Most parents want to start saving for college while their child is young, but a new study by the Center for Michigan found that might be difficult.
In Massachusetts, families with two children are paying, on average, more than $34,000 for child care in a year. State tuition for colleges average around that same price.
"Reality hits when you become a parent,” says mom Yvette Schilling. “And you are working extra hard and working full time and so is your husband."
Schilling says when it comes to child care, the family has to be really mindful of the cost and budget accordingly.
On average, parents pay nearly $400 a week for two children in child care. Care.com estimates it at more than $20,000 a year.
Figuring out how to pay for day care has been a struggle for many mothers.
"We don't have any family around, so that becomes a little bit of a challenge," Shilling says.
She says hiring a nanny would have cost her almost triple what she's paying for daycare.
"Is it worth it for me to work full time, so we can pay $20,000, or should I just stay home and watch my kids myself?” Schilling asks.
So, how can parents save money for child care?
According to the Care website , one option is to sign up for a dependent care account through your employer. You can set aside up to $5,000 tax-free pay for child care.
If your employer doesn't offer a flexible spending account, take advantage of the child care tax credit. Each family can itemize child care expenses up to $6,000 a year and apply a tax credit to it.
To off-set some costs, nanny sharing is becoming a popular trend, allowing two families to share a nanny and split the cost.