10 Affordable Childcare Alternatives
Are you looking for the best daycare that won’t break your bank? If yes, then you’ve come to the right place.
According to the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, parents spend over $972 per month (or $11,666 per year) on daycare. The cost of daycare in the United States often ranges from $300 to $1,564 per month, meaning no matter how cheap your daycare center feels, you’re still spending lots of money.
The cost of childcare depends on many factors, including where you reside, your kid’s age, the period your child spends in a daycare (hours per week), and the type of childcare you select.
Even though you might be used to traditional daycares, it’s wise to check out these ten affordable alternatives.
Turn to Family and Friends
Are you having a busy week at work? Contact your mother, sister, or your close neighbor. There’s a high probability that one of them might have some time to take care of your kids while you’re at work. And as a sign of appreciation, you can treat them to a nice meal.
Join a Babysitting Cooperative
Another great way to save on childcare is by joining a babysitting co-op. In co-ops, families exchange daycare with neighboring families. You can visit Care.com to find co-ops in your area, or to create your own.
Care.com lets you track your exchanges with points, and share news, tips, opinions, and advice. And if you’re new to a neighborhood, you can use this resource to befriend parents and introduce your children to other children in the area.
Although you may still have to pay the caregivers it’s worth it. It will only cost you a quarter of the money you would have paid for daycare.
Create a Babysitting Exchange with Other Parents
Babysitting exchange is an effective childcare option. Just like babysitting co-ops, it’s based on the exchange of childcare services, but the exchanges here are free.
If two families need quality childcare but lack the funds for daycare, they can chat and agree on taking care of each other’s children. So, when you’re free you can take care of the other family children while they’re at work, and they will do the same when you’re at work.
An excellent resource to create babysitting exchanges is My Komae. It’s an app that lets you post a need and allows other families to send offers.
Share Care With Other Families
Families can come together and hire one babysitter instead of hiring two babysitters separately. If your schedule is similar to your neighbor’s, you can organize to leave your kid at their home, or vice versa, and hire just one babysitter to take care of the children.
Most babysitters charge per hour and not by the number of kids, meaning you can split the cost. Sittercity, Care.com, and UrbanSitter are great sites to scout for babysitters.
Opt for In-Home Daycare
Compared to traditional daycare, in-home daycare is more affordable. Visits sites like Angie’s List to find In-home daycares near you. Most parents prefer in-home daycare since they comprise fewer children so a child can get more attention.
But before proceeding confirm the staff to child ratio of an in-home daycare, as many states have laws that govern the maximum number of kids a caretaker can handle. Ensure the in-home caretaker conforms to those laws.
Find Non-Profit Organizations
Non-profit organizations like YMCAs and churches tend to offer inexpensive or free after-school programs for children. For example, YMCA offers children of all ages a ton of programs covering a variety of fields from education to leadership.
Churches are always willing to assist parents. Most churches have teen centers where kids can play after school, do their homework, and hang out with friends.
Enquire About Childcare Programs at Your School
There are over 4 million undergraduate student parents in colleges and universities across the United States. And because of this, over 1,500 colleges, universities, and vocational schools have established childcare centers.
The centers not only cater to the students, but also for faculty members and community residents with children. If you’re a student parent, then check out if your school offers childcare services.
Hire an Au Pair
Au Pairs are individuals who live and work for families in a different country. They carry out several duties, including performing house chores, tutoring, senior caregiving, nannying, babysitting, caring for pets, etc.
Visits sites like AuPair.com and GreatAuPair.com to hire qualified assistance. These resources can help you select candidates based on their country, languages, diet, years of experience, gender, age-range, and more. Also, you can conduct video-interviews to set contract terms, duration of stay, rate, and roles.
Provide a Room to a Student or Recent Graduate
If the idea of hiring an Au Pair doesn’t sit well with you, then consider offering a student or recent grad a room in exchange for childcare services. Some students will be willing to take care of your children for the accommodation alone, others you might have to pay them.
Ensure you’ve set rules so both you and your caretaker can understand what to expect from each other.
If you have a pet caretaker, a housekeeper, or a tutor, it’s wise to merge their jobs into one. Check sites like Care.com, Angie’s List, Great AuPair.com, or Sittercity to find a nanny who can handle two or more jobs. As a result, you might get to save more money.