One of the biggest costs of raising a child comes in the early years when you have to pay for childcare. It is no surprise that the cost of childcare can easily exceed thousands of dollars each month, especially if you have multiple children. In addition to finding a suitable caregiver for your child, you need to find a provider that fits into your budget. Here are three ways that you can cut back on childcare costs so that you do not bust your household budget:
Create a Child Care Budget
The first step in keeping your childcare costs in check is to create a budget specifically for this line-item. According to this source, annual childcare costs for an infant at a licensed day care can run in excess of $10,000 per year, and often well above that. By comparing the expenses of various preschools and daycares in the area, you will have a better idea about what to expect. In general, day care centers cost more than a babysitter. Having a nanny come to your home will cost even more. If you choose to go with a daycare provider, you need to find out if they allow part-time clients or only accept full-time attendees. You also need to be aware of their drop-in policy, late pickup fees, food costs and anything else that will affect your childcare budget. Be sure to look out for hidden fees that will potentially wreak havoc on your planned costs.
Work From Home or Change Schedule
Working from home or utilizing a flexible schedule can help mitigate some of the soaring costs of childcare. While many people simply assume that their employer will not be willing to be flexible, you never know until you ask. According to this source, approaching your boss with a concrete plan on how you can make the arrangement work will go a long way in championing your cause. Even if it is working from home as little as one day per week, that is still money in your pocket that you are not shelling out for daycare. You may have to work a more flexible schedule so that you can properly care for your child, but the monetary rewards will be well worth it.
Host an Au Pair
Many families have already discovered the convenience and cost savings of an au pair. This can be an ideal solution if you have an extra bedroom and feel comfortable with someone living in your home and taking care of your children. Au pairs are compensated via room and board and a weekly stipend rather than the hourly wage or salary of a traditional nanny. Not only is this a convenient option for families with fluid schedules, but it can also save you a lot of money in the long run, according to this source.
Managing childcare costs doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. It is important to remember that every family situation is different. You need to look at your individual budget and needs and execute a plan that benefits your personal situation.
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