Should I Pay the Rent or the Child Care?

This is a Guest Post By Brianna at Hows Married Life

We already know it’s pretty expensive to have a baby and raise them to adulthood. In many cases, your child’s 18th birthday is not their severance day from your wallet. Some parents can’t even think that far, however, because the rising cost of child care is becoming a major burden. CNN reported that in many states, child care costs have exceeded the median cost of rent. That, my friends, is a huge issue.

Child Care Aware of America reported that the cost of annual infant care ranges from $4,600 in Mississippi to $15,000. Providing care for a four-year-old ranges from $3,900/year in Mississippi to $11,700/year in Massachusetts. Child care costs exceed annual median rent payments, and when you add another child in the mix, it exceeds it annual median rent payments in all 50 states. That means some parents are making some very tough decisions.

Mix into this the state of the economy. Cost of groceries for your family has increased drastically. Many parents are either unemployed or underemployed. People are struggling to make ends meet and are already strapped for resources. So there’s no doubt that because child care is so expensive, there are many parents out there wondering, “should i pay the rent or the child care?”

For parents who are lucky enough to have a job, child care is more than likely necessary, because not every day is bring your child to work day. With two parents, this situation is difficult, but imagine the strain it also must put on single parents. The alternatives are limited to either finding cheaper, unlicensed child care in your area (which is risky), relying on family members, staying home to care for your child until they’re school aged, or a bill or two has to go unpaid for a while.

In some countries, the cost of raising a child is so high, families have made the drastic decision to give up their child. In Italy and Greece, some families are abandoning their babies because they just don’t have enough resources to feed or care for their child. It’s frightening and disheartening, but it’s a grim reality that we’re truly in a global crisis.

My husband and I have only been married for one year, but of course we talk about having children. We used to say we wanted four, because we both come from big families. However, there’s not necessarily an end in sight for this economic climate, and we know we can’t afford children now. I have told my mom that we won’t even start considering having children until she retires, in hopes that having some family support will alleviate some of the inevitable financial strain that child care will cost.

The cost of child care is so steep, other couples may also be strategically planning when to start their families. Things to factor in include cost of living in your area, income, other expenses, and even job security. Even the most frugal person would find it hard to cut down on the costs of raising children. If you can avoid having to make the choice between having a roof over your head and having a place for your child to go safely while you’re at work, you should.

Do you have any solutions for the rising cost of child care and how families can handle it?

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