During the summer months, child care costs can skyrocket for families with kids getting out of school. What are your tips for saving money on child care?
I don't know where you live, but if you have a Boys and Girls Club there, their summer camp fees are income based. I have a 6 year old boy who goes there and he loves it, and since I just recently seperated from his father and have no job yet, I'm not paying anything for it.
If you have school age kids, sometimes you can arrange for a stay at home mom in their class to watch them for cheap. Their kids get playmates for the summer and you could work out some sort of a trade, watching all the kids in the evenings or on the weekends. I have also heard of groups of moms banding together and each taking all the kids for one day a week.
Until I was able to work at home full time, my daycare was my next door neighbor. She watched my baby Ethan from the time he was two months old and is like a second mom to him. She charged me less for my two kids than I was paying for one toddler in Boston. She doesn't advertise, just word of mouth but she is pretty much always full. Look around your neighborhood or ask your circle of friends if they know anyone like this.
Network with other moms! I think I have said this before, get to know the parents of your children's friends. I have 2 moms that will switch off daycare with me. I have only had to pay a sitter one time this summer. I need a sitter every Saturday for my 6 year old from 2 till 8 PM. To get the help I need, I keep one little girl 3 nights (overnight) a week as her single mom works third shift. My back up is another mom who works second shift, but not Saturdays. I keep her daughter every other Friday when Dad can't. It takes planning but it can work.
By Billie Jo
Definitely check out family (in home) child cares. Fees are less than centers generally and will often accommodate more part time schedules.
We saved money on child care by staggering our work hours so that our child was with the sitter a few hours a day rather then a full day. Not every job/career can allow for this but when they do it makes life a little easier for the family and the pocketbook.
Several couples that I have met manage child care expenses by working different shifts. A nurse I know works the night shift at the hospital. Her husband works days.They never need a sitter for longer than 1-2 hours in a day. It works for them.
If your employer offers a dependent care flexible spending account where you designate tax free dollars toward your dependent (child and elder) care, sign up for it. In most cases the tax savings are greater than if you had just taken the tax deduction. If you work for a large employer check and see if you get discounts at any day care centers as an employee benefit. Ask your Human Resources department.
I operate an in home childcare. If you take your child out for the summer, I don't have a spot for that child when school starts up again. period! We don't make much at this business to begin with. Where I live in East Texas there is a shortage of childcare providers, and I imagine some of it has to do with people who try to save the money of quality care for something less than optimal. What would your provider do if your child injured themself or someone else! Are they going to be calm enough to render first aid, call an ambulance if needed and then you? Most teenagers can't do that. And if they are going to have the responsibility of your children or child all summer long, you know good and well that either the child will be miserable or injured if having fun!! Come on, give us a break. We need to make a living too!
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