The cost of a nanny can be crippling to families, often leaving parents with a very tough choice, returning to work, or caring for their child full-time.
This can be a very personal decision, but one must also consider the fact that your income will increase, while contributing to your retirement plan and strengthening your skills.
Here are five ideas to consider to reduce the cost of a nanny:
1 - Nanny Share:
This is probably the best way to keep your regular work schedule, and still have a loving nanny at home taking care of your child. The difference is that you’re sharing the nanny with another family, and so there are multiple kids, instead of one.
You can use a site like Nanny Lane to match with a local like-minded family, with similarly-aged kids and schedules that coincide, and go from there.
Sure, there will be some extra factors you’ll need to consider, but you’ve got your child in a quiet, loving home, working around your schedule, while cutting the cost of a nanny significantly.
Nanny Lane suggests paying a nanny share nanny a little more than half of what you’d pay a nanny if they worked for your family alone.
2 - Family Day Care:
If you weren’t thrilled with a large daycare center, a smaller, in-home daycare might be a nice fit for your child. They are often run by moms with grown children, and in a loving home.
Consider looking for one near your house, so drop-off and pick-up can be as convenient as possible. It’s also important to confirm that the center has been accredited, and properly licensed.
3 - Family and Favors:
Maybe you didn’t want your mother-in-law (MIL) to be your nanny, or your sister said she could only help one day a week.
However, taking family up on their offers, as limited as they might be, can help cut the cost of the nanny you hire significantly. Your MIL could cover Mondays and Fridays, your sister covers Wednesdays, and now you only need a nanny on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
It’s a patchwork quilt of care, but it will cut your cost of care considerably.
4 - New Job Schedule:
Depending on your profession, you could see if you can change your hours to line up with more affordable care. Perhaps you and your spouse ask your employers for flexible hours. That way you could work the early morning to early afternoon shift, while he/she could work the early afternoon to night shift.
5 - After-School Co-op:
If your kids are in school and you only need a nanny from 3-7 pm, consider a nanny share or care co-op with a few other families. You might find other friends and families from the school who want their child in a quiet place to do homework, play with friends, and eat dinner.
As parents, you can alternate who covers the school pick-up and supervision. Or, you could even hire an after-school nanny and share the cost.
Choosing a care plan that works perfectly and doesn’t break your bank is never easy; there will always be some sacrifices and frustrations along the way. However, after your new plan is in place, you will eventually settle into this new routine.
You should also keep in mind that when you pay a nanny or child care center legally, you can apply for tax breaks, and use pre-tax dollars from your Flexible Spending Account.