My Budget Boot Camp Day 7: Keeping the Family Healthy

This month I’m talking about my budget, and the things my husband and I have done to squeeze every last penny out of it to put more towards paying off $15,000 in debt in 20 months. If you are catching up, you can find my other posts below. You should also consider subscribing via RSS or email so you don’t miss anything exciting (see the top of the bar at the right)!

Today I’m going to address my doctor’s office co-pay fund. If you have children, or think you might have children in the future, or even if you just visit the doctor’s office yourself, you will probably find this post pretty interesting. It’s got some money-saving tips in it, but it’s mostly about how how Mike and I have come to view doctors and their role in our (and our daughter’s) lives.

Doctor’s Visits

Ah, the well-baby visit. For those of you with kids, you know the drill. Weight, length, head circumferance. How is the baby eating? How is the baby learning?


I’m going to ask you usomething that might rock your boat…

Do you really need someone to tell you, “Yes, indeed, your child is growing and (as is obvious to anyone with a brain between their ears), she is in fact healthy”?

Newborn Olivia

Olivia, fresh out of the womb, getting her heartbeat checked (she got a thumbs up!)

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big supporter of the medical field and all of the wonderful things they have done to improve the quality of life for many people. But I also think that the medical profession likes to make money…and one of the ways they do that is getting people to not just come to the office when they are sick, but when they are healthy too.

I read a great book right before Olivia was born called How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, written by Dr. Robert S. Mendelsohn, himself a medical doctor. He basically wrote the book to empower parents in a culture that often times makes parents think that they can’t trust their instincts when it comes to their children’s health. It was an incredibly insightful read, and one that I will probably reference many times when Olivia I’m trying to make decisions regarding Olivia’s health.

Anyway- Mike and I want to try to not live like doctor addicts, taking ourselves and our kids to the doctor at the sign of every sniffle and bump. Of course, this is not some excuse to neglect Olivia’s health; we definitely do- and will continue to- take Olivia to see a doctor when it seems necessary. And you would really be surprised at how much of the time it just isn’t necessary.

A lot of the time going to the pediatrician is just like taking a placebo– they can’t (or don’t) really do anything special, but the visit itself makes you think something good has happened for you or your child. Admittedly, I can be a big time sucker for that placebo pill, and that’s o.k.

But I do research. I question things, especially the ones that “everyone does.” Research advances and the best method for doing things changes constantly, sometimes even conflicting with past recommendations. Doctors are human beings just like you, and they don’t always know what’s best. They can’t! And no one knows your kid better than you do.

And besides that, have you ever considered the fact that a doctor’s office is a hot-bed for germs? Your child might have been perfectly healthy walking in, but might leave with some yucky bug from the kid hacking in the seat next to you in the waiting room. Personally, our pediatrician has two separate waiting rooms for healthy and sick kids, so some of that is avoided, but whenever we are there, we do not play with the common toys and we make sure to wash our hands really well! Who knows? Maybe we have saved money by avoiding a bug that way!

Our biggest money saver in this area is just keeping our family healthy! We do the basics like:

  • Eating healthy foods
  • Breast feeding- it has a whole host of benefits for baby, including increased immunity. I obviously have no idea what Olivia’s health would be like if we weren’t breast feeding, but I do know she skipped out on two stomach bugs Mike and I came down with this winter (and she even snuggled in for a few feeds while I was sick!)
  • Washing our hands often, but especially before eating, after going to the bathroom, and after being out
  • Limiting our exposure to public places, especially during peak flu season (November-March)
  • Not putting Olivia in day-care
  • Staying home when we feel like we might be getting sick (at least we can save others!)
  • Regularly disinfecting germ hot-spots in our house: door-knobs, light switches, sinks, microwave buttons, the handle on the fridge and oven
  • Regularly washing our bedding and other linens, especially if someone is or has been sick

Anyway- I have no idea how much money the average family shells out for regular doctor’s visits and things. We have taken Olivia to nearly all of her well-baby visits just because, as a new mother, I’ve had a lot of questions about what is or is not normal! But we’ve done it with our eyes open, and with confidence that we are making this choice, and if we chose not to, the world would not fall apart.

And I would never try to save money on pediatrician bills (and co-pays) at the expense of Olivia’s well-being. What I’m talking about here is the normal, healthy, happy kids who occasionally get a runny nose like we all do. If your child has, or seems to have, major medical concerns, well that is exactly what the doctor is there for!

One tip, though? Growing up, I got all of my vaccinations at the local Health Department, and that is where we have taken Olivia too. It’s a whole lot cheaper!

How about you?

Do you have any thoughts about doctors and their value for your family? Have you found any interesting ways to save money in this area with jeopardizing health and well-being? Leave a comment below!

Go To: My Budget Boot Camp Day 8


9 thoughts on “My Budget Boot Camp Day 7: Keeping the Family Healthy

  1. Pingback: My Budget Boot Camp Day 6: Keeping Child Care from Being a Budget Drain « The Debt Free Family

  2. Pingback: Budget Boot Camp Day 4: Budget Basics and My Outline « The Debt Free Family

  3. Pingback: My Budget Boot Camp Day 8: What To Do About Health Insurance? « The Debt Free Family

  4. Pingback: My Budget Boot Camp Day 9: All Those Other Insurance Needs I’ve Got « The Debt Free Family

  5. Pingback: My Budget Boot Camp Day 10: In-Home Entertainment (Which Includes the Cell Phone) « The Debt Free Family

  6. Pingback: My Budget Boot Camp Day 11: Hitting the Road « The Debt Free Family

  7. Pingback: My Budget Boot Camp Day 12: All of Life’s Little Extras « The Debt Free Family

  8. Pingback: My Budget Boot Camp Day 13: My (Green) Trick for Saving Money While Keeping Me and My House Clean « The Debt Free Family

  9. Pingback: My Budget Boot Camp Day 13: The Grocery Bill « The Debt Free Family

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