Author Archives: Darcy Cronin

About Darcy Cronin

I'm a Mother/Coach/Blogger/Business Adventurer from Portland OR. My family consists of my Hubby of 12 years, our 8yo Kieran, 5yo Makenna, and 1yo Teagan. I love dreaming about a better future, and making it happen.

Green Taxes

Today in Oregon, we have an important vote on whether to increase taxes for household incomes of over $250,000 (affecting only 3% of Oregonians) and eliminate income taxes on unemployment benefits (affecting a whooping 270,000 jobless Oregonians). The second ballot measure would raise the minimum business tax from a 1931 rate of $10 to a sliding scale of 1/10 of 1% of Oregon sales. You may ask, why raise taxes in a recession? Exactly, this would help fill a severe funding gap due to a drastic downturn in household incomes and generated income taxes. For obvious reasons, I am in favor of funding public schools and providing basic services to those in need. 

Yet, contrary to my Republican Hubby’s belief, I am not a thoughtless “tax and spend liberal.” I’m not voting yes just because we aren’t in this tax bracket. I agree that this vote is just a Band-Aid approach. 

As a kid, I remember being happy that we didn’t have a statewide sales tax; only having to calculate it when visiting family in California. But despite the convenience, I’ve come to realize that we desperately need statewide (and national) tax reform.

  • Eliminate Income Taxes – Why tax people’s livelihoods?
  • Carbon Taxes – Let’s tax our carbon impact
  • Sliding Scale – Even FDR agreed “Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay.”
A new green tax system would help reduce environmental impacts without hindering our economic productivity. I think the deeper impact would be psychological, as more families would really contemplate the power of their wallet on the planet.

How would you like to see our taxes shift?

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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Birthing Business

Today is my Girly’s 1st Birthday! As any Mama, this day brings my mind back to place she was born. In our case, that means her bedroom. We planned a home birth, with medical support from a professional midwifery clinic.  

We had a successful hospital birth with our BigGuy, and full health insurance. So, our decision wasn’t necessarily a monetary one, but it did save us a whole lot of cash . All costs were fully covered by our health insurance, including the birth tub and birth kit bought online. I certainly don’t advocate for considering a home birth based on finances alone, but it is a safe alternative to hospitalization. Here’s an interesting article from Fit Pregnancy about Better births, lower costs.

I was inspired by the eye-opening documentary “ The Business of Being Born .”
I had considered myself to be fairly well educated, but
this film made me realize just how the obstetrics industry has been stripping mothers of our right to birth naturally . Statistically, only 1 in 100 American babies are born at home. Yet, 1 in 4 American babies now come by Cesarean surgery and the majority of mothers/babies are sedated by drugs at birth. I feel very lucky that my first hospital birth had minimal interventions and no drugs. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Before I go any further, I want to say that  hospitals are amazing places for high risk pregnancies, where  moms and babies need medical support . In an emergency, I would not have hesitated being transferred and fully appreciate modern medicine.

My top 10 reasons for having a home birth:

  1. Safe – with prenatal care, contingency plans, and professional home birth equipment
  2. Sustainable – minimal carbon footprint
  3. Inexpensive – even with insurance, our first birth cost a few thousand dollars
  4. Comfortable – the comforts of home, even if birth isn’t
  5. Family-friendly – our son announced that she was a girl; our closest family was there
  6. Thoughtful – professional midwives prepare clients with extensive knowledge
  7. Playful – music and water helps relax and energize between contractions
  8. Empowering – you make healthy decisions to benefit you and your baby
  9. Free High – you may not get drugs at home, but the birth “high” is incredible
  10. Home healing – being at home to heal with postnatal visits for baby and mom

If you or someone you know is considering home birth, I’d like to offer up these resources:

My last two cents on the subject: birth is a natural process that has been going on since our beginning; having faith in this mysterious process has helped us endure and succeed. Plus, home is where the heart is, where families grow, and dreams are born.

Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Banning BPA

Before my BigGuy was born I remember researching to find the best baby bottle. I chose the reputable Dr. Brown’s brand, because my biggest criterion was avoiding the painful saga of colic. I got lucky with no colic, but around the time he was weaning news broke that the bottles contained the toxic chemical Bisphenol-A or BPA .

Many companies responded by creating a “green baby bottle market,” and I was able to afford to buy new “BPA-Free” bottles for my Girly. Yet, many parents can’t afford these more expensive bottles or don’t understand the risks involved.

This week the FDA finally issued a warning about BPA’s toxicity; sighting research that exposure can harm a child’s brains and reproductive systems. Though the FDA supports “industry’s actions” to eliminate the use of BPA in food related products, this warning itself does nothing to stop its widespread use. The NY Times agrees that “wise consumers will try to avoid BPA.” 

I don’t know about you, but I think we should follow Canada and Europe and get BPA off the market. It’s up to us to insist on banning Bisphenol-A. Minnesota was the first state to issue a ban, and several other local jurisdictions (California’s was defeated). Now states like Oregon are taking up the legislative torch to Ban BPA. There are pending bills in Congress too, and I truly hope consumers are successful.

Let’s take it a step further and work with Safer Chemicals: Healthy Families to reform the toxics regulations altogether.

Lastly, I hope my BigGuy will have no long term health effects, and I’m sure glad that he liked his milk cold!


Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Baby Step Strategy

If you’ve been following my blog goals so far, you’re probably wondering “How on Earth are you going to reach all these goals?”

The simple answer: one step at a time.

Although I want to create radical change, I certainly don’t expect it all at once. I may be an idealist, but I know my daily reality includes plenty of obligations beyond my own personal wants. Yet, this doesn’t mean that I should let my needs languish (nor should you!). Quite to the contrary, we need to be tenacious in our attempts to reach our dreams.

Here are my first baby steps:

  • Post my new-and-improved family budget template
  • Review each budget line item one week at a time to consider green impacts
  • Set small attainable goals per line item
  • Help Hubby identify debit accounts to switch to our joint account
  • Start with a simple online carbon calculator
  • Take some credit and share ways we already save by living green
  • Find more ways to live abundantly on less

Together we will reach our goals; it just may take a whole lot of baby steps.

What are your personal baby steps?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Money Honey – Talk #1

I’d like to say that we functioned like a symbiotic organism at our first monthly “Money Honey” meeting, instead I’ll have to admit that we both had to muster energy after a long day of household chores. Plus, Girly woke up in the middle of our session, and needed help getting back to sleep. Alas, by the time I returned to talk, Hubby was engrossed in a Coldcase drama and seemed to think that he could look at the laptop while horizontal. I pleaded for his attention with some chocolate pudding pie…then we were in action.

Despite the initial setbacks, we managed to review the new-and-improved family budget and we both agree that it is much for manageable and easier to tell if you’re over budget and where. It is even programmed to switch to red text when you spend too much! As it happened, we overspent in three areas:

  • Splurged on Hubby’s 40th b-day
  • Family Forrester needed routine maintenance that wasn’t budgeted
  • Needed our favorite handyman for house repairs…again

The good news is that we were tired of overeating during the holidays, and have been cooking more at home this month, and eating summer dishes that I froze myself, like corn crab chowder. We’ve also been a bit of homebodies lately and haven’t even used a half tank of gas this month. Instead, we’ve enjoyed some family walks around the neighborhood and have planned any car errands together in one trip.

It’s going to take me a few months of working with the new template and merging our accounts before we are likely to have any real budgetary revelations, but I already feel some simple peace knowing that we’ve discussed our budget face to face. I’ve also learned an important lesson: make something sweet before each Money Honey meeting

(I borrowed the template from my sis at DINKs Finance , and I promise to post my own family-friendly template soon).


Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.