Budgeting for Child Care

Child care is a significant expense in a family’s budget. Check out these resources to help you as you're budgeting for child care costs.

  • Your Current Budget

    Before you make your child care decision, review your current monthly budget to see how much you can afford in child care costs. Include all of your expenses, including housing, utilities, loans, medical expenses, gas, savings and retirements. Don’t forget to include any other regular expenses such as groceries, household supplies, and dining out expenses. Use this Family Monthly Budget Template to help you think of all your monthly expenses in addition to the child care costs mentioned below.

  • Child Care Costs

    The cost of child care may vary depending on where you live, your child’s age, the type of care you choose, and whether you need part or full-time care. You can learn more about the average cost of care in your area by contacting your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency. When searching for child care, be sure to ask about extra costs in addition to the tuition rates. Here are some questions to help you get started:

    • What are the tuition rates?
    • Am I expected to pay weekly or monthly?
    • Is there an annual registration fee?
    • Is there a material or supply fee for books, classroom materials or uniforms?
    • Is there a charge for meals and snacks?
    • Does the program charge field trip fees?
    • Are there any other additional fees?
  • Adjusting Your Budget

    Your monthly budget will look different after you factor in child care costs. If your income is not enough to cover all the costs, think about where you can save money. Be creative but realistic when trying to cut costs.

    • Can you cut back on entertainment expenses?
    • Can you order some supplies online at a discount?
    • Can you shop at second-hand stores for baby/child items?
    • Are you able to cut back on some of your cable or cell phone plans?

    If you are unsure if you can afford to pay for child care, visit our Help Paying for Child Care page for information on a variety of programs that might help you pay for child care.

  • Budgeting Resources

    In addition to the Family Monthly Budget Template, check out these additional resources:

    • Mint:
      Mint is an all-around financial tool that helps families and individuals manage their money. You can use Mint to create your family’s budget to see where you are spending and where you may be able to save money.
    • MyMoney.gov:
      This website provides user-friendly information and resources about a number of financial topics. Get information on borrowing money, saving and investing, budgeting, and more. Visit the “Spend” or the “Tools” tabs for budgeting resources.

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