Tips for Saving Money on Childcare Costs
The thought of leaving a child with strangers to go back to work can be both terrifying and daunting for a new mother. But with most families needing two incomes to survive these days, it is often an unfortunate necessity of modern life. Of course, it doesn’t make much sense if you end up spending nearly as much as you stand to earn on daycare for your child. If you find yourself in such an untenable position, then you need an alternative to a nanny or the downtown daycare center. Here are just a few options that will allow you to leave your child in capable (or at least trustworthy) hands when you return to work.
1. Enlist the aid of friends and family. This is probably the best solution if you have grandparents, parents, siblings, or other family members and friends who are retired or stay home with children of their own and are willing to take on your child while you work. Often these services come at the bargain price of free, but if you value your personal relationships with these people, you should try to reciprocate or pay them in some way.
2. Start a neighborhood (or office) co-op. You’re not the only person you know who suffers the burden of daycare expenses. Why not talk to other new parents about ways in which you could swap childcare? Co-ops generally require that each person offers up a certain number of hours of babysitting on a regular basis in order to participate. So if you have five working moms, and each one can take the kids one day, then you’ll all be covered for work. The only problem lies in finding a group of parents that have different days available (although if some moms work nights, this might not be an issue).
3. Use the barter system. Instead of paying full price at a daycare facility, see if you can offer up your professional skills as a way to knock off a portion of the expense. If, for example, you are a fair hand at web design, perhaps you could run their website in exchange for services. Or maybe you are a CPA who can handle their taxes. Perhaps you have a background in clerical work. The point is, if you don’t ask, you’re certainly not going to save.
4. Lobby for office childcare or flexible schedules. Many forward-thinking companies are willing to consider an in-office daycare center if enough employees petition for it. If it means employees are in the office more regularly and they can focus on their work and show growth in productivity, then the company may be keen to give it a test run. In some cases, it might still require payment on your part, but likely not as much as an outside facility. You may also be able to work on a flex system that allows you to be in the office during the hours that your spouse is available to cover at home.
5. Work from home. Many parents would love the opportunity to work from home. A flexible schedule that you set allows you to be there when you’re child needs you and work the rest of the time. Unfortunately, there are only certain jobs (or types of jobs) that will allow for telecommuting, so you may have to strike out on your own to make this desirable situation a reality.
Sarah Danielson writes for AdvanceMe, the nation’s leading merchant cash advance provider and credit card factoring company.