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A frugal nanny?

(68 Posts)
SootyTheCat Thu 27-Aug-15 22:50:55

I'm soon going to be returning to work and we've decided a nanny would be the best childcare option for us for a number of reasons (3 DCs, so its going to be expensive whatever we do).

We're intending to offer a reasonable salary for our area (up to £10 per hour gross). But it will be really stretching our budget, i.e. pretty much all my salary. We live quite frugally anyway but will have to really start counting the pennies.

Would it be unreasonable to ask the nanny to be as frugal as possible too? e.g. avoiding expensive days out, going to free activities where possible, not buying chocolate / treats for the kids from the shop??

Can I ask her to bring her own lunch and snacks? I don't want to add £5 - £10 to the weekly food budget to have extra food in, it will really add up and I'll feel like I have to buy naice ham & yummy gourmet stuff rather than the cheapo things I make do with!

We tend to keeping the heating on low and wear extra clothes and slippers. I suffer from cold hands so its never that low (min 20), but it isn't on all day, I just put it on for an hour when I feel nippy. I don't want her to freeze but at the same time we can't afford the heating bill to go up loads. Would this be unacceptable?

I will be honest about all this in the interview - but would this put you off accepting the job? Thanks for your honest thoughts.

Solasum Thu 27-Aug-15 22:53:04

It sounds pretty bleak. Are you sure staying at home until your DC are school age won't work?

Hamsolo Thu 27-Aug-15 23:02:17

Well, it would put me off, yes. It's also going to be pretty miserable for everyone. It's pretty unusual to ask a nanny to bring their own food - they usually eat with the children and have what they have. You can manage costs by choosing what they have in a weekly menu and buying all the ingredients in.

To be honest, though, it sounds like you can't really afford a nanny. Would an au pair be a possibility or are your kids too young? Or, could you try to find a nanny share locally?

SootyTheCat Thu 27-Aug-15 23:03:37

Yes, its certainly been a consideration not going back until youngest gets free preschool hours. However having been a SAHM for several years as well as part-time working with the older 2, the sad reality is I much prefer working part-time and having a life outside the house, much as I love my kids... I really enjoy my current job and am really looking forward to going back. I will be a lot happier even with no financial gain in it.

It will be part-time (3 days a week) if that makes a difference.

What sort of extra spending / perks would you expect as standard in a nanny job? I don't get lunch provided at my work which is probably why I'm so reluctant on that bit!

SootyTheCat Thu 27-Aug-15 23:05:51

Not sure if it makes a difference on the lunch thing - we have cold lunch (sandwiches, etc) and cooked meal together as a family in the evening, so would be expecting the nanny to sort out the cold lunch only.

rollonthesummer Thu 27-Aug-15 23:11:18

That sounds rather a bleak job to take on tbh. You might find it hard to recruit or they don't stay long.

SavoyCabbage Thu 27-Aug-15 23:14:46

I had a nanny interview once along similar lines and they were lovely people but I didn't take the job.

Some of the things are fine. Not buying chocolate from the shop is normal! Nannies probably do a lot of free stuff anyway with the dc. Like most people looking after small dc most of what happens is everyday stuff. Park, library, posting a letter, cooking, playing. Or cheap like swimming, playgroup.

I don't think you can have someone work in your home and it be cold though.

Nannies eat with the children for social reasons. Not to save their money. She can't sit and eat her roast chicken and salad sandwich and passion fruit whilst your dc have something else.

If she has to eat different food, you would need to employ another nanny to cover her lunch break! So she could go and eat.

SavoyCabbage Thu 27-Aug-15 23:17:25

I don't think a nanny is 'the best childcare option for us' though. At least with nursery the costs are fixed so you would know what you were in for.

I don't think you can afford a nanny really and it sounds like you would be worried about the money all of the time.

BabyGanoush Thu 27-Aug-15 23:26:44

This set up would not work OP

But WHY do you see the nanny salary as something that has to come out of YOUR salary only?

What about your DP? Surely her salary is both your and his responsibility, equally!

You have to think long term, if you want to be a working parent, you may have to take the financial pain for a few years, for the long term gain (your continued employment).

Have a think

SootyTheCat Thu 27-Aug-15 23:30:51

Yes I think you're right on the heating the house thing. Different people also feel the warmth/cold differently. We have constant wars in the office between the warmies and the coldies! I think I'll have to accept that its up to her how warm she wants the house to be during the day.

So on the lunch thing. I almost always eat something different to my kids (e.g. I like strong tasting veg & salad with dressing, they don't), but we eat together. DH usually eats something completely different to us all too at the weekends (he's obsessed with eggs, I'm not...). We're all a bit set in our ways about what food we eat, so in a way I think it might be good to have someone eating something different that the DCs might look at and then ask me to buy some!

Would you agree with your employer in advance what sort of things to have available for lunch then?

Pigeonpost Thu 27-Aug-15 23:33:49

I don't understand why people are saying this wouldn't work. Our nanny very rarely took the children anywhere that cost money, she was brilliant at taking them to parks, playgroups, the library etc. we never said she couldn't spend money but I don't think nannying is about fancy day trips. She would do the occasional soft play and trips like the zoo on special occasions but they were v rare. She said from the off that she would bring her own food but quite often she didn't eat lunch at all. The heating might be the only issue but when I was freezing cold on mat leave an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon used to make a massive difference.

stillsingingintherain Thu 27-Aug-15 23:36:50

I am a nanny and although im careful with the families money, and dont take the mickey, this set up sounds fairly miserable and would probable leave the nanny feeling isolated, especially during the winter when its harder to get out without spending money.

The reason a nanny's lunch is included is because it is during work hours and we dont have a lunch break. I tend to have what the children eat or something simple like tuna pasta.

And i certainly wouldnt want to live in a cold house, espec in winter. Heating / kitty money / petrol etc are all standard expenses when hiring a nanny. Sorry but theres no way I'd consider a job under these conditions. How old are your children?

SootyTheCat Thu 27-Aug-15 23:40:14

p.s. thanks for the input so far, lots to mull about.

We've spent a lot of time thinking about the childcare options local to us, and its either nanny or nothing. The logistics of nursery, preschool and school drop offs and pick ups don't work, plus holiday cover, plus no family locally for sick cover, plus no childminders with sufficient spaces, etc.

It was fine before we had to factor in DC3... definitely a choice of following the heart rather than the head when we decided to go for it.

The nanny salary we're offering is at the higher end of what is offered locally, so I was hoping that would make the lack of lunch easier?

We have some savings we can start to dip into if we have to. DH's career has reached a plateau and the only way for us in the future is for my career to start to go somewhere. So I think the longer term gain is worth it, as well as my general happiness.

SootyTheCat Thu 27-Aug-15 23:51:43

The kids are 6 mnths, nearly 4 (preschool every morning) and 6 (school full time). So during term time, mornings after the drop offs its just baby to care for, who naps while I do jobs, then we go to library / children's centre group / playgroups (£1- £2). Then pick up 4 year old and do lunch, play at home while baby naps again. Then pick up 6 year old and go to playground / play at home. All of these are within 10 mins walking distance so no need for transport costs.

What we can't afford is weekly trips to soft play for all 3, zoo, petting farm, swimming for all 3, stuff like that on a regular basis. During holidays I would expect to spend more on days out but ideally making use of free playgrounds, parks etc assuming the weather allows it.

To get a feel for costs, what do you think a reasonable kitty would be for 3 days a week?

Limpetsmum Thu 27-Aug-15 23:58:35

i have a nanny and she brings her own lunch - i'm happy for her to help herself to whatever we have in though, but generally our fridge is always empty! A sandwich doesn't cost much to make and i think to seem less frugal it may be worth saying 'for lunches the kids have sandwiches - is that ok with you?' cereal doesn't cost much for breakfast either (although our nanny would bring her own or have her breakfast at home) and our nanny always
grabbed her dinner when she finished work so never had to worry about that.

I had previously said to our nanny money was tight round christmas time and she was great and did cheaper things with the kids - lots of baking, arts and crafts at home, park trips, feeding ducks etc.

i love our nanny and really appreciate her as she respects that we're not a 'rich' family and doesn't take the mick. Our previous nanny had previously worked for an uber rich family and completely took the mick with petrol reimbursements etc as she thought it was something she was entitled too.She would drive 15 miles roundtrip to go to soft play when we had one at the top of the road - but it meant she got an extra £7.50 for doing that journey in her fuel efficient car.

I think its a case of finding the right nanny for you. Be honest from the start but don't take the mick yourself. If you're saying you don't have much spare cash then she'll be seeing your day to day life and will notice if you're spending money frivolously on things which may seem unfair.

Limpetsmum Fri 28-Aug-15 00:06:12

as for kitty if you're not paying travel, I think £10/week is do-able if you're being frugal.
- I always think of a day having two sessions/activities to it. So in a 6 session week i think two activities that cost £5 is reasonable (e.g. toddler groups, farm trips). Rest of time could be spent on free activities like library, park, baking, art and crafts. Thats just my view though.

Hamsolo Fri 28-Aug-15 00:07:43

Our kitty is £30 pw, for 2 children. That does include a class and soft play once a week, bus fares to local free attractions, and occasional hot drinks or snacks out.

If you're paying top end, and it's a stretch, maybe you could pay a little less per hour?

It's not the lack of lunch per se that's weird, it's everything together. It doesn't sound very welcoming. More like you're expecting them to fiddle you over a slice of ham grin

I don't think it's impossible but I think it just sounds a bit precarious if you can't afford to add £5 to your weekly food bill. What if you have to pay sick pay, or maternity pay down the line?

I'd also worry you'll either get someone who can't find anything else, who may not be very good, or you'll find they leave quickly.

Hamsolo Fri 28-Aug-15 00:08:23

(Sorry, forgot to say the £30 is for 4 days)

RachelZoe Fri 28-Aug-15 00:20:16

Our nanny does none of what you describe re buying them treats and having fancy days out. He might take them to the zoo/football once in a while in the holidays or something but it's normally football or playing in the park/playground/ducks when they were younger, or free/cheap playgroup/mum group type things or free museums. Now they're older it's pretty much exclusively the park grin.

Most of the nannies I know aren't buying constant treats and having fancy days either. It'll be fine!

rollonthesummer Fri 28-Aug-15 00:21:19

as for kitty if you're not paying travel, I think £10/week is do-able if you're being frugal.- I always think of a day having two sessions/activities to it. So in a 6 session week i think two activities that cost £5 is reasonable (e.g. toddler groups, farm trips)

You wouldn't get an adult and 3 children into a farm for £5 round here!

rollonthesummer Fri 28-Aug-15 00:22:18

Or even 2 children as I see one is at school.

SootyTheCat Fri 28-Aug-15 00:27:25

Hamsolo smile i just had a vision of me counting the slices of ham left at the end of the day and drawing a sharp breath on realising she had the audacity to eat 2!

Limpetmum thanks thats a great way of phrasing it about lunches.

Maybe I've been lurking on moneysavingexpert thrift forum too long and need to ease up a bit!

ChristineDePisan Fri 28-Aug-15 00:27:29

Realistically how much do activities around you cost? Are there lots of play groups for £1/£2 a session, or is it all £12 a session soft play and sing alongs? I think you can say up front that you will provide a small kitty of £x for extra activities outside the house and for things like craft materials, but I agree with others that it sounds financially very precarious indeed.

WalfordEast Fri 28-Aug-15 00:32:32

Would you not be willing to consider maybe a less experienced nanny so you could pay them a little less??

SootyTheCat Fri 28-Aug-15 00:58:02

I guess I want to assuage my guilt at leaving my kids by getting the best possible care I can afford for them.

While also begrudging her a ham sandwich. And heating. grin

I guess I imagine a nanny as someone who takes kids to tumbletots and waterbabies, rather than the church toddler group and the duck pond. Given that childminders around here cost £5per child, I was actually really surprised at how relatively cheap nannies are in comparison!

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