What's my best option for childcare?(27 Posts)
Once DS hits one and I get back to work we'll need a nursery place for him. We're both on minimum wage so not a lot to spare (and our only help is tax free childcare). Our DMs will come one month at a time to help with childcare to a total of three months. DH has a summer schedule for 5 months, so we'll only need 3 days out of 5. We also plan to take some time off (but I think that's seem as "holiday"). What type of childcare would offer most flexibility?
You can likely also claim working tax credits towards the cost of childcare.
It's UC here so only tax-free childcare as we have a mortgage and we get no UC
Yes but you could get UC.
A basic check on gov.uk of two adults earning 15,500 each (NMW full time), with childcare costs of 800pcm yields around 215 pm in UC.
However, if you want to hold a place you are unlikely to find a childminder who is happy to not be paid for a whole month twice a year.
UC comes to about £120 with childcare costs, I've done the maths and we're better off with tax free childcare (the difference is minimal though).
That's what I'm worried about Pottering I'm not sure who'd take us knowing that we wouldn't use their service for a few months every year, unless she gives me a discount but she keeps a retainer
I am sorry you are unlikely to find a childminder or nursery who will keep a space for you for free when you do not need it as you have grandparents doing the “free” care. You will most likely have to pay for the space in full to keep it just like you will when your child is ill or on holiday. Some childminders other ad hoc contracts which means you can use them as and when you want, but with this agreement they do not have to keep a space for you and you could find yourself with out care when you need it.
Our childminder is really flexible, she has a few kids who are timetabled as term time only so they don't go during half terms, but she will tend to pick other kids up on an ad hoc basis during school holidays. When we looked for childminders we saw one who wouldnt charge you if you gave her more than 4 weeks notice regarding being off, simply because she would get other kids to fill those slots.
It's worth asking about. We are in the lucky situation of being a small town, but with about 10 nurserys and plenty of childminders so the ones in our town aren't strict as you may find in busy city's.
It may be worth looking at nurserys (having said all that), you can easily request term time only and then between you, your partner and the mother's cover the half terms and school holidays.
Some childminders do term time only some may want an easier summer holiday look around and ask.
Thank you, term time might be an option, although seems like a "waste" of DHs working schedule (he's off on Thursdays and Fridays for 5 months out of 12) so I'm thinking it might be best to have those 5 months as our base. And potentially having two childcare providers one for the summer months and another one for the other 5 months of FT childcare. We'd only need this type of help for two years, then baby would get his 30hrs and life would be a lot easier.
We're also exploring the prospect of DH going part time, it might end up cheaper that way.
I don't think your considering the importance of stability to your child in this plan. The idea of swapping childcare every 5 months is really not thinking of the importance of attachment to development. Finding anyone who would consider it would be neigh on impossible so in 2 years you would probably have to find 4 different settings
You cant veiew it as a waste of those 2 days plenty of people have to put child first and pay more to keep life consistent for their child it takes a good 6 to 8 weeks for a child to settle somewhere new.
I understand the stability, my first was in the same nursery for most of her 3 first years, however times have changed and at 1275, (minus commuting costs of 120, minus other work related costs) out limit is about £500 on childcare pm, so it's either "stability" or "food bills".
That's why we're considering DH going part time or me WFH two days to reduce childcare and commuting costs.
As it is with a higher childcare bill and all work related expenses, I'm only working to be better off by £120 a month (in comparison to staying at home).
I'm only working to be better off by £120 a month
Don’t forget pension, Nat insurance contributions, having a job you so that when you get the 30 hours you’re grand...
And £120 is 2 weeks food shop. It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
Sometimes you have to play the long game
I love working! I mourned being made redundant than my divorce. My career was my second child, I'm still very career focused that's why I dont give up, one day I'll go back to at least £50k. It was very hard to have a great city job, moved to the middle of nowhere, get that paycut (because they let me move with my job). Get divorced, then get made redundant, stuck in the middle of nowhere with no career prospects.
I'm lucky that I found this job, at least it uses my skill set but it's a kick in the balls to have an Hons degree, an MA from a very reputable university, be fluent in three languages and get paid £18k! And it took me a whole year to find this job.
I also think you will struggle
I am a cm and can't afford to loose a child for 2 months a year.
I had one parent who got short term contacts...She gave notice at the end of one contract had 6 weeks before next one so before next contract i had taken on another child... Thats how it goes.
i do term time only contracts though
I can definitely see it from both sides. I think my best bet is to a) talk to my employer and see if he'd let me work from home the same days my DH is off during the summer, at least that way we could have that as our ongoing childcare arrangement.
I still struggle about how to fit both grandmas. They live more than 8 hrs away so that's the only way they can help us.
I would discount the grandma’s. Ultimately, if you loose your childcare place that’s no help at all.
Unfortunately it's normal to take these knocks when you have young children but it's not forever and being in the game even on 18k...which is more than many...does mean your earning potential is maintained. Presumably your partner is earning too
@PotteringAlong there's enough childcare provision that I'm not entirely worried about it. I'm more worried about having to take a second shift to afford childcare.
@jannier yes, he's earning too, but a very similar salary to mine with commuting expenses of almost £350 a month. So what comes in from his paycheck is below £800. His job doesn't offer a career like mine does and that's why we're thinking he might have to go part time.
The most help we'll ever get is £300pcm. Even with term time only we'd end up with zero disposable income. And that's only spending as little as possible on groceries (about £60 a week) and not counting my road tax, car and house insurance. We're really, really stuck.
Great to hear about your career prospects, it will get better soon
Apart from that, rather than decreasing childcare costs, any chance to decrease e.g. commuting costs? Easier said than done, I know... The work from home days sound a good option too, or maybe 5 days condensed into 4?
@PotteringAlong there's enough childcare provision that I'm not entirely worried about it. I'm more worried about having to take a second shift to afford childcare
Can’t you go back to your previous £50k a year job?
I too would discount the grandmas-it isn’t going to help you much, I don’t think.
Beware of thinking all will be wonderful with the 30 hours free childcare too-it often isn’t free.
I'm only working to be better off by £120 a month
You’re loaded. I was at -£17 for a few months at one point (with 2). But I gained pension credits, NI contributions etc.
I think it’s very unlikely that you will find a childcare provider who will agree to a “stop/start” arrangement. You might, but must want/need a routine commitment.
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