With work, gift hunting, and out-of-town visitors looming over us this holiday season, it can be a scramble to find time to get anything done, especially when your kids are out of school! Before spending all your holiday savings, check out these six ways to save on childcare this winter:
Do your research. If you decide that daycare is your best option, make sure to do your research. Some centers are closed on holidays or still charge you even when your child isn’t there!
Reach out to your company. Many companies understand the responsibility of a parent, especially during the holidays. If you took advantage of a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account for childcare you can use your pretax savings to pay for up to $5,000 in daycare. Other companies offer daycare reimbursements or even have onsite daycare.
Double up with friends. Do you have friends in the area who also have children? Combine your efforts (and money) and hire a nanny! You’ll pay less for higher quality care, plus your children can remain at a home instead of going to a daycare facility. Most nannies also charge per hour rather than per day, so if you need an hour or two to snag some last minute presents, they can fill in.
Hire a local teenager. Hiring a teenager from your neighborhood is a great way to cut costs on childcare. Not only will they also be out of school for Christmas break, but they don’t charge as much as a nanny or daycare. It’s also a great way for them to gain some work experience, a real win-win!
Utilize your family. Not everyone has a parent or family member nearby or in town to visit for the holidays, but if you do, reach out to see if they would mind watching your kids. Even if it’s just for a few days out of the week, that could shave a lot of money off of your childcare budget.
Don’t forget the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. If your child is under the age of 13, you may be able to get the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit up to $1,050 for your child and up to $2,100 for two or more if you paid for childcare over the holidays . According to BabyCenter.com, the average cost of full-time daycare costs about $972 a month, so that puts more money back in your pocket at tax-time!
Don’t worry about knowing how to claim the Child and Dependent Care Credit and other tax credits. TurboTax will ask you simple questions about you and give you the tax deductions and credits you deserve based on your answers.