Daycare is one of our top expenses, and if you have more than one child, I’m guessing you can say the same thing. We spent almost as much money on daycare as we do on our mortgage! I’ve discovered several easy ways to cut the cost of daycare.
Save $180 or more per week with these easy steps
1. Hire a college student
You’d be surprised how many college students are happy to work for $10/hour, the going rate in my neck of the woods. Look for a teaching or nursing student with plenty of experience. Check at least three references and most importantly, when they come to visit for the first time, see how your children react to them. She may come with fantastic references and experience, but if your kids don’t immediately warm up to her, keep looking.
We pay about $20 an hour for two kids at daycare, but one sitter would cost only $10 per hour. The downside is sitters get sick and go on vacation. While daycare may seem more reliable, they close on holidays and some even take summer breaks.
Savings: $500 per week
2. Form a co-op
If you have friends who are also working PT and have a somewhat flexible schedule, you may be able to trade off taking care of the kids. If one person took the kids Mondays and Tuesdays, and the other took the kids Wednesdays and Thursdays, you would have two entire days to work without any childcare bill!!!!
Savings: $180 per week
3. Use your military connections
One way the military does an incredible job supporting active duty and DOD employees is by proving very cheap (subsidized) childcare. At the military-supported childcare near my home, the rate is roughly half of what the rest of us are paying on the market. The facility is brand new and they have daily, weekly, and drop-in rates available.
Savings: $500 per week
4. Vacation bible school (VBS)
Talk about cut rate?! Churches charge almost nothing when you sign your kid up for vacation bible school. Of course, your worldview may eliminate vacation bible school as an option, but it is there for believers. Skeptics, you may find that the religious element is less than you think. Ask first.
Savings: $475 per week
5. Employer summer shifts
Some companies offer summer hours to their salaried employees, meaning you work longer days Monday through Thursday, then get to leave early on Friday. Other companies ask employees to work one extra hour everyday, then they take every other Friday off. If two parents can arrange this with their bosses and stagger their Friday’s off, you could each still earn your full salary and only have to pay for four days of childcare.
Savings: $200 per week
How I calculated the savings
I assumed $20 per hour for daycare for two children
I assumed $10 per hour for a babysitter for two children
I assumed 50 hours per week (gotta factor in commute time!)
I assumed $15 per child for VBS