If you’ve decided to live frugally, you’re well aware of all the sacrifices that type of lifestyle requires. However, no matter the cost, investing in your children’s well-being isn’t one of them. Quality child care can be hard to find, especially when trying to stick to a certain monthly budget. Nevertheless, there is always a way to make everything work out for the best. It’s not easy and it will sometimes require a high level of creativity, but it will help the parents continue with their frugal lifestyle and still provide their children with the best care possible.
So, here are some options, their pros and cons, and how to handle them properly.
Option #1: The stay-at-home option
This is one of the first options you should explore when it comes to child care. The first question should be if either parent is inclined to stay at home with the children? There are definitely some downsides to this option, the first being the fact that sacrificing your career can end up being really difficult since the reality is that you’ll still be “paying” for child care by not receiving your monthly salary. Others include losing your independence, feeling bored and the constant sense of alienation. However, there are a few pro facts to consider, like preparing all the meals at home for example. This is a huge benefit in favor of your frugal lifestyle. Also, use the opportunity to educate your children about benefits of frugal living, but do it in a fun way. There are plenty of games and crafts that will make learning interesting and help you make the home environment more creative and stimulative. In the end, the most important thing is to make the decision together while considering all the facts involved in staying at home and raising a child as a one-income family.
Option #2: Child care services
When evaluating child care options, one thing is pretty clear ‒ the safety of your children is your number one concern. So, the first thing you should do is thoroughly research all your options. Start by asking your friends and family for their child care options, as well as their pros and cons. When asked, the most experienced parents usually state that they put their trust in childcare centers that they are extremely satisfied with the safe environment and individual treatment each child receives. It’s not written in stone, but if the price is low, there is probably something wrong, so listen to your gut and skip the cheapest option available. Again, you want to be 100% sure that your child is well taken care of. Use social media, it will help you narrow things down quickly to a few choices. On the other hand, relying on other people’s experiences isn’t bulletproof. Sometimes, you might end up disappointed with someone’s recommendation mostly because of your different parenting styles or standards you have set for the facilities in question. As popular as they are today, social media can be somewhat deceiving especially when you take into consideration that many users pay for advertisements and allow only good reviews on their pages.
In the end, the best you can do is make up your own rating system according to the date you’ve gathered and rate the facilities by your own standards. That way, you’ll be able to differentiate between a good and a really great option and eliminate the ones with serious issues right from the start.
Option #3: Flexible work option
When it comes to your career, another thing you should consider is switching to a more flexible position. The downside of this option is that you probably won’t be able to keep a position you are currently on, which means you won’t be earning the same amount of money so you’ll have to make some cutbacks. But you shouldn’t look at it as a step backward. Flexible working hours or a home-based job will enable you to raise your children at home and avoid paying for a daycare center. With a few minor adjustments, like creating your own home office, you’ll get the best of both worlds ‒ your child will be safe with you by your side and you’ll still be able to have a regular income your family depends on.
Option #4: Your family as a possible solution
After you’ve considered staying at home, you should really think about your family members as the most reliable caregivers you know. Even though it may seem like the most logical solution to your child care problems, turning to your family for help may come with a few disadvantages, like putting a strain on your relationship if something goes wrong. Being a part of the same family doesn’t necessarily mean you have the same take on raising a child. Awkward situations might occur and sometimes child-related misunderstandings with your family members might be difficult to resolve. However, you won’t find anyone more trustworthy than the ones closest to you or anyone you would rather entrust the safety of your child to. So, if you decide on this option, you’ll definitely save a small fortune and, most importantly, remain calm knowing that your child is in the safest hands you know.
Nothing is more important than the well-being of your children, so regardless of the frugal lifestyle, do what is best for your family. It’s the only thing you can’t put a price tag on.
This is a guest post by Claire who resides in Australia
Claire is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. You can find her online writing and giving tips about lifestyle and development as a regular contributor to highstylelife.com.