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One of the bigger costs that parents-to-be underestimate is child care. Although both parents may initially qualify for a leave of absence from their job, at least one will have to return eventually. Group child care is typically less expensive, says Judy Haselton, president of Harmony Financial Advisors. And if you prefer a stay-at-home caretaker, "There is a tax credit that parents should be aware of when you pay someone to care for your child," Haselton says. The best option might be to collaborate with parents who live near you. "Find a babysitting co-op in your neighborhood or set one up with other parents," Haselton says. "It's a way to barter services instead of pay for them." Try care.com and babysitterexchange.com to begin your search.
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