Child care costs are one of the most expensive costs a family can face when both parents work full time. Finding ways to cut on child care costs, without sacrificing your child’s care is a top priority for all working parents.
- See if your public school district offers a pre-kindergarten program for 3 or 4 year olds. Some districts offer this and it is usually free and is typically a half day program. This could cover half of your day care needs for your child.
- Explore other public and charitable options. You should also investigate care provided your local YMCA, JCC or churches. While each program varies, child care given by a non profit may be less expensive.
- Seek Employer Discounts. Some large companies negotiate discounts with local child care centers. Find out if you company offers any, and if they don’t, request they look into it.
- Adjust your work schedule. While this option may not be available or realistic for some people, these days, employers seem to be more open to flexible work hours. Employees who have more flexible work schedules can divide the care taking by working shifts – one parent works evenings, while the other stays home with the client during the day – that’s more time at home with your child and less money spent on child care.
- Explore Tax Leverage. Uncle Sam might pick up some of your child care tab with a tax credit for children and dependants. Paid with after tax dollars, and subject to income eligibility requirements, the tax credit may allow you to claim up to 35% of your child care payments to a maximum of $3000 per child or $6000 for more then one child.
- Barter for Care. You can offer to perform a service for the individual or company that is caring for child. For example, if you are an accountant, you could review the day care’s tax situation or for a more neighbor-based situation, you can offer to exchange babysitting services with friends, family or co-workers.
- Hire a responsible College Student. College kids are always looking for cash and typically have time during the day to watch your child(ren). This option is usually cheaper and allows the child to be cared for at home – where the child it typically more comfortable.
- Finally, contact local elementary schools for tutors and retired school teachers who might be interested in pre-school, summer, and/or after-school childcare to help supplement their income.