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How to Save Money on Daycare

Ever since I was a kid I was brought up to be frugal and to save and budget money. * Disclaimer: I am not a financial planner.

Try a nanny share

If you're lucky enough to have a nanny share, you'll be able to get all of the benefits of going out into the world without having to pay for childcare. A nanny share means that two families use one caretaker. The expenses are split between them, which is why this option can save you money in the long run and also make it easier on your pocketbook while you're looking for work after maternity leave ends.

If you think your family might benefit from a nanny share, look into it with other parents in your neighborhood or at work who are also looking for affordable daycare options. Chances are good that someone could provide some excellent insight into how to find and negotiate with a potential caretaker.

Ask for discounts

You can often save money on daycare by asking for a discount.

  • Ask about discounts for multiple children.
  • Ask about discounts for siblings.
  • Ask about discounts for military families, who often don't get any breaks at all!
  • Ask about discounts for special needs children. Most people who work in daycare centers will be happy to help you figure out what's best for your child, so don't be afraid to ask questions and get more information!

Look for a place that offers food and enrichment programs.

  • Look for a place that offers food and enrichment programs.

Enrichment programs are a great way for kids to learn, but they can be pricey. However, if you're already paying for childcare, it could be worth the investment to look at places that offer these kinds of programs—even if they cost extra. Some daycares will offer free or low-cost enrichment classes that allow your child to develop new skills (and make friends!) while you're at work. Enrichment programs are also a great way for kids to stay occupied when they're getting bored with their routine—which happens more often than we'd like!

Enroll with a child in a sibling discount program.

If you have multiple children in daycare, your child care center may offer a sibling discount program. This is an excellent way to save money on child care for your older children or those who attend after school care.

Sibling discounts are most often offered by larger centers and can range anywhere between 25% and 50%. To be eligible for this type of discount, the children must be related by blood (including step siblings) or adoption. If your local center offers this type of program and one of your older kids has not yet been enrolled (or never has), now is the time!

Use tax credits for child care expenses.

The child and dependent care tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the tax you owe.

The credit is based on your income and the number of children for whom you paid child care expenses. If your total household income is less than $43,000, no one in your household qualifies for this credit; if it's between $43,000 and $121,400 (or if it's higher but only one person in your house earned an income), you may qualify. If both people in a married couple earn money or have investments that are over $121,400 but less than $122,700, they may still be eligible for up to 80 percent of their costs as long as one parent stays at home with their kids during that time period.

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The maximum value of this tax benefit was raised from 20 percent to 35 percent of qualifying expenses back in 2009—and that number has stayed there since then! The nonrefundable part means that if you end up owing more taxes than what these credits will offset (which would generally happen because not everyone pays taxes), then nothing happens—you don’t get any extra cash back from them either way! This means only about half (52%) actually receive any benefits from these credits every year even though almost all parents pay some sort of daycare expense each month!

Manage your time carefully to you can utilize after-school child care programs.

The first step to saving money on daycare is managing your time carefully so that you can utilize after-school child care programs. If you have a job, ask if there are any corporate, military or sibling discounts available to you. Many companies offer some type of benefit package that includes daycare assistance for employees who need it.

If all else fails, try asking for a discount if you pay in cash, use a credit card or pay the full amount before the due date. The more ways you can come up with to save on your bill each month, the less money will be taken out of your paycheck at tax time!

Ask about local partnerships between the daycare center and other programs.

Yes, there are a lot of local ways to save money on daycare. But before you rush out and start spending your savings, ask about any local partnerships that the daycare center has with other programs.

For example, my city has a program called the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) which helps low-income families afford childcare. With CCAP and other discounts through our membership at the YMCA (which I'll discuss later), my husband and I pay only $100 per week for both of our children's care at their new center—less than half their original rate! And if one or more of your family members work for certain companies like Boeing or Microsoft that offer great tuition assistance packages specifically for their employees' children in Washington state, you may qualify for even more savings from another program called Childcare Access Means Parents Employed (CAMP). Ask if they know of any similar programs where you live!

Daycare can be expensive, but there are various ways to save money on it

Daycare can be expensive, but there are ways to save money on it. There are free ways to save money as well as methods that require an investment of time or effort.

Some of the best ways to save on daycare include:

  • Ask for a discount from your daycare provider. Many providers offer discounts for certain activities, such as bringing in extra toys or books for the classroom or volunteering your time in some capacity. If you're not sure if your daycare offers any sort of discount program, ask! They may also have special pricing available at certain times throughout the year (e.g., during summer break).
  • Enroll in a sibling discount program if possible; depending on how much they charge per child, this could make all the difference when it comes down to deciding between two different facilities based solely upon price point!


We hope that you’ll be able to find a way to save money on daycare that works for your family. Remember, it’s important to remember that all of these tips are just suggestions and there are many other options out there. You may have to try a few before you find one that works best for your needs!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Shanon Sandquist

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