As a working parent, you have to pay someone to watch your children while you work, right? So, you may think that childcare is an unavoidable expense. But, surprisingly enough, there are some choices available when it comes to saving on childcare. Review what can be done to minimize your expenses.
Change or Quit Your Job
Quitting your job may seem like a big step, but when you calculate the costs associated with working, it could make sense. But, first, if possible, try to change your schedule or the hours you work. If there are two parents, maybe each of you could work a different shift, sharing responsibility for watching the kids. You could also ask to work 10-hour shifts, which would keep you home an extra day per week. Some employers will even let you work from home.
Do the math, and see how much it costs you to go to work vs. what you earn. Looking at the figures on a monthly basis, let’s say childcare is $500 per month. If you are bringing home $1200 per month, your earnings are reduced to $700. Add in the cost of a car payment ($200), fuel ($200), and insurance ($100). Your income is now down to just $200 for the month. Throw in additional expenses for coffee, snacks, and dining out, and you may not be making any money at all. Quitting your job doesn’t sound so ridiculous now, does it?
Look for Different Childcare
Every parent wants the best for their children, but the best doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Take a day to explore other childcare options. There may be facilities just as good for a cheaper rate. You could also ask your current provider if they could reduce prices. They may have programs available for those with lower incomes.
Work with Other Parents
If you know someone struggling to pay for childcare, see if the two of you can work out a deal. This may mean hiring a different nanny or babysitter to be shared among all the children and splitting the cost with the other family.
If you can find someone who works a different shift than you, offer to take their kids when they work if they will do the same for you. No money has to be exchanged, so the childcare cost is reduced to zero.
If taking kids to work were an option, there would be no reason to worry about childcare costs. However, that is not usually possible. So, do some research on where you can save money. Always ask your boss about available child care programs. Also, talk to your professional accountant about tax deductions to receive 15% back during tax time.