Childcare is the single most expensive thing you'll have to pay for, and it's almost unavoidable when you are career parents. Immediately after your maternity and paternity leave, you'll want to jump back into the workforce and keep chasing your goals. But at the same time, you'll be looking for ways you can cut on childcare services while ensuring you don't compromise much on both ends.
While most parents could welcome the idea of having to take care of their kids, the high cost of living forces them to return to work. The next most viable option is hiring a nanny or enrolling your child in daycare – both equally expensive options. So, what can you do to save money on childcare?
This article will explore six ways parents can cut daycare costs while ensuring their productivity at work isn't affected and how to avoid devastating career pitfalls when juggling work and parenthood. Read On.
Depending on the nature of your job, you can talk to your employer to allow you to work from home after your maternity or paternity leave. This can help you save money on daycare in two ways.
One, if you don't have a large work log, you can completely cut childcare costs and take care of your child on your own. You can use the small breaks when your child is sleeping or your spouse is around to get around to work and perform your duties. This will require some supernatural multitasking, but you can hack it after some practice.
The second way you can save money when working from home is by hiring a part-time nanny or day-burg. You'll be paying almost half the price by having them come in during your working hours and babysitting your child between 8 am and 5 pm while you work. This is suitable for a parent who wants to lower their childcare costs but has huge workloads. You can also take short 10-minute breaks to keep an eye on your kid and ensure they're well taken care of.
While this strategy can help you save money and give you the opportunity to bond with your newborn, be careful to let it affect your productivity. Young children can demand a little more attention, which can prevent you from working and meeting your quotas or deadlines. All this can put you at loggerheads with your employer and, if not careful, can lead to your job termination.
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Given that paying for daycare every day is expensive, you can talk to your employer to shift your schedule at work. By making adjustments, you can incorporate personal daycare for your child and even cut out daycare costs from your budget. How could you achieve this?
You could coordinate with your partner by getting flexible shifts whereby one parent is always with the child. This will require that both of you talk to your respective employers and hope they can afford you the flexibility you wish. This can work in three ways.
This will eventually help you save on daycare, give utmost care to your child, raise them however you deem fit, and still have your jobs in place. While this is an arrangement most new parents would welcome, most employers would be hesitant to allow it as it could mean you'll not be performing at the optimum level to give them the ROI they want by employing you.
This option involves cutting your working days voluntarily to bond more with your child. This option allows you to juggle the responsibilities of your career and the new ones your newborn brings. The biggest drawback this option has is that your income will be reduced, and you'll still need to hire a babysitter to look after your child when you are away working.
Working part-time can be in the form of going to work for three days a week or working half a day but going to work daily. Since your productivity will be affected, your employer will likely not agree to this option, and you might find yourself in a dilemma where you'll have to quit or work full-time as a parent.
Working part-time allows you to cut your daycare costs as you'll be home half the time to take care of your child on your own. Nonetheless, you'll still need to think of other hurdles this option can create, including affecting your career progression, as your employer will likely promote someone who is more focused and works more hours than you.
There is a chance that your co-workers, neighbours, or friends who are also parents want to save on daycare. Talk to everyone within your cycle with a young child and figure out how to split childcare costs. This can be done by sharing a nanny; you'll both pay less than you would if you had hired individual nannies.
The caregivers often accept this because they earn more, and as a parent, you pay less. But before you settle on this option, always choose to partner with people you are sure will meet their end of the deal. You don't want to be in a situation where you end up paying more. When one parent delays making payment or leave the arrangement, the remaining parent will need to find a replacement or increase their monthly contribution.
If the arrangement works out well, you stand to gain a lot. The most significant advantage of this option is not only will you be saving money on daycare, but you'll be able to get back to work, and your income sources won't be affected.
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One of the cheapest ways to save on daycare costs as career parents is to have a trusted family member or friend taking care of your child while at work. They can do it for free or at a bargain, and you also get the peace of mind that your kids are in trusted hands.
The most common way career parents do this is by having the grandparents babysit and take care of their kids while they're at work. If you live within the same area, you can drop the kids off at their place or have them come to take them before you leave for work. Alternatively, you can look for family or friends who are stay-at-home parents and have them help you babysit.
While this option allows your kids to bond with people with their best interests at heart, it's not 100% viable. You'll not find a family member free to take care of your child daily. After a few days of doing you the favour of babysitting your kids, they might start considering it a burden, and it might seem you are abusing your privilege. When this happens, you'll have to explore another way to provide childcare services to your newborn.
Read Also: How to Create Life Balance as a Working Mom
Juggling between work and being a parent is no walk in the park, and even the best multitaskers find it challenging. As parents who don’t want to affect your career growth and are looking to get back to work as soon as your leave is over, you should consider hiring a stay-in nanny to provide round-the-clock care to your child.
Granted that you'll need to pay them more to provide childcare services, you can offset the additional costs by working more or looking for other income-generating routes.
You can also negotiate with your nanny to provide other domestic services like cooking and laundry at extra cost. The amount they'll charge you for these duties will be lower than what you'd pay to have a different person come in to do it. This will free up your time as parents allowing you to concentrate on your careers and make more money.
Doing it all yourself: While there's nothing wrong with exploring ways to save money on childcare, you should avoid the trap of forcing yourself to manage it all. Taking care of a child is demanding. Juggling it with work can lead to underperforming at your job responsibilities and denying your kid the utmost care. This can lead to constant arguments with your employer, and ultimately, you could be fired.
Try to find some balance. Have someone lend you a hand when you are working to ensure the highest productivity. After work, you can always use your time to be a super-parent to your child.
Not Communicating: Immediately after you return to work after you leave, let your superiors and colleagues know your career goals. Do you wish to take fewer work assignments now that you are a parent, or are you looking to undertake the most challenging one and keep proving yourself at work?
If you want to manage your work and parenthood successfully, ensure you are explicit about your career goals and the outcomes they will present. Taking fewer assignments might slow down your career growth, and your employer might pass on your went promoting colleagues. If you choose to be more productive, you will likely be under pressure and spend less time bonding with your child. This will also cause you to spend more on child care.
Overestimate your free time: Time can be limited when you're a parent, and if you don't manage it well, you won't have any minute left to pursue personal and career goals. The weekends, after work hours, will be dedicated to being a parent. When you try to use all your free time being a parent, you won't have time to learn new skills or take that professional course that can give you a competitive edge at work.
Cutting child care costs requires you to learn how to balance two of the most important things: your career and parenthood. And that's not easy. You'll be required to make some compromises, which can also be challenging. When faced with this conundrum, the best thing to do is to talk to a career counselor and your financial advisor. They'll likely help you create a framework that ensures you don't put your career at risk and don't break the bank when looking for a childcare route to take.
Finally, don't be afraid to mix different strategies. Talk to your employer and negotiate for a work-from-home day a week, ask for flexible shifts, and when you must go to the office, always have a part-time babysitter on speed dial if grandma is busy to take the load from you. Using all this combination can get you better childcare coverage at lower costs.