When it comes to childcare, many families face a catch-22 situation. While a single income may not be enough to cover your family’s costs, returning to the workforce generally means also having to pay high childcare centre fees, which can rapidly eat up any wage you bring in. There’s no denying it can be a highly stressful situation, but there are alternatives. Whether you’re looking to get back into the workforce to help with debt, or simply to bring in extra income, these budget savvy childcare solutions can help you lighten the load.
Many people turn to grandparents when looking for childcare, but any trusted family member may certainly provide you with much-needed assistance. Given some childcare centres charge up to $160 a day, even one day a week care from a family member could save you hundreds of dollars a month. Consider who might be available, it could be a great opportunity for them to bond with your children.
2. Other parents
Other parents can also be a good option. Some parents have a childcare ‘exchange’ and take turns to care for children on different days of the week. Consider what days or hours you need help, and then ask others who may be in a similar position. If you sit down and discuss your options, you may find you are in a position to help each other out.
3. Au pairs
While au pairs may seem to belong to the domain of the wealthy, an au pair can actually be a very convenient and cost-saving solution. Au pairs are often international students or travellers. They are generally live-in, so you’ll provide a bedroom, meals and a small allowance. A reputable au pair employment service can provide you with experienced au pairs, look after visa requirements and give you all the facts.
4. Family day care
Some local councils oversee family day care programs, where up to five children are cared for in the home of a qualified, experienced childcare worker. Costs are usually more affordable than in childcare centres, waitlists tend to be shorter, and carers are generally able to give more personal attention to your child. Your local council should be able to advise you about the program in your area. With family day care, you may also be eligible for extra childcare support.
However difficult the childcare situation appears to be at the moment, it’s worth remembering that many others have been in the same situation, and found effective solutions.
Consider every possible option, and don’t be shy in asking for help from family and friends.
If you are feeling weighed down by debt or other financial pressures in addition to childcare costs, please don’t hesitate to talk to us. Our debt relief service is designed to you help you regain your financial freedom and move on with your life.