5 Surprising Ways to Pay for Childcare


Having trouble paying for childcare? RelayRides blogger Amanda L. Grossman shares some unusual ways to manage the costs of taking care of youngsters.

If you have children or are planning for one soon, then you probably know the usual choices for childcare: have one parent stay home with the child, drop the child off to a daycare facility, hire a babysitter/nanny to come over to your home and watch your child, enlist a close relative who lives near you, or work for a company that miraculously has a built-in daycare center.

Choosing which of these methods is right for your family depends on many factors, including comfort levels, convenience, career paths, etc. Each of these methods also comes with a cost of some sort that needs to be factored into your decision-making process, whether that’s money directly out of your pocket, or money that never goes into your pocket (due to having one parent quit their day job).

To help with your decision-making, I’d like to discuss unusual options you may not know you have when looking at how to pay for the type of childcare that fits into your lifestyle and gives you the most peace of mind.

Pay for One of Your Parents to Temporarily Relocate

Chances are good that your parents want to be a part of their grandchild’s life. If they are also not working, and you want or need to continue to work, then you could have a perfect opportunity. My friends recently had a child, and both wanted to go back to work after maternity/paternity leave. So what did they do? Instead of using daycare, they worked out a deal where they pay the rent on an apartment in exchange for the grandmother to relocate close by and take care of her grandson during the workday. Not a bad solution!

Work at a Daycare Facility for Discounted Daycare

Many daycare facilities will offer discounted rates to have your own child in the facility if you work there. Note, however, that this does not mean your child will end up in your class or area (some facilities have policies against this to discourage favoritism towards one child in any given class). If you have childcare experience or a degree in education, then this could be a great opportunity for you to both continue working while being close to your child during the day.

Displace the Cost of Daycare by Bringing in Extra Cash

There are several ways to make money from home, or even your mobile phone. For example, Do you have a vehicle to yourself and a computer? Then you have a way to earn extra income each month to displace the costs of daycare. Sign up with RelayRides and start renting your vehicle to people in your own community. You set the price, and you control when your car is available to rent, and to whom. RelayRides provides liability insurance for each rental, as well as prequalifies renters to give you peace of mind. Renters average $250 per month, and some make up to $1,000!

Open Up a Daycare in Your Home

It’s very likely that there are other mothers in your neighborhood or surrounding area that are looking for someone to trust with their child while they work. By opening up a mini-daycare in your home, you can stay home with the little one for free while earning income on the side.

Note: Starting a formal daycare out of your home entails paperwork, licenses, classes, and more depending upon your State Daycare Licensing Agency. So you need to consider this when deciding if you will be taking on children of a few friends/family members versus starting an actual daycare.

See if You are Eligible for State Subsidized Childcare

Are you a low-income parent going back to school full-time? You may be eligible for state subsidized childcare. The US Department of Education has a program called CAMPIS (Child Care Access Means Parents in School). If you are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, and attend an institution that receives funds from this program, then you should inquire at your college to see if you qualify for the program.