7 Ways to Reduce Expensive Summer Childcare Costs

Summer childcare costs don't have to make you go over your budget. Here are a few smart and creative ways to save a bundle on summer child care costs this year.For working parents, childcare is anything but optional. Unfortunately, the cost of childcare has risen exponentially over the years, to the point where many parents might begin to question whether or not they’d save money if they stayed home.

Even so, staying home isn’t a luxury everyone has.

During the school year, your childcare costs may go down as children have less time with another childcare facility or babysitter. Come May, when school commences, and you’ll be forced to find a full-time daycare or caretaker for your kids. This causes your childcare costs to significantly increase during the summer months.

While taking a leave may not be the answer, or even an option, there are ways to find great childcare options without spending a fortune. Before summer officially hits, take a look at these 7 ways to reduce expensive summer childcare costs.

1. Take Advantage of Day Camps or School

Instead of sending your kids to daycare everyday, seek out summer day camps for them to partake in. While you’ll still pay a cost, most camps usually ring in a lot cheaper than other childcare options.

Moreover, day camps are filled with fun and educational activities that’ll keep your kids entertained on their summer break. You can usually find great day camps at your local science, art, or children’s museums or find them put on by local organizations and schools around your community.

If you’re looking for something even further on the educational side, another option is to enroll your kids in summer school. Again, you’ll have an inexpensive option and help keep their minds sharp during their break. 

2. Go to Non-Profits

Many non-profit organizations like the YMCA or the Boys & Girls Club offer cheaper daycare and childcare options. In most cases, they’ll provide a daycare environment, or camp-like one for older kids, just at a lower cost.

In some cases, certain non-profits offer childcare options via volunteer programs. You’ll have a means of childcare while your kids have the opportunity to volunteer for a variety of causes and organizations within the community and possibly receive school credit.

Furthermore, if you have a college or university near-by, you might find other options through Early Education programs. Students in such fields often need experience working with children and in daycare organizations before receiving their degrees, and it usually comes at a cheaper price. 

3. Share a Nanny

The word nanny might make you see dollar signs, however, unlike years ago, nannies are no longer just a staple of the famous and rich.

Hiring someone outside of a daycare facility, like a nanny, can sometimes be more inexpensive If you have kids in a full-time daycare program, you might want to consider opting for a nanny instead. Check sites like Nannies4Hire to find someone for your household.

That being said, if a full-time nanny still feels out of your budget, consider sharing one. Find other parents in need and split the cost of a nanny between all of you; in the end, you’ll pay of fraction of what you would for daycare.

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4. Ask About Work Flexibility

Staying at home full-time isn’t feasible for every family. Even so, there are other ways to accomplish this without quitting your job. Speak with your HR department about the flexible options.

Depending on your job, you might be able to work from home a couple of days a week or switch to more flexible hours. Of course, if that’s not an option, you or your spouse could consider each swapping and using some of your vacation days to at least stay home for a short period over the summer. While it might not seem like much, any time you can save on childcare costs is good.

5. Swap Days with Other Parents

If your budget’s really tight, sometimes, even short stints at home still aren’t enough to save on childcare costs. Instead, of taking a ton of time at home yourself, ask around your neighborhood or friends for others who might have the option of flexible hours.

Find two or three friends who’d be willing to babysit a couple of days a week, make a schedule, and take turns babysitting each other’s children. By rotating homes, you won’t have to take excess time off work or work too much at home and save a lot on daycare. 

6. Ask a Relative

Although this may not be an option if you don’t have family nearby, seeking the help of family can be a great way to save on childcare and ensure your children stay with someone they love and trust. Whether there’s a grandparent nearby, an aunt or uncle, or even an older cousin, relatives are usually willing to help and will create great family time for your kids.

That being said, while they might not accept it, you should still offer some form of payment for their help. And even if they do accept compensation, you’ll still pay a lot less than if you’d put your kids with an outside daycare or babysitter.

7. Utilize Your Skills

While it might not be the first thing that comes to mind, bartering some of your skills for a discount could be a surefire way to save money on childcare. Ask around at different daycares, camps, or facilities and see what kind of help they might need.

Whether they’re in need of office work or part-time assistance, or need more specialized help like marketing, fundraising, or accounting, see if there’s a skill you could provide in exchange for lower rates; you might be surprised what skills of yours they could use.

The Bottom Line

Unfortunate as it is, summer childcare costs seem to only rise by the day. During the schoolyear, the cost of care is likely lower, however, come summer, you’ll have to invest in full-time care. While childcare isn’t something you want to scrimp on, you can still find and explore an array of options to help save you money. Before summer hits, review some of the childcare possibilities available to you and set yourself up to keep your budget in check for your kids summer break.

Do you have the flexibility to work from home a couple days a week to save on summer childcare? What summer camps could you take advantage of in your area?