ATLANTA — Parents all over the country are struggling to make ends meet with inflation affecting everything from a carton of eggs to socks to a tank of gas. But the priciest thing is the cost of childcare, which is outpacing record-breaking inflation.
"Kids are expensive anyway," Amanda Hall said, a stay-at-home mom in Chamblee. Her two children are 7 years old and 4 years old, and she knows the pain of paying for a sitter.
"It's gotten expensive; it can add up to $50 or $100 dollars for one night out," Hall said. "It makes a simple date night a lot bigger than it really is."
And its expense has been dramatically increasing since the pandemic hit.
Babysitting rates have risen in the US since 2020, outpacing inflation. According to UrbanSitter.com, rates jumped nearly 10% last year alone, and 21% over the past two years.
The cost of hiring a babysitter is now something Hall considers with her husband before they go out.
"Prices in everything have gone up so date nights do become a little more infrequent," Hall said.
A survey from UrbanSitter.com placed Atlanta middle of the pack out of 22 other US cities regarding hourly babysitting rates at $21.14 an hour, slightly above the national average rate of $20.40.
San Francisco was the most expensive option at $25.24 an hour, while parents in Phoenix are paying the least at $17.61 an hour. High rates don't just affect date nights and evening outs; many need babysitters for work.
According to a survey from Care.com, 51% of parents in 2022 spent more than 20% of their income on childcare. The federal government considers childcare affordable if it is less than 7% of a household's income.
Hall said that played into her family's decision for her to stay at home with her children full time.
"We started looking at the numbers and it didn't quite make sense to have someone else watch them," said Hall.
And while she's grateful to be able to stay home, Hall hopes eventually, things will balance out.
"I can't wait to go back to work, hopefully the money will make sense by the time they're in public school," said Hall.