For most working parents, one of the biggest expenses that they will have is paying for childcare.
Across the U.S. and other countries, it is not unheard of for one parent’s wages to go entirely on daycare and childcare costs. This has led to many families opting to return to the traditional family model of one being the breadwinner and the other staying at home as they simply can’t afford any other options.
But if that is not feasible due to your career, mental health, or child socializing, don’t fret. There are some options to consider which can help you save money on childcare costs, and in this article, you will be introduced to five of them.
You should first consider getting a dependent care FSA, a pre-tax benefit account that pays for services for children, such as preschool, before and after school programs, and even day-care. So, ask if your child’s school accepts an FSA.
Many employers offer FSA’s but remember to talk to your HR department about other benefits that can cut the costs of day-care, such as Dependent Care Flex Spending Accounts (DCFSA), which are also tax-free.
Friends And Family
It is worth asking around if there are friends or family members that can help. Perhaps you have a stay-at-home friend who wouldn’t mind adding your child to their daily regimen? Or maybe you have a retired great aunt living nearby who wouldn’t mind taking on the role of a babysitter for a day when you and your spouse are working. Be sure to discuss payment with them, but in most cases, they will be a better and more affordable option than standard childcare.
What Can You Afford?
If the first two options are out, you need to sit down and look at your finances. How much can you realistically afford to pay for childcare? When looking around for daycare options, ask what is included. Some may be charging $200 a week, and others may charge $150, but the latter may add snacks and other charges. If you can afford to pay out for a nanny, then be sure to enquire about the same things.
Speaking of nannies, if you are on social media, you may have heard about nanny sharing in your parenting groups.
Suppose you have a friend or family member who needs a nanny on Wednesday and Thursdays, but you need help on the other days of the week. If the nanny is looking for five days a week to work, they probably won’t care who they spend those days with. So, ask around for nanny sharing, as it can really save money. Just be sure you gel well with the family you are sharing the nanny with.
Are There Discounts?
Always be sure to ask any childcare provider if there are discounts. For instance, some nurseries may offer a sibling rate, or a discount if you have a role such as a nurse, police officer, or firefighter. So, don’t be afraid to ask and shop around!
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