I Couldn't Afford Daycare for 3 Young Kids. Here's What I Did Instead

Although I’ve been a self-employed writer for many years, at one point during my career, one of my clients offered me a full-time position that I opted to take. I was planning to have kids and liked the idea of a steady paycheck instead of a random one, so I accepted a full-time role prior to having my son.

Once I had my son, I continued to hold down that job, even though it meant paying about $15,000 a year for daycare. At the time, the numbers made sense because I was still bringing home a decent chunk of money after child care costs, commuting expenses, and taxes.

The numbers stopped working out in my favor, however, when I had twin daughters a few years after my son. At that point, I was looking at daycare tuition for three children simultaneously. And since my local center had recently raised their prices, I was quoted somewhere in the vicinity of $54,000 a year for full-time care. Once I got that number, I knew what I had to do.

When quitting your job makes sense

The number my daycare center quoted me for my three kids didn’t shock me. After all, I knew what I was paying for one child. Because of this, I specifically made sure to start building my freelance client base back up when I was pregnant with my daughters. I knew that putting three kids in daycare wouldn’t make sense for my personal finances given what I was earning, and that a better bet was to just work as a freelancer when I could.

In the end, my income definitely took a hit for the first couple of years after I had my daughters. Since they were so young and it was tough to procure child care other than the occasional babysitter, I didn’t have so many hours available to work.

Once my daughters turned 2, I was able to get them into an extended-day preschool program that made sense financially. And my son was able to start kindergarten by then. So from there, I had more coverage and my income therefore went up.

Still, I ran the numbers on those two years when I didn’t earn very much and found that my decision still made financial sense. By barely paying for child care those two years and working when I could, I earned more money for my family than I would have by staying at my full-time job but losing such a massive portion of my income to child care.

It pays to run the numbers

Whether you’re having your first child, your second, or your fifth, if you’re worried that the cost of child care will pretty much wipe out your salary at work, then you may want to consider another arrangement.

Let’s say you have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old. Care.com puts the average cost of having two toddlers in daycare at $556 a week. That’s about $29,000 a year.

Meanwhile, let’s figure you earn $50,000 a year and bring home $39,000 after taxes. If you’re forced to spend $29,000 on daycare, that cuts your take-home pay to $10,000, not even accounting for commuting. And while you may be able to eke out more income by allocating funds for daycare in a dependent care flexible spending account and snagging a tax break, all told, you may be looking at bringing home under $1,000 a month.

At that point, you may just want to see if it’s possible to work part-time via a series of side hustles. You may, for example, be able to do some data entry work during the day while your kids are napping, and then do something like drive for a ride-hailing service at night if you have a partner who’s out at work during the day but is home from 6:00 p.m. onward.

Of course, you may need to be mindful of health insurance. If leaving a full-time job means losing your coverage, then you may need to rethink that plan. In that case, it could very much make sense to bring home little money after paying for daycare if it means retaining your employer-sponsored health coverage.

But otherwise, run the numbers and see what works for your household budget. You may find that continuing to work full-time just doesn’t make sense when you consider the cost of paying for child care.

Alert: our top-rated cash back card now has 0% intro APR until 2025

This credit card is not just good – it’s so exceptional that our experts use it personally. It features a lengthy 0% intro APR period, a cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee! Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top