Childcare Costs

Top 10 Ways to Save Money on Childcare

How much does daycare cost? Well, some parents are spending over $37,582 on average per year! It’s no secret that childcare costs are completely outrageous these days.

But don’t despair! With some careful thought, you can save money on your kids’ childcare.

Did you know there are actually heaps of ways to cut down on your average childcare costs per month? Let’s have a look at just 10 ways you can save money on — and ease the burden of — high childcare costs.

1. Work from Home

It may sound obvious, but working from home is a major way to save money on daycare prices and lower your bank manager’s heart rate. Pre-school-age kids need a lot of attention, so you’ll need to factor that in when considering this option.

Still, a good daily routine works wonders. And, depending on the age of the child, there could be a lot of quiet time during naps where you can get a lot of work done.

Before speaking to your employer, write out a schedule, and see if working from home with your kids around will fit in with your routine. If it does, you could be saving yourself tens of thousands of dollars per year.

2. Get on a Waiting List Before You Need It

The best and most affordable daycare is also the most sought-after, so don’t be surprised if you’re turned away at the last minute. Instead, you’ll need to plan ahead. As soon as you’re pregnant, if you know you’ll need daycare, get started.

Do your research on which daycare and childcare options are most affordable for your family and register for more than one. That way, when the time comes, your bills will be far lower than the high fees of a last-minute choice.

3. Check if There’s a Sibling Discount 

You know how at school, teachers sometimes have a soft spot for the siblings of kids they used to teach? Well, childcare is kinda like that too. If you already have a kid in daycare, you may be able to get a sibling discount for your next child.

Oftentimes, daycare facilities won’t openly advertise these discounts, so be smart and ask them yourself. Not only could you get a discount on child number 2, but kids 3 and 4 may get in even cheaper, saving you a whole lot of cash!

4. Share the Load with Other Parents

Have a chat with your fellow moms and dads, and see if sharing childcare is an option you can all get on board with. If one parent pays for a nanny or sitter, could a couple of you include your kids in that, and pay accordingly?

Sharing childcare means each parent pays less per child, but the nanny or sitter gets a higher hourly rate. Everyone’s happy and your kids get to spend more time with their friends at the same time.

5. Find a Willing Family Member

It’s the age-old option, but often we can feel bad asking family to help look after our kids. Well, don’t feel bad. The majority of the time, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family love bonding with your little ones.

A day each week with daddy’s parents and then mommy’s parents shave two days off your childcare expenses and thousands off the average cost of daycare.

6. Ask a Stay-at-Home-Mom

SAHM (stay-at-home-moms) are treasures, educating their kids and teaching them from the comfort of their own homes. Why not ask a SAHM if they’d mind looking after your kids too?

A little money helps a stay-at-home-parent who likely isn’t working and will also give your child an opportunity to grow and learn in a different environment.

7. Request a Fee Breakdown

You know the add-ons you get to your cell phone or cable package? Childcare often works in the same way.  Meals, snacks, and transport may all be additional fees that are included in your overall quoted price.

Ask for a breakdown of your childcare fees and see if you can lower costs by covering these extras yourself.

8. Consider a Year Off

Paying nearly $40,000 per year for childcare sounds nuts when you consider that, for many people, that’s less than they earn in a year. Even higher-income households can struggle with such high fees.

If that sounds like you, consider taking a year off work. Instead of shelling out money to someone else to look after your kids and paying through the nose for it, why not take a break from work to recoup some cash, and enjoy your kids in the process?

9. Go Part-Time

Part-time work in combination with some of our previous tips could result in you not having to pay a dime for childcare. Yes, read that again — by working part-time, you could actually end up “earning” more!

Ask family members if they’d mind helping out or share childcare with other parents. While working part-time, you could end up saving more than you’d otherwise spend.

10. Factor in All Your Expenses

Is a closer childcare provider more expensive than another five miles away? Don’t write it off just yet. Consider how long it’ll take you to get to the cheaper daycare center. 

Will you be stuck in traffic? How much will you spend on gas? 

When you add up all your expenses, you may find that the cheaper but further away childcare option may actually be more expensive and cost you more time and more money.

How to Save Money on Your Childcare Costs

In some states, childcare costs are around 70% of a family’s rent! If you’re forking out a similar amount on childcare as your basic household rent, then something’s gotta give.

Speak to moms in the same situation, nanny share, or ask family members if they’d be willing to help. Factor in all your expenses, and work from home if at all possible. All it takes is some careful planning, and you’ll be surprised at how much dough you could save.

Have you found you’ve saved way more money than you ever imagined? Check out these 7 ways you can invest your next $1,000.