8 Ways to Get Cheaper Child Care


baby tub dog

photo by Peajewel

Child care is expensive! I just looked into getting someone to watch my baby while I work and it would cost 75 percent of my salary. At that rate, I might as well not work at all. But I did some more investigating and found some great ideas for Cutting the Cost of Child Care in The New York Times online.

Here are the options they gave for reducing costs, but still getting the dependable care you need for your baby:

1. Shared Care. Get together with one or more other families that have a baby and a schedule similar to yours and share a caregiver.

2. Babysitting Co-ops. Join a large group of parents (around 20) and take turns being the babysitter. This works best for nights out.

3. Child Swapping. The idea here is, "You watch my baby while I get work and errands done today, I'll do the same for you tomorrow."

4. A Mommy Nanny. This is when the person who comes to your house to watch your baby while you're at work, brings her own child along. She doesn't have to worry about child care for her baby so you can pay her less.

5. Bringing Baby to Work. There are 100 companies that let their employees bring their little one to work. If you work at one, you are so lucky!

6. Staggering Work Hours. If you have a partner, one of you can go to work later and come home later so you decrease the hours you need a babysitter.

7. Work from home. Tele-commuting is more popular if you've got a job that allows it.

8. Family. Often (but not always) grandparents will sit for free.

For more details on these child care options, read Cutting the Cost of Child Care.

What's your child care situation? Who watches your baby while you're at work, at the doctors, or at the movies?

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Katie... KatieCrandall

My husband works second shift, so he watches Bobby until early afternoon, then my parents watch him for a few hours until I pick him up.  It works great for daycare purposes, but it sucks not to have better family time.  We just stay up extra late so we can see Daddy when he gets home.  So far, it's working ok.

My parents haven't said a thing about compensating them in any way, but I still want to!  They don't need the money, but I'd like to do something more!  We try to help out with chores around their house (I'll probably shovel their sidewalk and driveway when I get there today), but how can I repay someone for giving my son such good care?  It's priceless!

ivans... ivansmom07

I researched many day care providers (in-home as well as large centers)  Frankly, cost wasn't the number one thing on my list.  For some reason, cut-rate care for my son just wasn't cutting it!  Obviously, I wanted something reasonable and found a great in-home, licensed daycare provider near my house.  I love her to death: she is great with my son.  And that, to me, is priceless.

sassy... sassylady431

 we dont need daycare   my kids in school well my son is  5 and my girl is 13 sooo it not needed  but  afternoon  we put him  in daycare.. so it  is ok

Holly... HollyHobbie76

Daycare is outrageous where I live. In order to put my children in the same daycare (they are 3 and 4 weeks) I would have to pay around 1400.00 a month. Not to mention the gas I would have to pay getting work, and the new addition to my health insurance (222.00 a month). Daycare providers...there are oodles but it is so time consuming having to comb through each one to figure out who is best...and I am a little picky when it comes to in-home daycare providers.

When my son is a little older I will go back to work, but I we will probably stagger shifts or do the mommy-nanny thing. It's so tough!!

Peajewel Peajewel

My Mom babysits but we pay her the same she made working at Rite Aide.  We asked her to quit so she could watch the baby for us so we wanted to be sure she still had the money she was making before. Although, I do believe our dog above is always up for it and he only asks to be paid in Scooby Snacks!  Tee hee

simpl... simplysmiles13

I was lucky enough to have my father-in-law live with me for the first 15 months of my son's life. In Ocotober I had to start sending my son to daycare and finally realized how expensive it was. I was lucky enough to find someone I trused to stay with my son. Daycare rates vary in my town but I was lucky to get a very affordable rate. No matter how much it costs, our little ones are worth it and deserve the very best care.

SierraR SierraR

I work with au pairs, and have hosted au pairs myself to take care of my kids - it works out to about 7.50 an hour and is really flexible, which is what we needed with our three kids and two careers!

momof... momof2toddle247

Don't forget that child care is tax deductible.  I believe you have to spend more than 2500/yr on it and it has to be enabling you to work.  You also have to have a tax id number for the provider.  So, a sitter isn't always going to do that.  If you don't itemize your deductions, I'm not sure if this is the case, but it is worth considering in your cost equation.

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