Saving Money on Daycare

For many parents daycare is an expensive yet necessary expense. There are ways to save money on daycare without sacrificing quality care. This is a page about saving money on daycare.


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June 29, 2007

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?

Boys And Girls Club Income Based Camp

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.

By Jaclyn

Network With School Friends Or Neighbors

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.

By Jess (TF Editor)

Network With Moms

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

In Home Child Care

Definitely check out family (in home) child cares. Fees are less than centers generally and will often accommodate more part time schedules.

By Slransom

Staggering Work Hours

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.

By Sara

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.

By Coreen Hart

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account

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.

By Mesarobins

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School is almost out. It's great for about a week or so then your down to keeping your kids busy and out of your hair! If your a stay home parent, it can drive you crazy.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

April 15, 2004

We need extra money so I am going to need to go back to work. I found a job that will likely have me working similar hours as my husband. Anyone have some childcare tips? Its looking quite expensive at the moment.



Tammy in SC


By Katie (Guest Post)
April 20, 20040 found this helpful

Where are you in SC I just moved to Greenville and are looking for stay at home work. my email is

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By Melissa (Guest Post)
May 8, 20040 found this helpful

When considering childcare, the best advice that I can share is listen to your instincts. If it doesn't feel right, it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. If you are considering in-home care, be sure to check each individual out carefully. If they have pets, ask if the pets will be around the children. If you are considering a daycare center, again, check out the people who work there. Check out the center with the BBB, the Chamber of Commerce and most importantly, check it out with the other parents. You can find really good daycares or in-home providers at reasonable rates. Again, if it looks too good or sounds too good, then it probably is too good and not a good suggestion to go with. If your child doesn't like being there and cries everytime you drop them off or even if you just drive by, then there is something wrong and don't go back. I can speak from experience that what I thought was a good center turned out to be a nightmare for my child.


He cried when we dropped him off and even when we just drove by the center. I then put him in a in-home child care center and the first day he was there, the lady's family dog bit him on the face causing facial disfigurement for the rest of his life. My son was lucky that the bite only left a scar on his cheek which can't be really seen and also one by his lower cheek. And when he smiles, he now has a dimple. So, please as one mother to another, use caution, listen to your motherly instincts and trust your children. After that ordeal, I went into the business of having my own daycare center. My children under my care became a part of my family, as well as their parents. I fully involved the parents in everything their child did. And in the end, when it was time to leave, it was hard for all of us to say "good-bye". I wish you lots of luck. Email me @ and let me know how things are going in finding a provider for your child. Aloha from Hawaii.

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By Childcare home & Centers (Guest Post)
February 26, 20050 found this helpful

I am a single mom and I have found it very very hard to get good child care. I have had bad babysitters who put me thru alot of STRESS. I had a in home babysitter who STOLE my IDENTITY. YES. 18 year old girl. HER mother also called CPS on me because I FIRED her for stealing.

Just a thought. GET online and do a BACKGROUND check.

I am a childcare provider myself. But never got into it seriously.

I found a job just in time.

I am fingerprinted thru the POLICE dept. and also
have ADULT and INFANT CPR training.

I have found that people also want MONEY PAID up front.

I DON'T write checks, unless it is a STATE certified company.

I carry a receipt book from any MAIL BOX store.

I paid same day and get a receipt for my records.

With all of my experience and working nights and weekends.

MY LESSON I SHARE with everyone. DO A BACKGROUND check.

YOUR CHILDREN ARE PRICELESS. NO ONE cares for them like you do when you are with them.


if you have any questions where to get information,
you can email me directly:

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By singlemomma (Guest Post)
May 13, 20050 found this helpful

Does anyone know of any good daycares here, in the bay (925) area? I need to go back to work, but I am worried about leaving my child with people I hardly know anything about...people that may or may not abuse/neglect my child. Help!

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By (Guest Post)
July 9, 20050 found this helpful

Hi, I'm jill and I run jilliejellies daycare out of my home in simpsonville SC I only keep babies 4 wks to 24mo. not sure of the age of your child but if interusted contact me anytime day or night weekends does'nt matter 313-8116 or email me at thanks Jill

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December 23, 20080 found this helpful

There is a good article on finding a babysitter that has a lot of good tips here:

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June 5, 20090 found this helpful

Check out this new website Tell your friends about it too. The more people who know about the site, the more likely we are to find the right person to trade daycare with. I'm searching too.

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July 13, 2007

I am having a very hard time finding cheap child care. The day care people here ask way too much money and think we are being selfish by saying it's too much. With their rates, I may make $1.00 an hour myself, while the rest goes to support the sitter. Any ideas please? I have to go to work.

Cindy from Oakley, KS


December 9, 20120 found this helpful

Just call around. use goodle maps to find day cares in you're area and call all of them. I have found the prices are very different! I'm in Louisville and I was taking my boys to kindercare (big chain but nice) just for a good social day for them once a week. It was crazy. Almost $50 a half day per child and $70 a year registration, which I had to renew every time they were away for more than 2 weeks.

Anyhow I finally took the time to call around and found a really nice place called Genesis for half the price. It's like anything, you really have to shop around and don't let them guilt you into feeling like you have to spend a million dollars on your child all the time. I love my kids, that is why I work hard, I save money. Working moms are a staple of the economy. We are the modern Rosie the riveter!

P.S. If you are reading this and you live in Louisville check out We love them and they have been so good to us! Good luck to everyone else!

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April 24, 2011

I am having a very hard time finding cheap child care, The day care people here ask way too much money and think we are being selfish by saying it's too much. With their rates, I may make $1.00 an hour myself, while the rest goes to support the sitter. Any ideas please? I have to go to work.

Cindy from Oakley, KS


Cheap Child Care

If you can't beat'em join'em! Could you provide childcare for a few children in your home? You might be money ahead in doing that, plus you'd get to spend more time with your own child. I did this and it worked out well for me! Good luck! (07/13/2007)

By Marge Mayhew

Cheap Child Care

If your income is pretty much going to the daycare/sitter it may be more economically sound to stay home. It is silly to work just to pay for daycare. I agree with the above poster. Perhaps you can stay home and watch other people's kids. It saves you from having to fork out money to some one else to watch your child plus you make money too. (07/13/2007)

By Andjerm

Cheap Child Care

Try looking at daycare programs associated with local churches. I have found them to be more reasonably priced.

Can you find another parent who works an opposite schedule from you (i.e. you work days, they work nights or you work weekdays, they work weekends) and baby-sit for each other? (07/13/2007)

By Karla

Cheap Child Care

Our children are our most precious gift (or should be), we have to realize that child care providers are taking care of these gifts. They have to make money too, they wouldn't be in it for nothing. You have to be all patient, all understanding, and all arms to be a child care provider. I too was once in a position that I was amazed at how much I was paying (wasn't really that much), but someone pointed out to me, that I shouldn't complain about someone taking very good care of my child.

If you are making $1 an hour, then I see no reason for you to be working, stay at home and find some income for yourself would probably bring in more dollars. Not only that, it would make a huge impact on the life of your children. If you are working for benefits (I would assume so, since you said you were working for $1 and had to work) then you either need to find a co-op situation, or look for another position.

I come from a mom that had the patience to take others' children, it's a very thankless job. The parents would be late, complain about money, not pay, and yet they proclaim their children are "precious". I too am a nanny to one child, the mom says "she is my baby" (she really is the baby of 5) and yet has been late without asking, assumed I'll feed her child on the little money I do get and assumes that paying me next week is OK. This money is to supplement me staying home with my child, not spending money for Starbucks (where the mom loves to frequent at least once a day herself) or a new purse! It's my living.

I apologize if I sound like I am on a soap box, but I am very passionate about people understanding that good care costs money, if you have to work then you need to be willing to pay the care. Unfortunately, a lot of times you pay less, you get less. And nothing angers me more than people not taking care of their "precious children".

I hope you find a situation that will work out for you and leave your child with good memories, excellent care, hopefully yours, cuz' that's always the best" and happy times! (07/14/2007)

By Michawn

Cheap Child Care

"Buy the very best you can afford".
~ Nick Churchill (07/15/2007)

By Carol Churchill

Cheap Child Care

I know it's really hard paying child care and yet sometimes there's no way round it. Hang in there, remember that yes, it will be hard for a few years, but it will get easier.

In the meantime, can you earn extra money doing something from home to keep you going? Offer to babysit, I did this years ago, I minded a child the same age as my son so they were great company for each other and it didn't feel so much like extra work. What about making crafts that you can sell for a little extra income.

The other thing you should give serious consideration to is getting a new job, maybe you could get one with a better wage or with childcare available.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Mum (07/16/2007)

By mum

Cheap Child Care

Some daycares are subsidized and depending on your income and where you are located at they can be very inexpensive. Where I live we have one that does that and some people pay anywhere form $8, $25, etc. a month and the government pays the rest. (07/16/2007)

By suzanne

Cheap Child Care

You have to remember the costs in providing childcare, too. We are required to carry $1,000,000 insurance "per child" as well as supplemental liability insurance on the premises. Not to mention the taxes. This is considered self-employment and up to 1/3 of earnings go back to taxes. There are rarely paid vacations (like you receive in the corporate world), you are replacing your personal goods on a regular basis (accidents) and then there is the stress of never being able to "call in sick".

Childcare "is" expensive, but there are costs involved. Huge costs. I just wish I had the guts to ask the process premium daycares charge for their tuition. (07/16/2007)

By Robin

Cheap Child Care

I have a suggestion. Try leaving your child with a stay at home grandma type next door or down the road from you. They could probably do it for free if they know you will be back everyday at a specific time to pick the child up. Older people need company too. This could help both of you. Also is there a woman in your building or block on welfare looking for extra income. Try this too. Ask her to do it for a very small fee, she may agree. You can set up a camera if trust is an issue. Anyhow good luck.

By Tanya

Cheap Child Care

You might try child care done in someone's home. These are generally less expensive. Call your local state child assistance program (my son has previously worked at one). Based on your income, your child care can be subsidized by the state. It can take a month or two for this to kick in, but you could have substantial savings. If you have a church you attend, many have daycares at low cost or possibly can help financially until state help kicks in. Just don't lie on your application, they can find out things you may think they can't. Good luck. (07/18/2007)

By Memere

Cheap Child Care

If you are only clearing $1 per hour, why not find something you can do at home to earn income. There are dozens of occupations that will earn far more than $1 per hour. Making pies and selling them makes about $10 per hour. Then there's dog grooming, baking, giving birthday parties, medical transcribing, typing for others, telephone sales, etc. Just keep your eyes open and you'll do far better, and you can raise your own children. (07/18/2007)

By Coreen Hart

Cheap Child Care

If you must work try to get training or education that will enable you to get a job with good benefits, including excellent insurance, tuition reimbursement, and a retirement plan. You do not necessarily need a degree to get a lucrative job. In the Orlando area they are desperate for workers. A water treatment worker will get free training and can make as much as $64,000. Nurses, including LPNS can work whatever hours fit into their schedule. You can get tuition reimbursement for nursing and other fields. Some companies here reimburse even if you are taking courses in a field unrelated to your job. Teens are far more expensive than babies. Before you know it your kids will be ready for college and you don't want to spend the equity on your home to get them through. Have a life plan in mind. Keep in mind that the years you commit to being home taking care of children or aging parents will need to be made up to get income from your retirement plan. Most companies require 20-30 years. If there is no retirement plan, or in addition to one, you can put money into a TSA, and borrow from it at very low interest for the kids education. Even tiny amounts add up over the years. (07/19/2007)

By SusannL

Cheap Child Care

I had this same problem when mine was young. I lived in a small town and was in the position that I had to work, no matter how little I brought home. I had no family to help what-so-ever. Luckily, I lived only about a mile from my job, so traveling costs weren't great. And I didn't need a really professional wardrobe (I worked for a doctor), as long as I looked presentable (I had a really good 'core' wardrobe). This job allowed me to leave work in emergencies, so it turned out to be perfect, even though I never made very much. I found an older lady (mother to one of our patients) who just wanted some extra income to sit for a while. Then a neighbor who had an in-home daycare, but was fully state certified. Daycare is expensive no matter where you go. Could you maybe try to get a job at one? At least then, you won't be charged and can bring home a paycheck bigger than $1/hr. (07/19/2007)

By susan

Cheap Child Care

I am a single mom who was not going to be able to afford childcare and my bills, so I went to the Dept of Social Services and applied for their Childcare Assistance program. They give me a subsidy form and determine the rate I need to pay each month for childcare. Right now I pay 160 a month for full-time childcare at a place that is accredited and I am comfortable that my child is receiving the optimum care. Call DSS and see if they can help you out! (07/19/2007)

By Erin

Cheap Child Care

Don't you get any child support? What about the father of your child? Maybe you could work opposite shifts so he could care for his child while you are working.
As far as what the poster said about maybe finding an older woman to watch your child for free, please, don't assume anyone wants to watch your child for free no matter how delightful your child is.

The daycare provider that you said was making $225 per day, that person has no life other than caring for children. She does it day and night. When does she get any time off? No vacation, no personal days, no sick days, no 8 hour days only. If you think she was making so much easy money, maybe you should try walking in her shoes since you have to work. Sorry, but it just irks me when people think day care providers are just rolling in the dough at an easy job. The one poster had it right that said you have to constantly hound parents to pay you. They act like being a child care provider isn't a "real" job. (07/20/2007)

By Sandee

Cheap Child Care

Have you tried your local junior and high schools there are always good young people out there looking to make some money doing childcare (07/27/2007)

By Donnarae

Cheap Child Care

O.K. you guys, I am a licensed Early Childhood Educator, and run a small day care in my home. In order to get a license here, we are required to go to College for 2 years and learn all about children. For example: brain development, physical development, emotional, cognitive, physical skill enhancing, problem solving, family situations, music skills, teaching through play, infant care, children with special needs care, first aid, CPR, plus how to work with parents and families. How to work with children from other countries; famine and war affected children, abused children, how to recognize abuse, and bookkeeping and accounting courses plus a whole lot more.

My courses cost me over $10,000 plus books, transportation, clothing, food, etc. and I still had to pay all of my household bills while at college full time. My student loan is over $25000. I am legally allowed to care for 5 children and can charge $25/day. I have to have extra insurance for each child, food for snacks and lunches, I have to keep the house warm.

So heat bills, hydro bills, water bills, plus mortgage, toys, wipes, diapers, cellphone for when we go out, medical supplies for first aid kits, blankets and pillows for naps, laundry supplies for the nap stuff, cleaning and sterilizing stuff, fire extinguishers, furnace and duct cleaning, special child-proof safety equipment, etc. I'm not even breaking even! I get up at 6:00a.m. and don't get to bed until usually midnight, no holidays, no sick days. We don't do this because it's an "easy stay at home job" we do this because we love children. So don't complain about child care fees. We work hard for our money! This job takes a lot of patience, and a thick skin. The kids are great. It's the parents we have the most problems with. They think we are "just babysitters" and treat us like slaves. They don't pay on time because "something more important came up and I can't afford to pay you til next week".

They are late because "I really needed to stop and pick up a few groceries" . They arrive early without calling first because "oh, I'm sorry I woke you up. I don't mind if you're not dressed yet. You live here so you're always here, you can get dressed later". So appreciate your care giver. Treat them with respect, pay them on time, call if you are going to be late or early, and a box of chocolates for Christmas would be wonderful or even a thank you card. Your children are precious. (01/23/2009)

By Dena Roberts

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