For many families the cost of childcare is just one of those expenses that is a necessary evil in order to have enough money to pay the bills. Unfortunately the cost of childcare can be super expensive, so expensive that some people are actually better off staying at home to look after their kids than they are going to work when you take tax benefits into consideration.
It’s important to consider your options before making a decision. The following are some of the things my wife and I thought about in regards to childcare.
Long Day Care
When we first looked into day care we thought it might be a good idea. Then I did the sums and worked out the very small amount of tax benefit we would be getting, and all of a sudden day care just didn’t look like an appealing option. The average cost in our area is about $80 a day per child and most centers have waiting lists of about a year long, so we penciled this in as the last resort.
Stay at Home Parent
My wife and I then looked into the pros and cons of her staying home full time. We worked out that we would only be about $50 a day better off if my wife went back to work when compared to her staying home full time. So we decided that our son would likely benefit more from having a full time carer than we would by having the extra $250 a week, and so my wife hasn’t been back to work since.
For us this arrangement made the most sense. I would continue working full time, our son would get 1 on 1 attention and my wife could then work on our business whenever she had spare time. This has turned out to be a major blessing as now our business is starting to really do well and my son gets to spend all day with his mother.
Another option we considered was to make use of our parents (our sons grandparents), at the time my wife’s parents were both retired and had plenty of time to burn. However in the end we didn’t think it was fair on them to look after our son when that would likely hamper any retirement plans they may have.
What have you done in regards to childcare?