As a working parent with young children, chances are you pay someone to watch your children while you are at work. While child care is a necessity for many people, it can be expensive. As a matter of fact, monthly child care costs as much, or more than a typical month’s rent in many states.
Here is more about this rising problem with some advice on what you can do to keep child care costs down.
The Rising Cost of Child Care in the U.S.
In many states, the cost of child care has risen to equal or exceed what parents pay per year in rent. This has placed an undue burden on many parents as they struggle to make ends meet. The necessity of working puts many parents in a catch 22 situation, as they have to find child care in order to work, which in turn adds to their monthly bill total, potentially requiring them to work even more.
Child Care vs. Rent Cost
In comparison, the average cost of child care in the U.S. is around $800 a month for a child care facility and a little over $3,000 a month for in-home care. With the average cost in the U.S. of a 2-bedroom apartment sitting around $1,200. Either way, the costs of having someone take care of your children while you work can get expensive. And these are just the national averages, as in some states it cost much more.
The States with the Highest and Lowest Child Care Costs
The states that offer the best price for child care on an annual basis include:
- Mississippi at $4,822
- Alabama at $5,637
- South Dakota at $5,661
- Louisiana at $5,747
- Tennessee at 5, 857
When it comes to higher costs for child care on an annual basis, the following states costs the most:
- Washington D.C. at $22,631
- Massachusetts at $17,062
- Minnesota at $14,366
- New York at $14,144
- Maryland at $13,932
How to Save Money on Child Care Costs
Fortunately, there are some steps that parents can take to keep the costs of child care down. First off, they need to shop around for the best child care option for their needs. But child care is more than just about cost. Parents have to also balance the quality of care with the cost. They should check out reviews from other parents and only consider services which have the best ratings, regardless of cost.
Parents can also take advantage of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) to try and recoup some of the costs of child care. The CDCTC allows parents with children 12 or younger to claim up to 35% of qualified care expenses, though this depends in part on their income level. This tax credit has a maximum amount of $3,000 for a single dependent and $6,000 for more than one dependent.
Another option, while not ideal for some, is to work from home. In many cases this is easier said than done as the job a parent holds usually requires them to work away from home. But, if you have a job that allows you to work remotely, then this option could save you thousands of dollars a year.
There is really no easy answer to the child care cost crisis that many in this country are now facing. Unless parents have family willing to take on the responsibility of a child while they are at work, or are in a career field that allows them to work from home, there is little they can do to avoid this necessary cost.