Budgeting for Child Care
Parenting can take a big chunk out of your budget.To save money, consider these tips:
- Pack brown-bag lunches.
- Grocery shop alone and after eating.
- Buy snacks in bulk and repackage them in plastic bags.
- Grow some of your own food.
- Shop at discount stores, thrift shops and resale or consignment stores.
- Buy clothes out-of-season, when the highest discounts are applied to prices.
- Shop online so it's easier to make comparisons.
- Use the child and dependent care credit.
- Ask your employer about Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (DCFSAs), which will allow you to save on taxes by paying child care costs with pretax dollars.
- Telecommuting, job-sharing, and flexible schedules (flex-schedules) can reduce time away from home.
- If your school district offers a free half-day pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds or a free full-day kindergarten, enroll your child.
The Family Budget Calculator
The Economic Policy Institute has published a Family Budget Calculator. This calculator allows you to determine the income needed for particular types of families to make ends meet. Simply select from one of six family types, pick a state, and then select a community to see how much that family is likely to need for housing, food, child care, etc.