Find the Best and Cheapest Childcare for Your Family with These Five Tips

By Reyna Gobel, Expert Fea Money Financial Literacy School

New job? There’s a lot to think about when starting a new job.

One of the most complex tasks on your list may be childcare. How many hours you’ll have to work is always a consideration when choosing a new job. Other factors like your commute, overtime, flexible schedules, and more added to the equation.

Here’s what to think about when evaluating potential childcare expenses related to your new job.

Seek Flexible Childcare

Depending on your current childcare agreement, times or hours may be flexible. Stick with that if you can, but if your daycare center is not prepared for late hours, a private sitter may be okay with working a longer schedule or revised hours that are adjusted for a new work schedule.

This will be one of the easier needs to evaluate. You’ll know if you need additional options or childcare because your current sitters aren’t available for the hours you need, or aren’t located near enough to your home or your new place of business.

Work From Home When You Can

Working from home one or more days per week is becoming an option for more and more workers each year. Always ask if this is a possibility. You may be surprised!

The increased flexibility of telecommuting not only decreases childcare costs but also decreases commuting time and cost. However, it can also decrease work hours in some cases.

Tag Team Pick-Up and Drop-Off

While not optimal for spending time together, having slightly different schedules may help you and your co-parent with skimming a bit off of childcare costs. For instance, if you have the same work schedule, your significant other might be the one that picks up the child from school or daycare while you become the drop-off parent. A schedule or detailed routine will help a lot.

Be Ready for Overtime

Remember, your babysitter – who isn’t salaried – may charge you for extra hours or late pick-up. The same goes for a daycare facility. And if you work in a salaried position you may be required to regularly work overtime for which you’re not paid. Sometimes you can exchange this time for other days off or late arrivals. Other times you can’t.

In other salaried jobs, you may be expected to work unpaid overtime during annual events or busy times, such as registration period at a university, or during an annual event for shareholders at a private corporation, or if you’re wrapping up a big group project.

When evaluating salary, consider this in your decision-making process. Ask upfront about expected overtime and average schedules so you can be prepared.

Asking the overtime question will not only help you figure out the difference between future and current childcare costs, but it may also help you figure out if you get more time off. Or if your expected 40-hour work week is often actually 50 to 60 hours per week.

Plan Your Commute

Commuting is probably the biggest surprise time suck. But if you’re lucky, a new job that’s potentially further away may have less traffic and you get home faster.

It’s always best to practice a commute at least once or twice at the time you would travel to see how much time the commute will really take. Especially when you have children, it’s extra important to gauge how long it will take you to pick up your kids before starting a new gig.

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