To choose a cleaner over a pension(126 Posts)
So by way of background I’ve recently gone back to work full time, I’m out of the house from 8am-6.15pm every day- my LO 20months goes to nursery 2.5 days a week. I would say we aren’t doing badly financially but the cost of nursery, an increase in council tax and now the bastard increase in pension contributions is taking a huge chunk out of our income.
This weekend it’s really struck me how hard it is working full time with a toddler, there’s no time to do anything, every room in my house is a shit heap (despite cleaning constantly), my ironing has now engulfed our third bedroom and I feel so guilty not spending enough time with my LO at weekends.
So I’m thinking of opting out of my pension with work (you can only opt out, you can’t reduce the % contribution)- just until my LO is 3 and some free hours kick in. I’d use the money towards a cleaner/ ironing lady. I’d obviously lose out on the contributions from my company over that time but I think it would be a life saver- am I looking at this wrongly?
Do not opt out of your pension, this would be a terrible mistake. Just lower your standards with the housework: no one cares what your house looks like.
Do you have any other options, such as a local barter scheme?
Pay your pension.
Don't iron - hang things and fold things
Do not opt out. Just don’t even think it.
How much does your other half do? I notice it’s ‘our income ‘ but ‘my ironing.
This is a terrible idea. Don’t do it.
Lower your standards. And who the fuck bothers with ironing these days (apart from the odd thing that really needs it and shirts)!
Personally I think that would be a huge mistake. I know exactly how you feel and I empathise but things will improve. Opting out of your scheme could really limit your options when you retire. Make the most of your choices while you have them.
Bad idea. Imagine, being 70 and not being able to remotely enjoy retirement due to never having g much money
A clean house isn’t worth that.
Anything else you can cut? Buying coffee out, lunch?
Clear out a heap of stuff/pack it away to make it easy to keep the place?
Share it out with OH? Any holidays to take to catch up/get non iron clothes?
If you have to...I do think life should be worth living now as some of us may never need a pension
Depends what you get with your pension , if your end of salary pension right now please hold on to it for dear life.
If your like me and your predictions look worse / the same as what I pay in each month ... it’s a little less clear
Can you really not afford both? You could look for a cleaner coming every other week for a couple of hours and not do the ironing. If you really can't afford more get DH to help more and generally lower standars for a certain period.
DON'T DO IT!!
That pension is the only thing stopping you from having to work until you're over 70.
Economise elsewhere but don't give it up!
I did this for a year. I needed the £100 a month to get by. Saving for the future seemed pointless when I couldn't pay the bills right now.
I think each April they automatically put you back in.
Maybe try it for a year? Not the best idea but I don't regret it - yet.
Sorry I’m another who thinks you should lower your standards. Your home doesn’t need to be a show home. I know everyone on here cleans their skirting boards weekly but a lot of stuff really isn’t crucial. What if you set a couple of quid aside each week and maybe had a deep clean once every few months or so? For things like the skirting boards! So you just keep on top of the basics. As others have said, you can get away with not ironing a lot of things if you fold them straight away. Maybe as a one off pay for the back log ironing to be done?
Don't stop the pension. It's an essential, whereas a cleaner isn't. Lower your standards a bit. I never iron and dh just does his work shirts. Dc are 7 and 5. We look fine!
If your employer also contributes that's ridiculous, it's saying goodbye to free money. 20 minutes op, make 20 minutes a day. Worth it, it really is.
Well stop bothering about ironing for a start. We haven't ironed since DH got his shirt our for our wedding (we've since had a baby who is now 7 months!). No one cares if clothes are ironed. Just fold them. Is your LO in a good bedtime routine? Could you and DH do 30mins concerted effort each evening once they've gone down? I would do anything but stop your pension. I bet your DH isn't sacrificing his.
You can keep paying the lower percentage but then your company isn't obliged to pay anything.
You'd be a bloody fool to give it up.
Has anyone RTFT???
She's talking about stopping for 2 yrs. that's not going to ruin her pension for good is it??
As long as you absolutely, 100% start it back up again I don't see the problem.
Where is your toddler for the 2.5 days they are not in nursery?
Are they minded at home ?
I agree, opt out of the ironing. It'll feel like a big pay cut when you opt back into the pension and it'll be too tempting to stay out for a little bit longer each time it comes to opt back in to pay for something else.
The years you put into a pension at the beginning make a huge contribution to your final pot. Dont compromise those years.
Personally I'd pay into my pension by hook or by crook. It's basically free money and you don't get that often in life. The thing is if you stop paying in its difficult to ever start again. You get used to that money. Sod having to live off the state pension at 68 or whenever you will get it.
Do you have a partner? No way in hell would I reduce my pension so a partner could benefit from ironed shirts and a tidy kitchen.
Could you find £30 a fortnight between the two of you to pay a cleaner/ironed?
How about your partner stopping his pension to free up money for a cleaner? If he doesn't want to why should you.
As a pensioner , now " living " on State Pension I would strongly advise against dropping your pension contribution. There may not even be a State Pension by the time you retire.Try to look at your budget again and save money elsewhere to get a cleaner for the essential areas and/or get husband to help a bit more.
I used to do ironing on a Friday evening with a glass or two of wine and a good movie. We used to do 8-10 Saturday morning tidying/cleaning blitz - together ( children allowing )
Keep your pension
Get the OH to do half the ironing and the cleaning
Don't do it for a cleaner. You'll regret it when you are early 60s and keen to retire!
I think it's the last thing you should consider as a potential economy.
Is your DP/H considering doing this?
Ok so to answer the questions about my other half- yes I have a husband and he does his share- he’s self employed and is with the LO on the days she’s not at nursery (working those evenings once I’m home)- he will clean, cook, do a wash etc. But he will not iron (he also wouldn’t overly think to dust mirrors or change the beds now I think of it). Yes everyone says not to iron but ironing an outfit every morning I hate, I hate putting non ironed clothes away, it’s takes up more room etc. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly OCD my tiny house just descends into shit very quickly, and because it’s so small it’s not like we can ignore the mess and carry on.
Further background on my financials:
I’m early thirties and have worked since leaving school, took 8 months mat leave- I would literally just take the year or so until my LO turns 3- as it is we pay £700 a month towards nursery. Nothing else to really cut, could lower my shopping slightly but again that would take a lot more time and planning. I cut my sky subscription, gym membership went and my 1 holiday a year is non negotiable.
Jesus don’t do this!
Why can’t you and DH share the housework and just lower your standards? I don’t iron a thing
I recently retired and am so glad that I have my Work Pension as I won’t receive my SP until I am 66. When the children were young I could have made good use of the money I was contributing but I am so glad I didn’t as my retirement is going to be reasonably comfortable.
Agree with others - lower your standards !
I'm sure you can find £10 a week from somewhere other than your pension - food, weekend entertainment, Spotify, electric bill etc. please don't raid your future!
I don't understand why you need to iron? I wear smart clothes to work but never iron. Loose blouses that you hang to dry, they never crease and I never iron them. Suits don't need to be ironed either.
Maybe just agree a split of household chores with your dh and then spend 15 mins a day on them. A pension is worth a lot more than a cleaner imo.
What can your husband cut from his budget?
And you would be foolish to reduce your pension - esp if your employer matches it - you will never ever get that sort of return on investment.
I also don't own a single thing that needs to be ironed and I have a lovely wardrobe of professional and causal clothes!
Don't cut your pension. If ironing is the problem can't you see how much it would cost to get someone in to do it? I never iron. I can't see how opting out of your pension is a better option than lowering your standards, short term.
Do not stop your pension! You say it will only be a year but you cannot tell what will happen! I got very Ill and effectively have not had 10 years of pension payments through my 30’s - although i’m now paying again I am truly worried about my retirement.
How much are you both spending on clothes, eating out and coffees etc? I know i spend a small fortune on those things.
As for the food budget where do you shop? Aldi, lidl and the market are cheaper.
I agree with others, fyi the current basic state pension is about £153 per week. I wouldnt want to live on that.
Think of your pension contributions from your employer as part of your salary, and not only that, their (and your) contributions go into your pension scheme tax free.
Why not calculate how much you're potentially losing (a lot) over a 2 year time frame, then you'll see clearly how much you're throwing away.
We have a cleaner for 2hrs a fortnight and it is £20 could you not find £5 each extra a week? The other thing you could do is save up get a big one off clean every few months.
I shop from asda or Sainsbury’s to get it delivered- I could lower the cost and shop at Aldi or Lidl but that means again cutting into my wkend.
Eat out- rarely!
Clothes- prob anything between 20-70quid a month on myself
Treat myself to my nails being painted/ an eyebrow tint if I have somewhere to go etc -realistically 1 every 6 wks
Not being snotty, but why is your house a tip? I honestly understand working whilst trying to run a house and kids, i did it myself.
Just do it NOW. After dinner, spend 5 minutes cleaning up. Yes, you are knackered, but 5 minutes is nothing. Run a hoover around (and I mean either of you), it takes minutes if you do it regularly. Accept having a messy house, keep ironing if that 'is you'. I am the same, i still iron, despite not working out of the home🙄
Keep paying your pension. Do not stop. You think you will start paying it again in a couple of years, but there will always be something better to spend your money on, and you won't.
Finally, you could just accept living in shite for a while - different strokes and all that.
£20-£70 every month seems a lot for clothes for yourself. I’d give up the new clothes and get the cleaner
Pay in to your pension. Simplify your life with getting rid of useless possessions and clutter. Clear as you go. Get in a routine. Fuck ironing off entirely.
Being old and poor isn't fun.
The money I spend on my cleaner is the best money I spend. However, there's no chance I'd not pay my pension contributions.
My dh does all the ironing though.
Rent out a spare room to pay for the ironing /cleaner. There's a lot of ways to make additional income or make what you have go further, that's an option too.
Did I read correctly that nursery for 2.5 days a week is costing you £700 a month? I'm in the South East where childcare costs are high but that does sound a lot. Our nursery fees are £940 a month for four days but with the tax free childcare account we're only paying in £750 or so. Are you getting tax free childcare/childcare vouchers?
And I'm another one that never irons anything. Not a thing! Nobody notices or cares.
Don't opt out of your pension. The fact that you had dust-free skirting boards in your early thirties won't mean two hoots when you're 70.
I hate putting non ironed clothes away, it’s takes up more room etc
Seriously think about your priorities here.
Is this really worth sacrificing time with your DC and/or compromising your income when you’re older for this?
Who gives a flying fuck what the clothes look like in the drawers?
Don’t stop paying into your pension to pay someone else to clean your home, if you can’t afford a cleaner the you can’t afford one and that’s that.
I wear smart clothes to work and I iron maybe once a year, just buy stretchy fabrics and non iron shirts. I don’t care if my house is a tip, I change the beds when they need it which is every couple of months (maybe we’re just not sweaty people, I don’t know but they definitely don’t need changing weekly) get your other half to do the bedtime routine and have a quick hoover/ wipe over of the kitchen while he’s doing it. Just have a big clean when you’ve got people coming to stay.
I'd also agree that £20-70 a month on clothes is a fair bit and you could cut that to pay for a cleaner every other week. One key to keeping the house semi reasonable looking is decluttering as a PP said. We've done a huge declutter and when there is less stuff around and everything has a place, keeping things in order really doesn't take much.
If you have essentially a stay at home parent at home 2.5 days a week, then he should be able to do the bare minimum. Buy clothes that require less ironing (I do my ironing in 10 minutes every Sunday evening for the week). Accept that the house will be liveable but not spotless for the next few years.
We are about to get a cleaner again but we both work nearly full time (I will be 4 days but on 3 of those days I am commuting/working 6am-7:30pm). We also can afford it (you can get a self employed cleaner for £12 an hour here, so £48 a month, which is manageable).
I agree do not cancel your pension contributions. I don't iron, I wear clothes that wash & dry, hang up or buy non wrinkle material. Life is far too short to spend it cleaning, do the basics only !
I agree £20-£70 a month on clothes is alot. Suggest stop and buy once a year in sale or charity shop
I would most definitely not opt out of your pension. You won't save as much as you think as the tax relief reduces the actual cost to you and you will miss out on employers contributions. I think you need to reassess your priorities. Up to £70 a month on clothes seems a lot and doing your nails yourself for a few years would surely be worth it to save towards a cleaner. No wonder your clothes need ironing you probably have them jam packed in a wardrobe which creases them. Wash and hang them on a drying rail and you will not have to do much ironing. Stop ironing your husbands shirts, and do about 20 minutes a day just to keep on top of housework or cut back on other stuff to get a cleaner in for a few hours once a week.
£20-£70 a MONTH on clothes? I don't think I've spent that on myself since before dd was born and she's nearly 2!
I don't even spend that much on both dcs new clothes AND new shoes a month!
I agree with everyone else. Pay the pension. Screw most of the ironing.
How old are you, OP? The younger you are, the more time you have to make up for the missed years. But please don't opt our for too long: we all underestimate our longevity and the vast majority of us are facing a pretty crap retirement.
Use a dryer for the last ten min ofdrying and everything is ready to wear..perfect. The few things you need to iron can be done in 5 mins.
Get fast at housework. Tidy for 10 mins after dinner...flat out. While one puts DC to bed other flies around. Then sit and relax.
I clean my bathroom while doing mouthwash...l min everyday. Floor on Sat. Get used to grabbing that min. While my porridge is in microwave in morning l fly around the kitchen, stick on a wash, empty dishwasher. I can never understand spending ages. My dm trained us to be quick.
AND DO NOT STOP PENSION. Let that be a thought that never enters your head.
And hopefully your dh being self employed has a pension. My dh was self employed and put very little into pension which he is now sorry about. Luckily l have a good one. But we will still have to downsize our home to ensure a comfortable retirement.
Ive got a couple of friends who rave about asda online shopping op.i dont think 20-70 quid on clothes a month is much. Could you and your partner try a no spend on clothes for a couple of months and spend the money on a cleaner in the short term.
Hopefully you will have got the message by now! Do. Not. Stop. Paying. Into. Your. Pension!
Lower your standards, do more stuff quickly, get your DP (and your DC) to do more. Stop spending money on clothes every month.
A clean house now is no compensation for a decent income in retirement. You're insane even to think about it (OK, I'm a pension consultant and so you'd expect me to say that - but that doesn't make it any less true).
Oh, and the other thing? You don't have to be with your LO every minute of the day at the weekend. They do have to learn to entertain themselves.
Pepperwand I’m in London/ Kent area £65 a day for nursery - (cheapest nursery round here was £45 a day and a ridiculous one I saw was £100 a day) . I received tax vouchers via work.
Your OH is at home 2.5 days a week with your child. Looking after w child is tough but he can easily be changing sheets etc when you’re there. Let’s face it, if working hours were flipped, you’d be doing it all wouldn’t you?
I absolutely get the house as a pigsty thing, but I honestly think in your retirement you will regret having spent the money on the cleaner.
while I’m grateful for all the comments:
Rent out a spare room to pay for the ironing /cleaner is not something I would consider, a stranger in my house when I have a minor! I’ve also already stipulated I have a very small house, not workable
Just think, dc will be 3 in 16 months and get free childcare hours. Use those savings to pay for a cleaner then but do not opt out of your pension. My pension is 9.3% so a big chunk but worth it!
You don't have to be with your LO every minute of the day at the weekend. They do have to learn to entertain themselves. completely agree and my LO thankfully is quite good at this, happy with a book and some CBeebies.
I completely get what you are saying, op, and know how it can make you feel when you feel/ know your house is messy. BUT I would not opt out of pension.
Have you tried The Organised Mum Method? It is probably a bit full on as it is 45 mins per day but you could start off with level one jobs which take about 15 mins a day and will help. Your dh might be able to do level two (30 mins) on bathroom or kitchen twice a week and you do something during the weekend, for example?
As for ironing, I got a steamer. Ok, it is another investment but much quicker than a traditional iron for me. Takes about 15 mins to steam enough clothes for three of us for a week.
Good luck with whatever you decide. It is tough and will get better. 🌷
I don’t personally think £20-£70 a month is a lot to spend on clothes- I’ve averaged It out- for example I didn’t buy any in March but in February I bought two work dresses
Amore22 had a steamer years ago- hated it- maybe they are better designed now but I remeber water everywhere and scoulding myself
If you have a very small house, even less requirement to be spending all your time cleaning/tidying!
And yes, that amount of money every month really isn't necessary. You didn't need those dresses, you wanted them. There's a big difference!
So the consensus is don’t stop paying! (The comment regarding not getting such a good return on my money as I get with my company matching was particularly helpful- thank you)
*If you have a very small house, even less requirement to be spending all your time cleaning/tidying!
And yes, that amount of money every month really isn't necessary. You didn't need those dresses, you wanted them. There's a big difference!*
Actually having a small house I think is harder as it means I can’t ignore any of the mess/ cleaning that needs doing. whilst I have a three bed house, downstairs is only two rooms- the kitchen and lounge (which we also eat in). Once lunch or dinner is over I have to clear up, my LOs toys are all around until I put them away etc. Also one bathroom gets filthy very quickly
And yes I needed the work dresses- I was interviewing for new positions at the time and don’t have many smart enough clothes.
Ok - I get you re the small house. But that also means you should have less stuff.
And I notice you still talk about 'I' - where's your partner in all of this? Or are you the only one rushing around tidying stuff up?
The bathroom 'getting filthy really quickly' - really?! What are you doing in there?!
I think you need to a) calm down b) get your partner to do more c) just relax generally. (Sorry)
You didn't need the dresses - if you have absolutely no interview appropriate attire one dress would have been sufficient. Why two?
You're effectively choosing clothes and nails/eyebrows over your pension.
I'm a single mum of 2, work full time, (teaching, so not rich!) and I have a cleaner every other week. It's so worth it! It's £10 an hour, so £30 each time. Don't opt out of your pension, see if you can make some cuts and get a cleaner that way. I LOVE my cleaner!
To be fair, the OP does need suitable work clothes and it’s not unusual to have to update one’s wardrobe a bit after mat leave. I’m in a similar position myself.
BIWI actually asking this genuinely - how often would you expect a bathroom used by two adults and a toddler to need cleaning?
DH and I both work full time and have two boys aged 8 and 6. Family bathroom needs cleaning once a week, perhaps a quick wipe around (taking no more than 5 minutes) mid-week. Quick hoover and dust once a week, wipe kitchen down every evening. Laundry is done almost every day, beds changed once a week, towels twice a week. Nothing is ironed.
So the consensus is don’t stop paying! (The comment regarding not getting such a good return on my money as I get with my company matching was particularly helpful- thank you)
Say you pay £100 a month into your pension. If your employer matches, that's £200. And you get your tax back on your £100, so a 20% tax payer would only actually pay £80.
So you're paying £80 in and on day 1 it's become £200. That's 150% in a day, without including any growth on the fund, when most people are lucky to get 1.5% a year on savings!
And you need this pointing out to you!!!!
I hope you don't work in financial services.
Love that it's harder to keep a tiny house clean .
Come on op. Dishwasher, on, washing machine, on, 5 mins each, whack toys in boxes, 10 mins, wipe dinner table, 5 mins, bog brush, bleach, anti-bac wipe, 5 mins, bath and basin 2 mins after using.
We all have to do that as we go. Tiny house - hoover 20 mins, anti-bac wet wipe over grubby paintwork, mop kitchen floor and other hard floors 20 mins, change bedding 20 mins every fortnight.
Sounds like bliss.
Unless you or your DH are working down the mines and your one toddler is coming home caked in mud, there’s no reason your bathroom shouldn’t last one weekend to the next with a Wednesday night wipe round.
anti-bac wipe, 5 min
Don’t use these OP, they’re terrible things,
Pointless derailing, sorry
Honestly, do not opt out of your pension. You'll regret it. As others point out you'll be losing the tax relief as well as your employers contribution.
You do not want to be relying on the state pension when you're older.
If your husband is self employed I guess he hasn’t got a great pension either so on that basis I wouldn’t stop.
People don’t have a clue what you need to retire on a decent income. It’s a hell of a lot of money!
To receive a full UK state pension you need 35 years contributions to receive £164 a week & approx 8.5k a year. That is the reason everyone is advising you to pay into a private pension, where your employer adds in FREE money. As your family grows there will always be something to spend money on, but you should always pay your pension.
Oh come on, if she needed two dresses then she needed two dresses. We don't know what clothes she has.
OP, put a film on TV and iron while it's on. It won't take the whole time. I found it much easier if I did that on a Friday night as I felt a bit more in control over the weekend.
Do online shopping and cut down that way if you want to save money. As others have said, never, ever cut down on your pension.
Clean the sink and toilet while your daughter's in the bath.
One massive time issue comes from no dishwasher- hate the current kitchen and would love to redo next year and put one in.
As for people cleaning a bath used by 3or 4 people once a week, do you not get dust and rim marks?!
Love that it's harder to keep a tiny house clean
Ok it’s not harder to keep it clean, it’s harder to ignore what needs doing
Nope - the dust is washed away when you fill the bath the next day. Otherwise you can wipe around the bath each evening - will take maximum 1 minute.
I do think it's harder to keep a small house tidy as you wont have as much storage for toys etc. So that bit is understandable.
Dh can do bathroom on his minding days while you do a minute every morning and leave no mess ever.
Does dh have a list of jobs that need doing as you would give a cleaner..so nothing gets missed. Just put it up as a list for both of ye but at least he can check it at nap time to see what needs doing.
But do not get a new kitchen as that will be another reason not to pay into your pension. Remember most of us saying this are older and have learnt the hard way.
Let water drain from bath and give it a wipe around as you get out. Shove bleach down loo before bed, wipe it round in the morning while brushing teeth (don't confuse brushes).
Could you afford a cleaner fortnightly? That's what I did with 3 pre schoolers (gave up wine for a cleaner). Now my dc are older childcare is cheaper and I have a cleaner. I won't lie, it's amazing, but I wouldn't choose her over my pension.
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