You don't need to choose between quality child care or your career. With Jump Start Finance, you can have both.
The Average Costs of General Child Care
So, how much does child care cost? According to MarketWatch, in 2017, a married couple making the national median income of $87,757 needed to set aside 10.6% of their income for child care, which was an increase of 10.2% from the year prior. The average bill for annual child care was $11,000 that same year. For single parents, child care costs take up 37% of their annual income.
Child care costs vary according to the state or region you’re in. For instance, the cost for one infant and a 4-year-old are around $11,000 each in California.
When getting into specific types of child care, the numbers vary. Here are the various types of child care and their accompanying expenses.
According to VeryWell Family, daycare costs for young children who are younger than preschool age will more or less depend on how many hours your child is there every day. Some daycares are half-day, which means they end in the early afternoon, while others are full-day, meaning they end as late as 6:30 p.m. If your job requires you to stay until 5 or 6 p.m. and then you have a long commute home, your child will need to be in a full-day center. If your child has special needs, this will also add to the cost.
The child care cost average in the U.S. is $11,666 per month, but there could be other fees you might not think of that the daycare will require you to pay. Some centers will allow you to pay an additional cost to log into their internet and watch your child on camera throughout the day. They may also charge you for diaper assessments, staff training and supplies.
When your child is between 2-and-a-half to 3-years-old, then they can start going to preschool. Preschool costs range from $4,460 to over $13,000 per year, according to BabyCenter. This averages out to $372 to $1,100 per month. Some preschools give you the option to pay in installments, and the faster you pay, the cheaper it will be. Parent-run cooperative preschools are going to cost less, but you’ll need to volunteer more of your time in order to participate. This may not be feasible if you’re working full-time. Then there are Montessori and language immersion schools which may cost more due to their curriculum.
Preschool costs are going to be higher if they act as a prep school and feed into pricey private elementary schools. In California, for instance, the highest-costing preschool is over $45,000 per year, according to Private School Review. When searching for a preschool, you’ll have to decide if prestige is important to you.
If you just need a babysitter to cover for you when the child care center is closed, or you need one for when you and your spouse go out for a date night, then make sure you start saving up now: The average babysitter in the U.S. makes $16.75 per hour for one child and $19.26 for two, according to Today. The cost of a babysitter is more than twice that of the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour. Parents are figuring out how to cut down costs by sharing babysitters with their friends, going out on weeknights instead of weekends, and putting their young children in bed before the sitter comes, which may lower the bill.
Typically, a babysitter is a term used to refer to someone who you hire casually to watch your kids, and a nanny is someone who you hire on a more full-time basis to help out. According to Nanny Lane, the average cost of a nanny in the U.S. is $19.14 per hour. The average gross weekly salary for a nanny who doesn’t live in your home is $766, while the average cost for one who does live with you is $670 per week.
Nanny costs are highest in California, New York and Washington, and what you pay them will vary depending on their experience. If you’re looking for a nanny who has a college degree in education, for example, your costs will be higher. If you hire a nanny full-time, and she works more than 40 hours per week, you’ll also have to pay for her overtime, which is 1.5 times more than their regular wages.
The Struggle of Paying for Child Care
Paying for child care is only one part of the equation when it comes to spending money on your kids. According to CBS News, the estimated cost of raising a child from the time they are born until they are 17 is $233,610, which is about $14,000 per year for a middle-income family with two kids. Those numbers were from 2015; the costs go up 3% per year – higher than the rate of inflation – so expect them to be more in 2020.
Up to a third of the cost of raising a child is housing; in urban locations, it costs $3,900 per year, and in rural areas, it’s $2,400 per year. The cost of food makes up about 18% of the cost for raising a kid. If you have more than one child, costs are lower because you’re buying in bulk, siblings are sharing bedrooms and you’re getting discounts from daycares and schools.
At the same time that child care expenses are rising, wages are stagnant. Over the past 20 years, middle class wages have not kept up with the rate of inflation, according to American Progress. Even low-income families are not getting the support they need to pay. Fewer than one in six children that are eligible for assistance actually receive it.
In addition, many families don’t realize how much child care can add up over time. With the average cost of child care per child in California being $11,000, these numbers are on par with other household expenses like college tuition and even mortgages. A great number of families are often unaware that there are child care financing options available that can ease the burden of paying for child care (just like one would finance a car, college tuition, or a mortgage).
How Parents Are Paying for Child Care
Child care is unaffordable for seven in 10 families, according to Fast Company and a survey from Care.com. One-third of the respondents in the survey also revealed that child care costs caused them to delay having children or caused them to have fewer children than they intended. The survey also showed that 26% of respondents are going into debt to cover the cost of child care, while 41% of parents are greatly lowering their spending on other things.
In addition, according to Fast Company and HotPads.com, people are paying nearly as much for child care as they are for their rent, which is a monthly national average of $1,500.
Many parents are affording child care not only by cutting back on other costs and moving to affordable states, but they’re also working side hustles in addition to their full-time gigs. According to Fortune, 49% of Americans under 35 say they have a side hustle going on. In the survey, 31% of those workers were putting in extra hours just to make ends meet and pay for basic necessities.
Side hustles aren’t just limited to millennials. Nearly 40% of people in generation X are also working additional jobs just to keep up.
Making Child Care Less Stressful
You’ve run the math, and it makes more sense for you and your spouse to both work full-time jobs instead of having one of you stay at home. Plus, you enjoy what you do, and don’t want to have to stall your career. So, how can you make it work?
If you’re not going back to your old job, look for a new job that lets you bring your child to work. Right now, more than 100 workplaces are letting parents bring their baby to work. For instance, the Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa is allowing parents to bring their babies until they reach about six months of age, according to Motherly.
Since that kind of situation is rare, look for a job that will allow you to work from home if you need to and get things done remotely. You can also see about leaving early some days and finishing things up at home if you’re not on a strict deadline. If you’re a freelance worker and you could be home with your baby all day – but you’d rather have some time to focus on your tasks – then look for a co-working space that has child care programs as well.
If these options are not be available to you, and you’re having trouble working full-time and affording child care consider taking out a line of credit tailored specifically for child care expenses through Jump Start Finance. You’ll pay less every month and not have to worry about breaking the bank. At the same time, you’ll have peace and mind that your child is in the right hands when you’re not around and have the flexibility to focus on your career.
What are you waiting for? Apply now to see if you’re eligible.
We're not just a team of seasoned finance experts, we're also working parents that love our careers and our kids. We're proud to provide a program that gives parents more options for providing the quality care their family deserves.