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To wonder how people actually afford childcare

(215 Posts)
roweeena Tue 14-Jan-14 14:01:53

So I should of thought of this before I got pregnant but I have a 3 month & 27 month old. Thinking of going back to work in Sept when they will be just shy of 1 & 3.

Contacted nursery under my work - 2 days a week for the both of them will cost £1020 per month!!! Dread to think how much full time would cost.

I was full time before and DS was in with a childminder but we have moved now and this nursery seemed so handy. Just going back 2 days a week now and going to have to also work one weekend day. Just can't afford to go back to work for more than that.

We have no family close by who can help out. Both myself & my husband are in quite reasonable jobs (in fact in my job people always assume I must be loaded - media reporting). Just wondering how other people actually afford childcare for two.

Ps I know DS1 will qualify for free 15hrs from the Jan but it doesn't seem to make that much difference as its only term time & 3 hrs a day (pretty useless for working mums)

Artandco Tue 14-Jan-14 14:05:28

Have you considered a nanny? They are per family rather than child. Based on £10 net ( say £12 gross) per hour. For x2 10 hr days that would be £240 a week. £960 a month for private care in your home. Nannies with less experience, with own child or depending on your area may be cheaper

DontmindifIdo Tue 14-Jan-14 14:08:52

Well, can the nursery not claim 3 hours in the morning and 3 for the afternoon? At DS's nursery, they can claim 3 hours per session, but they can offer a pre-school session morning and afternoon so it's 6 hours a day off the bill if you are doing 2 days. Worth checking with them. At DS's nursery, they also rather than take 15 hours off in term time and not in holidays, average my bill out over the whole year, it just makes it a bit more managable. It dropped out 3 day a week bill by about £250 a month, so definately worth it!!

Also, will both you and your DH be able to buy childcare vouchers to help reduce the cost?

But yes, it's obscene! I'm due back to work in May and childcare for DS and DD for 3 days a week and the train fare will be more htan I earn until DS starts school in September. sad I'm currently trying to convince work to let me take unpaid leave until September, rather than return to make a loss for a few months.

Could you ask your work to delay your return to work until after your DC1 gets the 15 hours?

moogy1a Tue 14-Jan-14 14:09:09

Cms provide the 15 hours too and are usually more flexible in how you access it.
I have someone who comes for 2 x 7.5 hours a day so his mum can work those 2 days.
A longer working day would mean she only has to pay 2 hours or so a day . roughly £16 per day for 2.

janey68 Tue 14-Jan-14 14:13:04

I think many people, certainly once they have more than one child, just go to work knowing that for a few years there will be no immediate financial gain. That was the case for us. One child was expensive; two tipped us into spending all of my income on childcare while both were in nursery. You need to look on it as a long game. I also second the suggestion of considering a nanny as it may be more cost effective. We probably would have done that except that we were particularly impressed with the nursery we used.

Revengeofkarma Tue 14-Jan-14 14:28:39

I have a friend with a pretty high flying (she's an Oxbridge MBA) who for one year had three kids in nursery. That year, each month she took home £25 after tax and child care. The only reason she worked was because of she stepped off the career ladder too long she wouldn't have one any more. Not just that she wouldn't progress as quickly, but the market was so tight she wouldn't have one at all and be unlikely to get one again. Childminder/nanny wasn't an option as if they're sick, you've got a problem. Plus her local nursery was amazingly good, and she liked the ratios, the level of engagement, etc.
As each child has aged out, her take home has increased (they aren't going to private school) and they've recovered from that year, but she did say it was very hard to be motivated to work hard when at the end of the day after petrol to commute, nursery fees, and so on she was losing money every month.

But it is a hard thing. I pay £1000 for full time care (we qualify for the 15 hours next January.) and again, it is amazing. My daughter loves it, she's made friends, her nursery nurses babysit (as a result she's only ever had two babysitters) and it is like family - her primary career came to her christening, we went to her wedding, when I was in hospital last week her current nursery nurse just took the reins so hubby could dash back and forth to hospital (we pay her, obviously, but still she didn't need to do that). I really don't think for everything they contribute these people are paid anything like enough for what they contribute to my daughter's life.

But it doesn't make it any easier to find £1000 a month, every month. That 15/hours in January amounts to something like £200 a month, and we can do a lot with that!

The money has to come from somewhere. Where do you suggest? Asking the government to fund more would have the Daily Fail in a complete lather. You know, more than they are already!

redskyatnight Tue 14-Jan-14 14:30:46

The problem is you have 2 children to pay for with no subsidy as the oldest is under 3.
And it’s as expensive as it gets as one is a baby. I had a similar age gap between my children and I was basically working to tread water for a while.

I know many parents who aim for 3 year age gaps for just this reason.
At least you know it is temporary … in a year your oldest will be getting early years funding and your bill will come down smile

Revengeofkarma Tue 14-Jan-14 14:31:02

I also definitely know people who after child two became stay at home parents. If you're in a career where you can re-enter easily due to your experience after a couple years, it is a geat, great option. I would do it if my career permitted (sadly, the market is nasty and I'm truly lucky to have a job so it is definitely a short term suffer for long term gain here.)

twinkletoedelephant Tue 14-Jan-14 14:33:50

Had dd we paid part time nursery for her and my mum looked after her 2 days a week we worked out we could just about afford a second child...... We had twins.... Then Mum died suddenly child Care costs were way more than I was earning ( dh works also but his wage is what we use to pay rent bills etc) and we had no spare money in the pot to cover extra childcare so I had to Give up work -

The dts are in reception now and I am finding it hard to find a job to fit in with 2 different schools. Dh leaves at 645 and back at around 645 and looking again at childcare for 3 is very expensive sad

wobblyweebles Tue 14-Jan-14 14:42:43

I had a nanny who came to our house. $12-15 an hour for three children.

maddening Tue 14-Jan-14 15:00:53

For ds I use a preschool - he is 3 end of Jan.

It costs £150 per week 8-6 but as it is a preschool we arrange out work holidays around that so over the year it is more like £125 a week and as we use cc vouchers we save £120 pm on tax. Whereas nursery or cm you still pay in the holidays.

After easter it goes down to £87.50 a week. Can't wait!

Anyway - you could try cm for the little one and preschool for the 3 yr old?

bigkidsdidit Tue 14-Jan-14 15:04:53

I know sad

I have a just 3yo and a 7 month old. I pay £1600 a month shock

Tbh i love my job and go for that reason alone but also for my pension (I have a great final salary pension). Counting down the months till both are in school!

manicinsomniac Tue 14-Jan-14 15:08:48

What work do you do? Is there any chance you are a teacher/TA/school admin worker?

If so, I would recommend the private system. I work in a school that goes from 2 months to 13 years so I have never paid childcare fees (well, a nominal 5-10% of fees but no more than that).

As a lone parent I had no option but to work full time almost from birth and I can't think of many other careers where I could have afforded it without needing help.

Sadoldbag Tue 14-Jan-14 15:12:14

They don't they make a loss but would rather work

My sister in law was coming home with just £500 a month from her job after paying child are for twins all her income was absorbed by cost

She struggled on for a year but in the end realised she was working 50 hours a week for £125 and her job is very demanding

She gave up the ghost is a bit board at home but much happier.

i used to be a childminder and saw this a lot some mothers would rather work whatever the cost eventually they do get older but sil could hang on for 5 years until they started full time and even then most of the real stuff was hashed out over drinks in the evening ECt

My sister a nurse is in the same boat my nieces child care pretty much wipes out her wage she's only 2 so there another 3 years to go

MrsGarlic Tue 14-Jan-14 15:15:47

I'll actually be PAYING to go to work for a bit. But I don't want to leave my job, and anyway even if I did leave, we still couldn't afford to live on just one income (2 in childcare is more than my income but our outgoings are more than either one of us makes). So we made sure we had the money saved to cover the shortfall. I look at it that it's only a short period of time and I personally would go mad SAH.

Sadoldbag Tue 14-Jan-14 16:12:34

Mrs garlic have asmile at least your honest many will pretend they simply have to go back to work when the maths just don't support that and they will with be working at a loss or having child care absorb most of there wage

5 years is not really a short period but at least

i wish more mums would admit they don't want to look after there children all day and would rather pay someone else to do the job and go to work

EverAfterHigh Tue 14-Jan-14 16:23:23

We were in the same boat, no family to help, I ended up being a SAHM for 4 years because I just didn't earn enough to make working profitable.

On paper I would have been earning a little, but once to add in petrol to work and that sort of thing I would have been making a loss.

roweeena Tue 14-Jan-14 16:31:23

Sadoldbag - I don't like your tone really and I definitely don't want this thread to go down the bashing working mothers or SAHM route.

I'm actually a GP (hence everyone thinking we have money) but the truth of the matter is that once the mortgage and childcare costs are taken into account I will be left with hardly anything and I will not be able to afford to go back to work full time (solely because of childcare costs)

I do think its a shame that I literally can't afford to go back to work full time & I do think childcare should be more heavily subsidised by the government (like it is in Europe). I think the high childcare costs do women massive disservice and means many women are unable to reach their career potential.- that may be a whole other thread though.

NO idea - dp and I work part-time, different shifts because god knows how we could afford childcare!

EverAfterHigh Tue 14-Jan-14 16:41:58

Talking to friends about the issue I got the impression that the ones that made it work were the ones that needed minimal childcare because they had family nearby to help with a little childcare. Granny having the baby one day a week even can make a big difference to your childcare bill at the end of the month.
I was shocked that the numbers didn't work out for me to go back to work, I'm in a profession so like you Roweeena people expected that I'd earn enough to make it work but it really didn't add up.
Though to be fair those years at home ended up being the best of my life and I miss them.

Takingthemickey Tue 14-Jan-14 16:42:31

I think it is not just about the pay but what you give up if you are in a job with career progression. For me the hit on my pay was temporary but also the first 5 years of my son's life were really important in terms of career progression and pay increases. It was better for my family that I stayed in my job.

manicinsomniac Tue 14-Jan-14 16:49:04

So, for those of you who can't afford to go back to work - what do you do if you're a single parent and have to go back to work in order to live?

I agree roweeena child care costs should be subsidised for people who need it.

Kendodd Tue 14-Jan-14 16:49:12


I don't know a single woman who works who doesn't have at least some free childcare going on. Not one, not even people in highly paid jobs like GPs.

Revengeofkarma Tue 14-Jan-14 16:55:29

I don't have any free childcare going on. My family lives abroad, husband's family is disabled and can't chase a two year old and friends are in next town 20 minutes away with their own jobs/kids. So I'm glad I have nursery and those two nursery nurses for occasional babysitting.

We not only pay the babysitters, we tipped them each at Christmas as we were so grateful.

We managed to toilet train over Christmas so even the £40/month nursery charges for nappies will help our costs.

Again, I think I get great value for money and wish these people were paid more. We just can't afford to do it.

Revengeofkarma Tue 14-Jan-14 16:57:03

Oh and SadOldBag (such an appropriate name): I'd love to be a SAHM. But as the main breadwinner, bit of a no go.

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