Affordable Daycare

Finding affordable daycare is difficult; finding daycare that’s available, affordable, and meets all of your other standards and expectations can be even harder.

We can help! Finding affordable child care starts with determining your budget. While the goal is “affordable,” that word has different meanings for different families. You’ll also want to do some research on the going rate for daycare in your area, to begin with. The average cost of child care can vary depending on your community.

Children playing in Early Learning Center

Then, think about how much of your household income you can spare for child care. When you get to crunching the numbers, you might find you have more available in your budget than you initially thought. Plus, tax credits, tuition subsidies, and more can help you find an affordable daycare provider.

How to Find an Educational and Affordable Daycare

Use a combination of these strategies — some potentially obvious, others more creative — to find a high-quality and affordable daycare for your child. And, as always, keep waitlists in mind and start your search as early as possible.

Ask Around

The first thing you should do is simply ask around your community. The best recommendations often come from people you know. Friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors, and even that friendly clerk at the grocery store can point you in the right direction.

Get a Subsidy

You might qualify for a child care subsidy. Each year, federal, state, and even local authorities allocate a certain amount of funds to help families with child care expenses. Qualification requirements vary by state, so be sure to check yours.

Apply for Assistance

Child care assistance — similar to a subsidy — is another state-run program you might qualify for. Most states provide financial assistance for child care to low-income families. With child care assistance, you’ll typically pay a portion of the expenses, while the program pays for the rest.

Start a DCFSA

Some employers offer a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA), which allows you to contribute part of your pre-tax income to an account used to pay for child care expenses. And this has an added bonus of lowering your tax liability! Keep in mind that a DCFSA must be used to pay for work-related child care expenses — it can’t be used for child care provided outside of your work schedule.

Take Advantage of a Tax Credit

When tax season comes around, you might be able to cash in on the Child and Dependent Care Credit. It’s income-based, so the lower your income, the higher the credit will be.

Plus, your tax liability might get reduced so much that you end up with a refund!

However, note that you can’t open or fund a DCFSA and use the child care tax credit in the same tax year, so be strategic.

Ask About Rates and Discounts

Your child’s daycare center or potential future center might offer sibling discounts or discounts for paying the tuition in full, up front. They might also offer discounts for veterans, active-duty military service members, teachers, first responders, and more. Special rates and discounts can help you find a much more affordable daycare.

Explore Your Benefits

Take a look at the child care benefits your employer offers and/or talk to an HR rep at work to see if there’s anything your company can do to help with child care costs. Some employers offer subsidized child care, affordable daycare in on-site or near-site centers, nanny placement, and more.

Do a Daycare Comparison

Are you looking at more than one center in your area? Affordability shouldn’t be the only factor — you also want to be sure the daycare you choose meets your child’s needs, makes your family feel comfortable, and more. Tour different centers to find an affordable daycare that’s high-quality, too.


Affordable Daycare FAQs

How much should I budget for daycare?

Ideally, daycare should cost no more than 10% of a household’s income, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, many families spend 35% or more of their household’s income on daycare and other forms of child care.

Is it cheaper to have a babysitter or daycare?

Costs vary depending on the area in which you live. In some cases, hiring a sitter might be less expensive; in other cases, affordable daycare wins out. Keep the different experiences in mind, though — at daycare, your child will benefit from social interaction with other children their age. And if you have more than one child, you might save money with sibling discounts.
mother holding child

Get Started Today

Find a center near you to get started with Bright Horizons

Or call us to start the conversation 877-624-4532

Bright Horizons is a United States–based child-care provider and is the largest provider of employer-sponsored child care. Employees looking to become a child care teacher are offered the opportunity to earn an early education degree for free as part of their corporate benefits. Search by zip to find a child care center near you. Bright Horizons Global Headquarters are in Newton, Massachusetts, USA.