HOUSTON - As we get ready to start the school year, a lot of parents are breathing a little financial sigh of relief. School means less time paying for child care, which just keeps increasing in cost.
The price tag for childcare has a huge influence on our lives as parents and professionals, according to a Care.com study.
When it comes to average weekly costs for one child a day care center will set you back $211, but expect to pay more for in-home care. An after-school sitter costs an average of $262 a week, it’s $367 for an au pair and $565 for a nanny.
That’s money parents are shelling out every week because the No. 1 word they used to describe child care is “necessary.” It’s necessary so that we can go to work, which also gets impacted.
The study says 63 percent of parents made career decisions based on how much it costs to have someone else watch their kids. They either change jobs, ask for a more flexible schedule, switch to part-time or become a stay-at-home parent.
The rising expenses can take a toll on marriages too. About 40 percent of parents admit to tension in their relationship stemming from child care costs. That’s understandable considering about a third of families spend 20 percent of their annual income on care for their kids.
For new parents, that price tag can be a hard pill to swallow. About two-thirds say they were surprised when they found out just how much child care costs.
Even so, moms and dads aren’t interested in skimping. Most are willing to pay more for lower student/teacher ratio in a day care center or an early education degree for a nanny.
There are things you can do to save some dough. Do your homework and research the options out there. Also, talk to your company’s HR department to see if there are any child care benefits. Most offer what’s called a “Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account.” That’s money that comes out of your paycheck pre-taxes.
For more information on the Care.com study, click here.
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