With the cost of just about everything on the rise these days, families have begun an earnest search for less expensive childcare. This is one of the major expenses parents face when pay day rolls around. Depending on the family dynamics, it’s often a case of one parent’s salary being used primarily to pay for childcare expenses. Let’s look at some alternatives there are to reduce those high childcare costs.
1. Share and Swap Care – Get together with friends to schedule alternating childcare among your group. If possible, working alternating schedules could permit a schedule convenient for everyone. However, if you all work similar hours, you could consider hiring one childcare provider who would be willing to care for all of the children, while splitting the cost.
2. Nanny-mom – You may find someone willing to come to your home and be a nanny for your children, but she has a child of her own who needs her attention. By allowing her to bring her child along while she cares for yours, you’re not only getting childcare for your little one, but you can pay her less as she doesn’t need to pay for her own childcare expenses.
3. Staggered Work Hours – You and your spouse can try offsetting your work hours. Instead of both of you working 9am 5pm, perhaps one could work 7am 3pm to cut the number of hours your children need to be in daycare or with the sitter.
4. Office Daycares – There are many companies who are now providing employees with daycare facilities in the same building as their offices. These are normally available either at a largely reduced rate, or as a benefit offered to enable longer work days from their employees.
5. Telecommuting – Many companies are offering the option of telecommuting to their employees. This enables you to work from the comfort of your own home, while not worrying about childcare. Any appointments or meetings which require your attendance could most likely be scheduled for a time when your significant other is available to care for the children. If not, at least you will have far less to pay for a babysitter if you only need one on occasion.
6. Family help – Perhaps grandparents or other relatives would be willing to care for your children while you are at work. Although grandparents will often tend to do this for free, you may want to take them out for dinner on a regular basis or some other activity or gift to show your appreciation for their generosity.
7. Start a new job from home – There are many ways you can do this, and not only does it remove the necessity of childcare, it can also get you some potential tax breaks. If this doesn’t sound like something you would be interested in doing right now, there is another alternative. Sit down with your spouse and calculate carefully both incomes and compare them to your monthly expenses. Then recalculate what you could save if one person were to stay home instead of working. Be sure to include not only childcare costs, but clothing allowances, travel expenses as well as the change in income tax brackets. You may just find the second salary isn’t as much of a necessity.