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Saving for College…and for Childcare?

A 2013 study by Child Care Aware® America says that childcare costs more than in-state tuition does in 31 states in the nation, including Missouri.

The Child Care Aware® study isn’t the first to try to provide insights into the complex financial equation of daycare expenses, college tuition, and income from one or both parents. Should both parents work outside the home or should one parent stay home full time? Does a stay-at-home-job make sense for one parent? Is part-time employment possible? If it is, does it pay enough to balance the cost of childcare during the hours when both parents work? And what about single-parent families: What’s the best way for a single mom or dad to provide for kids?

Families face innumerable considerations when making childcare, employment, and college savings decisions. Likewise, there are a number of variables at play when comparing a state’s college and childcare costs against those in other states: Some states offer heavier subsidies for in-state college tuition than other states do. Cost of living also varies from one state (and region of that state) to another, and daycare costs can differ dramatically depending on the amount and quality of care a child receives.

Childcare is a significant investment for your family — In Missouri the bottom line is that childcare costs about $400 a year more than in-state tuition does. As a result, the decisions you make now about child care are just as important, financially speaking, as those you’ll make later about college.

Make sure your child is getting the most out of day care by thoroughly researching the options in your community. Look for providers who have education or certifications in early childhood education or child development, and don’t forget that summer day camps and summer school programs can be a great way to keep older kids learning, even when they’re not in school.

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