When you have a child, there are various costs you need to consider to ensure their needs are met consistently while keeping them happy. After all, as a parent, your child is your world. You’re there for them when needed and would do anything for them.
Unfortunately, a reality for modern parents is that they can’t always be with their child 24/7, seven days a week.
Naturally, new parents typically begin to look into potential daycares as a suitable avenue for childcare when they cannot do so. However, like any service, you need to consider the costs associated with daycares.
Ensure your child gets the care they need by preparing in advance with ways to save for daycare that can work within your budget.
The Benefits of Daycare
Before you start saving for daycare, it’s best to reinforce how daycare can benefit you and your child. In doing so, you can better grasp the value behind the cost of daycare.
Benefits for Your Child
- Promote well-being (i.e. nutritious food, exercise through playing, nap time, etc.)
- Better their social skills (i.e. interacting with other children)
- Prepare for elementary school
- Teaches good habits and routines
- Can help point out any developmental issues & provide assistance
- Furthers their development through engaging activities (i.e. crafts, storytime, etc.)
- Assist in meeting developmental milestones (i.e. potty training, speaking, etc.)
- Help your child become more autonomous and independent
Benefits for a Parent
- Rest assured your child’s basic needs are met
- A better-behaved child
- Helpful during emergencies
- Able to still work your day job
- Provide insight into your child’s development
- It gives you a break as a parent
The Cost of Daycare
The reality is that daycare can be rather costly. Various factors can impact how much you might need to pay for daycare.
One notable factor is that the age of your child influences daycare fees. You can expect to pay, on average, approximately $900-$1,300 monthly for infants and between $847-$1,100 for toddlers. Meanwhile, it’s around $1075 monthly for children of pre-school age. However, these monthly figures might vary depending on where you live. In this case, monthly costs can range between $181 to $1,986.
Secondly, it depends if you’re expecting to put your child in full-time daycare or only part-time. Naturally, if you’re hoping to go the full-time daycare route, it will be more expensive than part-time care.
Other aspects to consider are any additional needs or wants you require or desire out of daycare. For example, different activities and academic learning that other daycares wouldn’t have would be more expensive. Furthermore, if you have a child with disabilities, you may have to pay more for a daycare equipped to handle their special needs.
Ways to Save Money for Daycare
Daycare is expensive but a big necessity for a parent, especially new ones. In which case, you need to budget accordingly on how you can do so sooner than later. It’s recommended you start saving for daycare as early as the start of pregnancy since it gives you months of money you can put aside.
Here are a few additional ways that can help you save on daycare expenses:
Take Advantage of Maternity/Paternity Leave
If your workplace allows for parental leave, you should consider doing so to help cut future costs. Some leaves can last for months, and you can continue to save on the side as you’re taking care of your child. You can save even more if both parents can go on leave.
Look into Your Workplace’s Employment Benefits
Depending on your employer, they might be able to offer a Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA). How can this help? It’s a pre-tax benefit account used to pay for eligible dependent care services like daycare. Talk with HR to see if your work benefits include it and get all the details.
Adjust Your Work Schedule if Possible
Try to see if you can make your work schedule work around your child.
If you have a partner, see if you can work out a way for your work schedules to alternate between caring for your child. You can reduce the need for daycare and give each other necessary breaks. Additionally, if you can work remotely, it can make it easier to care for your child while still being able to work and save money.
Check a Daycare’s Weekly & Daily Rates
With some daycares, you can choose to pay a weekly or daily rate. It would be in your best interest to compare these rates and which one is more cost-effective. Some have found weekly rates to be a better option for the most part.
Look into Any Payment Plan Options
Depending on the daycare, some can provide you with payment plan options. They generally factor in your income to help give a reasonable way of paying daycare fees.
Try Asking for a Discount
It might not seem ideal to haggle on daycare prices, but it’s worth a shot. You would be surprised that some daycares can provide certain discounts. For example, some might give a sibling discount and reduce the price of fees.
See if You Qualify for Low-Income Assistance
Daycare expenses are hard to afford for those with low incomes. However, you can find some government assistance by seeing if you qualify for it. A simple approved application can significantly help in reducing the cost of daycare.
See if Family or Friends Can Help Out
If all else fails, you can always consider reaching out to reliable and trustworthy family and friends to care for your child. In some cases, you can expect that care for your child to be free or significantly less expensive than paying for daycare fees.
There is no denying that daycare is expensive. However, there are various avenues you can consider to help you save and find a daycare that you can afford and provide the best childcare for your little one!