Author Topic: Day care  (Read 6294 times)

mindaugas

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Day care
« on: August 21, 2012, 09:44:50 AM »
Unfortunately my wife and I both have to work to cover our bills. We have a 6 month old that we are paying $1100 a month for in day care. We also have to provide extra clothes, formula, diapers, etc. So normal baby things x 2 so we have what we need at home and day care has a surplus. For example, if he pukes all over his clothes and there is nothing for him, he spends the day in his own vomit. Yes, we pay $1100 a month for that. And that's supposedly "cheap".

Anywho, I doubt that is really as cheap as some claim. I'm looking for advice on day care if there is any to be had. Most places seem to be around $1k per month. We've looked at in house and private day care, but anyone licensed is almost as much as regular day care and scheduling is a nightmare. One person doing it in home who is licensed needs to take vacation, and their hours of operation are not as lenient as an actual facility.

Is there a mustachian solution for day care?

Mrs MM

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Re: Day care
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2012, 10:09:00 AM »
Hmmmm... that's a tough question.  Our son started preschool 1 day a week when he was 3.  When he was 4 he was going 2 days a week.  At 5, he went 3 days a week.  It worked out well for us, but obviously he was at home quite often.

The place we went allowed cloth diapers, and at 3 he was eating regular food.  The preschool was pretty amazing and had it's own garden and cooked these great vegan meals for the kids. 

The cost was $55 per day, so at 3 days a week, it was $690 per month (not sure about the math there, but that was the price).  That was a full day from drop off (anytime between 8 and 9 am) until 4:00pm (with a nap from 1 until 3 or 3:30).  The only thing we provided was one set of clothes (and they had extras just in case).

For us, it was more about getting our son used to being in a new place and eventually preparing him for regular school.  If we hadn't found the perfect place, we would have kept him at home.

Anyway, not sure if that helps you at all... I'm not an expert on daycare, but it sounds like the cost might be typical.  I have some friends that hire a live-in nanny and then they split the nanny between 2 families.  So, the nanny takes care of 4 kids during the day (2 from each family).  You can also hire someone to come to your house, which would take the stress out of morning routines and extra clothes, etc. out of the mix.  If you had another child come to your house, you could split the cost with someone else.  Technically, the extra clothes, formula and diapers is not a surplus, as you would be using those things at home if your child wasn't in daycare.

There might also be a stay at home mom/dad that you know (and trust!) that might enjoy taking care of your child during the day, along with their own child/children.  They might welcome the extra cash!  This is where having a community of friends can really help you.

Finally, I would look into seeing if you can accommodate some kind of flexible schedule, if possible.  Sounds like it isn't possible, but maybe even working one day a week from home, or staying home one day and working a weekend day (when your spouse is at home) might help.  Or possibly working a half day on certain days... there may be some options here.

Obviously the most important thing is having your child in a safe place that you feel comfortable with.  Think outside the box and see what other options are available.  You just might find something!
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 10:19:30 AM by Mrs MM »

Midwest

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Re: Day care
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2012, 10:13:21 AM »
We use a private home.  In our state, private providers with less then 8 or 10 kids don't need a license. 

One of my kids is in school most of the day, but the other is there all day.   His daycare is $25 or $30 a day.  7:30 - 5:00.

We've always used private providers and had good success.  Never any of the problems you have.

The scheduling (ie vacations) can be problematic.  Good thing we have grandparents for backup and flexible work schedules.

the fixer

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Re: Day care
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2012, 10:39:13 AM »
I don't have any advice to give here, but it's a difficult problem I suspect I'll face in the years to come. I've heard that the biggest problem is state regulations regarding licensing of daycare providers, making private homes impractical or illegal. Which states have less strict rules? It may be worth moving someday just for that benefit.

Leesa

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Re: Day care
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2012, 10:53:51 AM »
I've heard that people pay $1000/month or more for day care for one child, but I always thought that was only in extremely high-rent areas, like Manhattan.  Granted, where I live the cost of living is relatively low, but for a newborn, day care for less than $450/month is the norm.  If someone tried to get much over that, they'd be out of business.  I guess it's all about the market, but maybe you should take MMM's advice and move to some place that's less expensive.

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Day care
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2012, 10:58:37 AM »
I'd run the numbers:  Take home pay - day care - work related expenses (gas, wardrobe, etc.) to see what one of you is really taking home.  If one of you quit working for pay, could you reduce your food bill by scratch cooking?  Your diaper bill would drop after the initial investment in cloth.

That option may be off the table so the best I can do is wish you well.

TheDude

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Re: Day care
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2012, 11:34:09 AM »
There is no question about it Daycare sucks! Everything we have looked at is expensive. My wife was able to stay home for the first 6 months. After that we paid a neighbor to take care of him during the school year (my wife's a teacher). We gave her $50 a day. She wasn't licensed but it worked out well. We only paid for days we used her so if he was sick or my wife was on vacation we didn't have to pay. It worked out to be less expensive than a daycare. The only thing we didn't like was that we had to have a business relationship with our neighbor.

After this summer we enrolled my son in a Day Care down the street (one I can bike to in the morning.) Its $195 a week (M-F 6:30-6:00). The provide food since he eats only solids (although its not really my choice of menu.) We looked at another place that was definitely nicer but $250 a week. We did our best to get to know the teachers in the classroom and decided the cheaper and closer option would work for us.

Unfortunately, there really isn't much you can do about the cost. You can try to tweak you schedules so they need to be there for less time. Grandparents? Nanny share? Other than that just look at every option around you and make a choice where you feel like you get the most bang for your buck.

Mrs. MM where did you take you little for preschool? My child is 18months and we were kind of thinking at looking into Bloom Montessori next year.

twinge

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Re: Day care
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2012, 12:25:50 PM »
1000/mo seems pretty reasonable for all the places I've lived in--especially for infant care.  For our two kids, we used flexible scheduling/leaves to avoid daycare until each was 2 or 2.5 years old and then paid for daycare for ages 2.5-5 (We have a pretty big age gap between our kids).  We found that it was fairly easy to keep our careers intact with 2 people trying to be flexible for 2 years in their jobs--but if we tried to extend it beyond that, it would have caused career problems.  We just viewed the cost of daycare as a 2.5 year cost rather than an ongoing lifestyle expense. 

bogart

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Re: Day care
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2012, 01:33:30 PM »
Well, there's an up front outlay in buying formula, etc., but your LO's not consuming twice as much by virtue of being in daycare, so it's not really increasing those costs by that much. 

At least in my state, licensed daycare aren't allowed to use cloth diapers, so that's (likely) out as a cost-reducer.

But, yeah, it's expensive.  We've managed to minimize our use of paid care by relying on juggling my and DH's schedules (until he retired when DS was 3) and relying on extended family to help.  That said, as far as I'm concerned, it's been well worth it, and yeah, I'd easily expect to pay what you are paying for full-time infant care (or more, but I see from your post on the welcome board that you are in Denver and according to the all-knowing internet, that's a cheaper place to live than where I do). 

Is it really the cost that's bothering you, or the quality of the care?  If the latter, I'd focus on improving that over worrying about the cost.  As others have noted, it's not something you're going to be paying for too many years.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Day care
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2012, 02:19:08 PM »
We also have to provide extra clothes, formula, diapers, etc. So normal baby things x 2 so we have what we need at home and day care has a surplus.

You are not buying x2 because if the little one was home this is what you would be using anyway. 

I'd run the numbers:  Take home pay - day care - work related expenses (gas, wardrobe, etc.) to see what one of you is really taking home.  If one of you quit working for pay, could you reduce your food bill by scratch cooking?  Your diaper bill would drop after the initial investment in cloth.

That option may be off the table so the best I can do is wish you well.

This is always a standard solution and mathmatically may suggest that it is better for one parent to quit and stay home.  But it ignores the fact that daycare is typically temporary, and choosing to stay home if the math suggests it may result in irrepairable harm to the future and growth of the one parents career and income - this should be factored into the equation.  If the one parent is in a low expected career growth field then it won't matter much but if they are say a financial analyst that can increase rapidly then it matters a lot....and I don't care what anybody says if a parent (mom or dad) drops out of the workforce for 5 years it hurts your career. 




ShavinItForLater

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Re: Day care
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2012, 04:04:20 PM »
My wife served several years on the board of a local non-profit day care center.  They are a very high quality facility, all the caregivers are early education certified, they have a great chef that cooks meals in a commercial kitchen on site, etc.  They offer their services on an income-based sliding scale, all the way to full scholarships.

I don't know how common this is--it is in a relatively affluent suburb of Chicago--the community places a very high value on diversity, and this falls right in line with that goal, so it might be something rather unique.  I never even knew the place existed until my wife was asked to join the board by one of her friends, even though I drove by their brick-walled property all the time.  They are pretty popular and usually have a waiting list, although during the economic downturn they had some open slots for some reason (perhaps the rise in unemployment).  They don't really advertise other than their fundraisers, probably because they generally had no reason to, I expect most of the customers came via word of mouth.

You might check around your local communities to see if something similar exists near you.  This place is a United Way charity, so that might also be a way to find them.  For Mustachians, especially beyond the accumulation phase, if your income is low enough it would offer a very reasonably priced (or even free) daycare option.

iwannaretire

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Re: Day care
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2012, 06:44:13 PM »
You've probably already taken advantage of this, but remember that if your employer has one, a flexible spending account can be used to partially pay for daycare with pretax dollars.  Otherwise, I believe there is a credit or deduction you can receive on your taxes.

I paid for day care for 2 kids from 5 months to 5.5 years and I feel your pain.  However, it doesn't last forever, and you'll feel like you've received a huge raise when the kid starts school. 

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Day care
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2012, 08:11:38 PM »

I'd run the numbers:  Take home pay - day care - work related expenses (gas, wardrobe, etc.) to see what one of you is really taking home.  If one of you quit working for pay, could you reduce your food bill by scratch cooking?  Your diaper bill would drop after the initial investment in cloth.

That option may be off the table so the best I can do is wish you well.

This is always a standard solution and mathmatically may suggest that it is better for one parent to quit and stay home.  But it ignores the fact that daycare is typically temporary, and choosing to stay home if the math suggests it may result in irrepairable harm to the future and growth of the one parents career and income - this should be factored into the equation.  If the one parent is in a low expected career growth field then it won't matter much but if they are say a financial analyst that can increase rapidly then it matters a lot....and I don't care what anybody says if a parent (mom or dad) drops out of the workforce for 5 years it hurts your career.

Admittedly qualify of life trumped career for me. I was able to work part time and then just decided to opt out of the workplace completely.  This seems a reasonable choice to consider on an early retirement forum.

Lars

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Re: Day care
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2012, 11:29:34 PM »
Tough question. My wife and I ultimately settled on a for-profit day care facility but, even at just above average prices for our area, is nearly a third of our spending. We see it as our big "luxury" purchase since cheaper options are available.

To add to a couple of previous posts -

Beyond financial assistance available through the daycare, your state proabably offers childcare subsities through the department of social services if your income qualifies. In my state, the cutoff is 175% of the poverty level ($33k a year for a family of 3).

I found that the prices vary considerably between facilities especially at non-profits. I just found out last week that a facility in town I didn't price in my search is well below the average rate up to the age of 3. Their rate of 90/wk is well below the typical 150/wk I found for a 2 year old in my search. I could be sending you on a wild goose chase but there could be well hidden pricing differences in your area too.

mindaugas

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Re: Day care
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2012, 07:07:51 AM »
thanks guys for the feed back! Sounds like this is just something we have to deal with. I did spot a day care that would be $240 less per month. Quality of care is not an issue, the place we're using is great. It's also at the front of our townhome complex so no added travel expenses. The cheaper place is basically on the way to my wife's work, just a small stint off the highway. My wife and I made the smart move of buying way under what we qualified for and moving into a small town home as our first purchase.

We don't qualify for income assistance, but to be honest the $1100 isn't killing us. It's just $1100 I could use to pay off debt of course. And it's more than our mortgage and hoa combined ... 

You're right, silly me, he doesn't use twice as much so that really isn't an added expense. Cloth diapers are a no go. We ran the numbers over and over again before he was born and tried to get by on my income, we made it to the 12 week maximum before wife had to go back.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Day care
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2012, 07:18:39 AM »

I'd run the numbers:  Take home pay - day care - work related expenses (gas, wardrobe, etc.) to see what one of you is really taking home.  If one of you quit working for pay, could you reduce your food bill by scratch cooking?  Your diaper bill would drop after the initial investment in cloth.

That option may be off the table so the best I can do is wish you well.

This is always a standard solution and mathmatically may suggest that it is better for one parent to quit and stay home.  But it ignores the fact that daycare is typically temporary, and choosing to stay home if the math suggests it may result in irrepairable harm to the future and growth of the one parents career and income - this should be factored into the equation.  If the one parent is in a low expected career growth field then it won't matter much but if they are say a financial analyst that can increase rapidly then it matters a lot....and I don't care what anybody says if a parent (mom or dad) drops out of the workforce for 5 years it hurts your career.

Admittedly qualify of life trumped career for me. I was able to work part time and then just decided to opt out of the workplace completely.  This seems a reasonable choice to consider on an early retirement forum.

Absolutely agreee, my spouse stays home for the same reason....but it was a big income hit and certainly delay FI.  If she would have stayed working we would certainly have far more resources (even after daycare, takeout because of tired, commute, etc.) but our lives would have been far too complicated and stressful.   On the other hand she is also now thinking about work as the kids get into school and she is now realizing the effects of being out for so long.

My point was to not be shortsighted when making big decisions and instead focus on all the facts and make as much as an informed decision as possible that is best for ones own situation.     

$_gone_amok

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Re: Day care
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2012, 11:56:37 AM »
Day care for our 2 kids also costs more than our mortgage and insurance combined.

However think about this way, if you are able to adjust your lifestyle with this kind of expenses, once the kids are out of day care, this money can be put into retirement savings and speed up your ER progress.


mindaugas

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Re: Day care
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2012, 12:25:01 PM »
However think about this way, if you are able to adjust your lifestyle with this kind of expenses, once the kids are out of day care, this money can be put into retirement savings and speed up your ER progress.

Very true, but I want it now. :P