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Tell me how I can afford to go back to work when I have three children o/w 2 under school age?

(56 Posts)
drowninginlaundry Wed 13-Aug-08 18:09:35

I can't, can I?

I have just done some sums and I can't afford childcare

so if I have a 9 month old, a 3 year old and a 5 year old, my cheapest option is a F/T nanny, but at £25,000 gross p/a I'd have to earn, what, over £40,000 to cover it? There's no way I can get paid that in the South West, after 7 years out of the job market. So does this mean that I can't go to work? How do you people do it who are not a) bankers b) lawyers c) other so that it actually makes sense financially to work and that you don't end up out of pocket?

I am in a bit of a panic at the thought of a decade stuck at home sorting lego and picking raisins off the carpet sad

Lauriefairycake Wed 13-Aug-08 18:11:09

do you have a partner who is working?

can you both share the child care?

dinny Wed 13-Aug-08 18:12:12

I works shifts and dh and I share the childcare

shinyshoes Wed 13-Aug-08 18:16:37

We both work in this house and we both share the childcare, on the odd occasion wheen our shifts overlap my sister or DP's mum helps out.

We have never put our children into childcare, my eldest is 11. I'd rather not pay out when there are willing members of the family that can help out for a small treat now and again.

I'm currently on maternity and go back next month so I have the difficulty of have a non school age child, so I have to rely a little more on my sister to do more than pick the children up from school. But she's willing.

Romy7 Wed 13-Aug-08 18:17:24

nanny share? you might find one if the 3 yo has 5 sessions at nursery a week... once you hit the grant thingy obv.

work paid for my ft nanny grin but i absolutely know how lucky and unusual that is.

LadyMuck Wed 13-Aug-08 18:19:07

Well it tends to be the highly paid professional who can afford to have a full-time nanny. But in terms of normal jobs then:-

a) have you considered part-time/shift work?
b) can you work hours where your partner is not working to at least minimise the time you need childcare for?
c) you can ask your employer to pay you in childcare vouchers which is tax -efficient so you aren't paying 2 lots of tax. Your partner could do likewise which will also help with the bill.
d) Can parents help with (free) childcare to any extent?
e) have you looked at other forms of childcare? Is a full-time nanny really the cheapest? Can you not arrange hours so that you need less than full-time?
f) it is worth looking at whether you would qualify for help with childcare via working tax credits (though in practice most 2 working parents don't get help).

Mummyfor3 Wed 13-Aug-08 18:25:11

I am you/ you are me...

Going back to work p/t week after next shock with children aged 5,4 and 22 weeks. My entire income will go to the tax man and to childminder, but I have decided to go back anyway to not become deskilled (yes, professional job). This is only possible because mine is the second income in our family. I know I am lucky, but it still makes me angry because I feel I am working for "nothing".

So good luck, I do not have any pearls of wisdom, sorry. I hope you find a solution that suits you and your family.

Quattrocento Wed 13-Aug-08 18:26:53

Am with LM

The options boil down to

(i) Working when your DH/DP is home
(ii) Cheaper childcare - ie CM rather than nanny and carefully structured hours
(iii) Free childcare from relatives or someone you could share childcare with - although as you have 3 that might not be easy

drowninginlaundry Wed 13-Aug-08 18:30:00

but even if I work part time I'd still have to get childcare for those hours, so how would that be different? ie - if I work 3 days per week, I get paid for only three days and have to organise childcare for three days, no?

DH works away 4 days per week... no family nearby... DS1 has SN (ASD) so need experienced childcare which is not cheap.... can't get WTC, DH earns too much...

In theory we could manage even if my salary didn't cover childcare, but WHAT IS THE POINT?

LadyMuck Wed 13-Aug-08 18:36:08

Well if you were looking at childcare for fewer hours then it would cost you less as at a minimum you would be paying less employer's NI and your nanny would pay less NI. Most people's childcare bill comes to less than the £2,000 a month you seem to think is a minimum.

Whereabouts do you live? What are the typical day nursery rates? cm rates?

Quattrocento Wed 13-Aug-08 18:38:38

Yes I'm sorry It's the reason so many people do give up work. As you say, you have to be able to earn over £40k for it to be worthwhile if there is no free childcare option, and that sort of salary puts you in the top 10% of incomes nationally. Which if you have spent time out and away from a big metropolis, is going to be difficult.

Hmm what school-hours sorts of jobs (like teaching etc) when they all of them go to school?

Might not suit if you want to get away from children though (as I did).

alardi Wed 13-Aug-08 18:41:29

I managed with a child minder and after school club.

Podrick Wed 13-Aug-08 18:52:14

Err surely you thought about economics and working before you even had number 2? Lots of people space out their families to improve the economics.

It is also common to work when your dp is at home to look after the kids...shifts, evenings, kitchenware parties etc

AllieBongo Wed 13-Aug-08 18:55:48

I'm at work now, I literally run out the door when dh gets home. Even if someone could help with the 2 non-school ones I will still have the problem of the school hols etc. It is just too much hassle, and the more you have the less likely family will offer to help IME

mustrunmore Wed 13-Aug-08 18:59:32

I'm seriuosly mulling over returning to work to. I commented on a thread a a while back and was slated for saying I couldnt afford childcare or work round dh's shifts hmm

The best idea so far is that I'm looking for a weekend job. Dh can have the boys for 3 a month, I'll have to find a weekend CM the other one, so the wages for that weeekend will all be spent on childcare to secure me a job each weekend IYSWIM. It does mean that we will never have a full day as a family though, as dh has 2 weekdays off a month in lieu of the weekend he works, but ds1 will be at school/ ds2 in nursery in a few months time.
The only regular time I could work weekedays everyweek around dh's shifts would be midnight till 4.30am hmm And that would be with an hours sleep fitted in at most.

nappyaddict Wed 13-Aug-08 19:00:02

a childminder or nursery would be much cheaper than a nanny. yes you have 3 but as one is at school you aren't going to be paying for much childcare for him.

StealthPolarBear Wed 13-Aug-08 19:03:07

Can both parents really claim childcare vouchers? At the moment our voucher limit is about the same as our childcare bill so it wouldn't make any sense to do that, but if we had two DCs...

Quattrocento Wed 13-Aug-08 19:03:32

My children are older than yours and I had a conversation with DH this morning where we both agreed that parenting was a full-time job.

FWIW I wohm and always have but I only have two children. It does create a lot of organisational pressure.

Good luck whatever you decide

Niecie Wed 13-Aug-08 19:03:56

If your reasons for going back to work are mental stimulation and adult conversation, rather than money, could you perhaps do some studying instead? A vocational evening class or the OU?

That way one day you might be in a position to earn the £40k needed to work and cover childcare.

Yes your days will still involve lego and squashed raisins but it wouldn't be the only thing in your life.

tiggerlovestobounce Wed 13-Aug-08 19:13:32

I have 2 children at nursery and 1 at school. Even if I worked full time there is no way my childcare bill would be that much.
Full time nursery and after school care for the oldest one would cost me about £14,000.
You can also use childcare vouchers, and clain tax credits.

LynetteScavo Wed 13-Aug-08 19:17:05

I thought I was going to find the magic answer on this thread, but sadly not. The reality seems to be that unless you are a high earner, or have family to help out, while you have pre-school children you are working purely to keep your career going.

The last time I did my sums, I worked out it would cost me £16,000 to pay for before school club, after school club, and holiday club for 3 chilren. I didn't think the amount of money left over would benefit us more than me missing school asemblies and the summer holidays.

(Actually after the past few weeks with my crazy DC's I might be reasessing that! grin)

Eddas Wed 13-Aug-08 19:24:12

spb, yes you can both get childcare vouchers(each having £234 or whatever it is per month)

op, If I were you i'd look at an afterschool club/holiday club for your school-age dc, my local one is something like £10 for the afterschool bit, and a childminder for the other 2. Lots of CM's do sibling discounts. although tbh with 3 children you may well find it costs a lot still

I have 2 under school age atm and it's a nightmare. My salary is the cost of childcare, or would be if i didn't do a day from homesad it's crap tbh. wish i could afford not to work. But it will be better for me once dd starts school in Jan so i'm holding out for then!

A lot of people seem to work for nothing whilst dc are little just to keep the job.

StealthPolarBear Wed 13-Aug-08 19:35:45

wow I didn't know that, thanks. Not worth it now but worth bearing in mind for future....or maybe not I suppose most people find the length of time with 2 in FT childcare quite short

Eddas Wed 13-Aug-08 19:43:04

you don't have to have the whole entitlement though, so if you only need another £50 then you can take that tax free. works out at quite a lot of tax saved over a year

zookeeper Wed 13-Aug-08 19:47:08

won't you get tax credits ? There is a site called "entitledto" (don't know how to do a link )which will tell you what if any help you could get towards childcare.

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