Many new parents are facing the rising costs of childcare and wondering, “What are we supposed to do with this child during the day?” They know they can’t afford daycare, and hiring a nanny alone is out of the question. Well, there are a number of ways to get your child the care they need without paying the full cost of daycare.
1. Put Your Child in Family, Friends, and Neighbors (FFN) Care
Who is better to take care of your child than a loving family member, close friend, or a neighbor you trust? Surveys show that the vast majority of children are in this type of care for the same reason, trust. Many use this as a temporary solution while they search for a daycare center or interview nannies. But, this can be a great long-term solution if you are willing to compensate them financially.
Sometimes, the breadwinner will even put the relative taking care of their child on their health insurance benefits through work. This could be worth a lot to the family member or neighbor caring for your child.
2. Share a Nanny
Get together with neighbors that want to share the costs of a nanny with you, and work out a deal. For example, if the nanny charges $10 an hour per child, you could agree that if the nanny takes care of your child and two others, she will receive $24 an hour. This gives her a significant pay raise, and saves everyone $2 an hour on childcare. Interview for a nanny together so that everyone is satisfied with the person providing the care.
3. Financial Aid
There are a number of web sites dedicated to helping parents get additional money from the government, employers, and charities. Some employers offer a Dependent Care Account, where you can save up to $5,000 in pre-tax dollars for day care.
Pay for child-care expenses with after-tax dollars and you are able to claim the Dependent Care Tax Credit on your tax return. Depending on your income, you can claim 20% to 35% of up to $3,000 in care for one child.
4. Work From Home
These days there are more employment or contract work options that allow you to telecommute than ever. You’ll be able to stay home with your child, work, and save time and money on transportation. Video conferencing and live chats via the computer along with the ease of data transfer over the internet are making the possibility of working from home greater every day. Companies like LiveOps and Demand Studios both offer flexible work schedules that allow you to stay home and make extra money.
5. Restructure Your Life
Caring for your child is important enough for you to restructure your day as much as possible to accommodate them. Work with your spouse to ensure that one of you is always home to care for your child. There are a growing number of fathers who are making sacrifices at work or changing careers to spend more time with their children. You can reduce childcare costs significantly by working hard on shifting your schedule.
A note from Annie:
Not all of these are possible. I know restructuring for me can be very difficult. What are some ways that you have found to cut down on child care costs? I would love to hear your thoughts!