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9 Unique Ways to Save Money on Childcare & Babysitting

Looking for ways to save on childcare or babysitting? We’ve got you covered with a variety of tips and strategies to help you ensure you get the best childcare for your budget.

A note about childcare: always make sure you’ve properly vetted any childcare or babysitting option to ensure the safety of your family. Invest in a background check for anyone working with you and your children.

Family help

The average American family spends about $600 per month on childcare.

Whether it’s an older child home from college, a grandparent or other relative, enlisting your family’s help when possible can help save a lot on childcare costs.

Look for ways to dilute your costs by combining this and other strategies to “hack” your way to saving more.

Home-based solutions

Similar to considering family help, in-home solutions can be more affordable than traditional daycares. Chances are, there’s a local home-based childcare option in your neighborhood. Just be sure to do your homework and make sure it’s a good fit for you and your child.

Altering your schedule

Sometimes paying for childcare isn’t the most suitable option. If you work in a job that allows telecommuting or working from home, this could also be a great way to avoid the high cost of daycare. Even if you can only do this once or twice per week, the savings can add up. Alternatively, look for ways to shift the hours you’re working if possible to avoid needing as much outside help with childcare.

Leveraging tax credits

If you’re claiming dependent children on your tax returns, you can get the Child and Dependent Care Credit which is good for up to $2000 in tax credits per child or $500 per dependent.

Flexible spending account

Another way to save on taxes is through a flexible spending account which gets funded with your pre-tax dollars. In this way, you could save thousands on taxes by using your pre-tax income on childcare which could then, in turn, change your marginal tax rate by deflating the amount of income you report for tax purposes. However, you can’t simultaneously combine the two, unfortunately. Talk to an accountant to determine which solution is most beneficial to your finances.

Faith-based options

Many churches and other faith-based organizations offer childcare at a lower price than traditional daycare centers. Chances are, there are several options in your area. If you’re a member of such an organization, consider reading through the bulletin or checking their website for details and announcements.

Enlisting local teens

For part-time childcare like babysitting, the local teen workforce is another option. Babysitters in high school are generally more affordable than daycare, but make sure you’re hiring a responsible helper. If possible, get the recommendation of another local parent whom you trust.


Do you possess a valuable skill? You could work out a pretty steep discount on childcare by trading services with your daycare or childcare provider. Options like this would be ideal for tradespeople, marketing professionals and the like — anyone who could fill a reciprocal need through shared services!

Free Pre-K

Leverage the free community resources at your disposal whenever possible. If your kids are old enough for pre-k, check into free options in your area. There are various state- and government-sponsored programs such as Head Start.

Is Debt Getting in the Way of Affording Childcare?

While credit counselors cannot advise you on childcare, these professionals can talk to you about your financial situation so that managing debt doesn’t keep you from finding the best care for your family.

If credit card debt has become overwhelming for you or your household, consider enlisting the help of a nonprofit debt management program like CreditGUARD. Credit counselors can work with you to provide financial education and debt management solutions that make sense for your family.

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