This is going to probably sound very harsh…but I would not have had kids unless I knew I could provide the things that I thought were important to them. It sounds like some of your friends have invested money into other things like buying a car they cannot afford, or going to school full time. A car payment can be avoided by buying a car you can afford. Someone on here posted about the 10% rule, which I really like. You can avoid student loans in many ways such as working for an employer with tuition reimbursement, joining the military, going to a community college for the first 2 years, or going part time and paying as you can afford. I am again sorry if my post comes off as harsh or uncaring.
Those are great strategies for lowering energy costs. At a neighborhood block party the subject of energy bills came up and I shared my costs and my neighbor’s jaws dropped at how low ours were. Our houses are all the same age, similar square footage etc. too. Our 65 (sometimes down to 63) winter, 79 (80 when really hot) summer setting made our bills half as much or lower than some of our neighbors.
Warning - I’m going to be a bit sarcastic.
I’ll summarize this thread as follows:
Author: Should we take out debt for childcare?
Board members: We wouldn’t but, can you reduce other expenses? (the usual answer because the question is being asked within a finance board of people who usually hate most/all debt)
Author: We can not absolutely cut anywhere else.
So my advice is, no, you can take out a loan for childcare (and in your mind you could artificially call it “good” debt). It will accumulate, like all “good” or “bad” debt. Once your income rises, pay it off as soon as possible. If your income doesn’t rise and your expenses don’t fall, the financial situation will get worse over time.
I have a 10-year-old daughter, and when she was small I had all manner of friends making all manner of choices regarding childcare. Some stayed home, some sent their baby to grandmas, some put them in the most affordable daycare and others chose the more expensive daycares with more bells and whistles and a focus on “early childhood education.” With the benefit of hindsight, I can say that with this particular cohort the type of childcare made no difference in outcomes. The children who had “the best” are mixed in at school with children who stayed home with grandma or went to the more affordable chain center. By age 10, some kids are quicker academically than others, some are more motivated than others, some are more curious than others. The kids who went to the “best” centers have no edge that I can see.
You can provide your child with a wonderful “early childhood education” at home by reading tons and tons of books every night and on the weekends, by having animated conversations with your child, by playing fun and engaging music when you’re in the car, by leafing through children’s magazines together, by creating cool stuff together etc. In my view, you don’t need an expensive daycare provider to do right by your child. I would not be surprised if some of those families who did Creme de la Creme or Suzuki, the expensive centers in our area, in retrospect would acknowledge that it was a ridiculous waste of money.
Good luck! I know finding the right people you trust for your child is hard!
I agree with pattiG, if it is the end of the road and you are going to have to go into debt to take them to childcare, the “best” centers really shouldn’t be top priority and as long as the basics are met - safe, workable hours, clean, child does well in the environment - the differences at a young age for good, better, best centers just don’t really seem to have
Much of an influence later on in education.
The thing about college student loans is that a college degree is statistically proven to increase earning potential over time, thus the thought of it being “good debt” that will be able to be paid off with better jobs that require specialized degrees and more skills. The differences in a toddler’s preschool aren’t going to have those same results. I do not see a debt for a college degree and debt for a “better” preschool as the same.
It seems that if all you need is a cushion of $200-300/mo that could easily be found with a couple side hussles. Work a small part time job on Saturdays or a few nights a week, sell things on Etsy, drive for uber, find jobs on Craigslist, babysit for friends nights/weekends (then your child could even have a fun play date), the opportunities are out there to avoid debt and still work full time.