3 Easy and Ingenious Ways to Save on Child Care Costs

Preschool

Who wants to save on child care costs? Me! Me! Me!

If you’ve ever needed child care because you have to work, you’re hardly alone. But if you’ve also ever felt as if you have to work just to pay for child care, you’re really not alone.

Whether you use a nanny or your little one goes to daycare, you know that paying to have someone watch your child can drain your wallet faster than you can fill it.

However, there are some tricks to saving on child care that almost everyone can take advantage of. Want to see if these tricks apply to you? Read on:

According to the very smart money people over at NBC News, these three tips can save you lots of money on childcare —

1. Tax breaks

Working parents are eligible for a Child and Dependent Care Credit by reducing taxable income. It won’t allow you to deduct all of your child care costs, but between 20-35 percent of it could qualify (up to $3,000 per child). Talk to your tax professional to see how this can work to your benefit.

2. Flexible Spending Accounts

Many people are familiar with FSAs and use them for things like eyeglasses, but did you know you can also pay for child care out of your FSA? According to Hewitt Associates (via NBC News), 96 percent of employers offer a Dependent-Care Flexible-Spending Account, which means you put aside pretax dollars to pay for things like day camp, daycare and babysitters (although beware: the babysitters must report the income from caring for your child/ren). You can put a maximum of $5,000 into your FSA for childcare. Again, though, check with your tax adviser to make sure this won’t affect your Child and Dependent Care Credit. And also keep in mind that whatever money put in your FSA that isn’t spent goes away at the end of each calendar year — it can’t be refunded to you or credited to another year.

3. Nanny Sharing

Maybe daycare doesn’t feel right to you for any number of reasons, but have you explored shared child care in a smaller and more private setting? Sometimes families consider sharing a nanny between two or three kids. It might be more expensive than daycare, but probably not by much, and the advantages of having a low caretaker to child ratio could be more of what you’re looking for than a larger daycare environment. However, be sure that the families involved pool their money to have the nanny hired  trained in CPR and other critical lifesaving techniqes that daycare workers are also required to know by law.

For 3 more tricks on saving money on child care, head on over to NBCNews.com

Photo credit: iStock

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