Daycare Dilemma – One Year Later

by Debt Destroyer on July 27, 2009

preschool-graduation-kids-schoolYou’ll get 5 bonus points if you remember that one of the first posts that I wrote for The Happy Rock was about daycare. Back then daycare was costing us about $950 a month. So its no wonder why I wrote about it, it was our biggest monthly expense.

Long time readers will also note that I soon lost my job, went back to school and cut the kids down to 20 hours a week at daycare. That change brought our bill down to the $650/month range.

The months went by. The kids learned their ABC’s, they had the cutest Christmas program ever, and they got to go on a bunch of fun field trips.  We loved the center, it was only 4 blocks form our house, the staff was fantastic, they were super cool with my daughters food allergies, and they didn’t give us grief for our goofy schedule.   Everything was going great.

Notice I said “was”.

In March we received word that after 27 years of operation, our daycare center would be closing June 30th(I guess it was losing money hand over fist).  This threw our life, and a bunch of lives in a tizzy.

We put our names on the list for the only other center in town we’ve heard good things about, but so did the other 66 parents.  Only a few got in.  We weren’t one of them.  We visited another center in town and were left rather unimpressed.  But we asked to be on their waiting list anyway.

Let me tell you, it was no fun going through the motions of looking for daycares again. Especially when the town we live in already had a childcare shortage.


But as luck would have it we heard through the grapevine that a new Montessori school was opening.  We made a phone call and had an interview.  The kids loved it, and the “teacher” loved our kids.  And the best part is that the cost is going to be $450 a month(It’s only a half day program).  All we needed to do was fill out the app and pay a deposit and we’d be on our way to an appealing childcare solution that saved us $200 a month*.

But there was a catch.  There’s always a catch.

The Montessori school isn’t going to be operational until the end of August. So that left us with a two month gap with no childcare.  What would we do…Daddy Daycare?

Yeah right!

On May’s expense report, you’ll notice $173.84 for Park & Rec Classes. This cost represents a three hour afternoon program Mon-Thurs, that my daughter goes to during June & July. During that same time, my son is usually napping.  So with the afternoons taken care of, all we needed was a solution for the mornings.

It pays to have friends!

I’m taking summer school classes in the morning, and this my wife’s busy time of the year (wedding photography) so we were in a pickle as to what to do.  But then a couple of our friends volunteered their kids to come over to our house and play with our kids during that time.   My wife works from home so she’ll be in her office, if they need anything.

We offered to pay the kids $10/day but their parents said that was too much.  We’ll settle on something soon enough, but whatever it is, it will be far cheaper than normal daycare.

In August both my and my daughter’s classes will be over, so we’ll probably cut the kids loose and let them enjoy the remainder of their summer vacation.  Then me and the kids will have to find ways of entertaining ourselves.

I’m guessing there will be a lot of bike rides to the park in my future.

So as you can see a lot can change in a year.

If you have one, how has your daycare/childcare situation been going? Are you pleased with your current setup, or are you looking to make a change.

Until next time,


*In reality we won’t be seeing $200 in savings.  Daycare provided lunches for our kids, the Montessori school won’t.  But my kids hardly eat, so I don’t think that will add up to much.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Discover July 28, 2009 at 11:06 am

It is hard to believe a daycare can lose money charging $650 for part time day care. Were they also trying to teach the kids how to play the stock market.


Kosmo @ The Casual Observer July 28, 2009 at 2:08 pm

We have a baby on the way … next year our day care costs will jump to about $1600/month. Yikes. The center is good, though – another we visited was downright scary. Like your location, this city has a day care shortage, and the city is a bit pricier than most in the area, in general.

As for the kids who will be watching your kids – maybe give them gift cards to places they enjoy – either in place of cash, or in addition to it? It’s a bit more personal than cash, and might give them a warm, fuzzy feeling when they think of your family?


Herbert July 28, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Good to see that interesting push though obstacles — I wish you all the best and will be sticking around for more articles.

…I look back, and I think that daycare was probably one of the funnest experiences of my life. I definitely learned a lot from my early years there. It was the fearlessness of youth coupled with numerous friends that just made everything great.


car insurance phi July 28, 2009 at 9:07 pm

No 5 points for me, but still, as a person without children, $1000 a month for daycare seems astounding! I’m in the wrong business.


Debt Destroyer July 30, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

@ Discover – A lot of us parents had this same thought. Supposedly it’s been losing money a long time, but the parent company (Hospital) also made up the difference. But now that they too are hurting, they cut it loose.

@Kosmo – Yikes $1600/month!!! Holy smokes!!!

The gift card idea is a good one. I wish I thought of it. But we went with cash. The parents of our sitters thought it would be a great opportunity to teach the kids about money.

@ Herbert – I’m glad you’ll be sticking around. And I have to say I’m impressed that you are able to remember daycare. My memories from way back are fuzzy at best.

@ car insurance phi – If you can handle the kids, it can be a nice living. My wife’s sister has an in-home daycare in another town, and tells us she makes $400/day.

Maybe I should rethink the whole Daddy Daycare thing :)


Jonathan@Friends&Money August 1, 2009 at 8:56 am

That’s hard. I know that my brothers and sisters who have children, pay around $1700 a month (it’s more expensive in the UK) which equates to half a full time wage.


Scott Lovingood@Small Business Coach August 1, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Sounds like you have identified a huge market to start a side business in. Preschool or afterschool care can be a very profitable and fun business if you like kids and enjoy working with them.

My karate school used to run an after school program. It cost the same as a normal after school program and my son got 2 classes a week in martial arts. They added a ton of revenue to their existing business. They did add some cost but running the numbers, it added a huge amount to their bottom line.

Maybe you can find some local businesses that make a good fit and help them get started.

People without kids often don’t realize the huge expense that childcare can be.


Debt Destroyer August 5, 2009 at 1:35 pm

@ Jonathan – Before my wife started her own photography business, she worked part time, so daycare ate up almost all of her paycheck. But she liked getting out of the house.

@ Scott – There’s been a lot of talk in town about this sort of stuff since the center closed. It sounds like the Y will expand it’s daycare offering but by the time they do it, my kids probably won’t need it.


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