Childcare costs can be one of the most expensive items on the family budget outside of mortgage payments. And depending upon the number of children, a paycheck might not even cover the full costs of ensuring the proper well-being of a child while you’re at work.
Having two small children of our own, we understand just how expensive having and caring for children can be. This is why our family has made certain moves to decrease the overall costs of childcare.
Just staying at home and coming up with our own family entertainment is one of the best ways we’ve found to save on childcare costs. Playing board, card or video games, watching family movies and television shows, and making family dinners (family pizza night is a fun and affordable one where we make our own pizzas and breadsticks) cuts our childcare costs significantly.
Not only do such at-home activities save us on the cost of movie theater tickets, dinners at restaurants, and similar costly activities, but it cuts our costs on a babysitter for the kids, and improves family bonds in the process – plus, it makes for some great memories too! In the process, we typically limit our family entertainment budget to between $50 and $100 a month.
Making outings “family” outings
When we do go out, it’s often to more family-friendly places. Finding spots like the area zoo (where an annual family pass only runs about $100), parks and playgrounds, family-oriented restaurants, or heading to grandma and grandpa’s house helps keep both entertainment and babysitting costs down. And according to the babysitting rates calculator at Care.com, with the going rate for sitters in our area (and for two children) at $11 an hour, saving just five hours a month (an average night out on the town for us) on babysitting costs can equate to over $650 in annual savings.
Working from home
The most significant savings when it comes to our childcare costs involves the at-home parenting role. According to babycenter.com, “Costs for daycare for preschool-age children…(average) $8,800 a year ($733 a month). Depending on where you live, you’ll pay anywhere from $4,460 to $13,185 a year ($371 to $1,100 a month).”
While being the work-at-home parent might mean less in pay and benefits since I’m self-employed, in our area of Chicago, with costs in our area for year-round childcare running between $12,000 and $13,000, it makes a big difference in savings. And when such numbers start coming into play for multiple children, it’s easy to see how the cost savings can really start adding up quickly.
More From This Contributor:
Building a Revenue Producing Blog
I Won’t Be Waiting to Take Social Security
Preparing to Publish My First E-book
The author is not a licensed financial or parenting professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.