Child care costs are at an all time high in the nation and many of us with young children are spending a fortune on paying for it.
Cost Equivalent to a New Lamborghini
Statistics reveal that it takes around $241,000 to raise a child until they have attained the maturity age of 18. For those that love flashy cars, that amount is enough to buy you a new Lamborghini. Many people need child care unless they are stay-at-home parents.
Tips to Help Save on Child Care
Fortunately, there are several tips that all of us can utilize to help us save on child care. Whichever option you choose, safety should be your top priority and should not be compromised at any time.
- Be organized. Avoid waiting until the last minute to find child care, but plan ahead as the best and cost effective child care providers get fully booked first. To save on child care, know exactly when you need it and book it as soon as possible to avoid the rush.
- Find child care online. You can save on child care by doing your research online to find the most suitable one for you. Register on child care websites such as Care.com and Sittercity that will give you access to your local child care providers for a small fee. Since all providers are screened and you can access a background check on them before proceeding, this will give you peace of mind.
- Consider private care. Try and find child care from those referred to you by trusted relatives and friends if you cannot afford expensive day care centers where you live. There are many people running in-home facilities that offer a smaller child-to-caregiver ratio and are more affordable than day care centers. These are normally family-run where the provider cares for her own children as well.
- Utilize employer-sponsored child care. Some employers offer child care services at the work place. Save on child care by taking advantage of these. This will help you feel settled knowing that your child is near you and it will also save you money on gasoline.
- Know benefits offered by your employer. Find out from your employer whether there are any discounts or dependent care programs offered by them. This could include a small percentage off or a certain number of days in a year of backup care at a discounted rate with select providers.
- Share child care duties with other parents. Consider starting or joining a co-op for baby-sitting in your local area where you can help care for other children on a few occasions in return for your child or children being cared for by other parents. This is a good way to save on child care if you work on a part time basis and don’t want to pay an occasional baby sitter hourly.
- Use a student. If you need child care services for a few hours, you can find a college or high school student who is affordable and who can keep your child occupied.
- Share a nanny. Save on child care by sharing a nanny with other families to lower costs. A nanny will then look after your child and other families’ kids in a location that has been agreed on. It is important to agree on terms and conditions and put this in writing at the beginning to avoid conflict. Read more on nanny share online.
- Use relatives. Ask a reliable relative such as a grandparent to help with child care a few days a week.
- Quit work. If your child care costs outweigh the income you receive from work after taxes, you may need to consider quitting your job.
- Set up a flexible spending account. You can get a dependent care FSA that your workplace offers and use the funds to pay for preschool, day care and summer day camp. At the end of the year, this will lower your tax liability. Ensure you use the funds as you will lose them if you don’t.
- Take advantage of federal and state tax credits. Save on child care by using tax credits from your state and federal government. You can get between 25 to 35 percent of your child care expenses reimbursed by the federal Child and Dependent Care Credit scheme so that you can work or look for work. Get up to $3,000 for a single child for a year and $6,000 a year for two or more children. Additional dependent care credits are also offered by 24 states.
- Check income-based programs. Explore the Head Start or Child Care Aware Program where you live. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also has a website called the Office of Child Care that can be of great help.