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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Should I Provide Food At My Own Expense?
EchoMom 03:45 PM 06-15-2012
I am a legally unlicensed home daycare of 6. 3 infants including my own, and 2 toddlers, and 1 preK. I am not yet on the food program because I am not licensed or yet registered (working toward it but many steps to get there).

I have been in operation 6 months and have lucked out with TERRIFIC families that I REALLY appreciate them trusting me when I was just starting and being my FIRST families. None of them have ever complained about anything, never been late paying, never done anything wrong and have made this business venture a delight.

I charge $35/day which is on the higher end of prices in my area. To this point I have NOT provided ANY food, milk, snacks, etc. Parents pack ALL food and drink.

I was considering providing all food myself, out of my own pocket because I feel like I am making very good money and really appreciate my customers and would like to thank them and really find a way to serve and help them.

Plus, it is sort of a pain to prepare each child's individual lunch. I think it would be better for me and my son who is eating more and more real meals and for the kids and parents if I provided nutritious meals.

How much do you think it would actually cost per day/per week to feed so few kids? Would it be crazy to willingly give up this amount of my income/profit?
EchoMom 03:46 PM 06-15-2012
And also, what are example menus you might do in a day/week?
Michael 05:26 PM 06-15-2012
cheerfuldom 06:44 PM 06-15-2012
sample menus would be a good place to start. you can get an idea for your budget before you commit to something. or you can offer snacks for now and then add lunch down the road. also, need to decide if you will provide baby food or not.

I dont provide lunch but only because I am not full here and with the loss of income, not able to provide the extras like lunch out of pocket (not on the food program right now either). I do provide snacks so thats my happy medium until I get licensed.

So happy to see that you are having good luck with your first set of families. It was not the same case for me and those first few kids almost drove me out of the business period.
shelby 06:48 PM 06-15-2012
I have provided meals for my kids with my own money.. I usually serve left overs are something good but fast. I do have a list of snacks listed for the month and have asked the parents if they want to help provide those they can. ( I did this when I had one family no wanting to pay my full price for both kids... I made them supply all the snacks for the dcks.) It worked out great.
Abigail 07:00 PM 06-15-2012
I'm on the food program, but either way I wanted to provide meals. Having parents provide it around here in uncommon in home daycares at least. I learn as I go what costs more and what costs less. I buy on sale and buy in bulk if it's a good sale.

I still serve everything as healthy as possible, but I'm not going to spend $1 per mango or orange, but I'll wait until they're in season or on sale. That is an example. It costs more the first few months to figure out what goes on sale and what to serve.

Somethings last a LONG time. Plain Oatmeal is only about $4-$5 but has lasted us 3 months since we serve it once a week for breakfast, but not every week. Same goes for rice, buy the HUGE box and use it for casseroles or just mix it with mixed vegetables. A pound of frozen veges go on sale for just under $1 so I stock up on 20-30 bags when that happens and they last long enough for the next sale to roll around!
thatdivalady 01:14 PM 06-16-2012
I think it depends. We did the approximate cost because we were weighing our options and came up with the fact that we most certainly have to buy in bulk. Parents have to provide food for us but that is due to our very low ratio and monitoring system.
DaisyMamma 05:42 AM 06-17-2012
I supply food, but I'm also on a food program. I don't have very many kids and our grocery bill hardly went up at all. I use leftovers, serve fruits that are on sale and only serve milk for meals and water for snacks. Maybe Apple juice once per week. If you think about it, the kids don't eat all that much. A lb. Of noodles will last a couple days or more if you are serving nuggets, veggies and a fruit. Just be careful not to give generous portions, instead allow seconds.
Sunchimes 06:13 PM 06-17-2012
I furnish all meals and snacks, but that's the norm here and I never considered anything else. I'm glad because I have 1 child with severe peanut allergies. It's much easier to guard her food when I furnish everything. Oh, and I'm not licensed, so I can't be on the food program.

One thing that I might point out is that you get a nice tax deduction at the end of the year. If you keep careful attendance records (so you know who was here for what meal and snack), you can claim the standard meal deduction on your income tax. The meal deduction combined with the time/space deductions can often make your taxes almost nothing.

In 2012, each breakfast you serve is $1.24, each lunch and dinner is $2.32, and each snack is 69. When you add those up for each child, it's quite a tidy deduction at the end of the year.
EchoMom 06:22 PM 06-17-2012
So I don't deduct the grocery bill receipts? I deduct the amounts per meal you said?
Sunchimes 06:29 PM 06-17-2012
That's right. Because it's almost impossible for a home day care to separate dc food from family food--seriously, you aren't going to have 2 different packages of cheese, one for dc, one for family. You are going to overlap.

So, instead of keeping receipts for food (still keep them for cleaning supplies and light bulbs, etc for your time/space calculations), you keep careful records of what time your kids are in care.

I use a sign in sheet. Each day, the parent writes the time they drop off and the time they pick up. At the end of the week, I look at it and check off the meals each child was fed, using my Redleaf Calendar Keeper. So, if Mary arrived at 8:30 and left at 7, I know I fed her lunch, dinner, and 2 snacks. If Joe got here at 6:30 and left at 1:00, I know I gave him breakfast, lunch, and 1 snack. I total the meals up each month, and at the end of the year I add them up for my meal deduction. Be sure you keep the sign in sheets with your tax records in case of audit. It proves not only your times for time/space, but backs up your meals.)

I may be telling you things you already know, but if you haven't checked out the taxes forum here, you should. A home day care can deduct things that no one else is allowed to deduct--toilet paper, and Lysol, and light bulbs. I highly recommend Tom Copeland's books when you start doing your taxes.
Tags:food expenses, meals provided
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