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How on earth do you afford decent childcare?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I was reading a thread about nanny salaries and started wondering, how on earth do you afford decent childcare? Right now, I'm in school/apprenticeship and dh is working full-time at a new job with a salary that's just enough to cover our bills.It would be all well and good to pay someone $10/hour to watch the kids, but that would be half our income.


How do other low-income parents swing it? I'm not able to get gov't assistance for childcare because I'm in an apprenticeship (needed to finish midwifery school). Today our babysitter called out and I had to take kids to someone who does home daycare for the day. Because she charged per child rather than per hour like our sitter, I ended up deciding to only take two of the boys there and left the older two children home alone (baby goes to work with me).

post #2 of 18

For us, daycare was actually the more affordable option.  We pay per child/per day there and for full time care at a Montessori school it ends up being $190/wk.  That is a lot less than if I was paying someone $10/hr. for 40 hours/wk.  I know in some places, nannies are the more affordable option, but that isn't the case where we are.

post #3 of 18

We pay $2,000 a month for 2 kids, and it flat out sucks! It has prevented us from achieving certain goals - home ownership being the main one (we do live in a very high cost of living area, the house we rent would sell for just over $500k). With baby #3 on the way, it looks like we won't be in a position to buy our first home until all three are in school full time.


I don't have any advice, but I do feel your pain!

post #4 of 18

For me it was 'cheaper' not to work when DS was younger.  Then I found a SAHM mom who did daycare and was very reasonable.  She was $75/week.  When I  didn't work I was able to get food stamps, LIHEAP,  state medical etc.  DS never went to a licensed daycare or preschool. I always used inhome care

I stopped using daycare when he turned 10.


There were weeks when I had to choose between paying the sitter or getting food.  It just wasn't worth it for me to work.

post #5 of 18

I agree. We actually make good money but still dont feel like we can afford the $1800/week for 25 hours that we'd have to pay a nanny out here. Dont forget, hourly PLUS taxes, paid vacation, medicaid and all that stuff adds another 3-4$ to the hourly :(

post #6 of 18

i think it just depends on where you live.  here the going rate for full time care for one child is about $80/week.  discount for multiple children. 

post #7 of 18

We are in a similar situation as Ms Rabbit, two in daycare and expecting #3.  We also are putting off buying a house until all or at least two are in school.  I am actually going to just stay home after this one is born because I would basically be going to work for zero dollars after paying child care.

post #8 of 18

There is no way to beat around the bush...I make a lot and I pay a lot. Not only do we pay  a high hourly wage ($19/h) but we also pay $ towards health insurance, and her and our taxes, plus the huge fees to the people that do the taxes plus 3 weeks of vacation/sick a year.


Half my largish salary goes to childcare and the rest goes to a few minor bills and personal expenses for the kids and me. DH covers the rent, insurance, and utilities. I'd love to be home but there is no way we can swing it. We need the other half of my income.

post #9 of 18

man i wish i made 40k as a nanny!

post #10 of 18

I live in a weird area where in-home and home care is pretty cheap, and daycare centers are quite expensive, with long waiting lists. That's because there's a large labor pool for Hawaii, I guess. Anyway, the difference between the cost of an in-home nanny and a center was about $100, and the centers have very strict drop off and pick up times, and we work flexible schedules. So I have a nanny. I still pay just a hair less than half my salary, but it's worth it not to worry if I'm late getting home, and to know my son can still go to story time at the library and gets to nap in his bed. It's tough, though, for single parents especially!

post #11 of 18
We.have some creative arrangements so our kids get the best we can offer. We use an amazing moms day out program that runs mon thru thurs from 9-2:30. I don't work on Friday, and only need help in the evenings on mon and Wednesday, and my mom and/or DH will keep the kids those days. That said, for 2 kids, 22.5 hrs/ week, it runs me $750/ month...
post #12 of 18

We handled it by using excellent home providers that don't charge nearly as much as the centers. Many states do have different categories of child care subsidy. Some of the categories might be more liberal on the income qualifications.

post #13 of 18

I traded childcare with another mom from my birth class when our kids were little, which was an ideal arrangement.  Later I found a SAHM to watch my daughter.  I dropped her off at their house, and her daughter and my daughter were the same age so it was pretty easy for her and didn't involve her having to drive to me so it was cheap(well, $11/hour which is cheap for this area).  I would suggest possibly finding a nanny share.  If you can find another family or two needing the same childcare hours, it can be a great situation for all.

post #14 of 18

We use a church preschool/daycare.  They charge $24 per day per kid ($480/month).  I usually work 10-hour days, so only drop off the kids 3-4 days per week.  Its a pretty inexpensive option for our area.  Most of the teachers have been there for years and are really dedicated to the kiddos.  :) 

post #15 of 18

We also used an au pair one year.  This was much less expensive than a nanny, but took a lot out of me emotionally. 

post #16 of 18

Right now we are living on a shoestring so dh can stay home. Before that, we were paying nearly $1200 a month for child care for one child full-time and the other outside of school hours. The only way we were able to make it work at all is that we live in an area with a low cost of living. I totally sympathize!

post #17 of 18

I got lucky... my college has a teaching pre-school/daycare, and I got a state grant that covers almost all of my subsidized (50% off) rate... the rest I scrimp and save for, and by the end of the term I sometimes end up selling stuff on craigslist to make the payments and/or rent. Summers are the worst because I don't get school funding, but I also don't have to pay for daycare then either. Bottom line: it ain't easy, but I make it work... and I remind myself that it isn't forever, it's just one more (day, week, month, summer, degree, etc...), and keep a visual reminder of why I'm doing it all within reach at all times (I keep a little note in my phone that reaffirms my goals and tells me to stay focused - and whenever I'm feeling like giving up I read it).

post #18 of 18

I am lucky enough that the in-home care provider we use takes into consideration your income level (she charges a full-time student differently than she would a nurse). So my daily rate is set at $15/day for school days. Then, I have a childcare grant from On Your Feet Foundation which pays half of my childcare, so my real daily rate is $7.50, and I paid her in a lump sum when I received my financial aid. BUT, my daughter is now two weeks shy of turning three, and as soon as there is an opening in the local head start and she is three, she will start there. I really didn't want to put her in "school" but until I graduate, that's the best thing for us. She should be 6 when I finish wish my BSW and around 8 when I finish my MSW. I'm hoping to open a non-profit and direct it (lofty dreams, I know, but hey, it can happen) and homeschool her.

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