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How to afford living with two children in London!?(53 Posts)
I've just this week found out I'm expecting my second child. DD is 19 months. Am of course pleased, but now extremely worried about how to make ends meet and where to live. We currently live in a 1-bed, both of us work (I've got Friday's off, but otherwise will time) and DD goes to nursery.
Now, we can't afford to move to a 2-bed and keep DD in nursery, not during maternity leave, and not emblem after I go back to work, as then the new baby would need full time daycare. At that point DD will be 3 so entitled to the 15 free hours of daycare, but that's not enough to mean we can afford to have two kids in nursery. In my understanding, a nanny for both of them will be cheaper than nursery for them both, but still, it will be v expensive. perhaps we can afford both in nursery or a nanny if we stay in a 1-bed, but, and I know this sounds rally spoiled, given that many purple are struggling much more, but how do you mane with two kids in a 1-bed? Anyone doing it and have advice to offer? Or ideas for cheaper childcare? We have no family around.
I'm starting to wonder if the best option is for me to give up work, but I like working and am worried about the long term implications of leaving my career. Don't want to leave he area we are in, as DD is so happy in her nursery and all my friends are here, plus if we moved further out (are in zone 2, East, now) then DH would have to spend so long travelling to work in central London that we would hardly see him, as. It is he's home around 7.30 - 8 most days.
I feel so trapped in this situation, really want to enjoy being pregnant and looking forward to the new little one on the way, but all these worries are stressing me out so much! Childcare policies in this country are mad! And so are house prices in London. Grrrr
Childcare policies aren't completely mad - the 15 hours is brilliant, and the tax relief on CCVs is pretty good too (although I think it's less now than it was).
Reduce your maternity leave (sounds like you were thinking a year, as you mention a 19 month old being 3?) and increase your hours to full time?
Well, I don't expect this to help, but I have to point out that childcare policies are a darn sight better nowadays than when my two (19 and 17) were small. Had to go back to work after 6 months and no 'free' hours until they started school nursery (I think).
It was bloody hard. At one point, we were clearing 50 quid a month.
I'd like to say it gets easier, but we are about to have both at University!
It sounds like you can't afford to live in London with your family lifestyle.
moving out would be better surely? Kids are resilient and I certainly wouldn't put future plans on hold because of a nursery, however well settled the child is.
I think maternity/paternity and childcare provision is great tbh.
As pp said back after 6 months if you didn't take any before the birth, no childcare availability in many places let alone affordable.
So glad it's better for young people now though.
- I do appreciate what you're saying about childcare policies having become better, and have so much respect for all of you who managed before the free hours where available! I should explain that my criticism stems from coming from Scandinavia, where everybody gets 12 months maternity leave with around £1200 a month from the state of you were employed before maternity leave. And nurseries are heavily state subsidies so cost around 300-400 max a month for a full time place. I j ow this is an unfair comparison, and is silly to even compare one country to another, since I now live here and love a lot of other things about the UK and London, and due to my own and DH's jobs don't really have an option to relocate back + he's from her end wants to stay here. So, didn't mean to sound ungrateful, just coming from a different system.
And yes, it's true we can't really afford to live in London : ( sadly, both DH and I have jobs that only exist in London, and don't really have an option to work anywhere else...I know it sounds star beg but it's highly specialised industries.
I thought about changing my maternity leave to shorter, could maybe be a good idea! But then, the problem is, that just means I'll be working in a period of time where both kids will be needing childcare..so their combined costs of childcare in that period will be just a bit below my salary, so worn really make a huge difference...do any of you know how much a full time nanny for two kids in London would cost?
Obviously no good to you now, but this is why lots of families wait until their first DC is at school (or nearly there!) to have their second child. You basically have you make your decisions to suit your circumstances and you can't have it all.
Congratulations on your pregnancy
Sure childcare is expensive; when my DCs were pre-school this was like a second (more expensive) mortgage! Now my DCs are in secondary school, I think you need to look to the longterm and not discount living further out - lead the vanguard! Start researching whilst on maternity leave? I commute into Euston and my journey door to door is 60 mins and only 20 mins is on a train (don't need to use the tube). It's reliable and although seems expensive, company provides a season ticket loan. I lived in West Hampstead in my 20s/30s which was fab but now most of my old friends are quite dispersed - London is great to visit but now we live in a pleasant area with good schools, we have a garden, a drive etc.
It does seem to be a 'thing' these days to take a year on maternity leave. As the main breadwinner this was not sustainable for us - I returned to work after 4 and then 5 months respectively. Currently I have at a few younger colleagues who had 12 months paid leave and all have only just one child, they work a 4 day work pattern and look constantly knackered! I also used a range of childcare options - childminders for very young children, whereas without fail all have gone for nurseries which must be the mist expensive option all being told.
I too have noticed that more people are looking at bigger gaps between babies.
babelange around here (sw London) childminders are more expensive than nursery. I was quoted £300 per week and 4 weeks paid holidays for cm while nursery is £200 per week (small nursery not near the station which suits us but perhaps not too many others!)
OP it is expensive. We waited until dd1 was in school which looking around the school gates seems very common. We have a 2 bed house and we are looking at how to utilise the space as we too don't want to move out just yet (l like dh being home before 6!)
Yes we were paying £5.50 per hour - we just found CM's terms more negotiable regarding days and hours; I've never paid for leave but taken holiday at the same time and paid a 50% retainer during the holidays which at age 4+ is cheaper when paying for a holiday club on top. DH and I timeshifted around eachother, working 8-4 and10-6 and vice versa. We only expect to coincide on holidays for two weeks in the year. Bad news - even teenagers need some holiday provision!
A case in point though, more childcare options may be available to parents who commute from beyond central London.
We have a lovely cm for our elder daughter as you're right, working around school age dc can be tough! She unfortunately can't take dd2 for at least 6 months but l was surprised that a nursery would be cheaper, even then dd1 cm (who isn't the £300 cm!)
It's tough... we have a 21 month gap between our two kids. DD starts school in Sept and DS 15 hrs kick in next Jan so we are at long last just months away from being a bit more financially stable again!! It's been very hard at times and we had to borrow from MIL a couple of times. BUT, it's short term pain, long term gain... neither of us would get the same salaries and flexibility in our jobs outside London. After I had DS I made a flexible working request and was able to work 3 days per week, wasn't worth while financially to work 4 or 5 days.
Forgot to say, our kids go to a private nursery/crèche. Costs us about £900 per month to send both three days per week, the 15 hrs grant works out at £220 per month (spread over 12 months), so would be around £1120 in total. Zone 4 in London.
But clam, house prices were not as extortionate then as they are now so it's swings and roundabouts really.
Op, I think your best bet is to soldier on in your flat for as long as possible. Cramped but happy
15 free hours is apparently going to change to 30 free hours from Easter 2017. (We are in a "trial" area so get it from September 2016. )
I used a mixture of part time working, nurseries and child minding to look after my little ones. We also moved to a cheaper area of London so we could afford our lifestyle. Childcare is really expensive where ever you go but there are lots of affordable options in London if you don't insist on living in zone two! I appreciate it would be very difficult to move when you have settled and have friends in an area but a family of four in a one bed sounds very challenging to me. I think you will be better off sorting out your housing options earlier rather than later.
Oh Great with info on how much the 15 hours work out to be! It's hard to get your head around. We pay £975 a month in our nursery for 4 days a week, full time there is £1250. And that isn't even bad, visited some when looking that were £1800 for 5 days a week!
And yeah, you're probably right that being cramped but happy is the way forward ; ) that's DH opinion too, but then he isn't he one doing the majority of the cleaning and tidying ; )
Might be a temporary solution, but if you and DH can be disciplined about packing yourselves away in the morning, you could ultimately work towards kids sharing the bedroom, and you two sharing a sofabed. You wouldn't be the first! Lots of time out of the flat in the park, and all the other free London attractions
Amazed at nursery in SW London being £200 a week - the one my twins went to was £85 per day per child! We had a full time nanny, she charged £10 net per hour so that was £400 a week for 4 days, with tax etc it cost £2500 a month.
Can your DH go down to 4 days (compressed ideally so salary stays the same?) so you only need 3 days childcare? From 2017 you are supposed to be getting 30 free hours childcare for 3-4 years olds so that will help.
Can you move further out and get a cheaper/bigger place to live?
...another thing about moving is the expense associated, agency fees, deposit and then you always end up having to get extra bits and bobs for the new place even if it's furnished, which makes me feel
Like staying put. Has anyone done 1 bed with two kids?
ceevee l know. The prices haven't gone up in 5 years (l viewed it first for dd1 but found a great cm practically across the road). It shuts at 6 where most here are 6.30 -7pm but l wfh some days and go into the office early to leave early other days so it suits us.
@ceveebee, DH's industry is always short term freelance contracts, so sadly no chance of part time or compressed hours.
Oh, didn't know about the 30 free hours from 2017! That's amazing!
There is a poster on here who has a one bedroom flat with two school age children.
I don't know how she does it! I think it might be a sort of penthouse, though.
A 1 bed will be cramped but fine for a few years but what are you going to do in the long term? It might be time to start looking at other cities or changes to careers if yours are that specialised? London is a tough place to raise a family if you can't afford it?
@icoc2015 yes, we are thinking about various options for moving abroad. But it's very long term, but definitely in the cards. For now, it's inspiring to hear how many people say living a bit further out maybe won't be that bad..maybe I'm just too sued to living centrally!
How is the rest of your expenditure? Make sure you've cut down every last bill etc. (Sorry if you already have). With a small age gap you'll soon find that you can sell on baby stuff as well to make extra money and free up space - my second seemed to grow up faster than my first, wasn't interested in baby toys for very long when there was Duplo floating about, was rolling off the playmat to investigate what his big brother was doing by 4 months.
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