Things I Could Afford in Lieu of Childcare


It’s every working mom’s dream. It’s a right of passage. In truth, it’s an occasion that truly deserves it’s own hashtag: #kindgartenroundupmypaycheck (it’s a work in progress; suggestions are appreciated). Cheers, toasts, congratulations, and celebrations are in order the minute the last child graduates from childcare to kindergarten.

Money materializes into your bank account, and just like that, you’re free.

It’s not that I want to rush my kids into growing up; I’ll savor the baby rolls and newborn smell forever. But I do dream of what it will be like to not plan my meals around which restaurants are currently letting kids eat free. If I got a dollar every time I told my husband, “Maybe we can afford that next year when our daughter is in kindergarten,” we could probably afford a week of childcare on that money alone. But we’re still five years away from toasting to the financial freedom of two children in school.

I’m well aware that money doesn’t buy you happiness, and I’m probably still saving more money in the long run by paying for childcare than staying home. However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend a few minutes every time I write that check thinking of all the things I could be doing with that money instead. 

In a year of daycare tuition could afford me these opportunities:

  • Pay off my mortgage in 15 years instead of 30

  • A brand new car

  • Three semesters of college at the University of Tennessee Knoxville

  • The ability to add a sun room to my house (or a lot of other nice remodeling options)

  • Quarterly trips to Disney World, six days and seven nights with a dining package

  • A towable RV

  • A sizable ($17k worth) donation to charities

  • A tempurpedic mattress for all four family members

In a month:

  • A round-trip flight and a ticket to see Hamilton

  • A cruise

  • A Macbook

  • A share of Amazon stock

  • 22 pairs of TOMS shoes, (thus 22 pairs for other people)


  1. I an a childcare provider. Your money goes to pay for your child’s food, electricity, water, first aid, sanitation, entertainment, and education while he is in my care. After those expenses, I am paid $1 per hour for your child. I am limited in the number of children I can are for at one time so I make approximately $5/hour. Tell me again how expensive quality childcare is.

    • You couldn’t find someone who agrees with you more… In fact, I estimated in this blog post that childcare only comes out to be $3.60 an hour. I also talked about here,, about how wonderful childcare is. There is no question that I love our daycare, and our kids are well taken care of there, and in all reality, it’s a very small price to pay to have that peace of mind and love your childcare provider. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t daydreamed out what that money can go toward someday when we aren’t paying for it anymore!

  2. She didn’t say she wasn’t getting quality care. She was just commenting that it is expensive in general. It IS expensive. You can’t deny that. And after childcare costs, she’s probably making very little. That’s just the brakes I suppose.


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