When it comes to having a child, several expenses can add up quickly. Childcare is usually number one. Not only is it expensive, but it can be stressful to find quality care. Here are some tips to get you through.
Childcare is one of the biggest costs that parents incur.
In the case of low-income households, it can account for up to 30% of the family’s total expenses. That’s why it’s worth taking the time and doing the research to save on childcare.
A general idea of exactly how much childcare costs yearly, monthly, or even week-to-week will help you better understand how it affects your bottom line.
- The average family spends about $143 a week on childcare. The costs vary greatly depending on the area, with places such as New York topping $10,000 a year while Kentucky and South Carolina range between $5,000 to $6,000 per year.
The price of childcare also varies depending on your child’s age. Expect to pay more for a newborn than for a toddler.
Scope of Care
If you want education, meals, care, and developmental play, expect to pay for these services. Drop-in centers charge by the hour while daily centers require you to commit to a daily rate by signing a contract.
Once you factor in the various contingencies that are likely to affect how much you will be charged for daycare, you can find ways to whittle down your costs.
Design your discount to save on childcare by following these simple tips:
#1. Work options
Check with your company and see if they contribute to childcare or deduct childcare expenses from your wages.
#2. Shop around
Ask other moms what they pay and start vetting daycare centers around you. When considering a childcare facility, visit and ensure you go through the “good daycare checklist” here.
#3. Take a year off
In some cases, it may make more sense for one parent to stay at home and take care of the baby until they are a little older. Infants and toddlers are the most expensive because they need constant care. The cost of daycare can easily negate a parent’s paycheck.
Parental leave packages are offered by some companies. It’s wise to look into these options.
#4. Childcare tax credit
This can go a long way in cutting down your overall daycare or preschool bill. The childcare tax is actually a credit that reduces the amount of taxes you owe. This can go as high as $1,000 per child if you are eligible.
#5. Kid swap
If you only need some “child-free time” as opposed to full-time daycare services, consider trading playdate hours. Sending your kid off for an afternoon with a friend while you take care of what you need to do and vice versa. This way everybody wins and you’re not spending a lot of money.
#6. More kids equal more savings
Whatever the plan, whether it be summer camp, childcare, preschool or even swimming lessons, the more kids enrolled, the easier it is to get a discount. You will pay less per child and voila, time all to yourself. Find other kids and moms to save on childcare.
#7. Ask a family member
If you’re lucky enough to have family near you, ask them for help. However, this doesn’t mean that Grandma should be your child’s primary caregiver.
#8. Share a nanny
The multi-kid discount also works for a nanny. If you’re lucky enough to have a nearby neighbor who wouldn’t mind splitting the bill in half, hire a nanny and work out a schedule for both kids.
#9. Adjust your work schedule
Talk about flex times with your employer. Be creative but realistic. This can save you a lot of money.
Can you work from home on certain days? Can you work more hours 4 days a week and take a day off? If you can’t keep your end of the bargain, you will lose the privilege so ensure you make it work.
#10. Hire a sitter
A grandma-type neighbor or a college student with flexible schedules make for perfect sitters. They are affordable “mom helpers” who can comfortably help with household tasks and child supervision while you are otherwise engaged.
Only you and your partner know what will work for your situation. Consider all angles of the issue and decide what’s best for you, your kids, your career, and your pocket.
Do you know of any other ways to save on childcare expenses? Please share with our readers. Every tip helps!
First published at www.thestir.cafemom.com