Providing childcare in your home can easily cost as much as you make, but if you declutter your finances and watch spending, you can turn a profit to support your family in this business.
Declutter your finances-solutions for daycare providers
There are a ton of ways you can cut corners in daycare and help support your family in a better way. In the past 25 years, I have learned a ton of tips and tricks from other providers and from studying money saving ideas from professionals like Dave Ramsey.
In home daycare
In home daycare has some unique challenges and circumstances that other jobs don’t. Many people work at home, but they don’t have clients coming into their home setting. Many other people work outside of the home. Really in home daycare is one of the only businesses that you actually use every square foot of your home.
A great way to save money in home daycare is by being super careful about things getting torn up. Now, we keep kids, so obviously things are going to get torn up. I’ve had my tv put out with a toy hammer, kids pulling shelves out of the sheetrock on the wall, light fixtures destroyed by someone throwing a toy.
I had an antique book that was my mom’s when she was in elementary school that a child ripped the whole back binding off of. It was heartbreaking.
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Don’t sweat the small stuff
Getting upset because kids tear things up in our homes doesn’t do anyone any good. They don’t mean to destroy property if they are 2 years old. They are just exploring and checking things out and they don’t realize it’s damaging.
But you can minimize what the kids destroy. We have the rules for chairs and couches, sit or get off. We have a climber in our playroom so kids have something they CAN climb all over, not the toy kitchen shelf or the dress-up center.
You can give them paper to tear so they are less likely to tear books. Keep your sharpie markers under lock and key. Don’t leave scissors or pens out where kids can reach them when you are helping someone in the bathroom. Lots of supervision and careful placement of all of your storage helps a lot.
Simplify your finances
One great way to simplify your finances is by tracking your expenses. If you spend $100 a month on fancy coffee drinks, a cappuccino or latte maker might be a great investment for you. If you feel like you have to have every new toy that comes on the market, try making a small monthly budget for toys and let the kids play with what you already have.
With kids, less is more. If you give them too much to play with all they do is dump and tear things up. If you give them fewer toys that are well thought out, you’ll notice they play more mindfully and explore and enjoy each item far more.
Are you wasting money every day using paper plates? Buy some sturdy plates for the kids and use the dishwasher. It’s not that hard to even hand wash a few plates and throwing dishes away every day fills up the landfill and drains your budget.
Cutting expenses in family childcare to declutter your finances
What about other things you can cut down on? Can you use rags instead of paper towels to clean up messes in the kitchen? I only use paper towels to clean up milk because it ruins my kitchen towels. Everything else gets cleaned up with something washable.
Do you go through a ton of construction paper? How about saving the brown paper stuffing that comes in your delivery boxes and cutting it into sheets for kids to use. Or turn old paperwork over (as long as it doesn’t have personal information) and let the kids draw or paint on the back.
Junk mail can be used for cutting practice for the kids. Just give them a catalog you would have thrown away and a pair of scissors.
How about giving them the boxes and letting them draw inside of them? Or make something with them? Use paper towel tubes for art supplies. Cracker boxes, cereal boxes, old baby food jars, they can all be turned into something to create with. You can even make homemade cleaners out of natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda that will save you a ton of money.
Where else is your budget bleeding waste? Financial decluttering can save you and help you save for the future. Check your bank account and look for things that you don’t use like subscription services. Do you use Netflix or could you watch movies on tv? What about the highest speed internet? Do you order the newspaper but only read it once a week?
Consider each expense and see what you can do to cut it. Do you still have a home phone? What do you use it for besides getting annoying spam calls? Can you cut the premium channels from your cable subscription? Do you read the magazines you’re buying? Cancel those subscriptions unless you’re really using them.
Check out ways you can save. Call around and check insurance prices and switch to a cheaper company. Negotiate your cable and internet bill. Tell them you want a better deal. You can save by doing these things.
Daycare revenue and expenses
Daycare can cost more than you can make at times. Look around for equipment you aren’t using. If you have an attic full of baby furniture but you stopped keeping babies, offer those to other providers in local daycare groups and make a few dollars while decluttering your home.
If you need more toys or equipment, ask your daycare parents to consider you before they get rid of kid’s furniture and toys. I had a daycare mom from years ago that was cleaning out her storage unit bring me at least $100 of old school supplies they had in storage. Crayons, markers, colored pencils, all stuff her son used when he was little, but he is now a teen and wouldn’t use them. We’ve been using them for months. Score!
Shop at garage sales, online, and in thrift stores first. Many times, you can find just what you’ve been wanting for half the price or even less.
Life and my finances
Pay off your debt before you buy any more. Those new toy kitchens look cute, but you can make a stove from a box and a refrigerator from another and save yourself a ton of interest in the future by not charging a new set up.
Make a budget and stick to it. Keep careful records of your daycare expenses and see what area is getting out of hand. I do a ton of activities with my kids, but I plan stuff with what I already have. I look at the supplies to decide what I want to provide the kids with. If you do need to buy something, research it well and get the best deal. Don’t just buy the first one you see.
Benefits of budgeting
When you plan a budget, you really begin to see where you waste too much. It’s like tracking your calories. It’s hard to see where things got out of hand until you look at it and tally it up.
Check out your energy consumption, maybe you can save some money there. Are your windows super leaky, you may save by replacing them? Have more insulation blown into the attic? If your appliances are super old, replacing them could save you a ton of energy costs. Do you batch your errands so you can do a lot at once instead of running across town every night? Go to all the places that are close together on the same day. If you track it, you can see where you can save.
Clean up your money mess
Organize your coupons so they are easy to use. Manage the pennies you spend. If someone asks for a round-up for something, see if that is something you really want to support and if not, keep that quarter in your bank account.
Change adds up. My biggest problem is giving to every cause I see, but that is totally unnecessary. I should support what is important, yes, because generosity will come back to me. But I don’t need to support everything.
Count your change, if you have a jar of coins or a change place in the car, it likely has quite a bit of money in it. Count it up and put it in savings. It will add up before you know it.
Cut up your credit cards. If you don’t have any, you’ll save a ton of money by not using them. Save up your own money so you can borrow from yourself. If you have an emergency or supply fund, when you need to replace something, the funds are there.
How to build savings
Sometimes it’s hard to come up with money for savings. Try depositing all your change in savings to build it up over time. Set up automated savings in your bank account. If you have the bank automatically move $5 or $25 to savings every week or once a month, you may not even notice it, but the savings will build over time.
There are a lot of ways you can save small amounts to spend less on the daycare business and have more money to take care of you and your family. Being mindful and decluttering your finances will help you see where your money goes and where you’d rather it went. Then you can come up with new plans over time.
If you want more productivity solutions for daycare providers, check out preparing for tax time, finding more time in the day, managing daycare paperwork, how to deal with all the mess, how to do all the food prep for daycare and your family, how to plan daycare activities, and stay tuned for the 30 day decluttering your supplies challenge coming up!
For more tips for daycare providers, click here.
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