The Circle of Moms site will be discontinued on March 1st, 2020. Head to POPSUGAR Family's Facebook page for more community discussions.

Let's Go >>

What are some affordable childcare ideas you can share?

In today's economy, many people don't have the money to hire a full-time nanny or register their children at the Premiere Day Care du Jour, but childcare is still sometimes a necessity, whether you're a stay-at-home mom who needs some personal time or whether you are a working mom who needs regular childcare. What are some affordable options you've found for childcare?

If you have any questions, please check our FAQ page

21  Answers

22 3

I'm working part-time right now and have four children, two at home and two in school. I trade child care with friends. On one of my work days, I work in the morning while one of my co-workers watches my kids and her kids at my house (I live close to work). When I come home at lunch time we trade so she can go into work for the afternoon while I watch the kids. I also trade with friends, one of whom is going to school. They will watch my kids while I'm at work and I will babysit for them in the evenings or on the weekends. It saves us ALL money, and our kids are with people that they know and that we trust.

15 20

I have 4 children ages 21 down to 2 (all with the same DH ;)
I have used in home child care, montessori & traditional preschool for child care (working full time during the first 2 & being a stay at home with our last 2)...
This is what has worked for us:
1. Split your shifts:
Hubby & I getting our hours as seperate as possible (so he goes in at 6 & I take the kids to child care at 9 as I have to be at work at 10 & he gets them when he is off at 3) decreases the amount of hours & cost...
2. While being a stay at home (actually, I run a business from home); I still needed Dr's appts for myself covered & classes for work covered, as well as time when I wanted to volunteer in our 8 yo's class covered... I was a member of a local mom's club & got a great lead on a woman (that they loved) who does drop in for $5/hr... So, post ur need for child care on FB, ur church where ever you are that there are other moms, also & listen to the other moms you know who have already tried that child care, know the costs, whether their kids are happy there, etc...

0 0

==== ==== top Nike air Jordan shoes33$,Air Force 1 33$, Nike dunks SB shoe,Nike Shox shoe. Wholesale Cheap Nike shoes with discount jersey, High quality T- shirts,ED hardy t-shirts,ED Hardy hoodies,ED hardy shoes,ED hardy Jeans,Evisu shoes,GUCCI shoes,LV Handbag,Chanel Handbag Lv,Gucci,Prada,Coach,Chanel Women sandal is $30 DG,JUICY,Lv,Gucci,Coach Hand-bag price is $35 Polo,Locaste,Levis,EdHardy,Bape,Christan Audigier AF,COOGI Tshirt price is $12 Jordan (1-22)&2009 shoes $45 Nike shox(R4,NZ,OZ,TL1,TL2,TL3) $35 Handbags(Coach lv fendi d&g) $30 Tshirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $13 Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $30 Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,Armaini) $15 N ew era cap $16 ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== Bikini(Ed hardy,polo) $18

20 0

my classmate's sister-in-law makes $79 an hour on the internet. She has been unemployed for seven months but last month her pay was $14450 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site >>>>>>>>>

View More
20 37

I have used the wonderful services of an in-home daycare provider since my eldest was 13 months old. (she's now six) I was most fortunate to discover her through friends. I am a theatre artist and a teaching artist and I have worked part-time/almost full-time/not quite part-time/freelance/hardly any time (you get the picture) since forever. I've always coddled together an income and my hours can range from hardly anything to crazy busy over the course of a month. On top of that, my husband travels for his job. This schedule makes it very difficult to co-op with others and/or babysit share. I tried that for awhile & it was just too stressful & inconsistent, both for me & my children. My daycare lady works with me on a monthly basis with my schedule and we only pay for the hours we actually use her services. I could NEVER afford it & would quit my work if that was not the case. It is a very homey place and it feels like a second home for my girls. My elementary age girl misses seeing her daycare lady a lot now that she is in school full time. Her flexibility and affordability make it so I can do my work, which I love, but also have a consistent, loving place for my girls to be nurtured when I am working. I feel blessed to have her. We are also extremely fortunate to have a service provided by my husband's work where we can have a sitter come to our home when the hours get wacky when he travels. It is at an extremely reduced rate. It is a fantastic, unbelievable perk. But, we can only use so many hours a year. We've always been able to get the same sitter each time we've used it. We also use the after-school care at my daughter's school, which is not as affordable but it is convenient & they provide excellent care, with amazing projects and community building & I only have to use it a few days a week. We also do trades with friends for evenings. We don't, however, go out that much without our kiddos. Most of our daycare dollars are spent so we are able to work.

0 1

Look online on, sittercity, etc. You may be surprised what you find. A lot of nannies are educated and cheaper than daycare.

113 30

I'm lucky enough to live in Quebec Canada where it costs only 7$ a day to put your child in day care (in recognized daycares). It is unfortunate that other provinces in Canada, and states in the US do not have this same opportunity.

33 0

Coop preschools where all the moms put in time instead of money.

98 0

Did you know some daycare centers will allow you to work at there center and put your child in this means childcare will be paid for and you will still get a check at the end of the week. I know creative kids had a program where they would take like a 100 dollars out of your check for your child and then the rest of your check was yours, I do not know if they still do this but it is an idea that can work if you want to get out of the house and do something you feel good about working with kids and seeing your own at the same place all day a great combination I would say!

57 21

I have used registered home day cares.
They are usually more reasonable plus there are only a few kids.

I never liked the idea of my young one sharing a building with 30+ kids.

At a home daycare I think the max amount of children is 8. (varies by state I think)

97 17

I am a stay at home mom who watches my sister's two year old daughter often. They both work third shift and try to stay on the same schedule. His mom has her overnight when they work and I have her during the day while they sleep. I definitely think if family members are an option then that is the way to go. They may do it for less money than a day care or even for free. Since you know this person, you know if you can trust them or not. Also, I have a personal interest in her because she is family and she gets to spend all day with her cousin!

29 2

Net work with other parents in your community, try drop in center, and also there are college students who will come into your home and it does not cost a lot,I am a childcare worker for 21 years and there are many like me in your neighborhood, cash is better some will do part time care for less, how about trying two hours at a time,that is not a lot to pay out, everyone need a break in the United States they should have sites were you can find a caregiver or students, get your self involve in Library, or drop in Center, or schools near to you, hope this help good luck.

5 0

One thing to consider is the option of hosting an au pair for your child care needs. An au pair can work up to 45 hours a week on a flexible schedule to meet the needs of your family. They live with you so you get to know them on a personal basis and they become a part of your family. The average cost to host an au pair is $350/week per family, not per child which also makes it an affordable option.

2 2

When the time came to get my son socialized with other children (he's an only child), I looked for a place where he would have 2 half days a week to start with. Turns out it was less expensive for him to be full time, 5 days a week everywhere I looked. Then I found Lakeside United Methodist, on Hilliard Rd. 10 years ago, it was $125...a MONTH. The price has not gone up much since then. The day is 9am to 1pm (noon when he went), and as far as I know, it's still Monday thru Thursday (but they may be doing Fridays now). It was the perfect situation for us. LUMC is very warm & nurturing, the children are well taken care of and it's a real family oriented environment. They brought their own snacks, had many adventures, field trips came to them instead of going off in vans somewhere, and it was a lot of fun for him. He's in 6th grade now, and his best friend is from his second year at LUMC. He still has very fond memories from those days!

4 13

If you're not looking for full-time childcare, but rather for a few hours here and there for date-nights or just some time to yourself, a good option is a college student. I have several girls that are in college that come over and babysit so my husband and I can go on dates. They are usually flexible both with what their willing to be paid as well as with their schedule. If you don't know of any college students, check with a local church or college's childcare program for a referral. Good luck!

3 42

When my ex-husband was in the military, and we lived on an Army base, we joined the local Babysitting Club. Each of us got vouchers when we joined, transferrable for hours of care. The idea was: we all went onto a contact list and when we needed childcare we found someone available and paid them in vouchers...then we had to provide care in return to someone else in order to earn some vouchers back. From memory the vouchers were in half-hour increments. No money needed, just a coordinator and a group of willing parents :) It was a great system and excellent for forming a close community; very supportive for the spouses who often parented alone while their significant other was deployed or on training.

13 173

If you worked from home you could sell Avon & take your child around with you no child care to pay out if you self employeed... Well if this sounds good to you get in touch with me!

15 1

I helped start a babysitting co-op once I quit my main job to start my own business. With income limited I needed to find a way so my husband and I could have date nights and if I needed backup care for training and meetings outside of my son being in a home daycare 2 days a week. The trick for sustaining a co-op is to have members who are willing to not only provide care but receive care. I'm still looking to recruit more members as we only have 2-3 who use it on a regular basis. However, it has been very helpful and I feel less guilty about asking people to help watch my son. Here is an article about babysitting co-ops: If you want more information about how I got the co-op started or live in the Kirkland/Bellevue/Redmond area and would like to join you can e-mail me at

79 0

When I was pregnant with my first child, I asked my boss if I could work from home. He agreed. Now I have two kids and one on the way...I still work from home, full time, for the same company and it has worked out well for everyone involved. Best part - I still have a good income and no child-care expenses at all. I also have to second others' response for finding a good, licensed, in-home daycare. My mom has been an in-home daycare provider for over 25 years now...and I know that there are lots of great providers like her, who charge about half of a daycare center. As for the suggestion to use a drop-in daycare facility - I would have to disagree - it is generally a VERY expensive option.

16 6

I am a stay at home mom for that reason. Childcare can be very expensive. I am now doing in home day care. It allows me to be home for my girls when they get home from school or are off from school, while I make a little money.

18 30

I am currently on a fixed income but job searching. I have an autistic son who has very special needs. I need someone educated and caring and understanding with flexible hours. My son generally needs someone on a one-to-one basis. I am really nervous of going back to work and having to cut my hours short at a new job to be able to drop off my son and pick him up from school. Does anyone know of a one-to-one care provider, familiar with autism for something like a before and after school program? I am really in need of help. Sorry that I don't have anything to offer in the way of ideas. Thanks for listening guys :)

15 20

My daughter needed childcare hours while going for her BA in child & family studies (not sure if that is the exact title of the degree)... She actually needed child care hours to earn some credits & had more of the specialized training you are talking about (had taken care of a child wheel chair bound & fed through a feeding tube), special needs multiples, etc... Try getting in touch with your local community colleges & state universities, ask if they have child & family studies or similar & get in touch with the department there.. Hopefully they can refer you to some students who could use a little money & child care hours that have some skills you would need :) Further, many colleges offer child study labs (childcare supervised by the college where professors examine the college students interactions with the children)... Not sure how Autism would play into that; but, in my opinion the college students would greatly benefit from working with kids with special needs tho I don't know for sure the labs accept them; but would be worth checking into... All the best :)

13 12

In-Home Day Care is an alternative choice, most have more flexible/longer hours, more accommodating and cheaper. Legitimate ones still have to keep certifications updated and they get inspected regularly.

100 8

Unfortunately, child care isn't really affordable for anyone right now. One of the many reasons I haven't gone back to work.. I can only suggest finding a drop in day care for when you need an occasional day off, or maybe a babysitter that you know of. Even they can charge and arm and a leg sometimes, which is why I don't get out as much as I would like. Sorry. I wish I had more ideas. The only idea I could think of is a co-op maybe with some friends?

11 12

I am a childcare provider who started working on the barter system once the economy tanked. I have a mom who is a stylist and she trades her hair cuts/wash/style/color for 3 days of childcare. Another dad cuts my lawn and rakes leaves for 2 days off of childcare. A dietician offered her services (when I was dieting) in exchange for childcare days here and there. If you have something to offer in exchange try to work out a trade...of course cash is the driving force but sometimes a combination of reduced income and some service is payment enough.

15 20

Agree with Laura; I teach self-rescue swimming & have traded services for photography, maid service, advertising, diet program, etc... Although, if you are in a situation where it seems you are just working to pay the sitter, you may want to check out the one income calculator (if you have a husband/partner this checks to see how much you ACTUALLY make after paying all your working expenses including childcare). It was enough to show my husband that although I had a HUGE gross income; after childcare & expenses I was only making $5hr & we decided I could work from home (at first child care & now drowning prevention) & make that up w/o our children spending most of their waking hours away from us & home...

View More

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms