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How much kitty/mileage is reasonable for a semi-rural nanny?

(30 Posts)
Possiblyorange Sat 22-Feb-14 13:35:38

We have a (wonderful, wonderful) nanny, who I am loathe to get rid of, but costs are seriously tight at the moment, and I'm wondering whether asking her to cut down on travel/out and about spends is realistic or whether we need to accept that if we have a nanny then those costs come attached.

We live in a small-medium sized town in the SW (high street has butchers, grocers, loads of cafes as it's a tourist town, trinket shops etc) with a couple of good toddler groups a week. However, we also live 5-15 miles from lots of really good things, like zoos, aquariums, big soft play places etc etc.

Nanny works 3 days a week and current mileage varies from 250-350 miles a month (average of at least 20 miles a day, and I pay her the full HMRC recommended amount of 45p per mile), and the kitty is in the vicinity of £150 a month. I have to stress that I have never placed any limits on her whatsoever, so if those costs are high she has never had any reason to think they are unaffordable to us, this definitely isn't a nanny blaming thread!

Now I'm writing it out I don't see how I can ask her to limit mileage too much, as even if they only get in the car two out of three days, it's going to come to 40 miles for one 5 mile and one 15 mile (each way) trip. And £150 really isn't that huge, only a little over a tenner a day.

Anyway, I'd love to know what is reasonable for a semi-rural nanny for kitty and mileage, so any examples of what your nanny/employer considers sensible would be much appreciated!

Notify Sat 22-Feb-14 13:49:29

When she puts in her milage claims does she itemise what journey they were for? (I think she should for tax purposes if nothing else?)

Which of the journeys would you like her to cut out?

Possiblyorange Sat 22-Feb-14 14:10:37

She does itemise them - writes every day what she spends and what mileage she does (far more organised than I am, and it makes it very easy to see where the miles are coming from)

I think perhaps I'd like her to do one or two less 'fun' journeys a week - they basically aren't in the house at all after the morning school run, so even if they go to a toddler group in the morning they will then go off to a local beach town in the afternoon (perhaps 10 miles away) for an hour or two before heading back for the afternoon school run. There hasn't been a day for months when there hasn't been at least one 10 mile round trip. In an ideal world I wouldn't care at all - the DCs aren't exhausted or anything, they love it - but I don't know how reasonable it would be to curb it given our situation.

nbee84 Sat 22-Feb-14 14:17:13

I'm sure she'd rather have a job and spend a day a week based at home. I would just explain that money is tight at the moment and ask her to plan activities at home at least once a week - arts and crafts, baking - all sorts of things she could be doing.

Do you or your dh work from home at all? If you do it is often why a nanny spends a lot of time out and about.

Possiblyorange Sat 22-Feb-14 14:39:07

Yes, I work from home, which is partly why I've never wanted to impose being at home on her before. When they are here the DCs are good about leaving me alone though, and I never get involved in what they're doing. Can see why she would prefer to be out though!

nannynick Sat 22-Feb-14 14:51:21

Explain the situation to your nanny - then together you can look at places they visit and cut back a bit on things that are overly far away / costly.

£150 kitty is possibly a little high, though depends on how many children you have, their ages, cost of admission to various places.

Are there places the children like going frequently... do they do annual pass or other discount scheme and is that being used? As an example, I take the youngest child I care for swimming, we don't pay per visit but pay per month, can go as often as we like but certainly make sure we go once a week at least.

As the weather improves, doing things outdoors locally will become more viable. Winter is a terrible time for finding low cost/free things to do, where as in the Summer you can spend hours in the park/woodland/beech. So entry costs to softplay won't be needed, instead the kitty will go on things like buckets/spades, suncream and icecream.

Notify Sat 22-Feb-14 14:52:13

I do think �10 a day everyday is quite a lot to be spending on kids activities.

What will happen if you/she aren't able to cut back? Can you talk to her about the position youre in, she might have ideas of her own or she might be doing it because she thinks that's what you want

nannynick Sat 22-Feb-14 15:03:52

I agree that £10 a day is possibly high, but it depends on how many children and their ages. Toddler group in my area is £2 per family, Softplay can easily cost us £5.50 per child (off peak) and more in school holidays - thus we don't go often.

Could nanny have a No Spend Day & No Mileage Day? That may or may not be possible, as may need to do a school run or several in a car.
Even if they could do that twice a month it may make some difference - though it may mean your food costs go up, as if they stay at home they may do baking, so need ingredients.

Possiblyorange Sat 22-Feb-14 15:30:45

Our DCs are one preschooler (3yo) all of the time and school age (6yo) before and after school and during holidays.

Notify she currently has no reason to presume that she's spending more than I want, as you say. I wanted to make sure I had some idea of what was 'reasonable' before I spoke to her.

We have annual membership to the local zoo, which gets used every couple of weeks and I don't particularly mind as it's only 5 miles away. It's family membership and DH has the other adult membership and quite often takes the DCs on the weekend too if I am working. I have said I would get swimming membership but she isn't particularly keen (fair enough, I hate taking them swimming too - it's another DH job in this family).

I think I will talk to her next week and she what she would prefer to do to reduce outgoings (i.e. drive less v spend less). I am sympathetic to her not wanting to be in the house where I am all day, but equally we need to make cut backs for the next six months or so, and the alternative is losing her altogether <sob>

nannynick Sat 22-Feb-14 15:41:33

To give a comparison, I get less kitty than that for care of 3 children aged 3-9. So some saving on expenses I suspect could be done without dramatically compromising what they do.

Look through the list of things they do, see if you can identify anything overly costly... see if they could reduce or stop doing that particular activity. SoftPlay comes to mind - though the cost of that varies, some places are cheaper than others, plus it may be used a lot less in Spring/Summer than in Winter.

If some of the kitty is being used for food, then encourage taking picnic on trips out and bulk buy picnic provisions when they are on offer at the supermarket. Always cheaper it seems to buy a 9 pack of drinks, then a 3 pack. Value crisps are cheaper than branded and in smaller pack size, so usually overall less salt. A child with a packet of crisps is likely to eat the lot, so give a smaller bag to reduce the salt intake, plus the cost. Expect there is a thread somewhere on Mumsnet about how to create picnics that don't cost too much and are fairly healthy.

juneybean Sat 22-Feb-14 15:45:31

Christ where I work I don't have a kitty and spend about £10 in mileage but then I utilise parks and walk to the library.

Possiblyorange Sat 22-Feb-14 15:46:02

Good idea re food - quite a lot is the odd couple of quid on lunch or snacks. I'm sure if I asked she could take things from home. Quite a lot goes on parking too, so even when they do something 'free' like a beach trip it costs a couple of quid on drinks and snacks and perhaps £2.50 on parking.

It's particularly hit home since I've realised we're staying in on the weekends as we can't afford to do things, and she is having all sorts of adventures with them. Not her fault at all, but not exactly the way things should be!

Possiblyorange Sat 22-Feb-14 15:47:41

She does parks and libraries too, but they actually just do so much that inevitably there are some costs. A day of 8-5 will generally involve at least two outings, with or without a stop home for lunch, and then perhaps a library or park trip after school. I don't know where she gets the energy! The kids love it, which makes it even worse to curb it, but needs must sad

Notify Sat 22-Feb-14 15:55:14

Do you have a car you're not using when you're working from home? Wouldit be cheaped to insure her on that and just pay petrol than to pay 45p pm for her to use her own car?

Possiblyorange Sat 22-Feb-14 16:00:24

Nope, only one car, and DH uses it to commute. He could catch the train instead, but I think what we'd gain in low mileage payments we'd lose in train fare, iykwim.

nannynick Sat 22-Feb-14 16:35:27

Is she creative when it comes to finding parking places that do not charge, or finding the places that are cheapest. These days it is easy to find cost of carparks before going somewhere so you can find where council car parks are and see how cost varies. Unfortunately not a lot you can do about car parking costs - it costs what it costs but sometimes you can find free parking places.

You just need her to think about the cost, so she then looks more closely at what they are doing and how the small costs add up. Perhaps a cut in the kitty budget would help focus things. Chat with her about it - unless she knows the costs are an issue she can't change things.

Possiblyorange Sat 22-Feb-14 17:03:05

I'll definitely chat to her next week. Thanks so much for all the advise, I feel a little more prepared for the conversation. First time nanny employers, and first time we've been really tight since employing a nanny, so it's all new territory.

NannyLouise29 Sat 22-Feb-14 19:34:49

If she stops buying food and drinks out then you'll see a big difference. When I looked after an eight and six year old, if we were going out for the day they would each have a backpack with a bottle of water, their packed lunch, their own sunscreen (they were picky!), a hat etc. we could go out for the day and only spend money on the travel (public transport, so different). I did this as mum was very clear that the last nanny had been a spender, and she was keen to avoid that with me. I found all sorts of ways to cut costs! Talking to her would be a good idea.

caketinrosie Sat 22-Feb-14 19:45:46

Your nanny sounds fab and organised so she might be ideally suited to identify areas you could save. Tesco vouchers are great for days out. Why not ask her to help you find the solution?

Lucylouby Sat 22-Feb-14 21:18:51

Talk to her and explain there needs to be a limit put on the kitty money. If she doesnt know there is a problem she cant change things.
I'm a cm and have 3 preschoolers here each day. I don't spend anywhere near £150 a month on outings. I know nannying is different to cm (I used to be a nanny), but it is possible to go out every day and not spend that much money. As you say, it's not fair if you are not getting to do fun things with your children as you can't afford to as you are paying the nanny so much to do them.

surpriseme Sun 23-Feb-14 00:28:12

So she goes out in the morning, then straight after lunch and then again after school pick up? Every day? That's a lot and way too much imo. Surely part of the advantages of having a nanny is they spend some time at home. Could they have playdates back at the house? I know it might be hard with you working but maybe if she could have a playdate over lunchtime once a wk for the 3yr old and then a playdate once a wk for the 6yr old that's some time at home at least with them entertained, since she seems to think they need constant entertainment.
I would start leaving her a kitty each wk. I think £20-25 a wk for 3 days is fine-give her extra if she needs to pick up extras like milk etc. Ask her to take more picnics rather than lunch out.

celestialsquirrelnuts Sun 23-Feb-14 00:31:58

The other thing to do is to provide the car. Tax and insure and pay a set amount of petrol per month. The rest she pays for herself. Might be cheaper in the long run? At 45p per mile she is almost certainly making a profit.

nbee84 Sun 23-Feb-14 01:12:50

I'm presuming the £150 a month is mileage as well as spends?

And yes, as surpriseme says, having a nanny should mean the dc can have playdates and spend some time at home. Could you decamp and work from the library once a week?

At the end of the day you are the employer and can certainly limit the budget and it shows you are a considerate employer that you have come to ask if it is a reasonable request. Hopefully you have a reasonable nanny who will understand the situation after you've had a chat.

Cindy34 Sun 23-Feb-14 07:38:18

45p is to cover all costs of providing the car.
A car could easily cost 10,000 even for something small.
There will be several hundred of maintenance a year - as it gets older that goes up as parts are needed not just labour.
Fuel costs increase all the time, as does insurance.

You could argue that nanny needs a car to get to work but if it is a village/small town they may live locally and be able to walk to work.

If it were cheaper to provide a car, then more families would do that. Yet many pay mileage, so there must be reasons for that, such as no high initial outlay, cost of maintenance, insurance.

I wonder how much of the issue is this case is that a parent works from home. Does nanny feel they have to be out all the time so that the children do not disturb the parent?

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 23-Feb-14 10:23:26

£150 a month kitty does seem a lot when one child is at school so no/low costs there apart from Holidays

That's £40 a week ish for 3 days

Say to her eating out once a week if in cafés etc

Maybe cut down and give her £100 a month upfront and she can budget for it

Sounds she is out of the house as you work from home and yes as a nanny it's nice to go out but also employing a nanny means your children do spend time in their own home as well

Mileage 45p is the fair going rate as pays for wear and year etc - 250 miles is just over £100 a month - again see if a journey here and there can be limited

Your nanny doesn't know there is a problem so sit down an have a chatting her - sure between doing a few less miles each week (having a home day or least am/pm in) and less activities then can decrease costs for you and nanny still be happy

Did you discuss the situation of you working from home? Can you say go to starbucks/library for a day and work?

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