Budgeting for Preschool Ages – A Useful How To Guide

budgeting for preschool ages

It may come as no surprise, preschool can be pricey these days. So parents, and even parents-to-be think about this age and it’s incurring costs well ahead of time. Budgeting for preschool aged children has become a must these days.

Budget preschool ages

Costs That May Come Into Play

The obvious costs that most parents take into account are daycare/childcare and preschool. Sometimes it is apparent, during pregnancy or before, if you will need childcare services, part-time, full-time when you return to work. You may also have thought about if your child will attend preschool and how often and start at what age.

Both childcare costs and preschool costs are definitely the biggies, taking up a good monthly budget per child.  However, they may not be the only external costs, and this is what parents most often don’t think about until that time is near.

Other incurred costs may include:

Enrichment Activities

Do you plan on enrolling your child in sports, art or dance classes, or taking a music lesson, etc? This is a great time to start. All programs do have set rates for a set of 10 or more classes, or a monthly fee.

Drop-In Toddler and Parent Classes

There are so many parent and tot classes available now, ranging from swimming to gym time, if you plan on doing this often, there is a drop-in fee to just about all of these activities.

Weekly Family Activities

Once the child becomes more mobile, interested in things you may be planning more excursions like trips to the zoo, the aquarium, a science centre or even local kids events. Most of these excursions are not cheap or may be beneficial to enroll in membership programs with – especially if you have multiple kids.

Family Vacations

These ages are fun to travel with (may be potty trained, can communicate, and sleep much better), so it’s likely you may need to think about how many trips and how often…remember the over 2-year olds are no longer “fly for free”.

How to Start Budgeting

First, ask yourself 4 questions:

  • Will we need childcare/daycare?
  • Will they attend preschool, if so which one (refer to our guide for types of preschools here)
  • Will they partake in activities?
  • What will our miscellaneous costs be? (How often will we vacation, how often will we do local excursions and events, etc.)?

It’s ok not to know everything, but have these discussions to get an idea going of the things you would like to do.

Next, look at your expected income for these years and set a budget for each of the items you have listed as must-dos. The best way to know what your budget is is to subtract all your non-luxury expenses (i.e. mortgage/rent, bills, groceries, etc.). The residual income can be parted into your spending and savings. It is from this amount you can allocate how much you would feel comfortable setting aside on a monthly basis.

How Much to Put Aside

This, unfortunately, is not an exact science and can change all across the country. Typically full-time daycare can cost from $1500 and up per year, and preschool costs are similar (again may depend on location but also type you prefer). The best thing to do is look up local daycares and preschools to get a sense of what the fees in your area start at.

The same approach goes for activities. Research membership costs for community centres, activities, and programs in your area. The amount per session can give you an idea of how much your yearly costs would be per activity.

It’s always a good idea to try and tuck away a little extra (costs may increase from year to year) and anything extra can be used in a pinch…or splurging on a planned vacation.


*Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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