Your kids are priceless! And your time is precious!
So what can you do to find the help you need, remembering that time is money, but make it as affordable as possible. Reliable child care you trust is often going to be relatively expensive. But there are ways to make your dollars stretch:
Financial Support from your Employer
Are you taking advantage of all the options for child care financial support? Have you checked with your employer to see if they offer any support for child care, a benefit companies are increasingly offering as they realise how hard it can be for working parents. (and employers? you can help your employees with this through our Corporate Program!)
Financial Support from the Government
The government offers financial support to child costs. Google Universal child care benefits (UCCB) to learn how the Revenue Agency can help you or visit this link: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/bnfts/uccb-puge/menu-eng.html. Also, some provinces will reimburse, when receipts are provided, part of your child care costs. British Columbia is one such province; check out their site (http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/ocg/fmb/manuals/FAP/FAP_C.htm#CCE) to learn more and then Google for more information if your province.
Child Care Share
Don’t try to shoulder this burden alone. Talk to your friends and neighbours and organise a child care cooperative in which different households take care of the kids after school on a rotating schedule. This is a natural extension of the school run car pool. You can also pool together a couple of households to share a nanny or care giver. Consider whether you need a full time nanny or whether you can re-arrange your work schedule to cover your load in three or four days and then spend the remaining days at home with your kids. And never forget that sharing your child care with grandparents is not only a wonderful gift your children and your parents but the free price tag makes this option a gift for you too!
And always remember, if you are procrastinating on taking a proactive approach to saving money on your child care budget because it all feels ‘too difficult’, stop. Time is money. By crunching the numbers early, you will know what options you have. You will also find that the best value options, i.e. greatest quality for the lowest price, get snapped up quickly. So stop wasting time worrying and start saving!