This is a 3-part series with a bunch of links at the end of part three. The link for Part Two is below.
To see a video on this, please click HERE
and if you're more audio than visual, try our conversation HERE

Without even considering college, raising a child costs around $12,000 a year and that number doesn't include the child care expense. When child care expenses are figured in, the number grows dramatically. Families of any size need to calculate this cost into their budgets. They also need to understand the importance of taking a break from child rearing. Both are reasons to read the following Frugal Yankee primer on child care expense. Without an understanding of the costs involved and the possible solutions, the result is simple, child care expense that is out of control.

The first approach of child care is simple:  parent adjusting schedules. Working parents can work from home, cut down work hours for one or both. Trade-offs in pay or other job related issues may affect the over all household budget, but at least it is not an out of pocket expense. Another tack to take is to examine whether complementary work schedules can be implemented. One parent works the day shift, the other night shift. There is one parent with the child at all times. This first approach keeps the child care expense well within the grasp of most families.

Another time honored way of keeping the expense of child care down is to call on family. Without a doubt, if 'babysitting' is needed, this is the best way to save. Grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews have all been called on to help families keep that child care expense from exploding. However before embarking on this avenue, a frank discussion with the relatives is worthwhile. Some are happy to oblige, some may have concerns and most will have limits. Availability will be a key factor as is training. Most older family members will have already raised children. That has its pluses and minuses.

A plus is experience, one minus is a 'set in their ways' attitude. Understand each person's strengths and weaknesses and work with that. Be sure to respect their limits and reciprocate in thoughtful ways. A home-cooked dinner, a small thoughtful gift, even a simple chore done for them, goes a long way to show appreciation.  Of course, just because they're related doesn't mean leaving children with them is a good idea. As with any decision regarding children, use good common sense.

The second part of this series is located HERE

Sign up for the FRUGAL YANKEE NEWSLETTER, w trove of tips, ideas and links.