Cost-saving tips for child care

October 5, 2008 7:53:34 AM PDT
Next to rent or mortgage payments, child care ranks as the second-highest expense in a household budget. In this economy, families are feeling this pinch more than ever. Sheila Lirio Marcelo, CEO of has some cost-saving tips:

  • Babysitter Sharing: Team up with neighboring parents and share a sitter! Families sharing a child care provider can save on the cost as most providers pro-rate their fees according to the number of children they are watching.

  • Readjust Schedule/Work from Home: Employers are sometimes willing to adjust work schedules; which may allow you and your spouse to work opposite shifts. Or you might offer to telecommute part-time.

  • School Programs: Many school districts now offer pre-kindergarten courses for four-year-olds that are free or have a small charge.

  • County/State Child Care Help: Many states provide child care assistance for low-income families. Check to see if you qualify.

  • Relatives as Babysitters: Enlist the help of a mom, aunt, sister to help with child care duties. Parents should still plan to pay a fee, but it can be much less when a family member is willing and able to help out.