SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The cost of child care in the United States is some of the most expensive in the world.
A new study shows child care costs have increased by 41 percent nationwide due to the pandemic.
“It’s been a pretty amazing increase nationwide,” Chief Credit Analyst at LendingTree Matt Schulz said. “But Georgia, in particular, has seen a really big increase. Just across the border from Savannah in South Carolina, it moved very little.”
The average annual cost of child care in Georgia was just over $6,000. During the pandemic, prices rose to more than $14,000 per year.
“It might just not be as safe to have as many kids in a child care facility as there used to be. For these child care facilities, it’s a matter of crunching the numbers,” Schulz explained. “They may end up needing to increase the cost to make up for the lost revenue.”
In Georgia, households are allocating up to 12 percent of their income toward child care. Schulz says the best way to manage the cost increase is to keep tabs on your budget.
“When you’re trying to shoe-horn in extra costs like these child care expenses, if you haven’t reexamined your budget in a while, it’s going to be tough and you could end up making mistakes that could end up leading you to debt,” Schulz said.
After analyzing the data to see how this surge will impact households, he reiterates how important it is to build up an emergency fund.
“When it’s something as fundamental and important to your life as child care and costs go up, if you have some savings in the bank that you can put towards those costs, which will hopefully only last for a few months, it can make all the difference in the world,” Schulz said.
Schulz says there’s a chance we may see rates drop off again post-pandemic.
“I have a feeling that we’ll end up seeing things coming down a little bit,” he added, “but we may not go back to the old normal, at least not for a while.”