Budgeting for Summer Childcare
Before you know it, the kids will burst through their school's doors for the last time — ready to start their summer vacation. Take the time to start thinking about your kid's summer childcare now, so you're not caught off guard.
But don't fret — with a little help, you can wade through the childcare options and figure out how to budget for the one that best fits your family's needs.
Choosing the Right Kind of Care
Rather than thinking about what your budget can handle and starting there, let's focus first on what kind of childcare you're looking for.
Factors to keep in mind when searching for your perfect childcare solution include the location of the facility, the schedule of care and whether or not it fits your working schedule needs, the reputation of care and the right ratio of caretaker to kids that you're looking for.
Different kinds of summer childcare include:
- Family Help: Oftentimes your best, and first, childcare option can be a loving relative.
- Babysitting Co-op: Luckily, you're not the only family looking for the right kind of summer childcare. Seek out other families and join babysitting co-ops near you where each family is responsible for providing part of the care and the system runs for free.
- Nanny Share: A nanny share allows you and a few other moms to create a summer camp-like experience by hiring one nanny across several families.
- Summer Day/Night Camps: Summer camps can offer deeper learning in your child's particular subject of interest. Use the American Camp Associations' (ACA) camp finder to help with your search.
- Full-on Help/Daycare: You could look into hiring a full-time nanny through the summer. This would give your child one-on-one attention.
- Hybrid Approach: Perhaps you want to sign up for two to three weeklong summer camps, but then your parents can pitch in to help with the rest. Or maybe you just need to pay for a nanny during the time in between the camps you've signed up for, and then you and your partner can stagger vacation weeks to get you through the summer.
Budgeting for Summer Childcare
While you can pay for your childcare costs out of your monthly cash flow, with a little planning ahead of time you can be sure not to empty your savings.
Here's how to budget:
- Research the Price: First and foremost, you need to know how much money your childcare option will cost, including tax discount on the overall cost. Do you qualify for state-funded help with paying for your childcare?
- Figure out How Much You'll Need to Save up: Now that you know the remaining total amount of money you'll need to save up for, you need to figure out how much money per month you have to save. Find this by dividing the total amount left that you need to save by the number of months left until payments are due.
After going through these steps, perhaps you've found that you are coming up a little short. In this case, you'll want to check out alternative ways to still afford the summer childcare you want and need. Using the tools and resources above, you've got the power to make this year's summer vacation the best ever!