Child care becomes largest household expense

Raising a child is one the most rewarding experiences parents can have, but higher child care costs are becoming a financial burden for millions of families.

A recent study conducted by Child Care Aware of America reveals that most households are paying more in child care than in rent, making it their largest household expense.

According to the report, the annual cost of infant care increased about 2 percent last year ranging from an average of $4,600 in Mississippi to $15,000 in Massachusetts. The cost of child care for children over four increased by four percent, which represents $11,700 a year in Massachusetts.

The increase in child care costs comes at a time when some parents are facing unemployment and financial problems, not to mention higher gas and food prices.

The current economic situation has led parents to choose between having a successful career or staying home with their children. Other parents have recurred to unlicensed child care centers, which offer affordable prices.

Even though parents are facing a critical situation, there are strategies they can use to improve their lifestyle without sacrificing their children’s safety. Experts at have the following advice:

Stay home if your paycheck barely covers child care: When child care costs are almost equal to the amount of your salary, keeping your job is not a good option. Being away from your child in addition to lacking funds for your personal expenses won’t allow you to enjoy your life . Staying home with your child will not affect your budget and it will give you piece of mind. In addition, you can work part-time from home or do some freelance work.

Move to an affordable location: If you are going to have a baby, the location is a big factor to consider when planning your financial future. Some cities are just not kid friendly. For example, New York City can be a great area to develop your career, but when it comes to raising children it’s expensive and lacks outdoor space. There are plenty of suburbs that may offer better prices, without depriving you from the city’s hustle and bustle! Perhaps moving close to family members can help you reduce child care costs. Grandparents are usually looking forward to spending time with their grandchildren, so they may be happy to take care of your children a couple of days a week.

Telecommute: Telecommuting may be the solution to spending time with your child while keeping your job. Nowadays most people only need a computer and a phone to do their job. Asking your boss to allow you to work from home half a day o some days a week, could be extremely beneficial for your child and your finances.