Every morning is the same in your home. It may follow a pattern similar to this: You get the kids up and ready for school while you get dressed for work. A rushed breakfast gives way to goodbye kisses, the kids get on the bus, and you head to your job. You may do this on your own or with the help of your spouse. Your routine may be hectic, but it works. Then summer break comes along.

If you are like many South Carolina parents, you do not share the giddy and joyful feelings of your children when the school year ends. Summer break means your children are not safely in their classrooms under the watchful supervision of teachers. It means you have to find and pay for all-day child care, and this is an expense that can break your budget.

A major expense

Paying for child care is a necessary burden for many families, but summer can be especially difficult. Even if you are careful to take advantage of tax breaks like the Child and Dependent Care Credit, the amount you save may not come close to covering what you will owe, especially if you have more than one child. In fact, a recent report from consumer financial experts reveals the following that may not be a surprise to you:

  • You may spend as much as $3,000 for child care for each of your children this summer.
  • Summer daycare can take as much as 20% of your income.
  • You may have to make other accommodations, such as cutting back on hours at work, using your vacation days or even quitting your job to make sure your kids are safe.
  • You may also have other expenses over the summer, such as camps or activities for your children.
  • Many parents in your situation end up using their credit cards to pay for child care.

Unfortunately, if you are already dealing with a mountain of debt, adding such a huge expense to your credit cards may be the last thing your budget needs. If you worry that this summer’s expenses could be the ones that send your finances spiraling out of control, you may have to explore options beyond your child care needs.

It may be time to seek information about debt relief alternatives. Knowing your options may help you make decisions about your summer that could give you peace of mind and help you enter the next school year with a fresh start.