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Unread 2016-09-09, 12:01 PM   #1
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Default Child Care Cost Help

Well, after a year of childcare our budget has been absolutely destroyed.

Just found out #2 is on the way and the total daycare costs each month will be double my mortgage! ($1800 per mo) My wife is pretty set on the daycare we use as its across the street and really nice and not that expensive compared to the other centers in town.

I have had to cut back saving/investing almost completely and am still falling short every few weeks.

I already do the 5k dependent care account through work but am needing some other ideas on what you have done or what is possible.

Those of you that are parents, what are some methods/hacks you have done to bring the costs down?
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Unread 2016-09-09, 12:22 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by jasman18 View Post
Well, after a year of childcare our budget has been absolutely destroyed.

Just found out #2 is on the way and the total daycare costs each month will be double my mortgage! ($1800 per mo) My wife is pretty set on the daycare we use as its across the street and really nice and not that expensive compared to the other centers in town.

I have had to cut back saving/investing almost completely and am still falling short every few weeks.

I already do the 5k dependent care account through work but am needing some other ideas on what you have done or what is possible.

Those of you that are parents, what are some methods/hacks you have done to bring the costs down?
Would you or your wife quitting her job or going to part time save you money, or is her income far greater than the cost of childcare?
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Unread 2016-09-09, 12:38 PM   #3
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Ramen noodles. But seriously..if she's set on the location and that cost is fixed, you'll probably just need to cut back savings. That's what we did.
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Unread 2016-09-09, 01:07 PM   #4
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Would you or your wife quitting her job or going to part time save you money, or is her income far greater than the cost of childcare?
We both make about the same. I would like for both of us to stay home but wont have the means for another decade.


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Ramen noodles. But seriously..if she's set on the location and that cost is fixed, you'll probably just need to cut back savings. That's what we did.
I have cut back savings a lot. All that's left is 401k, Roth and discounted ESOP which I consider the bare minimum. Could always work a little more on the side.



I'm hoping you guys have used some logic/arguments with wifes that you have used in the past to challenge them on these kind of fixed costs.
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Unread 2016-09-10, 07:58 AM   #5
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There are no arguments man. If you are going to have someone watch your kids, its something that you have to deal with. Typically at the places we have taken our kids the costs are tiered as they get older, the cost goes down. I pay $195 a week for one kid and $202 a week for the other. We don't have a great "budget" so I guess we've probably cut back on something, but I am not entirely sure what it actually is.

School starts next year for the one kid, so I am happy to have my $10,200 back when that happens...
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Unread 2016-09-10, 08:26 AM   #6
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Do you have any friends with young children where the mom stays at home?


Maybe find someone like that that's close like family and see if they want to make some extra money watching your kids too.
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Unread 2016-09-12, 10:41 AM   #7
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If you are taking away the option of looking at another daycare, then you either have to bring in more money or you have to cut costs elsewhere. Congrats by the way.

When we had our first child, we went to the most pricey daycare in town. When we had our second one, we shopped around, as the amount for two kids would have been ridiculous. We found comparable care at a much cheaper rate, the biggest difference was instead of a dedicated building (purpose built daycare center), the new one was ran out of a church with a dedicated wing.
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Unread 2016-09-13, 12:13 AM   #8
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We have 2 (3yo and 3mo) in daycare for $200 a week in western Johnson County. My work schedule allows me to go in late a few days and we have grand parent coverage on Wednesday. So we are only paying for two half days and two full days.


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Unread 2016-09-13, 05:37 AM   #9
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You seem like the kind of person that would have already checked, but do either of your employers offer any type of child care credit? I just found out the other day my company offered $30 biweekly for 1st child, $40 for 2. It's not life-changing, but it's an extra $720/year. I don't need it, but thought it was pretty cool.
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Unread 2016-09-13, 01:38 PM   #10
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with the second kid you will get the additional 1,000 towards the child care credit. 2 kids = 6,000 deduction less 5,000 in child care FSA gives you 1,000 worth of expenses towards the credit.
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Unread 2016-09-19, 01:27 PM   #11
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with the second kid you will get the additional 1,000 towards the child care credit. 2 kids = 6,000 deduction less 5,000 in child care FSA gives you 1,000 worth of expenses towards the credit.
Didn't know that.
Every little bit helps.


Wife spoke with the daycare and we got some good news:
The daycare agreed to give a discount (I'm going to ask for 10%-20%) if we pay for a year up front for two kids.
So come tax and bonus time (March) We might be able to do that and save a lot.
I'm thinking since they are flexible we might be able to negotiate a refundable rate (in case we move away or job loss) and a non refundable rate.

You guys have any thoughts on what the best strategy might be?
Should I ask for a bigger discount?
This is a church daycare and they are pretty flexible since its not for profit and the daycare is all extra money to them.
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Unread 2016-09-19, 01:52 PM   #12
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It doesn't hurt to ask, but most good daycares are not hurting for kids - in fact, they have a waiting list. Some will give a few bucks off per week per kid (say $10/kid/week) if you have multiple kids there though.

I get the point of wanting to do it as cheap as possible, but good daycare is something I am willing to pay for. Most of the people that work at those things aren't making good money. The last thing I want is for them to be skimping on nutritious food, experiences, or quality people that are willing to work for a reduced budget. Remember, that money is going to help educate and prepare your kids for school.

I am satisfied if I know I am getting the highest quality care for the money. If the place across the street can do the same job cheaper, fine. I will start taking them across the street. I am just not willing to beat up the daycare provider at what could be the expense of my child(ren).

All that said, I would not feel out of place asking about payment methods. If I use a CC, they eat the fees on that (2-3%). So they may offer that amount off for paying by cash or check. If not, you could pay by CC and get 1-2% back each month
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Unread 2016-09-19, 09:05 PM   #13
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It doesn't hurt to ask, but most good daycares are not hurting for kids - in fact, they have a waiting list. Some will give a few bucks off per week per kid (say $10/kid/week) if you have multiple kids there though.

I get the point of wanting to do it as cheap as possible, but good daycare is something I am willing to pay for. Most of the people that work at those things aren't making good money. The last thing I want is for them to be skimping on nutritious food, experiences, or quality people that are willing to work for a reduced budget. Remember, that money is going to help educate and prepare your kids for school.

I am satisfied if I know I am getting the highest quality care for the money. If the place across the street can do the same job cheaper, fine. I will start taking them across the street. I am just not willing to beat up the daycare provider at what could be the expense of my child(ren).

All that said, I would not feel out of place asking about payment methods. If I use a CC, they eat the fees on that (2-3%). So they may offer that amount off for paying by cash or check. If not, you could pay by CC and get 1-2% back each month

Don't disagree with any of that.
It is more of a question of what this daycare will accept and work with us when requested.
They are a great place and they pay their people quite well. My kid has progressed greater than I could have imagined vs staying at home with the wife or staying with my parents.
There is no waiting list at the moment. They have kicked out too many kids for biting/behavior and parents not paying on time.

As business owners they agreed that they would prefer a large chunk up front vs paying weekly for an entire year.
It is mutually beneficial for both of us if I can cut them a check for 17k at the beginning of the year instead of paying 21k throughout the entire year.

That's the type of creative thinking that will help me and others long term.
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Unread 2016-09-20, 08:37 AM   #14
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with the second kid you will get the additional 1,000 towards the child care credit. 2 kids = 6,000 deduction less 5,000 in child care FSA gives you 1,000 worth of expenses towards the credit.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but looking at form 2441 the credit is tiered depending on your salary. Over $43k and you only get 20% of the credit. In his case, $1200. I'm guessing his combined income is over $43k if he is willing to cut a check for $17k for childcare.

Am I misunderstanding this?
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Unread 2016-09-20, 08:51 AM   #15
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but looking at form 2441 the credit is tiered depending on your salary. Over $43k and you only get 20% of the credit. In his case, $1200. I'm guessing his combined income is over $43k if he is willing to cut a check for $17k for childcare.

Am I misunderstanding this?
Yeah, Turbo tax gives me a whopping $300 deduction..not a credit...just 300 towards total deductions. I don't get shit and I'm 99% sure Jasman makes more than I do.
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Unread 2016-09-20, 09:00 AM   #16
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Yeah, Turbo tax gives me a whopping $300 deduction..not a credit...just 300 towards total deductions. I don't get shit and I'm 99% sure Jasman makes more than I do.
Freaking tax code. I was under the impression I could take both but I think I understand what sleep98 was saying. Even if you have $17k in daycare expenses you can't utilize the $5k FSA and apply the remaining $12k in expenses towards the child care credit. The $5k is taken from the $6k (assuming you have two kids) so the most you could utilize is the extra $1000 bucks.

So if I understand it right, the best Jasman can hope for is the $5k FSA and the $200 tax credit. Better than nothing I guess.

For those that are interested, here is the IRS link and example they provided:

Quote:
Example 2.
Randall is married and both he and his wife are employed. Each has earned income in excess of $6,000. They have two children, Anne and Andy, ages 2 and 4, who attend a daycare facility licensed and regulated by the state. Randall's work-related expenses are $6,000 for the year.

Randall's employer has a dependent care assistance program as part of its cafeteria plan, which allows employees to make pre-tax contributions to a dependent care flexible spending arrangement. Randall has elected to take the maximum $5,000 exclusion from his salary to cover dependent care expenses through this program.

Although the dollar limit for his work-related expenses is $6,000 (two or more qualifying persons), Randall figures his credit on only $1,000 of the $6,000 work-related expense paid. This is because his dollar limit is reduced as shown next.

Randall's Reduced Dollar Limit
1) Maximum allowable expenses for two qualifying persons $6,000
2) Minus: Dependent care benefits selected from employer's cafeteria plan and excluded from Randall's income −5,000
3) Reduced dollar limit on work-related expenses Randall can use for the credit $1,000
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Unread 2016-09-20, 09:10 AM   #17
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Don't disagree with any of that.
It is more of a question of what this daycare will accept and work with us when requested.
They are a great place and they pay their people quite well. My kid has progressed greater than I could have imagined vs staying at home with the wife or staying with my parents.
There is no waiting list at the moment. They have kicked out too many kids for biting/behavior and parents not paying on time.

As business owners they agreed that they would prefer a large chunk up front vs paying weekly for an entire year.
It is mutually beneficial for both of us if I can cut them a check for 17k at the beginning of the year instead of paying 21k throughout the entire year.

That's the type of creative thinking that will help me and others long term.
Let us know how it pans out.

My biggest hesitation would be based on their business practices - making the right decisions with the money to achieve the same outcome rather than find themselves in some sort of budget/cash flow problem later on which would negatively impact the children. Maybe that is more my mistrust in people. Let us know how it works!
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Unread 2016-09-20, 10:34 AM   #18
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I don't get shit and I'm 99% sure Jasman makes more than I do.
Negative my Friend. My spouse nor I currently make six figures each.
Which is why daycare is so damn hard this first year. I just haven't fully adjusted yet.

Assets are there from years without kids(DINK) but right now cash flow is going negative sometimes.

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Let us know how it pans out.

My biggest hesitation would be based on their business practices - making the right decisions with the money to achieve the same outcome rather than find themselves in some sort of budget/cash flow problem later on which would negatively impact the children. Maybe that is more my mistrust in people. Let us know how it works!
Will Do! I am thinking I may try to negotiate a refundable rate vs a non refundable rate. Obviously non refundable will pay them less than a refundable rate in case something happens.
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Unread 2016-09-23, 05:17 PM   #19
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Freaking tax code. I was under the impression I could take both but I think I understand what sleep98 was saying. Even if you have $17k in daycare expenses you can't utilize the $5k FSA and apply the remaining $12k in expenses towards the child care credit. The $5k is taken from the $6k (assuming you have two kids) so the most you could utilize is the extra $1000 bucks.

So if I understand it right, the best Jasman can hope for is the $5k FSA and the $200 tax credit. Better than nothing I guess.

For those that are interested, here is the IRS link and example they provided:
Correct you get the 5k hsa and then the 200 tax credit. Not much but 200 is 200.
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Unread 2016-10-05, 10:37 AM   #20
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So I know you get $5k DCSA for the first kid, do you share the same for the 2nd or get another $5k?
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Unread 2016-10-05, 02:24 PM   #21
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So I know you get $5k DCSA for the first kid, do you share the same for the 2nd or get another $5k?
Shared, unless your unmarried. Then each parent could claim one child and have their own account.
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Unread 2016-10-05, 09:10 PM   #22
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Wtf. So is there no extra break for a 2nd kid?
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Unread 2016-10-06, 01:04 PM   #23
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Wtf. So is there no extra break for a 2nd kid?
Nope.

Just like the covered expenses for the childcare tax credit goes from 3k to 6k for a second child but doesn't go up if you have any additional children after that.
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Unread 2016-10-06, 01:08 PM   #24
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Yeah, Turbo tax gives me a whopping $300 deduction..not a credit...just 300 towards total deductions. I don't get shit and I'm 99% sure Jasman makes more than I do.
Just out of curiosity where does turbo tax put this deduction, what line on the 1040?

As I dont believe there is any deduction, there is just a credit.
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Unread 2016-10-06, 02:38 PM   #25
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Just out of curiosity where does turbo tax put this deduction, what line on the 1040?

As I dont believe there is any deduction, there is just a credit.
Yeah, I was all off on my descriptions. It's 600 and it's a credit.
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