1.Early planning and research is vital: Before you start looking at cost cutting measures you need to decide broadly on the type of care that is right for your family. Quality child care options include; child minders, nannies, au pairs and crèches. To ensure that you find the option that suits both your family’s needs and your pocket it is imperative that you start researching your options at least 12 weeks before your intended start date.
2.Shop around: If you’re considering putting your child in a crèche, then it’s essential that you make a list of all the potential crèches in your area and consider each one in terms of price and suitability. It’s worthwhile knowing that there are huge variations in crèche fees even in neighbouring areas. In order to get the best care for your child and the best value for your money, you should always ask the following questions:
What is included in the price?
Does the crèche have daily or part time rates which may suit your work pattern?
What is their policy for charging for absent days?
3.Talk to other parents: Speaking to other parents that you work with or who live in your area is one of the best ways of sussing out affordable childcare options that are also reliable. Don’t be afraid to ask other mums what they are paying for their childcare and what exactly is included in this price.
4.Check with your employer: You may be able to get help from your employer, through a subsidised crèche, for instance. If this is the case then it is likely to be one of the cheapest and most practical childcare solutions available to you.
5.Discounts for siblings: Many crèches offer a discount for siblings but it’s important to be aware that this varies hugely from crèche to crèche. Discounts can be as little as 5% or as high as 40% so it really is worth your while exploring lots of different options.
6.Crèches near work: If there is a crèche located near your workplace, call and find out how many of your colleagues are already utilising their child care services. If the number is significant, why not speak to your employer about negotiating a discount? You will find that many crèches are more than willing to make this arrangement.
7.Split the cost: If a nanny is simply too pricey but you like the idea of one-on-one care for your child why not consider a nanny share? This is where two families who work full time employ one professional nanny who cares for the children together in one location. The cost of the nanny would be divided between the two families each week making it a far more affordable option.
8.Hire an Au pair: It’s not surprising that au pairs are becoming more and more popular in this country. It’s not only an extremely cost-effective option but your child will also be benefitting from one-on-one care. There are downsides, however, as the girls’ usually only stay for a few months and many people may not be entirely comfortable having someone live in their home.
9.Check out childminders: A childminder is often one of the most cost-effective options available to parents. They are often cheaper by the hour and they can be more flexible which enables you to think about ways of cutting down the number of days you might need them for. Perhaps, you or your partner has a day off during the week or maybe a family member is happy to take her for a day or two.
10.Consider community crèches: If you haven’t considered a community crèche, then it may be worth checking to see if there is one in your area. They are often cheaper and they have a range of fees that vary depending on the families means.
It’s important to remember that trying to find childcare options that suit your budget should never mean compromising your child’s safety, happiness or your own peace of mind.