Children are expensive. From the price of day care to paying for a college education, the costs just keep going up.
A new report on child care costs from Child Care Aware of America says child care is a major expense for many families, often surpassing the cost of housing, food, transportation and college tuition.
According to Money, child care costs vary widely by state. Comparing the average regional costs for an infant and a 4-year-old in center-based child care, Money wrote:
But if you live in the Northeast ($22,513), Midwest ($17,258) or South ($15,409), expect child care to be the highest single household expense on your budget. Though still expensive in the West ($17,941), child care there comes in second behind housing.
Child Care Aware warns that the impact of soaring child care costs will be long-lasting and not just for families with children.
“Ensuring child care is high-quality, affordable and available for families is crucial to our nation’s ability to produce and sustain an economically viable, competitively positioned workforce in the future,” said Lynette Fraga, executive director of Child Care Aware of America.
If you’re expecting or plan to have a family soon, there are steps you can take to prepare yourself for the soaring costs of day care. Money advises:
- Start early. It’s best to start budgeting and saving early, before the baby comes.
- Tax breaks. You may qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
- It takes a village. There are potential money-saving benefits to partnering with another family (or more) to share child care costs. See “Child Care Showdown: Nannies vs. Day Care.”
Click here to find out the average cost for center-based infant care in your state. The Huffington Post said, “Overall, the report finds that New York is the least affordable state for this type of child care and Louisiana is the most affordable.”
When my first child was born, I cut my work schedule from full time to part time, which saved me a lot of money in child care costs. Both of my children have attended a small, family-run day care, which are typically cheaper than a center-based day care, on a part-time basis. But even part-time day care leaves a sizable dent in our wallet.
What do you think about the soaring costs of child care in the U.S.? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.