We all want to save money, right? As much as parents need it and kids love it – childcare can pummel the household budget. Here are nine ways to help lessen childcare costs!
When it comes to saving money on childcare costs, you might need to be a little clever and think outside of the box. But being creative is fun and if it can save you money, then we’re all for it.
Clever Ways To Curb Childcare Costs
1. Reduce out-of-pocket expenses
This should definitely be your first port of call – working out how much Child Care Subsidy (CCS) you’re entitled to. If the government jargon leaves you feeling overwhelmed and confused, Guardian Early Learning Group does an EXCELLENT job of breaking the CCS down, explaining how it works and how it’s calculated in human terms.
2. Shop around for an affordable centre
Childcare centre fees can vary significantly. You might have your heart set on a particular centre but it pays to look around at other childcare options in the same or surrounding areas. Also, pay attention to what you’re paying for. Risotto might be on the cooked fresh lunch menu but your kid hates rice so you’re packing a Vegemite sandwich anyway… Not sure where to start when looking for a centre? Starting Blocks has the ultimate guide to choosing a centre perfect for your family. Too easy!
3. Choose a centre which REFUNDS your money
Yep, such places do exist! Swapple.me is a brilliant app saving parents a whole heap of money on their childcare fees. It’s an innovative booking and swapping system that can make your centre work in your favour to make childcare more flexible and affordable. If your child is sick or you’re going on holiday you can post to the app that your child’s spot is up for grabs. If another parent takes your spot, you get 50% of your fee back. That’s much better than paying full fees for your child’s childcare place when they’re at home sick or away. Be sure to check it out!
4. Be upfront and ask for a discount
Hey, you won’t know unless you ask. Some child care centres DO offer a reduced rate for siblings sharing a centre.
5. A nanny could be an option
If your working hours are full on or you work super long days where on-time childcare drop-offs and pick-ups are near impossible, it’s well worth looking into a nanny or au-pair. Penalty rates for late pick-ups be gone! plus they might even help you with your laundry pile or the dusty surfaces in your home.
6. Grandparents are angels
Many grandparents would LOVE to spend more time with their grandkids. Maybe it’s time to enlist some family help. Save a bucket load of cashola on after-school care by asking your folks to mind the kids for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Many grandparents won’t accept monetary payment for caring for the kids (although some will), so show your appreciation by stocking the pantry with your kids’ fave snacks or vouchers to the cinema, play centres etc.
7. Work from home
You might be surprised how flexible your workplace will be to meet your needs – you just have to ask! Working even just one day a week remotely from home makes for a significant childcare saving for your pocket. Plus, tracksuit pants are acceptable working-from-home attire. Winning!
8. Swap kids with friends
If you work part-time and so too does your BFF, consider taking turns in caring for each other’s cherubs if your schedules line up.
9. Bribe a cash-strapped teenager
Be it your own teenager, the neighbour’s teenager or a teenager looking for a little extra babysitting work – they’re all MORE than capable of minding a couple of kids for a few hours after kindy or school. Make sure the rules are understood by everyone concerned (be sure your kids will test the boundaries) and a fair babysitting rate is set.
Want to know more about childcare? Read up on how to stop your little one from getting sick at childcare and let’s not forget – date night childcare centres are now a thing! Huzzah!