Yep, having a kid can get very expensive. It’s not just the initial set up, as many times family members really help out in this regard. Diapers, clothes, toys, etc. can sure add up. But what happens when your child is ready to go to preschool? The average cost of preschool in this country is about $8800, or $733 per month over the course of a year. The school where my wife teaches charges somewhere in the vicinity of $1200 per month, which is about normal for Southern California. If this sounds like a big financial outlay every month, you are not alone; a lot of people are struggling with how to afford a good preschool while at the same time being able to put food on the table and pay for their mortgage. But if you think creatively, there might be a few ways to lower that cost while at the same time taking a more active role in your child’s life.
1. Talk to the owner of the school to see if there are any volunteer opportunities that might lower your bill. Sure, it’s not really volunteering then, but still…the school might be able to use your assistance in exchange for a lower monthly bill.
2. Check in to state and federal assistance programs. This would of course vary according to where you live, but many states have started programs that are there to help those that need a little bit of extra assistance. Check your state’s education website or the federal education web site for more info.
3. If you have more than 1 child of preschool age, check to see if there are any discounts for having multiple kids at the school. Really, it never hurts to ask and you have nothing to lose. Even just a few bucks off your bill might help out over the course of 12 months.
4. Talk to the other parents to see if you can take care of their kids after school. When preschool ends, some parents are still at work and cannot pick up their children, but by offering them a safe place to go to with other kids they know, you could be of a great help to these other parents. I have no idea what you would charge for this, but I imagine if you took a few kids home a few days a week, it would help cover your preschool expenses for your own child.
5. Become a teacher at the school, even if it is only part time. Most schools offer free or discounted tuition to the children of their teachers, and this is in addition to whatever salary you would be receiving. Depending on the state you live in, you might be able to do it without a teaching certificate. Why do you think I am happy that my wife is a teacher? 😉
Although some of these might seem like a stretch for you to accomplish, my biggest tip would be for you to just ask. There is nothing to be lost from asking for assistance or opportunity, and only things to gain. If you have found the perfect school for your child, brainstorm ways you can be an asset to the school and bring it up with the owners. You never know how things will work out. If you have other creative ways to help pay for preschool, I would love to hear about them in the comments!