Toddlers: 24 Months+

What to do about daycare?

Hi ladies! I have a 2-year-old and am pregnant with my second. My husband and I both work full-time so by next spring or early summer, we expect to have two kids in daycare (our toddler is in daycare full-time now and we are really happy with this facility). Unfortunately, I recently was horrified to learn that two kids in daycare full-time is going to cost $700/week, which is more than I bring home and way more than we can afford. For some reason I thought the sibling discount would help me out more, but $700 it will be.

My husband earns more than I do, so he'll stay at work, and I've crunched the numbers and me leaving work doesn't seem to make sense, either. His salary is more than mine, but not enough to cover rent, bills, and student loans without some additional income. So I am feeling really stuck! I think our options are to (a) earn more money or (b) find cheaper daycare, but I'm not sure how to do either. (a) is wishful thinking at this point, and we are in our current daycare because it was the cheapest one in town!

Any tips? How do others handle multiple kids in daycare without breaking the bank? I know that an in-home place would be less expensive than the facility we use now, but I'm nervous about that: how do you vet the location and feel safe leaving your kid(s) there?
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Re: What to do about daycare?

  • I gotta be honest, it's a little crazy that you didn't determine daycare costs before getting pregnant with #2, although totally understandable if it was an oops pregnancy.

    I would ask around about any in-home daycares that might be cheaper, but you might only find out about from word of mouth.
    [Deleted User]yeah.mcgeeva
  • I feel your pain.  Daycare for two will be about the same for us.  So although we are ready for another now, we are waiting until we get some expected salary bumps...even then it will be tight.

    Don't completely rule out in-home daycares if they're more affordable for you.  We are putting our daughter in a center in a few weeks, but she has been in a home daycare since she was 4 months old.  We love our daycare provider, she has been amazing for our daughter.  I would suggest visiting a couple and seeing how you like them.  We also found our in-home daycare provider through a third party service available in the DC area (Infant Toddler Family Daycare).  I don't know if your area has something similar, but having a third party involved is a great way to feel more secure with an in-home daycare.


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  • You can look on to find references for in home daycares. Some are even listed on Yelp! Sometimes people get their friends and family to write favorable reviews for them, so tour the homes and really stay connected with the provider(s) to be sure you're making the right choice. Talk to your friends who have kids and ask them what they do. 

    Are there any areas you can cut back on financially? Maybe find ways to lower your other bills or save money on food, clothes, etc. Downgrade to a lower speed of Internet, get rid of television or Netflix subscription and just get dvds from the library, stuff like that? Take a good look at your budget and see where you can cut back. Using coupons and stuff like that can be time consuming but if you really need childcare for your kiddos it might be worth the extra time it takes. 

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  • If we did full time, it would be about the same cost for us to have two in daycare too.  Instead, we're doing daycare 3 days/week and having family watch the kids the other 2 days.  Even then, the monthly cost for daycare is higher than my mortgage payment.

    I agree with what PPs said about cutting back bills and expenses and saving money everywhere that you can, and looking into the option of you staying home and also taking care of another child in your home to try and offset the cost of you staying home.  It's also possible that it would be cheaper for the two kids to go to two different daycares (one at the center you're at and the other in-home or something like that).  It does get cheaper as kids get older, too.

    Day care is really tough - I feel like I know a lot of people who fall into exactly the spot you're in - you're earning enough that it doesn't quite make sense for either of you to leave your job, but you're only making enough that most of your pay is going to daycare. 
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  • I would call a nanny agency and see if you can get an experienced nanny. That often seems to be cheaper than having multiple children in daycare. It truly is wild how expensive child care is!
  • I would start looking at other day cares if you can't afford the current one. We are at an awesome home daycare which works for us and my work hours etc. I wouldn't consider staying home unless you can live off just your husbands salary and still have some in the bank for the what if situation. The making more money isn't logical if your already pregnant because it's so hard to get a job when your already pregnant. Then you would have to worry about unpaid maternity leave then go into paying for daycare. Lots to think about. I would definitely shop around if you can't afford it. We don't get sibling rates in my areas at home daycares or big daycare centers. 

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  • I used a sitter, similar to an inhome daycare but less formal, when DD was a baby.  She charged $50/day which was cheaper than a center for a 6 month old, but now that she's 4 I'm paying about $190 for her in a center, so the in home didn't make sense as she got older.

    I switched to a center after having DS because as DD got older I wanted her in a more structured environment and I wasn't doing 2 drop offs.  They go to a decent daycare, plenty of space in the classroom, a small outside area to run around, foods included, but it's not a big fancy chain.  For the 2 I pay $390/week.  I live in a HCOL area right outside of NYC.  I could probably easily spend $700/ week for the 2, but if you look around I'm sure you can find something nice and more reasonable.

  • Or maybe you could find a part time job and only take the kids 4hrs a day. Right now we're on opposite shifts, so DH gets up in the morning and drops her at daycare at lunch then goes to work, then I pick her up before supper.

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