Childcare is perhaps one of the most stressful aspects of being a parent. Coordinating schedules, choosing an appropriate facility or sitter, and finding the money to pay for this service is a tremendous operation. Considering that childcare costs continue to rise each year, the following tips and tricks will help families to navigate this complicated venture, and hopefully save them a significant amount of money along the way.
First, families need to determine exactly how much childcare they need on a weekly basis. Many daycare facilities offer both full and part time rates, so it’s important to stick with an organization that offers flexible fees. This ensures that your family isn’t forking out more money than necessary to cover the cost of this service.
The most straight forward way to reduce childcare costs is to cut back on the number of hours each week that you utilize this service. Although this may not be an option for everyone, working parents might speak with their supervisors and arrange an alternate schedule. For example, one parent might choose to go into work significantly earlier, while the other parent holds off for a couple of hours in the morning and manages kid duty. By swapping off, so to speak, this schedule allows you to avoid hefty childcare expenses altogether!
– If possible, cut back your work week to 4 days instead of 5. If you and your significant other choose different weekdays to be off, you are only left with three days that childcare is a necessity.
– If grandparents or other family members are nearby, and capable of lending a hand, ask them if they might consider helping out on a regular basis.
For many families with multiple children, paying for full time care just simply isn’t an option. The cost to put two or more kids into a full time facility could wipe out entire paychecks. Luckily, there is another choice: in-home care can be more affordable than sending kids to a child care facility. With this option you can minimize the need for a sitter by strategically arranging your schedules. Here, you only pay for a child care provider when you need them. In the past, we have also worked out a reasonable weekly rate rather than paying our sitter by the hour. Stay at home moms and college students are a great source for part time or as needed care, and the extra income is usually a big plus for them!
Another option is the concept of a shared sitter which allows families to equally divide childcare costs. Although this endeavor requires a significant amount of planning and compromise, it can be a beautiful, and money saving arrangement for folks with similar childcare needs.
Lastly, for date nights and other outings, families might consider joining a co-op situation where childcare rotates to a different home each week, allowing families the opportunity to go out without having to pay. Basically it is a mutual experience where each family equally contributes to childcare on a revolving basis, while allowing every participating couple the opportunity to spend some time out and about. If you have a large circle of friends, this is an ideal arrangement.
By examining your available childcare options and strategically planning your family’s schedule, you can significantly reduce the number of hours that you are paying for childcare. Putting together the pieces of this complicated puzzle may not be easy at first, but with a little creativity and perseverance, you can find a cost efficient arrangement that considerably reduces your overall childcare costs.
Note: Whatever child care option you choose, make sure to do your research, to make sure that you are picking a safe environment for your children.