flexible Spending Account – Also pre-tax money for use on medical expenses, but with different rules.
  3. Itemize your taxes and reduce your tax burden by claiming medical expenses as a deduction.

Doing one or two does not prevent you from doing number three, but you can’t use the tax-free money and then claim those medical expenses as a deduction on your taxes.

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Cloth Diapering vs. Disposables, and Why I Use Both

Cloth Diapering vs. Disposables, and Why I Use Both

Cloth diapering is a lot of work sometimes. Every two days you have to do laundry. While this isn’t a difficult prospect for me because I have to do laundry every day, it would be a huge annoyance for many. My son gets sick, a lot. We measure the necessary size of his wardrobe by how many outfits he needs to get through a single day.

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That Moment When You Hit Your Max Out of Pocket for the Year

That Moment When You Hit Your Max Out of Pocket for the Year

Every year since my son was born we’ve struggled with medical bills. We’re blessed to have insurance that covers a vast majority of the cost, but even then we’ve hit our max out of pocket about six months in. It’s a huge relief when it comes, but the struggle to get there is very real. Putting out thousands of dollars over your normal bills is stressful, even in the best of circumstances. When you have a child with medical needs that’s keeping one of the parents from working full time, it’s so much harder.

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