Managing a school age childcare program is rewarding but can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. It’s a hassle dealing with paperwork, payments, and a bunch of extra steps. From purchasing products like snacks and cleaning supplies to processing payments and paperwork, your costs, time-spent, and stress can skyrocket. School districts are always looking for ways to lower administration costs of their school age childcare programs.

There are multiple ways which you can cut costs for your program:

1. Look for good deals on supplies

Always be on the lookout for good deals. You never want to be paying more than necessary. Buying in bulk can be one of the easiest ways to save money on snacks, supplies or other materials. When you buy in bulk, you are buying product to last you months rather than a couple of weeks. Buying products at such a large quantity enables manufacturers to offer large discounts on the items, keeping money in your pocket. Try shopping with Office Depot, Costco, or another store for the best deals.

2. Find vendor contracts

Another good way to save money is by having contracts with vendors for common supplies such as paper, crayons, rulers, and more. Not only are vendor contracts more economic for your school, but they encourage more budget-friendly spending habits. With vendors, you get better deals on those common school necessities. The school also gets a better picture as to what supplies are needed versus the supplies that are wanted.

3. Use a processing system

Schools can use a K-12 payment processor  to help make managing a program easier. School processing systems are a low-cost option in that they save your program time. Having a processing system eliminates the need for unnecessary paperwork and endless busywork. You are cutting down on the manual work hours staff need to work, enabling them to be more productive in their work day. Payment processors allow you to use online registrations and check-ins as well as management of child information, scheduling and processing of payments and late fees, allowing you to cut back on the amount of paper you need to purchase and mail. Think of how much easier your day would be if late fees, pick-ups, bills, schedules, registrations, and other childcare data was tracked in one place? Shop around for a childcare registration system that is low cost and fits with your program.

4. Take on volunteers

If you find yourself short-staffed but don’t necessarily need another salaried employee, an easy way to cut costs is seek volunteers. Members of the community can be a wonderful resource for your program. If you find yourself in need of extra help, post a volunteer sign-up on your door or online and see what feedback you get.

5. Hire student workers

If you aren’t wanting to take on volunteers but need extra help, hire a student worker. This can be a student from the high school or college. Generally, these students get paid the minimum wage and fulfill whatever role is needed within your program. By hiring a student worker, you are cutting the costs of hiring an adult employee who may need a salary, 401K plan, or more.

6. Cut unnecessary field trips

It’s not uncommon for an after-care program to go on a field trip to the ice cream parlor down the block or the zoo up the road. However, those trips are not needed to provide quality care to children. Although those trips can be fun and memorable for the children, an easy way to reduce those costs is by providing an ice cream day at your own location.