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| Education and Financial

01/15/14

Knight and Day (Care): Fees for child care could be sinking your budget

No one is going to argue just how busy parents are these days. Between potentially juggling multiple jobs, preparing dinner, grocery shopping and after school activities, mom and dad are spread remarkably thin.
A majority of the time this routine is commonplace and is the means to make a little headway when it comes to saving a few dollars each month and thus piecing together a financial future that is somewhat bright.
But, as you know, there are only so many hours in the day, and if you're a parent that doesn't have the luxury of staying home to watch the kids, then you're most likely in the midst of dishing out huge sums of money on daycare for your children.
In 2012, the average yearly cost of childcare ranged from almost $4,000 to upwards of $12,000, not exactly chump change, and for some a nice percentage of their total salary for the calendar year.
This expense is hardly child's play when it comes to the sheer volume of money you're pushing out the door on a weekly or monthly basis. The days of hiring a baby sitter for a few dollars per hour have given way to spending hundreds or thousands of dollars per month to ensure that your kids are well taken care of while you're at work.

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That certainly classifies as money well spent, but is there anything you can do to spend less without sacrificing quality in the process?
The easy answer and one you may hear from family is to stay home. Moms and dads must sincerely and seriously take a long hard look at what they're spending on childcare and determine if it makes more financial sense to stay put.
Ultimately, you need to determine if this route is going to make you and your child happier in the long run, even if that means losing a few luxuries in the process.
In addition to weighing the options of staying home as opposed to working, there are other ways to save money by skipping the day care without skimping on it. There's always the option of asking a family member to help out a few days a week to defer some of the costs. Another way of saving plenty of money as far as child care is concerned is finding someone who does it independently. Obviously, you'll have to feel comfortable with a smaller operation, usually done out of someone's home. If safety isn't an issue, then this allows you to have comparable child care services for easily half the cost.
And who couldn't use an extra $2,000 or $6,000 more per year?
In the end, the most important element of child care is the health, wellbeing and security of your children. Those criterion are paramount, but you'd be surprised to find that you can emulate all those measurables, minus the inflated cost.

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