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February 21, 2011

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Stephanie

These options all assume that one has the extra funds to be able to hire more help. For those of us with two child care bills (together bigger than my mortgage), much as we would love to access and pay for more help, the financial realities don't support it.

Sheila

@Stephanie: Such a good point. I understand the financial realities of child care costs well. Do you have any local friends or neighbors with kids or pets? If so, I recommend setting up a child care co-op or a care exchange right here at care.com. For a co-op, you can exchange points with other parents instead of money. You only need one other family to be in your co-op. And it’s simple - you can swap care by working with each other's schedules. If you can make one of these ideas work for even one day a week or on the weekends for running errands, you can save a little money on child care. I also recommend joining or starting a local group on care.com. You might be able to find similar groups that have already started near you who would be inclined to create a co-op. And as a working parent, I encourage you to ask your employer or HR director about flex-spending options for care or other options such as on or off-site daycare centers for everyday or emergency situations. I hope this helps. Good luck!

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