6 ways you can cut the cost of child care

July 28, 2015

For most working parents, the major outlay for the early years is for child care. While it's essential to find a form of care that suits you and your child, cost is also a key factor. Here are six ways you can save on child care without having to sacrifice quality.

6 ways you can cut the cost of child care

1. Examining your options

If you have relatives who live nearby and are willing to look after your baby, you will make substantial savings on child care and be confident that your child is with someone who loves them.

2. Sharing child care

If you have a job-share or work part time, you may be able to join forces with another part-time worker and take turns looking after each other's children.

3. Workplace daycare

If your employer provides the site and is actively involved in the running of the nursery, rates may be lower and you'll have the reassurance and convenience of having your child nearby.

  • Your employer gets full tax relief on the costs of running the nursery or daycare, as well as happier employees.
  • If you don't have a workplace nursery, ask if your employer will set one up.

4. Save with nursery school

The costs for full-time daycare depend on where you live, your child's age and what services are provided.

  • Average costs are in the range of $35 a day.
  • The cost for kids in nursery only part time can be just as expensive.

5. Babysitters vs nannies

  • Depending on where you live, babysitting rates can be about $25 a day or $600 a month per child.
  • Babysitters can work out cheaper than a nanny if you only have one child.
  • Nannies cost about $1,800 (for a live-in) to $2,200 a month, and you'll have to make CPP, EI and income tax payments for them.
  • A nanny is only really cost-effective if you have more than one child, or if you can arrange a nanny share with another family.
  • Another option is to have a family member tend to the needs of your child.
  • This is ideal for an older high school or young university student looking to make some extra cash while gaining some valuable working experience.

6. Claiming back child care costs

If you use registered child care or pay a babysitter to care for your children, you can deduct at least a portion of your expenses for income tax purposes.

  • Expenses are deductible for the care of dependent children, under the age of 16.
  • Babysitters may be related to you (but not a parent to your child) and must be over 17 years of age.
  • The child care deduction is limited to two-thirds of earned income, or $4,000 a year per child aged seven to 16; $7,000 a year per child under seven years; and up to $10,000 a year for each disabled child.
  • For details of child care options in your area, contact your province's child care licensing agency.

The comfort and well being of your child will always be your number one priority, but quality childcare doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Follow these tips and find an option that works for your family.

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