Daycare Costs – Is Working Worth It?

kid_blocksDaycare is a hard parenting decision. It can be difficult to decide if you want to send your children to daycare or if you should stay home with them. It’s worth it to look into the real cost of working. It might sound strange, but working costs money, and it costs more money when both parents work. The cost of working can outweigh the benefit of staying home with your child through those few short, formative years.

There are a great many arguments to be had debating both sides of the issue on whether or not you should stay home with your child. We have addressed some of those here at Decide on Daycare and will address many more of them in the future. However, this article is strictly designed to help you as a parent look at the monetary side of whether or not to send your child to daycare.

The spreadsheet link below will help you accurately assess your current financial situation and the financial burden or benefit involved in staying home with your children. The spreadsheets fields will automatically calculate for you to make this assessment easier.

Daycare Cost Calculator

This is a excel spread sheet but should be compatible with many different programs. It is presented this way so you can easily save it and change it at home or make minor tweaks to your own copy as you find the answers to the questions.

You will need to gather some financial information for the worksheet. You’ll need to know how much you spend on:

  • Daycare itself? (The total cost of enrollment, fees and misc. charges)
  • Daycare extras? (Extra car seat, clothes, medicine, diapers, wipes)
  • Gas for your vehicles? (To and from work, and daycare)
  • Other travel expenses? (Tolls, subway, train, parking)
  • Vehicle maintenance? (Oil changes, repairs, tires, maintenance)
  • Food for work? (Coffee, meals, vending machines)
  • Work supplies and equipment? (Laptop bag, cell phone, tools)
  • Work clothes? (Suits, business clothes, shoes, handbags, other accessories)
  • Your appearance? (Makeup, manicures/pedicures, salon treatments)
  • Other things at daycare? (Birthday parties, field trips, crafts, gifts)
  • Weekly Take Home Earnings? (After taxes and other deductions)

There are several lines below these that are highlighted in orange on the spreadsheet below the other questions. These are for you to add your own special expenses or anything else that goes into the cost of you sending your children to daycare or associated with you working.

After filling out this spreadsheet, you may be surprised by what you find. However, leaving the workforce for a few years has its own lifetime cost that is much harder to factor in, as is each parent’s own individual career circumstances.

You’ll need to determine what those numbers mean to you, and how they fit into your own particular circumstances. Having a number to work with, to really know what it costs for a parent to work and send their children to daycare, may help with those difficult decisions.

Yearly Cost Calculator

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I have also included on the spreadsheet a yearly cost calculator. This is a great tool to use to convert either monthly or yearly expenses down into weekly costs so they can be calculated properly. This is important because there are many things that may go unaccounted for since you really do not pay for them on a weekly basis but they affect your budget through the course of the year. For example, your miscellaneous car expenses don’t occur each week. You may spend $500 a year in the winter for new tires, or $1000 a year for a tune up before vacation. However, these costs do not get factored in. When you look at how little you will drive compared to taking your child to daycare and driving to work every day you will see that these car expenses may go down dramatically. If you drive 100 miles a week instead of a day the wear and tear on your car is much less and you will not need these kinds of repairs annually. This kind of expense is what gets overlooked when figuring out the true costs of daycare.

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