How do you afford daycare for 2 children?

Jillian - posted on 01/20/2011 ( 99 moms have responded )

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My husband and I both work full time while our 17-mth old son goes to daycare. We pay $970/mth for daycare. We want to have another child, but simply don't have >$2000/mth to put 2 children in daycare. I'm not sure we can pay our bills on one salary if one person stayed home. How do others handle this situation?

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I see some of the posters have opted to stay home to care for their children. There are also some things to consider to stay working. For me I work in a shipyard. I make $26 per hour, have a pension, and excellent 401k. Also right now I have an opportunity to go through a 1 year program to earn a degree(free and during work hours) and become a supervisor which max pay in that position is close to $100,000 per year with even better retirement benifits. Also if I wanted to go to school to better myself(other than supervisor) within the company the company will pay for my education 100%.

So you really have to think about the future. Soon the kids will be in school full time. Do you really want to throw away a job that will help out in the future? I don't. With no formal education. There is know way I would be able to quit and get a job 4+ yrs from now and pick up where I left off unless the company I was working for would take me back provided they were hiring.

So you might be struggling right now but in the future you may be glad you toughed it out.

Christina - posted on 01/21/2011

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I don't know if this is something you might be interested in or not, some parents have pride issues but most states have a child care assistance program that will pay part if not all daycare expenses based on the number of people in the house and household income. I'm sorry to say none of my 3 boys were planned but they are each a blessing from God, unfortunately my husband and I were not prepared and we have had childcare assistance. They generally have a waiting list but you can check into it and they have a plethera of state approved daycare and inhome care options or they will pay an immediate family member, my kids daycare is normally 180.00 a week for my 9 month old and 145.00 weekly for my two yr. old, I pay 152.00 a week for both of them so that is a big help, and in about 4 yrs lol they will all be in school and I won't have to worry about it anymore. Other than that there is no easy answer, stay at home and risk a tight budget, work around your spouses schedule and risk difficulties in your marriage, neither of those options would work for me and I like daycares over inhome or relative options because I like my children having age appropriate lesson plans, activities and friends. Hope this helps, best of luck

Beurbest2 - posted on 06/02/2012

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Have you considered a nanny, frequently you can get nanny/housekeeper combination and save a lot. I am a nanny for 3 children four on the way. There are many benefits but you need to be sure you look at all costs as a nanny is a household employee. You need to consider taxes and workers compensation.

Kris - posted on 01/27/2011

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We ran into the same problem. I live in north jersey where day care expenses are high. If you space out your children it does help. We got pregnant when my son just turned 4 (I had him when i was 23 so spacing out the second baby was not hard since we weren't ready to be parents that soon anyway). I'm sure you don't want to wait that long if you're posting this though. But we were paying $435/WEEK ($260 infant+175 child) when they were both in daycare/private kindergarten.
But this is how I made it work:
First, if you haven't yet, check with your companies to see if they offer Flex Dependent Care. I have it and I can put $5000/year in my flex spending and its taken out BEFORE taxes, which saves about $1500/year. At the end of the year I get a check for $5000. And if you do that now, you can save for baby #2. Second, if you don't do this already, set up a separate checking acct for day care. Figure out what you need per week for 2 kids (try it now before you have a 2nd baby). Set up direct deposit to your day care account for what you need to cover. So for example, for every pay check i get, $238 goes into my flex acct and $600 goes to my day care checking acct. If you set up your money to go where it needs to go it makes it easier.
Also, what about your tax return? Do you get a good amount back? Put that/some of that right into your day care account.

Tracie - posted on 04/15/2012

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The solution might be a live in au pair. For an average of just $360/week per family, not per child it can really be beneficial and you also get flexible hours up to 45 hours a week/10 hours a day.

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Amanda - posted on 06/14/2012

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We used a nanny with just one kid - unofficial found on a local website.. actually 6 in two years . Now we use an au pair. If you have questions on what it is like to have someone in your home, let me know.

Coleen - posted on 04/15/2012

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I wish someone did have a real solution to this. I am in the same boat. I think the daycare cost is a function of where you live. I live in northern NJ and $970/month is not unusually high--I paid more than this per week when I first returned to work. The only way I could cut my daycare cost was by working 40 hours in a 4-day period and making one of those days Saturday (so I am only paying for 3 days of daycare during the week now. I'm still trying to figure out how to afford a second child and the only thing I can come up with is working later hours (12-8) to try to cut my daycare usage to half days. And even that will be stretching the budget.

Melissa - posted on 01/13/2012

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Wow!!! That is A LOT for one child!!! My daughter is in a home daycare n our neighbourhood and it's only $30/day and they are so amazing with her (there are 2 ladies running it). My son will be attending there when I return to work in June which will double our expenses. We were just talking about how we could afford a third child to attend daycare. Looks like you need to find a new daycare!!!! That's insane!

Kylee - posted on 01/03/2012

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I stay at home. It makes more since to stay at home rather than pay daycare for 3 kids. I would be working for daycare and thats about it. We dont need the best cars, house, or clothes. We are happy and get by just fine and thats all that matters. My kids are # 1.

Maggie - posted on 12/30/2011

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When I had my first son I started working part time 4 evenings a week while Hubby worked 5 days a week in the mornings. It's TOUGH but we've made it work for 5 years and through 2 kids (#3 due in June!). We decided that the kids would be better off at hom ewith one of us and that my part time income (I was working half as many hours as before) would be more than what we'd have left over after day care. I don't know how anyone pays for day care!!

Melissa - posted on 12/27/2011

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It really depends on your salary. My ex and I each make about $90K so the $15K we pay in daycare for our one child is just not that big of a deal. we take advantage of my work's daycare FSA plan, which takes out $5,000 pre-tax toward the expense - that can help. (look into it.) For women making a lot less, it can make more sense to stay home. You have to crunch the numbers. Just remember that once you're out of the workforce, it can be harder to get back in, so it might be worth it to take the hit (and keep working) for a couple of years. You could also wait till your older child is in public school before having another. some folks do that.

Jackie - posted on 12/26/2011

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I just wanted to put this out there. I have a special needs child. I worked for a health insurance company for 5 years. They fired me 20 days before his surgery. I had my sister watching him because I could not afford daycare. I later found out that there are special needs daycare where they have doctors, nurses, and cna on staff. I later found out that my employer that was a health insurance company should of been paying for that. So if you have a special needs child....be careful my boss pretended to be concerned about my son...I found out she was saying terrible things about him.

Jackie - posted on 12/26/2011

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I just wanted to put this out there. I have a special needs child. I worked for a health insurance company for 5 years. They fired me 20 days before his surgery. I had my sister watching him because I could not afford daycare. I later found out that there are special needs daycare where they have doctors, nurses, and cna on staff. I later found out that my employer that was a health insurance company should of been paying for that. So if you have a special needs child....be careful my boss pretended to be concerned about my son...I found out she was saying terrible things about him.

Tracie - posted on 11/24/2011

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You could consider the option of hosting an au pair - for an average cost of $350/week per family (not per child) you get a wonderful caregiver that you get to know because they live with your family. The hours are flexible and you also get some help with child related housekeeping! You don't have to miss work if the kids are sick and you expose them to a new culture in the process as well. Let me know if you would like more information.

Tracie - posted on 11/24/2011

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You could consider the option of hosting an au pair - for an average cost of $350/week per family (not per child) you get a wonderful caregiver that you get to know because they live with your family. The hours are flexible and you also get some help with child related housekeeping! You don't have to miss work if the kids are sick and you expose them to a new culture in the process as well. Let me know if you would like more information.

Tina - posted on 02/02/2011

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My husband was laid off when I was pregnant with DD1- Thanks AIG- he's been home with her and we've been making ends meet. Some months it tougher than others...at some point he went back to work and between scheduling drop-offs and pick-ups and just getting everything done that needed to be done as well as paying for daycare it was not worth it. He ended up working for $2/ hr after deducting for gas, daycare, food on the road...
And that would have put us in a higher tax bracket. For the time being he will stay home with DD1 and DD2 when she is born in July- however if a job comes along that pays a good salary (he's applied to TSA) we may consider hosting an Au-Pair. It is a live in Nanny of sorts so you need an extra room in your house- but the cost averages out to about $370/ week if you count in the Agency Fees and the Au-Pair stipend of $200/ week. In exchange you get 45 hrs of flexible childcare in your home - a warm meal if you get lucky and the Au-Pair can do the kids laundry and clean the kids Bedrooms and Playarea...so not a bad deal overall considering 2 kids in family daycare F/T are $500/ wk and $750 in a chain daycare...

Michelle - posted on 02/02/2011

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When I told my friends that I paid over $2000 a month for 2 children, they couldn't believe it and asked why I worked. Well, first off, bills and mortgage were not going to be paid with just my husband's salary. And secondly, I actually liked working. Today I pay around $1700 a month for before and after school care. As someone mentioned, there is the tax relief of daycare and, if offered, use flex benefits. Though only $5000 for the year of your own money, it's salary you don't have to pay taxes on.

Stephanie - posted on 02/02/2011

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I pay less then 900 for BOTH my children. What daycare do you have them at??

Alisha - posted on 02/01/2011

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That's crazy! Perhaps wait until your other son is school-aged or stay home with your children, they want your time more than anything anyways. You may have to make some adjustments for your lifestyle but do whatever you have to do.

Sandra - posted on 02/01/2011

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Having family or friends help out with childcare for a reduced rate as compared to daycare facility helps. We also tried connections through our church. We had a friend from church watch our 2 boys during last summer for a lot cheaper than daycare to help out with our tight budget. You might also try longer shifts 3 or 4 days out of the week so you can have an extra day off to save a day of daycare expense. I agree daycare is way out of control for working parents. My husband has a great federal job but my income is still needed to help pay off some extra bills, (credit cards), however I am seriously debating quitting my job by summer if daycare expenses with surpass my take home income. Right now my oldest son is in kindergarten and my 4 yr. old in daycare and we are still spending $692/ mo for daycare, $201/mo for kindergarten tuition and $312/mo for before and afterschool care for the kindergartener. I just have to step back and ask myself is it worth working?? Really??

Carolyn - posted on 01/31/2011

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I'm a nurse so my salary is pretty good. Our daycare is $600/month here in BC, Canada so for 2 it'll be double. We can write off up to $7000/yr of daycare costs in income tax so this helps. In the end, with our salaries and the cost of daycare, it pays to have both my husband and I working.

Mwanaharusi - posted on 01/31/2011

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For the time being my husband doesnt work but he is so busy to find a job so I leave one of my kids with my mom and the other one goes to Nursery school up to 12.30 afternoon that is the time my husband is already back at home so he take care of the kids until 4.30pm when im back from office, It is Ok for our kids but the situation is so tough because of income from only one person in the family but we keep on encouraging each other and we believe that everything will be ok, its a matter of time and patience.

Sara - posted on 01/31/2011

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There is definitely a breaking point below which it costs a family more to have both parents working outside the home than it would to have one of them stay at home. My DH and I make enough that we were not close enough to that breaking point for it to make financial sense in the short or long term for one of use to take time out of our career to stay home. At the height of our day-care bills for our two boys, we were spending roughly $24K/year for day care, and that's with one of the boys being part-time at any given time since I telecommute twice/week. It may sound outrageous, but it was actually not a large enough % of our overall income to make us choose to have one of us be a SAHP.

Now the annual bill is below $20K because DS1 is in kindergarten, and DS2 will start kindergarten in 2012, which is not far away. Meanwhile, DH and I have stayed the course in our careers and have gotten raises, though not every year because of the recession.

If you do become a SAHP, I would try hard to figure out a way to still put $ in a retirement savings account so you are not years behind when you return to the workforce, assuming that you do. That would be the most worrying thing to me if one of us were a SAHP. You still need to plan for the future so you can retire comfortably.

So different decisions make sense for different people. Oddly enough, since we've been forced to budget so much $ for day care while our kids were younger, once both of them are in public school, we'd have the option of one of us getting a lesser paying job closer to home or even working part-time so we'd have more flexibility with running the kids to activities, etc. But we might not choose to do that when the time comes, depending on how much we like our jobs.

Marilyn - posted on 01/31/2011

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There is a lot to think about. Stay at home and you may lose out on possible career advancement opportunities (after all, daycare is only for a few short years). But while working, there is the expense, which can make it tough. Staying at home may be a viable option, depending on debt to income ratio - for some it is cheaper to stay at home, while for others, its impossible. Really look at your situation, because it's not worth the risk of loosing house, car, etc for something you cannot afford. Maybe space the kids out by 4-5 years or, sometimes, being satisfied w/the one you have. My husband and I planned for a 3rd child (we have 2 boys, and hope for a girl), but really looking at our financial situation, we decided to leave it at two.

Danielle - posted on 01/30/2011

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Have you thought about finding a babysitter instead of doing daycare? Might be cheaper! I am a single mom that worked from 4 to whatever time i got done during the week and whatever hours on the weekends. My parents watched my son on the weekends and whenever they were off during the week. I had a babysitter come in whenever there was an overlap in the schedule.

Mwanaharusi - posted on 01/30/2011

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Thank God ive got my mum to take care of my kids when im away from home,the problem she is old and they are so naughty but she enjoy the babysit.

Gina-Marie - posted on 01/28/2011

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Either way you look at it, another child is an additional expense, however, there are ways to make it less than double. If you would like to stay home, you might consider reworking your budget to see if that is a possibility. If it's not an option, and it still makes sense for you work (you have to compare what you net a year with what you spend in childcare, we often just think about our gross pay) than you may want to consider a nanny. Our daycare is $1700/month PER CHILD! Each sibling gets 15% off so really; our monthly childcare expense for two kids is a shocking $3,200 a month. When I was pregnant we were evaluating our budget and we realized it was cheaper to get a nanny, which would cost us about $2,600-$2,800 a month for two kids. In the end, my oldest was already two and so I wanted him in a school program anyway so we decided stay with the crazy cost of daycare because we were so happy with the development of our oldest and how happy he was there. It is shockingly expensive, but I wouldn't trade in our decision. I'm very happy with where I leave my kids every day and that's a must if you are going to be a working parent. Good luck. I hope it all works out for you!

Kristin - posted on 01/28/2011

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We'll at least start like that if I get the job, him at home. Glad it is working!!

Kelli - posted on 01/28/2011

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I work full time, my husband stays home and raises our children! He also does some day care for a family...we live in rural Colorado so our cost of living is not ridiculously high. We have 3 children and 2 would be in day care nearly fulltime so the money he would make working would be just paying a day care.

Kristin - posted on 01/28/2011

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Wow, maybe we need to leave the city, it's $1750 for an infant where I was looking most recently and $1600 for a 2yo, it is intense, for us my husband has been looking for a job for a looooong time, I'm actually pregnant right now hence looking at the infant rates and it's just amazing how expensive this is, I'm researching the rates for nannies and au pairs, it's a trip to even be in this position.

Isobel - posted on 01/27/2011

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I was lucky with my first 2 kids as they were spaced out enough so as the 1st was going off to school the 2nd started at day care. However teh 3rd was much closer in age so we've had 2 years with them both in daycare. I was not going back to work full-time when they were small so part-time was always the option - it was just a matter of how much part-time. I worked out it was better $-wise if I worked 2 days not 3! it's a juggling act, for sure. we're lucky here in Australia with government child care rebate, and also a child care benefit depending on your income.

Karen - posted on 01/27/2011

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We have 2 in daycare and it costs us about $1400 a month, which in our area is cheap. It's a tough change to get used to but in most cases there are things we can cut from our budgets even if we don't really want to. It's a sacrifice for about 5 years and then they're off to school. On the other hand, if you take a few years off from working you may have a hard time getting back into a rewarding and/or well-paying career.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2011

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I have a 5 year old son and 1 year old daughter who go to an in home daycare and it costs me a total of $300 a week. Over half of my take home pay every 2 weeks goes to pay for it. My husband and I both work in the finance field and as much as I would like to stay home the money I get to keep from my check and all my benefits make it worth it to keep working for now.

Marie - posted on 01/27/2011

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email me and I will tell you how many mom's I know are able to stay home and work from home and be able to make enough money. Just send me and e-mail and a phone number if you would like me to call you. I do prefer to talk to people if I can.
Sincerely,

Marie
I would love to show you how we can help you and your family out.

Carolyn - posted on 01/27/2011

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Family/home daycares are often much less expensive than centers ($500 a month) and have smaller adult to child ratios. We still use one for after school care and our day care provider is like another wise grandmother in our family. She is truly wonderful and I couldn't have made it though the past 4 years without her. Ask for recommendations in your community, other moms might know some someone who will be a good fit for your family.

Char - posted on 01/27/2011

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Options can becoming a in home family child care provider and/or start your own home based business. I did both and has been our answer. Both have tax deductions that save you even more. Email me If you would like more information on either childcare provider or home business and I will be happy to share information with you.

Char in CA

Frenika - posted on 01/27/2011

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Some daycare offers family plans. Some are real good to where you pay full price for the first child then only $50 more for the second. And some you pay full price for the first child and 10% less for the second. It depends on the daycare but you should look into one that offers a family plan or something similar..

Jillian - posted on 01/27/2011

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Wow, I am so amazed at all of the helpful responses I have gotten from my question! Thank you all so much, this makes me feel like there ARE other options out there for us.

To answer a few questions that were out there: I am 27 and my husband is 28. We know we have time to wait if we wanted to wait until our son goes to school, but we also want them to be somewhat close in age. I'm also playing with the idea of shooting for 3 children. Only time will tell how that plays out, though :)
We don't have any family in town that could help us out, which is why we opted for group childcare. This place IS one of the pricier ones in our area, but it is walking distance from my work and I truly feel like we get the quality to justify the cost.

Aenea - posted on 01/27/2011

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I agree with Christina B. I have 2 boys who are 2yrs apart. It was just me at the time raising them with no help from the father. So I applied for childcare assistance and in my case they paid 100% of it. My part time job wasn't going to be able to pay that and plus I was full time in school. Once I begain making over their guide lines for a minute I paid out of pocket a month 155 and then I was no longer elgible for it. So I had my mother and other family members were able to take care of them for me and could use the extra money, but didnt have to pay alot to them. If I had to do it now it would be alot easier since Im now married and they are 12 and 14, but if they were younger I would stay home and continue doing tastefully simple to make up whats lacking. If we lived in the same city I would help your family out, I know how it is. Check around with your state health and human services..Good Luck..

Jane - posted on 01/26/2011

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Holy moly. Daycare cost have sure gone up since my kids were in daycare. Have you thought about getting a nanny? It might actually be cheaper. I'm not sure where you live but you pay a LOT per month. I'm in Colorado and I know it's not that expensive here. I feel for you :(

Glynka - posted on 01/26/2011

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Although we can't afford for me to quit my job, I was able to go to three days a week. It's been great to have the extra time with my kids, and easier to work out childcare. Could you go part time? The other total God-send is that we have a terrific nanny that comes to our house and that my toddler adores. She is a college student majoring in education, and works for us the days she doesn't have class. We only pay her $9 an hour! You might consider checking with the education department at a nearby university to see if they post jobs.

Even though it is a stretch, I am so thankful that we have another child! She is such a gift. It is a leap of faith, but God will provide for you.

Christine - posted on 01/26/2011

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I was in your exact situation. I found a stay at home mom who was looking to make some extra money. I pay her what I was paying for one child for both of my kids. It helps me because my daycare costs didn't go up, and it helps her because she's getting paid and still being able to stay home. This SAHM is now one of my best friends! Good luck.

Stephanie - posted on 01/26/2011

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Well, we managed on one salary, and doing actually very well now (thanks to moving back to my native Germany). Is there the opportunity to work part-time or during different hours? Is there family around who would be able to help out at least part time? What we were looking into was nanny-sharing. A professional nanny will earn between $2,000 and $3,000 a month, but you can get babysitters for less too. If you share a nanny with another family you can also split the cost and have the benefits of other kids around.

Michelle - posted on 01/26/2011

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I know you aren't trying to offend Leslie, but I think it really depends on where you live if you can stay at home. We are trying to be near our family and we do not have a lot of material things, yet we both do need to work.

[deleted account]

When we had our first child, my husband and I both worked full time. Our son was in daycare. When we had our second child there was no way that we could afford to have two children in daycare. We changed our schedules so we could work opposite of each other (by this time I had cut down to part time). The problem was we never saw each other and didn't have a whole lot of family time. We made the decision for me to stay at home with the kids. We weren't sure if we would be able to afford it with only having income from one of us. However, we had enough faith that God would take care of us. 5 years later with another child added to our family, I can honestly say this was the best decision we ever made. I have also been blessed with a home based business so I can now help bring money in to our house and be home to raise my kids at the same time. For us, it basically came down to, do we want almost my entire pay check going to pay someone else to raise our kids, or maybe not have as much money but be there for our kids on a regular basis. For us, me staying at home was the best decision. We don't have a lot of material things...but we have a whole lot of love and a whole lot of fun!

Ann Marie - posted on 01/26/2011

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So I just checked on the cost of daycare for 2 kids in my area. It's about $2050/month here for a toddler and a preschooler. And our current au pair arrangement is about $1600/month (I re-did the math). We're still considering both options for next year, because we wanted the pre-school experience for our older daughter.

One thing you should know for the LONG run. The way the current college financial aid works in the U.S., the colleges will calculate how much your family can pay per year (from savings and income), and they will usually cover the rest in grants and loans. So... two kids in college will cost you about the same as one kid in college, if you get financial aid and grants to cover the rest. That argues for having kids close together.

But having two kids in child care is so expensive, it makes those early years tough for sure. Also, no one really knows if college financial aid will work the same way in 15-20 years.

Amy - posted on 01/26/2011

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stay at home mom daycares-alot of teachers who are retired, grandmothers, former daycare workers, and stay at home moms open up their homes to other children at reasonable rates. I pay 100 a week for daycare (one child-meals included).
Depending on the state-it's also very regulated as well. Make sure they are cpr certified/background checked.

Lindonna - posted on 01/26/2011

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Our children are 6 years apart so that we've only had the cost of daycare one child at a time. There's a lot of other cost advantages to spacing out their ages such as saving on diapers, car seats (by the time the one grows out it can be passed down to the other, strollers, etc. Besides, after waiting 6 years, it's very nice to have a baby again. Good luck to you :)

Angela - posted on 01/26/2011

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Yup. I have to keep reminding myself this is only for another 3 years until the older one's in kindergarden. My husband wants a third once she's in kindergarden. I just roll my eyes at him.

Angela - posted on 01/26/2011

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Michelle, I'm in MA as well. $1,600 a month's a bargain. We *should* be paying more but when I told our daycare we were leaving because i couldn't afford to have 2 kids there, they made us a deal which was so generous of them (said with only a hint of sarcasm, lol).

Michelle - posted on 01/26/2011

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We pay 990 a month for my 3 year old. My MIL watches our 7 month old and we pay her 50 a week (we used to pay 100 when she watched our older daughter but we can't afford to do that any longer). We live in Massachusetts and have the dubious distinction of being the most expensive place for daycare in the US. A few things we do to make it work is pay through a cafeteria plan at work, so the payment is done before taxes.

Angela - posted on 01/26/2011

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It's hard for us because with two in daycare ($1,600 a month, which is more than our mortgage), it almost doesn't make sense for me to work, except for the fact that I have our health insurance. We've had to basically just make it work for us - we almost never go out, the girls thankfully have older girl cousins that they get hand me downs from, so we don't have to buy many clothes, etc. We don't take vacations, though we will this year, and don't do a lot of extras like movies or eating out. There's no point to do those now anyway when the kids can't remember. We only have 1 nicer vehicle that i have that is the family car; my husband drives a junky pick-up truck. We had discussed me staying at home, but I carry our health insurance and my husband's employer doesn't offer it, so it makes no sense for me to quit and stay home with the kids when we'll have to find a way to pay double for health insurance through the state for the four of us. There's not much left from my paycheck every week after I pay daycare, but it's enough to meet our basic needs, and right now when the kids are just 2 1/2 and 2 months old, that's all they need. All the extras and fun stuff will come when they're older and can remember it.

Elisha - posted on 01/26/2011

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Some family's hire a live in Nanny from overseas. It costs about the same as daycare for one child because some of the money she earns is deducted for room and board. Otherwise, take a hit in quality of life until they're school age...my husband and I are living in an apartment at the moment despite being able to take an upgrade in living because of the idea that we'll have more children in the future...that way if one of our incomes disappears entirely we'll still be able to pay our bills on one salary. Staying at home and running a home based business is also an idea - even if you only make 300 dollars a month, that's 300 you didn't have before. Ask yourself how much you're ACTUALLY earning after daycare has to be paid and see how your options play out.

Ignacia - posted on 01/26/2011

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I understand what your thoughts are. My husband and I have 2yr old twins. I would suggest to ask the daycare where your son goes if they have a discount for having another sibling in the same daycare. Mine offers the discount. If they don't sometime you can nogotiate one :). You seem to pay a lot for yoyur childcare but it could be the going rate for where your located. Look around and see what other options you guys might have. Good luck!

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