Sooner or later, most parents will be looking for child care —whether it’s daycare, a nanny, or (if you’re lucky) grandparents.
But which option will best fit into your daily routine and spending plan? Most parents will agree that it’s tough to find quality care and make the most of your dollars.
Now if you can’t find a full-time family member, daycare is often one of the most popular options. However, with daycare spaces being limited and waiting times averaging a year or more, it’s a good idea to get on a list early. But signing up at too many daycares before knowing exactly what you want can be costly. Usually you have to pay a deposit, anywhere from $20 to $100, and you might not get this money back.
Daycare is generally a more affordable option if you have one or two children. For kids two years and older (depending on where you’re located) it generally costs between $700 to $1,000 a month, for full-time, licensed daycare, five days a week.
Finding daycare for infants from six months to a year can be more difficult and because of the increased need for staff, it’s usually more expensive too. To keep costs down, you can look for a daycare that allows you to pack a lunch for your child — provided you have the time to make it. You also need to consider the time it takes to drive to your daycare. If it’s way off your route to work, you need to factor in gas costs and the hours of operation.
The total cost of a live-in nanny is about $2,000 a month (depending on location). While their salary is usually around $1,000 a month, you’ll also need to pay for their employment benefits and pension. Plus you’ll need to have a spare room in your house. The plus side is you can deduct a portion of their room and board from their salary based on government guidelines. And if you hire through an agency you’ll also have to pay the agency a fee, which can vary from a one-time placement fee to a percentage of their salary.
If you have a close friend or neighbour with kids you can nanny share and agree to split the costs of a nanny as some nannies will agree to look after up to four kids in one house. So if you can find a friend with one other child, you would cut the cost of a nanny in half.
For more on child care costs, hop onto smartcookies.com and visit the forum for new or expecting moms. Questions for the Smart Cookies can be emailed to email@example.com.
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