How To Save Money On Childcare – Guest Post
Childcare can be one of the most expensive items you pay for each month. Depending on where you live and the type of daycare you choose, you could be paying as much as $1,300 or $1,400 a month for daycare — more than most people pay for their mortgage! If you want a personal nanny, or if you have more than one child, you can expect to pay much, much more.
Finding ways to save on childcare without sacrificing the quality of care your child receives is critical to your financial health and could save you hundreds of dollars each month. Here are just a few ideas for how you can save money on childcare:
Take Advantage of Company Deals
Many employers form relationships with other companies in the area in order to offer their employees discounts and other perks. Check with your employer to see if any of these discounts include childcare providers. Even if you can get only 10 percent off your bill, that could still be a significant savings.
If your employer does not have any such relationships in the community to offer a discount, approach your manager about the possibility of creating one. If there are enough parents working at your company, it would be in your employer’s interest to negotiate deals like this on their behalf as it would save the company lost time and productivity.
Arrange for Flex Time
If your company allows for flex time arrangements, you may be able to significantly reduce the number of hours you need child care, or you may be able to eliminate the need for child care altogether. Some typical flex time arrangements include working part time, working a condensed work week (such as working four 10-hour days), or working part of the time from home.
If your partner can also arrange for a flex time arrangement, you might both be able to coordinate your schedules so that someone is always home and yet neither of you has to sacrifice too much time from work.
Use a Flexible Spending Account
Just like a Health Savings Account, a Flexible Spending Account lets you deduct pre-tax dollars from your paycheck to put into a savings account. The money in an FSA is strictly to be used for childcare expenses.
You avoid paying taxes on the amount you put into the FSA, allowing you to save hundreds of dollars each year, potentially. Be sure to deduct the full amount allowed under your plan (and needed for child care) to get the full potential savings.
Join a Co-Op
Many other parents are also looking to save on child care in your area, and many of them are willing to trade their own services to do so. Childcare co-ops join parents who trade off on hours spent watching others’ children in exchange for those people watching their own children. You spend a few hours a week watching a group of kids and, in return, you get an equitable number of hours from those parents watching your children.
Depending on your schedule and how much you’re willing to watch other children, you could get all of your childcare provided for free with the right arrangement.
Hire an Au Pair
Few parents can afford their own full-time nanny. However, if you have an extra room in your home and you don’t mind a house guest, you could hire an au pair and get your own live-in nanny for free (sort of).
With an au pair, you just have to agree to provide food and lodging in exchange for full-time child care. Most au pairs are young women who are coming from another country in order to study in the United States or find other opportunities here. Au pairs are carefully vetted through professional agencies, just like nannies.
Finding ways to save money on child care just requires that you think outside the box a little. Take advantage of all the possible savings available to you through programs such as employer partnerships or FSAs, then look for other opportunities in the community such as a co-op or hiring an au pair.
How have you been able to save money on child care? Share your ideas in the comments!
Kay Winders is presently the resident writer for badcreditloans.org, where she researches the best way for people to pay off their debts without damaging their credit. In her spare time, she enjoys freelance writing, the beach and gardening.