I have figured out an amazing way to how to save on daycare expenses and I am blown away that more people don’t use it. Something that is both frugal and sanity-saving for parents home with young kids. It is signing up for a gym daycare program. I’ll show you how it will save you $25,000 per child and why it’s pretty great.
Gym daycares are so great and so cheap that literally everyone in the universe who stays home with a small kid should be part of one.
I love my kids to bits but damn I really want to be away from them sometimes. I like to think I want a bit of time to accomplish some noble task or do something impressive like writing a book. Really though, I just want to stare at a wall for a while or fall asleep while reading a book.
How expensive is daycare?
First off, daycare for kids is really expensive. Not only does it rob you of spending time with your kids but it also robs you of a lot of money. Studies have shown that 70% of people find daycare unaffordable to the point where it affects their choice about how many children they have. It’s not surprising either.
Around me, daycare rates are between $1000-$1800 a month. My wife and I live on about $4000 a month right now without daycare expenses so putting both of our kids into a pricey daycare could almost double our annual expenses. That would be very bad for our early retirement.
Double them!! AHHHH
I didn’t work hard to cut back and save money for years just to have my kids double my cost of living. That sounds like crap. I’m retired and I certainly don’t want to end my love affair with FIRE now.
Full time daycare also steals away my baby time
Maybe this is selfish but I don’t want some random person out there sucking up all the hugs and kisses! How dare they! I didn’t put hours of sweat and tears into raising a loving child to have it give that affection away to someone else.
Those hugs are mine! Maybe I’ll share a few… but it’s on my terms. I’m already crushed enough if my wife gets some hugs when I don’t. Imagine how I feel when a stranger gets a hug before this daddy. Destroyed.
If I send my kid away to daycare I miss out on far too much baby time and I don’t like it.
So what’s a hug loving dad to do?
How to save on daycare expenses?
Well, I will show you how to save on daycare expenses and still get the me-time and hugs you deserve.
All you need to do is sign up for a gym day care program. Trust me, it’s amazing. Let me tell you how they work and why they exist.
Gym daycares exist to encourage people to not quit the gym when they have kids plus the gym gets to make a little money on the side. They aren’t daycares though. They point that out a lot. Legally and insurance-ly(?) the thing that seems to make the difference is that you are in the building with your kid and you aren’t allowed to leave. If anything bad starts happening they can call you back in to take your kid away.
This lets them have staff that isn’t trained the same way they must be in daycare and dodge some of the pricier legal aspects of running a daycare. This sounds bad but every employee I’ve met so far has been a pretty good caregiver. Plus I’m around the corner. Not that I really know how to solve the issues that arise any better than someone else. But I’m around if needed.
What is the cost of gym daycare?
For us, this means that the price is amazing. The gym dodges some daycare expenses and has the real goal of keeping you from cancelling your gym membership so the price of the service is unbelievable.
As I mentioned in my area daycare is $1100-$1800 a month but gym daycare is a piddly $30 a month.
That’s 2% of the price of a daycare. Where else in the world can you reliably find a 98% discount on something expensive?! Nowhere. I could buy a fancy office chair every month with those savings!
Over the course of a year that’s a walloping $16,500 of savings for me. It’s an unbelievable difference and this is why everyone who stays home with a kid should consider it.
Oh, and did I mention when you drop off your little one and pick them up you get some big time ‘I missed you’ hugs. Yeah. This is the perfect plan.
I’m saving on daycare expenses, but what am I losing?
I’m showing you how to save on daycare expenses but not to work magic. You get what you pay for but I think in this scenario you get way more than 2% of the value of a daycare.
#1 Difference: You can’t leave the gym
You won’t get to accomplish nearly as much stuff as if you really did put your kids in full-day daycare but you are trapped in a building with a lot of great things.
- There is a gym there obviously so you can get fit. I don’t think anyone can complain about being forced to get fit.
- Most gyms have nice stuff like saunas, yoga and steam rooms for you to decompress in.
- Free WiFi and a chair! With WIFI and a chair, you can do almost anything. I bring my laptop to write or I read a book sometimes. To be honest, I don’t know if that’s allowed but no one has ever stopped me.
Realistically you will likely do as I do. Recover from the PTSD that is parenting. You can shower without worrying about waking up your little one. You can sit in that sauna and just space out for a while.
I spend too much time laying down in the sauna but every time I show up I get some exercise, get my shower and shave done while my baby is awake. Thus turning the next baby nap time into an attempt to be impressive.
#2 Difference: Time limits
Every gym is different but you can’t stay all day. Usually, it’s a 2 hr time limit. This is plenty of time to get a workout in with some self-care time on the end. Or perhaps a 2 hr reading or writing session. It’s a lot of child packing and transportation for a 2-hour reading session but that break is very worth it.
That is what you end up with. A break, not a whole day like you get with a pricy daycare. You can’t complain too much though since you get about 25% of the daycare time (2-hours) for 2% of the cost.
#3 Difference: Education
It’s a bunch of random kids of random ages showing up at random times. The people running the show can’t really plan lessons for such a random concoction of children. This is a big one for me.
My first child started going to a real full day daycare at 18 months and I could quickly see her picking up a lot of new things. They had lessons and schedules and to me the benefits were obvious. You won’t get that at the gym daycare. Social time yes, but lessons and age-targeted teachings, no.
How to save on daycare expenses, have smart kids and get hugs
If you are an early retiree or a stay at home parent of some sort you have the ability to keep your kids out of daycare and save a lot of money. It’s insane not to think about it a little bit.
We thought about how to save on daycare expenses and figured out what is undoubtedly the best path.
Put them in gym daycare until 18 months
- It doesn’t matter what you try to teach your little ones, they’re happy with anything until 18 months. Seriously, I think my kids are little geniuses, but walking and learning to not eat everything they find is the mental limit of a 1-year-old. Giving them a geography lesson isn’t doing anyone any favors.
- At 18 months daycare prices go down because daycare employee-to-kid ratios change.
- If you want to follow our path, put them in real daycare at that point. (Or don’t.) I love my kids but our mental capacity for peekaboo has daily limits, so after their 1.5 yr birthdays off they went. I’m ok with spending the money to keep some of my sanity.
- How to save on daycare expenses? Join a gym daycare
- Daycare costs a lot of money
- Gym daycare costs very little while still providing a lot
- Once your kids are a bit older put them into daycare when the organized classes will benefit them.