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Childcare costs and going back to work - is this normal?

(46 Posts)
Mysterycat23 Tue 25-Apr-17 18:47:52

Before LO was born I was earning £10 per hour before tax. My work day was 7 hours paid. So £70 a day before tax. I'd like to go back to work 3 days per week so £210 per week before tax. Online tax calculator suggests after tax would be income of £203.39.

I've been looking into nursery fees and they are £50 to £55 per day in the area near my workplace. So £150 to £165 per week.

My train would cost £6.80 per day (no season ticket as not working full time). £20.40

Dog walker costs £8 per day. £24

So per week I'd earn £9.39.

I'm aware the cost of childcare is joint between me and DH. I'm putting it in terms of my earnings because as you can tell from my wage I don't have a high powered career to get back to. If it's financially pointless to go back then I honestly don't want the added stress. I would of course love to earn more but that's another thread.

Financially we are really struggling and that's with me on £140.98 per week maternity allowance, with no transport or dog walker costs! What can I do?

Is it just me or is £9.39 for 3 days work ridiculous? Is there something I've missed? Or are the majority of working mums looking at figures like these?

OP’s posts: |
Darthvadersmuuuum Tue 25-Apr-17 18:51:06

Looks about right. It's rubbish isn't it?

RandomMess Tue 25-Apr-17 18:52:01

How much are the local childminders? Can you do longer than 7 hour days?

Do you really need a dog walker - our dog wouldn't provided she was walked before and after.

AndNowItIsSeven Tue 25-Apr-17 18:53:20

You and dh could both claim childcare vouchers from your employer.

Mistletoekids Tue 25-Apr-17 18:54:52

Yes looks about right i'm actually paying to go to work at the moment angry

Only reason to continue is because in my job couldn't take several years off as would never be able to go back (hospital dr)

Future earnings and pension are the only logic keeping me going but the way the Nhs is now im so depressed I think that it might not be worth it

Graceflorrick Tue 25-Apr-17 18:55:08

Nursery is very expensive OP flowers

Mu123 Tue 25-Apr-17 18:56:21

Would you get help with childcare costs through tax credits?

It is shit though, that's why I'm staying home until younger dt's are at school, just not worth it really

NeverTwerkNaked Tue 25-Apr-17 18:56:26

Look into childcare vouchers. They come off before tax so save you something at least.

Also, check whether you would be eligible for tax credits to help with childcare costs

AyeAmarok Tue 25-Apr-17 18:57:20

I do wish the government would do something about this ridiculous situation.

PickleSarnie Tue 25-Apr-17 18:58:03

That looks about right. I'm in the fortunate position of being able to afford to go to work. Although my train travel is just over 8 grand a year which stings a bit.

But if I dropped out of my career now then it would be nigh on impossible to resume it in a few years time. Despite me not being particularly ambition at all. If I didn't have a career then I'm pretty sure I'd reconsider and find something different. So if you don't think that being out of the workplace for a long period of time would affect your career prospects, in your shoes I probably wouldn't go back. Although, having said that, work keeps me sane and allows me to be financially independent should my husband lose his job/run off with a fancy woman.

NeverTwerkNaked Tue 25-Apr-17 18:58:59

Is there any flexibility in how/where you do your job?
Could you work from home one day to save commuting and dog walking costs?
Or work compressed hours - so the days you work you do more hours to make it more worthwhile?

NeverTwerkNaked Tue 25-Apr-17 19:01:10

We made it work by each taking a day off in the week so I did 4 days and exH did 5 days (but one day at
Weekend), but we only had to pay for 3 days childcare.

Instasista Tue 25-Apr-17 19:03:40

We had to wait quite a while to have children to have enough to pay bills after nursery. I was 3 years post professional qualification before I earned enough. At least your DH can presumably meet the mortgage and bills alone? That's a decent situation.

It seems like a mountain but it's not for so kind OP

DowntheTown Tue 25-Apr-17 19:05:32

I'm afraid that's right - my pay's not bad, but had twins, so 'earned' zero for a while (possibly even paying to work for a while depending how you cut it hmm.)

But in my mind worth it to keep career going (plus pension and stuff).

Don't just take it off your pay tho - like the mortgage and other regular outgoing, should be split 50-50 imo.

ActuallyThatsSUPREMECommander Tue 25-Apr-17 19:05:50

Yes the sums are quite scary OP. But there are mitigating factors.

Childcare vouchers or "tax free childcare" can help quite a lot.

The latter is a bit of a misnomer. but it should help you save about 20% of your childcare bill.

Also nursery costs get cheaper as child gets older because staff ratios are no longer so stringent. Some people decide to suck up working at a loss until their child hits two when the sums will start to add up.

Also you get free hours as they get older.

Also childminders are often noticeably cheaper than nurseries.

Really hard up families will get benefits to help with the cost of childcare.

And of course some parents work opposite shifts or have help from grandparents.

Finally some parents exploit au pairs or other underpaid pseudonannies but I wouldn't recommend that.

But I would advise thinking very carefully before you bin a decent part time job - it can be very tricky to find another one in a few years time. (Depends how decent your job is of course)

Instasista Tue 25-Apr-17 19:06:24

Not for so long even

wowbutter Tue 25-Apr-17 19:07:00

Yes, but the alternative is you stay at home and everyone else pays you.
Your take home pay is crap for now, it won't always be.
The government shouldn't have to subsidise you via tax credits, or any other means if you chose not to work.
If, of course, you will not claim anything, and live solely off you partners income and have no thought for future earnings, pension contributions or career progression... go for it.
Yes, it's depressing, but it's temporary. And something that should have been considered before purchasing a dog or having a baby.
Did you have a dog walker before maternity leave??

Jamhandprints Tue 25-Apr-17 19:07:16

Are you entitled to tax credits? This covered our childcare expenses so I could keep my salary. A childminder would be much cheaper £3.50 an hour here, and also a friendly, homely environment. You will get 15-30 free nursery hours once your dc turns 3 too. Or you could get a job working evenings or weekends. X x

HainaultViaNewburyPark Tue 25-Apr-17 19:09:50

Looks about right to me. Childcare is expensive.

I kept working FT when my DC were small even though my salary was almost wiped out by nursery fees. In the long run it was definitely worth it. I've moved on with my career and I don't have a gap in my pension contributions.

3littlebadgers Tue 25-Apr-17 19:13:15

It unfortunately sounds right. I was having this conversation today with some other mums. The way it is at the moment the odds are stacked against us having a family and working. We were lucky in the DH earned enough for me to be able to stay at home with the older ones, but now we have a 1yr old and DH has been made redundant and I am having to go back. I am having to start right at the bottom and prove myself all over again. It stings working so hard for practically nothing.

Good luck opflowers

Wait4nothing Tue 25-Apr-17 19:20:50

I'm lucky that I'm in a professional well paid career - still worked out better off going back 3 days compared to 5! And it means no further babies until this one has free childcare hours!
I would say look into other options - could you do some evening or weekend work for a while, even if an evening shift overlapped with your oh, you may be able to ask family/get a babysitter for a few hours. I personally wouldn't go back for a tenner a week!!

HeyCat Tue 25-Apr-17 19:21:19

Do check childcare vouchers, child tax credits, and whether you could compress your hours or do some work from home. Those things could help.

But yes - I had a professional job on a good salary (took 4 years of full time training plus 5 years experience to get there) and now we have two children I'd be working full time for about £30 a week, it's just not worth it to me.

Summerisdone Tue 25-Apr-17 19:24:22

I pay £168 a week in childcare and earn £187.50 a week in work and as a single parent I have no other persons income to help.
Working and child tax credits are the only reason I get by and you may well be entitled to them too depending on your partner's earnings, so have a look on the website.

Summerisdone Tue 25-Apr-17 19:27:05

Oh I forgot to mention, I received an email from my nursery today telling me about the 30 hour free childcare eligibility checker for 0-4 years old that I think starts September.

Here's the link:

Hope it helps

SecretNortherner Tue 25-Apr-17 19:30:59

I'm pretty much the same, the only way I could swing it was working evenings. So I drop the baby of at childminders at 3 and his dad picks him up at 5, I work 4-8. It means I actually have some money left after childcare.
You may be entitled to some benefits - look at the gov benefits calculator. Check if you or your partners employers offer childcare vouchers. Your employer should offer flexible hours - if you work say X2/3 days a week how would that put you financially?. Childminders can be cheaper than a nursery.

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