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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Mini Money Mustaches => Topic started by: Teachstache on February 24, 2018, 09:48:03 AM

Title: Childcare optimization
Post by: Teachstache on February 24, 2018, 09:48:03 AM
Spouse and I have 1 3 year old son who is autistic. He was recently accepted into the public preschool system, with a class size ratio of 20 students to 4 adults (1 EC teacher, 1 ECSE teacher, 2 paraeducators). He will receive free breakfast and lunch while there. Preschool hours are 8:10 am bus pick up to 12:20 pm drop off. We will need care for him from 7:15 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday during the academic year early August to late May. We have found a homebased childcare location that is willing to do public preschool drop off and pick up (helping son get on & off the school bus).

This childcare option is charging $5,000 annually with a full time spot for 1 childcare provider and 6 kids. Our kid would be one of the oldest, with other kids ranging in age from sub 1 year to 4 years old. This childcare will not charge us for 11 weeks that I'm off in the summer.

We could look for a new childcare spot for our kid that's cheaper. I think we could find it. Quick searches reveal that we'd save approximately $500-$1,700 annually on childcare expenses. Spouse   is in favor of keeping son in the current $5,000 annual set up with free academic preschool. He favors this for ease of childcare transportation (directly on my way to work, bike route) and consistency for our son (he is comfortable with the provider and has friends at this childcare). Spouse had few friends and a childhood filled with a lot of moving between schools.  I understand his concerns and reasons, but considering the financial optimization side of things (reducing cost by up to $1,700) I can't shake the desire to optimize and lower costs.

MMM community, weigh in.

Spouse and I pay for childcare with the $5,000 dependent care FSA.

Other financials: including all healthcare costs, 529 costs, childcare costs with $5k annual option, we spend $38,000 for 2 adults, both 36 years old, and 1 3 year old. We have a paid off house that we don't intend on moving from, zero debt beyond a credit card that we pay in full each month. We jointly earn $112,000 per year from our regular employment (dual income, both in public education at different institutions in different roles). Side hustle income amounts to $5,000 to $12,000 annually, in addition to our regular salaried income.
Title: Re: Childcare optimization
Post by: Caroline PF on February 24, 2018, 11:51:40 AM
Ooh, this is a hard one. You're the one on the ground, so go with what feels right.

Having said that, here is my outside perspective: shaving $1700 per year in cost is awesome, but I doubt that it will be worth it in your situation.

From my perspective, I'd say go with your husband on this one. You can always re-evaluate next year.
Title: Re: Childcare optimization
Post by: mm1970 on February 24, 2018, 01:47:07 PM
I would stay with the current setup if your child is comfortable.

My children were both in home daycares then preschool.  I had many friends who moved their kids around looking for better and/or cheaper.

If it's not broken...
Title: Re: Childcare optimization
Post by: Laura33 on February 24, 2018, 02:14:16 PM
Stay stay stay.  Finding good childcare that your kid is comfortable in is priceless, especially if your kid is not neurotypical (we had to try 3 times for DD, as her ADHD/impulsiveness caused problems the first two werenít equipped to handle, even though they said they could). 

And itís convenient?  No extra driving out of your way, no extra time out of your day?  Holy crap, slam dunk.  Totally not worth fucking with.

Edited to fix stupid autocorrect grammar.
Title: Re: Childcare optimization
Post by: charis on February 24, 2018, 03:09:20 PM
Absolutely stay.  5k in childcare costs an DCFSA at your income is great.
Title: Re: Childcare optimization
Post by: Teachstache on February 24, 2018, 04:29:58 PM
Thanks for the advice, all. My heart says go with what works, and our current set up does work. Provider is good with son, he has friends there, and it's a relatively low provider to child ratio. The ease of transporting him is great.

The other options are way out of our way. Plus, he'd have to switch public preschool to one much further from my place of work. Right now, his childcare is on a bike route on my way to my school, and his public preschool is within 1 mile biking distance of my place of work. All extremely convenient.

Thanks for confirming that my heart is right on this one. The miserly side of my brain wanted to save money but we have found a great option for our special needs son. Best not to rock the boat.