12 Tips to Finding Affordable Childcare

Finding a balance between income and childcare costs can be difficult. The price of childcare is rising, and parents often find themselves struggling to afford care for their children while they work.

Fortunately, there are options to consider when trying to save money. Below, we’ll discuss 12 tips to finding affordable childcare that may be of assistance.

  • Budget - As with most financial goals and savings necessities, figuring out your budget is essential. When you know exactly how much you have going out and coming in financially, it can sometimes clear a way for affording something that you previously thought was unaffordable. Doing this before checking out childcare options will give you the confidence of knowing exactly where you stand.
  • Check into Dependent Care Account Options - Check with your employer to see if you can open a tax free dependent care account. You should have this option if your employer similarly offers a flexible spending account. With a dependent care account, you can set up to $5,000 aside tax-free and utilize it to pay for camp, preschool, and daycare.
  • Child Care Tax Credit - When you pay for childcare out of pocket, you can itemize up to $3,000 per child in those expenses per year on your taxes. This tax credit caps at $6,000 per family.
  • Utilize Family Resources - Do you have family nearby? Try asking to see if anyone is available to assist in childcare! Grandparents don’t often mind!
  • Au Pair Services - Au pair programs are when you can host a foreign national for a year. Au pair participants will study while in the US, while also providing childcare. Your au pair would live with you during the scheduled year and take care of your children, while you provide room and board and a stipend in return.
  • Speak to Your Employer - Some companies offer benefits to help working parents afford childcare, so it definitely won’t hurt to speak to HR and find out what’s available.
  • On-Site Company Child Care - More and more companies these days are offering on-site childcare to help their employees. If you work for one of these companies, don’t pass up this opportunity for low to no-cost care.
  • Child Care Share - If you know some other parents in a similar childcare situation, consider starting a childcare share. With this situation, each parent would participate by providing care for the other parent’s children during their days off, and vice versa.
  • Check Into Non-Profit Help - Some local programs, like the YMCA or a church, can offer low-cost childcare options. Definitely worth checking into.
  • Work From Home - If your job allows it, try requesting to work remotely. You can save money not only on child care by having your kid stay home with you, but you can also save on gas and other expenses. Even if this option isn’t available full time, perhaps you can work several days at the office and then several days at home. It doesn’t hurt to ask your employer if this is an option for you.
  • Hire a Teen or College Student - If you need care during the summer or after-school, consider hiring a responsible teen or college student. This can be a great option for both you and the teen/college student since you save money and they make extra cash while they’re still in school.
  • At-Home Daycare - Another option is checking into home run childcare services. These are often cheaper and you have the added benefit of your child being in a more family-style environment. Check to make sure the home care carries all proper licenses, however, and ask for references.

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