Four ways to cut childcare costs as parents head back to the office

Workers are heading back to the office as the world sorts out its new post-pandemic normal, meaning children are needing childcare once again.

On average it costs $11,000 a year for one child at a daycare center. If you opt for a private nanny, the cost almost triples. Add in the pandemic and that cost is still going up.

“Classroom sizes have to be smaller, and there’s also other regulations that have increased costs,” said Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert with Nerdwallet.

Like many businesses, daycare centers were hit hard, and many closed their doors.

“As a result, there’s fewer available spots for parents. So, there’s a lot of competition to get into the available daycare spots that still exist,” said Palmer.

So, what can you do to navigate these costs:

  1. See if there is flexibility in your work hours.”We hear of parents waking up at the crack of dawn to get started on their day before their kids wake up are staying up really late, and essentially working through the night,” said Palmer.
  2. Form a Co-Op with parents with similar childcare needs. “[For example] getting together with other parents in their neighborhood and taking turns taking care of the kids,” said Plamer.
  3. Explore different payment options. Ask your facility if they offer payment installments or even a sliding scale for fees so you can pay based on your income.
  4. Apply for assistance programs. There are local and state programs that can help offset costs if you qualify. Head Start (https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/how-apply)Department of Economic Security (https://des.az.gov/services/child-and-family/child-care/how-apply-for-child-care-assistance)
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