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Childcare dilemma - please help!

(24 Posts)
fantalemon Thu 20-Jun-13 08:04:25

Having a bit of a childcare dilemma and would be incredibly grateful for anyone's suggestions/advice etc!

Basically, have been off work since DD2 (13 months) was born last year. Prior to that, I worked 4 days and my DD1 was in a local nursery. We are in a commuter town outside London so childcare is expensive. DD1's nursery fees were approximately £1100 a month for 4 days. She is now in a lovely local pre school 5 mornings a week. Once her free hours are used, we pay about £200 a term.

I have been looking to go back to work for a while. I've found it to be a v tough market and been rejected from lots of jobs. Anyway, have just been offered a job very local so minimal travel costs and by some miracle they've agreed to be doing 4 days a week even though it was advertised as a f/t position. I really don't want to pass this opportunity by but am struggling with how I can make it work financially.

The salary is 40k but pro rata is £32k. Am guessing ill take home say £25k after tax etc. My husband covers all the bills currently and there really is not much wriggle room for him to find extra money for childcare (above the £200 a term we already pay to pre school). I really want to keep my DD1 in the local pre sch but that finishes at 1pm so will need care for her from then (plus holiday time etc).

The options I've thought of are:

1. Childminder for both of them who picks up DD1 from pre sch. I understand that CM also charge for when a child is at pre school. So, average hourly rate is £7 per child, so working on basis I need care from 8am to 6pm, means I'm looking at 2 lots of £70 a day - £29,129 which is more than ill earn.

Figures work out similar if I put DD2 in nursery and find a childminder for DD1 but also means they don't see each other. Ditto nanny (cost I mean).

2. Hiring an au pair with the idea that she drops off DD1 and picks her up at 1pm and looks after her until we're home and DD2 goes to nursery say 3 days a week. But can an au pair be expected to look after a 13 month for a whole day?

I really want to take this job but see no way of making it work - please does anyone have any suggestions I've not thought of??

THank you in advance if you do.

apotomak Thu 20-Jun-13 08:36:11

Have you considered of nanny with own child? Bringing own child to work is a huge perk therefore you can offer lower salary. As childminder would be £7/h per child a nanny will cost you less than £14/h. You do have to factor in employers' NI and extra cost such as food your children and nanny will be eating and a kitty for outings and little treats. You can google Mr Anchovy UK PAYE calculator and enter some basic figures and it will bring up the cost of having a nanny. Also check if your and your husband's employers offer childcare vouchers these can save you some money but you will have to find an already Ofsted registered nanny or pay for a registration yourselves.

Cindy34 Thu 20-Jun-13 10:18:27

If you have room for an aupair and do not mind having someone else living at your home, then a live-in nanny may be an option. However the cost is likely to use up most if not all your income, though will depend on how low a salary you can get someone to accept and the cost of things like activities, food etc.

afussyphase Thu 20-Jun-13 10:59:31

I would really suggest that you speak to some childminders. Some may charge less than 7 per hour per child (I'm in London and the ones around here charge 55 per day/5.50 per hour per child, more for just after school for some reason). Some may not charge you for a full day if they collect your child at 1pm; I used to pay for half days and the CM had another child the other half of the relevant days. See if the preschool has any advice or know of anyone. Ask around about au pairs-- my sense is that it would not be reasonable for an AP to have a 13month old all day every day but once a week might be OK? You could offer extra money on top of the usual au pair costs of (from what I gather on here) 80-130 per week + lodging etc, for the additional childcare? Agree that a nanny with their own child might help re costs, or a nanny share with another family might be good because then you'd pay 6-7 per hour, which is half what you're looking at now. Good luck, it's hard isn't it?

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 20-Jun-13 11:10:10

No an au pair can't look after a 13mth all day

I would look at a nwoc - prob around the £9/10 gross figure so £100 a day plus employers ni plus activities good etc

A lot of mums literally work to pay for Childcare but think of it as a joint expense for you and hubby

Things will improve financially in a few years when both at school so guess you need to work out do you want to work /further your career or be a sahm for a bit longer

Nannyowl Thu 20-Jun-13 11:19:51

OP where are you ? I work in a commuter town in Hertfordshire and nanny salary £8 - £10 without a child. So would be less with a child.

ReetPetit Thu 20-Jun-13 11:34:51

i would also recommend contacting some childminders directly to check cost. £7 ph per child is high - i am in london and most round here charge between £50-£60 a day. You may also find someone who offers a sibling discount, and even someone who won't charge you the hours dd is at pre school, unlikely I know but possible, everyone does things differently.
I think childminder is your best option. How old is dd? Remember also that when she goes a full school day your cost will decrease as a cm will only charge you for hours used before/after school.

unclefluffy Thu 20-Jun-13 11:41:42

The local preschool is the thing that will have to give. Put both in nursery and it won't cost you more than £1400 for four days a week. I live in the SE, in a commuter town, and pay £1400 for my one and four year olds to go fulltime.

I understand not wanting to move your eldest again, but she'll have a move to school pretty soon, and this job opportunity might not come up again.

Take the job, solve the childcare problem - don't make it more complicated than it needs to be. Save that for when your eldest starts school and you discover that there's no breakfast club!

unclefluffy Thu 20-Jun-13 11:42:41

And enjoy your one day a week with both of them!

fantalemon Thu 20-Jun-13 12:01:25

Thank you all for your very valuable comments! Especially as I just have an overwhelming fear of doom whenever I think about my take home salary vs childcare costs.

afussyphase - I will certainly speak to pre sch about if they know about any childminders, had not thought of that before.

Am leaning towards a nanny (if we can afford it).

Nanny owl - is that figure net? Do I have to pay their tax and NI or could I suggest I pay them a "global" rate or is that a big no no in nanny terms?

Blondes - thank you, I really do hope it gets easier when they're older (financially at least). I do wond whether I'm better off staying at home until DD2 is at pre school next September but this role is ideal in terms of location, workload. Argh!!!!

TantrumsAndBalloons Thu 20-Jun-13 12:08:22

I would think a full time nursery for both would probably work out cheaper if you would be willing to move your older dd.
mine are older now but we used to get a sibling discount at the nursery, even without that, it means you do not have to pay extra for childcare during holidays.

unclefluffy Thu 20-Jun-13 12:10:23

If you refuse to consider moving your eldest back to a private nursery you're making this waaay more complicated than it needs to be... And it will only get more complicated. My eldest starts school in September and I will be paying nursery (for DD2), a childminder and an afterschool club AND reducing my working hours to make this work. Take the job now and at least you'll know what you're giving up if it does get too difficult to continue.

Tanith Thu 20-Jun-13 12:17:36

Even cheaper if you find an accredited childminder who can offer the free entitlement and nursery education.

RikeBider Fri 21-Jun-13 19:47:46

If you have space I would go for a live-in nanny - or maybe an experienced former au pair looking to move into nannying. For a 40 hour week I would offer £250-£300 a week GROSS (you have to deduct tax and NI from that but can get a payroll company to do it for you) and the nanny can take your older child to free pre-school.

bbcessex Fri 21-Jun-13 21:42:20

Don't have any childcare advice, but just wanted to say ... TAKE THE JOB !!!!!

Sort out your childcare; there are lots of options; it won't cost your whole salary, but even if it does, you must think of it as XX % of your family income, not just your salary.

Your salary will go up, your childcare costs will eventually go down (or choices will open up for you).

Don't let a few nerves scare you off, bloody well done on being offered the job and negotiating 4 days grin.

BackforGood Fri 21-Jun-13 21:52:03

Totally agree with bbcessex
Think of it as another household expense to come out of your total family income, rather than directly your salary. It will be a very short term 'hit' before your lo is on free hours herself, and of course your older dd will be at school soon which has a HUGE impact on your outgoings.
Also agree with others about actually finding real costs for CMs and Nurseries with available spaces - IME CMs will charge from when they first have her in the day, so if you don't need her to go for breakfast time, then it's only a half day. It does sound like a high figure, even allowing for you being SE.

insancerre Sun 23-Jun-13 16:39:20

Put both of them in the nursery. Your fees will be reduced by the free 15 hours a week for nursery education. You may find that they offer a discount for siblings too.

WouldBeHarrietVane Sun 23-Jun-13 18:55:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dozer Sun 23-Jun-13 19:38:43

Another vote for taking the job, a local job, 4 days a week, good pay, hard to find!

I think you're overestimating costs of a CM, I'm in the commuter belt and it's nowhere near that much and many CMs don't charge full or even any rate for hours DC are in preschool, especially if they have a younger sibling all day.

Au pair not allowed for the baby but could be an option for the older one.

Nanny obviously the priciest option but you could advertise what you can afford, taking into account all the costs involved, and may be lucky!

fuckwittery Sun 23-Jun-13 19:42:54

I think childminder costs sound a bit high too. Round here (Herts) I pay 4 pound an hour, and the CM if having one child all day, only charges wrap around care for the other i.e. does not charge when not at preschool.
Don't forget childcare vouchers from you and husband are tax free so 486 per month can come out of pre tax income which helps.

fuckwittery Sun 23-Jun-13 19:44:22

And, when does you DD1 start school? If you can make it break even, it might be worth it in order to have the big leap of income once childcare goes down once one and then both are at school.

childminder Mon 24-Jun-13 09:18:11

fuckwittery it depends on where you are in Herts, it is £6.50 - £7.50 ph in my part of Herts, 20 minutes into St Pancras on the train, but 4 miles down the road in Hatfleld it's £4.00 ph

fuckwittery Mon 24-Jun-13 13:11:36

Ah childminder, you are obv in a posher bit of Herts than me smile
I am 29 minutes to Kings Cross though !

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 24-Jun-13 13:45:12

The idea that an au pair can't or isn't allowed to look after a baby is nonsense. It's not recommended, but it's totally your call. If you find someone you're happy to leave your baby with you can leave them.

A newly qualified nanny, live-in nanny, nanny share or nwoc would probably be the best solution and should come in under £25k for 4 days a week. Main problem with a nanny is you won't get a reduction in fees when the older one starts school. If you've got a couple of years to go before she starts school I'd go for a nanny, if she's starting in September something else will be better long term.

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