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Daycare Is So Expensive: What Should I do?

Many families are coming to the realization that the standard American lifestyle is not befitting for the average working salary. Here are some tips, alternatives, and personal experiences to help you make an informed decision.

Many families are coming to the realization that the standard American lifestyle is not befitting for the average working salary. In fact, more families are resorting to one parent staying home after baby is born and here’s why.

In This Article:

Families who have two working parents find that after baby is born, unless both parents are making at least $40,000, it’s merely impossible to comfortably afford childcare in America.


In most major cities, daycare for two small children exceed far beyond $1500 a month and as a result, many families resort to one parent staying home after child birth while the other goes to work, otherwise they’d be working just to pay for daycare expenses.


Why One Working Parent Isn’t Always Suitable To Avoid Daycare Expenses?

The reality is, the current job market and inflation in America makes it more difficult to sustain a family on one average working salary.

As of April 2023, the average salary for Americans in the United States is $58,563 a year, equivalent to $28.16 an hour.

While this may seem like decent pay, when you factor in the cost of daycare, the rising cost of groceries, living expenses, car notes (if any), the demand for new clothes for your growing children, and necessities for both parents, $58,000 a year could feel limiting.

This options doesn’t always work either because this creates an evolving cycle of one parent being extremely overstimulated at home raising the kids, while the other parent is working countless hours just to get by.

My Personal Experience As A Stay-At-Home-Mom

In my personal experience as a mom of twins, my family was put in a position to have nearly this exact set up. My husband worked 16 hour shifts, while I stayed home with the kids instead of returning to work after childbirth.

This arrangement worked for a while until I was completely overwhelmed with being a homemaker–All the tasks of managing the home: cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, caring for children alone, not having enough money for entertainment, and not wanting to bother my husband for extra money knowing he was already working hard to make ends meet with bills and regular everyday necessities.

I could go on and on about how this set up almost destroyed my marriage, ruined my family and created so much resentment from the both of us, but I’ll spare the details. I’ll just say this–having one working parent while the other stays home and put their personal goals and aspirations to the side to raise the family, isn’t conducive long-term.

It works as a remedy, but happiness and mental health overall could be at risk.


How Can Single Parents Afford Daycare?

Being a single mom can come with its own set of challenges. There’s already a need to budget for expenses, balance personal schedules with the kids schedules and find time to create a social life outside of all the responsibilities.

Finding affordable childcare could feel like an extra task to an already long list, but the great news is, there’s resources available that could be extremely helpful.

Even if you’re currently employed, consider these options to help offset the cost of childcare:

  • applying for daycare assistance (NCI)
  • looking for income-based daycare providers
  • Ask your current employer if they offer daycare support or other tax saving incentives
  • Consider working part-time and creating another source of income from home.
  • Ask your employer if they offer work-from-home positions that will allow you to avoid daycare costs all together.

I know finding affordable childcare can be a hassle, but if it comes to it, I’ve compiled a list of ways to make money from home.

Ways To Make Money From Home.

No matter if you’re a stay-at-home-mom looking for additional income, or you’re just someone wanting to create more flexibility for your household, here are some ways to make money from home:

1. Start an online business.

It’s easier to start an online business while baby is small and sleeps for a good amount of time during the day. I recommend building an audience online and using social media to generate traffic to make sales. Think of e-commerce stores using platforms like Shopify, Etsy, or Wix.

2. Take up a new hobby you can monetize.

Are you really good at something and think you can make money from it? Consider hobbies like babysitting, being a nanny, braiding hair or illustrating a book. All of these options allow you to create a flexible schedule to generate additional income while being home with your little one(s).

3. Start a YouTube Channel or Blog.

Being a talkative and open person can certainly pay off. You could start a YouTube or blog discussing topics you’re experiencing and get paid from advertising fees or affiliate link commissions. Best of all, you can do this from home and set your own posting schedule when it’s convenient.

4. Start an Etsy Store.

Etsy is a great way to get your creations in front of people already searching for what you’re making i.e. soaps, crafts, t-shirts, digital art. Whatever the craft is, the platform is available for you to monetize your skills.

5. Find A Work-From-Home job in your desired field.

Working from home isn’t uncommon these days since the pandemic. Though unemployment rates are high, there are still jobs hiring people with great skills. If you have a field you’re passionate about, submit your resume and shoot your shot at getting hired in a WFM position.

6. Start a side hustle such a custom clothing line or creating digital designs.

Maybe you don’t want a full on business but want to make some extra cash here and there. Think about baking, making personalized keepsakes, or creating digital graphics for other business owners.

I know daycare fees can be discouraging when you’re staring down the list of expenses and comparing it to your current income. Sometimes the harsh reality is that either you or your spouse will have to forgo your current income in order to stay home and care for the kids. It doesn’t have to be the end all be all though.

In addition to the ways you can make money from home, I’ve identified some fields that have been great to tap into in 2023.

Other Ideas That You Can Do From Home.

  • Graphic Design
  • Video Editing
  • T-Shirt Designer
  • Teach a course
  • Offer private lessons
  • Become a dog walker or pet sitter
  • Rent out a room
  • Become a Social Media Manager
  • Market Affiliate Links
  • Become a freelancer

What Are The Best Alternatives To Daycare That Wont Break The Bank?

Sometimes the cost of daycare IS the end all be all and deciding factor to if your family chooses to enroll for daycare services.

Other alternatives that may be more suitable is:

1. Part Time Care.

Try limiting the amount of days you enroll your child. Instead of 5 days a week, maybe try 2-3 or half days. This has helped many families cut cost.

2. Become a stay-at-home-mom.

I know this isn’t always the best option, but if you’re able to stay home and find ways to make money, you should.

3. Join a caregiving Co-Op.

Join forces with other moms you trust who are looking for inexpensive care. Alternate days caring for the children. Be sure that everyone has CPR qualifications and understands the commitments. There may be other licensing and qualifications if you’re looking to have a daycare center, but for what it’s worth, this may be an excellent option.

4. Turn to family and friends.

Other family and friends who have small children may not mind baby sitting and alternating schedules. If everyone’s pitching in, everyone’s saving.

5. Choose In-Home Daycare Centers.

In-home daycare centers tend to cost less than brick-and-mortar locations. Find a trusted provider, set up a tour, and make a decision from there. If you’re in North Houston, Bowties and Tutus Childcare has been a trusted provider for my kids for over 5 years. Highly Recommend.

6. “Share-care” with other parents.

Maybe your family, friends, and other mom cooperative groups aren’t suitable because you all would rather hire professional care. It makes sense to have a qualified caregiver come to one home with the children and each parent pitches in to share the cost.

Final Thoughts

Daycare and it’s ever ending options are endless. Deciding which route is best for your family will take a much needed uninterrupted conversation, as well as time to highlight current income, expenses, expectations on whatever decision you make, and a timeframe to check back in to see if a re-evaluation is necessary.

One thing that I’ve learned while being a stay-at-home-mom turned work-from-home hobby to full-time entrepreneur is that temperature checks and resetting expectations often is more helpful.

It keeps resentment, false ideologies and expectations away, and ultimately gives you time to discover if you want to make changes to better your household as a whole.

For our readers–What are some ways you’ve reduced daycare cost and been able to afford this childcare? Let us know in the comments.

Mykel B Davis

Mykel B Davis


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