Our next post comes from my friend Donna, who has been a tremendous help and support throughout this pregnancy. I had been hoping that a guest blogger would volunteer to do a post on budgeting for a baby, so when she brought up the idea I couldn’t be happier.
Donna will be doing a three-part series on baby budgeting. Today she delves into the first topic of the series: childcare. Enjoy!
Sure, there are those baby budget items like a crib or a carseat but those are more baby budget purchases. I’m talking about the big ticket items like Childcare, Diapers, and Food.
Who am I?
My name is Donna and I’ve been blogging since 1996 on my own website but have stuck to my blog since 2001. My blog has been privatized due to crazy stalkers (ex-boyfriends and some other nutty people) but I’m a huge blogger. I’m a Midwest girl at heart who spent 7 years in Southern California and moved back to Chicago for a job, fell in love with just a friend, married him and now we have our little running ball of energy son.
My blog is mostly about our silly day to day antics but as a single income household, I’m huge on budgeting and financial tips. I love planning; whether it be wedding planning or planning workshops or conventions, I love being organized and using spreadsheets. I have an amazing 1.5 year old son (I promised my husband that I’d stop counting in months once he hit 18 months old) who rocks my world every day.
For childcare, I am going to do a quick comparison of family care, nanny, in-home daycare and daycare centers.
For diapers, I am going to compare cloth diapers and disposable diapers, and tips on saving for disposable diapers.
For milk, I am going to briefly touch upon breastfeeding and formula feeding and how to save on both. I’m also going to talk about how easy and cheap making your own baby food is. It’s so good that I would take a straw and drink his baby food just like a smoothie!
Family Care — sure, that is WONDERFUL if you can get FREE childcare and have Grandma, Grandpa, or whomever watch him. But keep in mind that sometimes, personal opinions will clash. “Sure, it’s okay to give honey to a 6 month old if he has a cough.” Or “You don’t need a set schedule — we just let him go until he’s tired.” If you don’t get that, then, great — I say go with it. My husband and I are ALWAYS saying to the Grandparents, “We love you. However, you hated it when Grandma/Grandpa told you how to raise us, so PLEASE stop telling us how to raise our children.” However, you will get that personal loving touch that only a family member can provide.
Or heck, if you can afford it — it’s a great opportunity for a stay at home mom/dad. When my husband was laid off for a bit, he was a fabulous stay at home dad during that time and it really opened up his eyes and garnered much appreciation from him for all stay at home parents out there, including his own mom. Being a SAHM/D is a full-time job and they should definitely be appreciated for everything that they do.
Nanny — this can be great — you invite someone into your household to be a part of your family. You’re their employer so it’s a thin line. You can ask them to keep a journal of your baby’s goings ons, their food/milk intake and their output (ie, pee and poop). However, this is the priciest option around $2000+/month. There is the au-pair where the nanny lives in your home so it’s cheaper but unless you have a spare bedroom and/or bathroom, it might not be the best choice for you.
Home Daycares — this is also another great option since it’s like a playdate every day with kids of different age groups. It is cheaper than daycare centers — we looked at home daycares ranging from $800-$1200 a month. I will say this: you get what you pay for. The $800 monthly one was in a not so great neighborhood and one of the things that the main daycare provider was proud of was her DVD collection of kid shows. The $1200 monthly one showed us all the different toys and plans of what the kids go through, kept a checklist of what happened through the day, provided food and as the kids get older, and taught them stuff to do throughout the day.
Daycare centers — this is a great option if it’s within your price range. There is no fear of a 2 year old biting your 6 month old or trying to pick him up. Each room is age based and these are true professionals who handle your child. On top of that, there is no worry about the home daycare provider, nanny or family member getting sick and your having to find backup childcare. I found that these ran roughly $1500+ a month and that $1500 is with the local YMCA childcare center!
Keep in mind that this is just a general overview, especially since each one of these options could lead to a whole entry in itself.
What did we end up doing? I am one of those fortunate people that lives close by work. I live 9 blocks from work. One of my colleagues has a son that is only 5 weeks younger than my son. So, when the boys were 3 and 4 months old, we settled on a nannyshare. Our nanny (found through sittercity.com that we love to bits and pieces) comes to my home every day and takes care of both the boys. For the other family, it’s like dropping off their kid at a home daycare except for the fact that the nanny gives more personal attention since there’s only two children and not one adult per 3-4 kids.
The best part is — we split the cost between two families so it’s actually pretty affordable for us which ended up being cheaper than the home daycare of our preference. I also don’t have to bother paying for work parking and since the nannyshare is so close to work, we’ll sometimes do lunch dates and meet up with the boys and the nanny for lunch or go to the library or park during lunch. Or if I have to take my son to the doctor’s for a checkup, I can do it all during my lunch break.