One of the greatest expenses in a working parent’s life (other than coffee for fuel) is childcare. Depending on where you live, childcare can eat up a significant portion of your income. There are ways to reduce the costs, if you are willing to do a little research or be flexible.
Make Sure you are Getting all the Help that you Qualify For
There are numerous Federal, Provincial and Municipal tax credits that are geared towards helping working families pay for childcare costs. Depending on your financial situation, there may be even more assistance available, in the form of subsidized daycare spots or additional care supplements.
This can be a case of don’t ask, don’t get- so make sure that you have done your due diligence with a thorough internet search and phone calls to various government agencies.
Does your workplace offer flexi-hours or a compressed work week? Take advantage of starting your work day earlier or later, depending, and try to shave some hours off of your childcare costs.
If both you and your spouse can benefit from this kind of arrangement, and work opposite hours, you may even be able to either do away with care altogether or significantly reduce childcare hours and expenses.
Work from Home
More and more workplaces are open to the idea of telecommuting, which can whittle down childcare costs and cut down on your commute time.
Truthfully, working from home with children is a challenge, so be prepared to multi-task, and have a specific plan to work around their hours and needs. The best way to sell the case for working from home to your boss is to produce results.
Call in Back Up
Are you lucky enough to have a relative that could take on childcare for you? If a full-time commitment is too much to ask, see if your relative would be willing to manage care for a day or two a week. This changes the environment for your child, while defraying your overall childcare cost.
While shiftwork is hard on the sleep cycle, it can be an excellent solution (as well as a big money saver) for the daycare dilemma. Even if childcare costs are covered for a portion of the day, this can help a lot.
Decide your Own Hours
How much money is leftover at the end of every month after you shell out childcare costs? One way to put a dent in those costs is to become the captain of your own ship by setting your own work hours.
This can be accomplished by setting up a home-based business, working part-time in the evenings or by opening up your own home-based daycare.
Share a Nanny
If you have multiple pre-school children, sending them to a traditional care centre can be super expensive. By the same mark, hiring a full-time nanny can be very expensive as well. However, sharing the cost of a nanny with one or two other families can be a very cost-effective way to get childcare. The bonus too, depending on the situation, is that care can happen right in your home, saving you some commute time.