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Marissa Schneggenburger

How to Build a Better Budget for Your Childcare Center

  • March 30, 2021

Unexpected circumstances, like the COVID-19 pandemic, may have put a financial strain on your childcare center. Now, center owners are increasing enrollment and rebuilding their business. One way to do that is to have a strong financial plan and budget in place for your childcare center. In this post, we’ll outline tools, resources, and tips on how to build a better budget for your center. Building a budget that’s right for you and outlines your expenses and income will not only give you peace of mind but also give you the freedom to grow your business. Keep reading to learn more. 

Understanding Your Budget

A budget is simply a way to keep track of the money your center makes, less the money it spends. Seeing this clearly allows you to understand the various costs affecting your center and make educated decisions on where to allocate funds. Outlining your income and expenses can be done easily using Kangarootime’s Expense Spreadsheet for Childcare Centers. This is a free tool that can help you calculate your operating budget and give you a clear overview as to where your money is going.



Your income is any money your center brings in, most likely from enrollment and administrative fees. 

Your income will depend on the rates your center charges for:

  • Tuition
  • Meals
  • Special programs (camps, events, etc.)
  • Late fees
  • Supplies
  • Registration fees
  • Transportation

Find your weekly, monthly, or annual income by outlining these charges per student and identifying the frequency at which they’re charged. This will help you create your overall budget.

Financial Assistance and Resources

Many childcare centers are in need of funding to begin, continue, or expand their operations. Financial assistance is a crucial consideration when building your budget as it can greatly reduce expenses.

There are a number of loans, grants, and funds that your center may be able to qualify for. 

Take a look at this post which outlines how to get a loan, government grants you may qualify for, and ways to save money and increase revenue. Learn more about ‘Funding Opportunities for Childcare Centers’ here. 


There are a number of costs associated with running a childcare center. These are most commonly operating expenses which include:

  • Payroll
  • Rent/Utilities
  • Supplies
  • Cleaning supplies/cleaning services
  • Licensing Fees
  • Activities
  • Books
  • Meals
  • Maintenance & repairs
  • Insurance
  • Interest
  • Marketing
  • Software
  • Telephone and internet

Outline these expenses in a spreadsheet along with your income and any debt to get a full view of your center’s financial status. 


Expense Spreadsheets

  • Kangarootime has created an Expense Spreadsheet for Childcare Centers. This worksheet outlines all possible sources of income along with expenses your center may incur to calculate your operating budget. Using a spreadsheet like this will give you a clearer view of your finances and help you make decisions when allocating your budget. Download the Expense Spreadsheet for Childcare Centers here.
  • Early Education Business Consultants has created a variety of tools to help your childcare center when it comes to financial planning. This cash flow projection worksheet outlines any expenses your center incurs and gives you a clear overview of your cashflow. Understanding the cashflow of your business gives you better insight into how you’re spending your money along with where you can cut back on expenses or increase spending if you need to. 

Scenario Modeling Tool

  • Kangarootime’s Scenario Modeling Tool helps you to assess the financial impact COVID-19 will have on your business. By giving you visibility into different levers you can pull, this tool will help you understand how to offset losses and enable you to successfully navigate the economic down period. Download the tool here.

PPP Burndown Tool

  • Kangarootime created a PPP Burndown Tool for centers that accepted PPP loan funds to help budget for the loan forgiveness process. This tool will help you calculate how quickly you will “burn” through your loan based on your payroll, mortgage, and utility expenditures. It will also help you understand loan forgiveness reductions and how to account for them. For an informational video on how to use the tool, click here. Download the tool here.

Using these resources, you’ll be able to build a budget that caters to all of your center’s needs. Having a visual overview of your money, where it’s going, and where it’s coming from is key when making important decisions for your center. By understanding the financial viability of your business, you’ll be able to plan ahead and make sure your center is financially stable for years to come.

*This post was originally published on July 13, 2020, and has been updated on March 30, 2021. *

Kangarootime is the leading all-in-one childcare management software for daycares and preschools. With billing and invoicing capabilities, parent communication and staff management tools and classroom automation, Kangarootime helps childcare centers grow and scale. To learn more about optimizing your center with Kangarootime, visit kangarootime.com.

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