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How do you afford to have two kids in childcare?

(28 Posts)
Londonmamabychance Mon 16-Jan-17 20:03:16

DD is 2, DS 1 month. I have 1 years' maternity leave and then due back at work ft.

But not sure what to do, as both kids full time fees will bee the equivalent of my salary. We live in London and nurseries are expensive, the one we have for DD is averagely priced for the area. Even with the free hours at 3 which she will get from Jan 2018, it's only a reduction of around £180, which is obvs not going to make a substantial difference.

What do other people do? Do you stay at home because it makes no sense to go to work financially? But I like working and am worried about loosing employability if I stay at home for too long.

Or do you find other options for childcare? In my area childminders are the same price admit as nursery, nannies even more expensive.

I just don't know how people afford having two kids in London! We are also thinking about moving further out, to afford more space, domyounknownif nurseroes are heaped in say, zone 4 or 5? But then I am worried about commuting time as we both work centrally in London. How would we vent be able to get the kids from
Nursery/school if our commute was so long? Do people get childminders to pick the kids up?

I know all these questions are the commonplace ones so many people are struggling with, and talking to other people about it too, but thought maybe the collective wisdom of mumsnet could offer some advice too!

NapQueen Mon 16-Jan-17 20:06:41

Have you checked to see if you would be eligible for any government contributions towards childcare?

Waggamamma Mon 16-Jan-17 20:32:45

This is why we had to wait until ds1 was school age before having another child.

Most people in your situation (who don't give up work) will suck up the childcare cost in the short term until kids are at school and then it gets a lot cheaper. To keep there careers ticking over not for financial gain.

Or could you go part time and save on childcare that way. Perhaps you and your husband could both work a four day week meaning you only need childcare three days. Me and do worked 3days each for a couple of years, it worked really well. Financially we were only slightly worse off but as a family we benefited hugely from one of use always being around for the dc.

ImNotReallyReal Mon 16-Jan-17 20:36:05

We blew our savings away basically. I am in a job where I couldn't just go back after 5 years (technology based). I worked reduced hours for the first two years with two under two, I did 10-5 as a flexible working request. My salary covered the nursery fees and my travel but I lost all my benefits as I was considered part time.

We moved east to Zone 4. It was exhausting and we were skint for a while. But our nursery fees were cheaper by nearly £500 a month and we got a bigger house.

I contract in the City now and my central line commute is 50 minutes including getting to the station, tube travel and walk to the office.

Originally I was working as a permanent employee in W2 and it was impossible, I ended up broken and exhausted. There is no easy solution, London is so expensive.

DH and I work different hours, he does 8-4 and I do 9:30-5:30 so we can manage drop offs and pick ups.

I still don't know how we do it and we have one in reception now, but the money goes on breakfast and after school club.

Artandco Mon 16-Jan-17 20:36:39

Nanny - ofsted registered and you can get tax relief. Now for every £8 you pay they pay £2, so 1/5th costs also. Nanny charges per family not per child so usually cheaper once more than one. Also means no rushing getting kids out to childcare, child's chores like laundry done and meals cooked

EsmesBees Mon 16-Jan-17 20:46:59

We are planning on taking dd1 out of nursery and doing a nanny share, and us both working part time (0.8fte). We are in zone 3 and nursery for one is crippling, so no way we could pay for both. I think it's the price you pay if you want two close in age but also maintain a career.

LBOCS2 Mon 16-Jan-17 20:53:07

Even further out (we're z5) full time nursery for two is well in excess of £2k pcm.

You just suck it up, work out whether it'll be better with a nanny, try and cope until you get some free hours, and try and maximise your income - including taking tax breaks for childcare.

Personally, I'm not going back to work until DD1 starts school and we can put her in wraparound care, and DD2 will be in a nursery full time. My maternity leave finishes in March and DD1 will be in school in September so it's only a few months.

Mum2jenny Mon 16-Jan-17 20:54:37

Years ago in that situation, after I paid for nursery for 2 and fuel to get to work, I was barely breaking even. But it was only for2 years, so I just got on with it. Once the elder child was at school and I was paying a childminder, it got a whole load better.

munchkinmaster Mon 16-Jan-17 20:59:20

I do two days as the childcare vouchers and my tax free allowance mean I come out ahead (and I'm on £50k full time). A third day does not feel like value for money

Londonmamabychance Mon 16-Jan-17 23:19:02

I haven't looked properly into tax breaks, can anyone explain to me how they work or where to get more information about it?

None of our employers sadly give childcare vouchers.

Do you really reckon a nanny is cheaper than 2 x nursery fees? Aren't most nannies in London charging at least 10 or 12 an hour, because they also have to pay tax if it's a full time job?

Londonmamabychance Mon 16-Jan-17 23:20:50

Also, does it get bette to me they're st school? How much do you pay for childminders or nanny after school and do you find it easy to find schools with affordable wrap around care?

Artandco Mon 16-Jan-17 23:36:34

How much is nursery per day?

If you had a nanny and paid say £12 gross an hr. x10 hr days would be £120 a day, £600 a week gross. If nursery 8-6pm is cheaper than £60 a day per child then that's cheaper, nanny cheaper if you pay more per child.

Also a nursery usually charges day rates or half day, you can't opt for 9 hrs instead of 10, you still pay 10.
If you and Dh could alternate between you so one of you leaves hour later, one earlier and then earlier on back earlier, you may be able to get away with less childcare.

Ie say both currently out 8-6pm. 10hrs. If one of you leaves 7am and back 5pm, and one 9am back 7pm. You only need childcare 9-5pm instead of 8-6pm. Would mean £12-£120 a day decreases to £12hr-£96 a day instead. £480 v £600 a week.

munchkinmaster Mon 16-Jan-17 23:58:17

We only use the vouchers (I buy £240 out my gross) and that plus my pension coming off my top line etc means I only pay £55 in tax a month.

I think it's about keeping your hand in. I also couldn't manage much more as husband works mega hours and the up, dressed, nursery, work, run from desk to car, tea, bath, bed, laptop, fucking packed lunches every day would kill me.

LexieLulu Tue 17-Jan-17 00:03:29

Have you spoken to your employer to see if they offer childcare vouchers (basically you pay childcare direct from your wages, and you tax/ni is calculated from wages less childcare... so you get a tax reduction).

There was also something in the 2017 budget that as of Sep-17 the free childcare hours go up to 30 hours if both parents are working. This is based on area I believe but you should be able to ask your nursery about it now. You will need to read more up on that, as I can't fully remember the details x

Hope this helps x

lozengeoflove Tue 17-Jan-17 00:18:45

We use a child minder. No way could we afford a nursery with two. Our CM charges £5 per hour and only works term time, which suit me.

It means that I've had to cut down to three days per week at work and have no 'time off' during school holidays, and we just about manage.

Must add that our child care costs are higher than our mortgage and equivalent to sending one child to a private school for a year!

Londonmamabychance Tue 17-Jan-17 08:21:43

Our nursery charges £60 a day so same as nanny, but a great idea to look into one of us leaving late mornings and one leaving early at night cutting 1 hour off payments per day.

In my area childminders cost the same
As
Nursery, it's
Probably just my area. V annoying.

Employers don't offer childcare vouchers, but will look into tax breaks!

Know about the supposedly free 30 hours if both work they was in t he last budget. But providers are saying that the money the government is offering is not enough to provide the 30 hours at all, so will likely end up being much less.

Reality16 Tue 17-Jan-17 08:24:34

We just took the hit. It was not ideal as my wages were slightly less over the month than the childcare, then factoring in travel etc we were a good £200 down every month but it was an affordable loss. I wanted to remain in my field; promotion was on the cards and it seemed like the best idea at the time.

That's going back 17 years. Now I don't know why I wasted my time juggling everything for no reward.

Londonmamabychance Tue 17-Jan-17 10:25:06

Reality, if you could go back, would you then have stayed at home while the kids were young? Don't you think you'd have found it hard to return to work, i.e. Loosing employability?

Artandco Tue 17-Jan-17 10:30:34

IF nursery is £60 a day. So 2, £120. I would definitely look into a nanny. I know it would be the same cost, so no savings ( unless you can do the hour less each side mentioned above), but a nanny will for a lot more for that price. They can do Stuff related to children, plus look after when sick. So sick child can't go to nursery but nanny will come in still, no getting up and speeding to get ready as can just get yourself and nanny will finish children. Plus will cook dinner for them ( and maybe you to reheat), all children's laundry, bedding, haircuts, dentist trips, party gift buying, wait in for food delivery, etc etc.. so a lot more cost effective

if you have space, a live in nanny is usually cheaper. At school age, you could consider an au pair or just after school nanny. But obviously have school holidays to cover still

Londonmamabychance Tue 17-Jan-17 10:40:22

Art, everything you say makes sense, there's just a few worries I have with a nanny: maybe it would end up being more expensive as electricity and heating bills would be more, also, the 60 a day in nursery includes meals (2 warm meals and 2 snacks) but would have to pay this at home. Also concerned about relying on just one person rather than a structure, if nanny is ill you have to stay at home, although she's likely to be less ill than the kids, who, as you rightly say she can look after so we don't n es to take time off. Also worried if she quits, and about finding a good one, as well admit thinking it's an added burden to keep an eye on what she does with kids during the day I.e plan activities etc. And worriedly they'll miss out on hangin g out with peers, although she would probably take them out to playgroups etc each day so would be fine. Not having to do drop off and pick up would be great though. I justness worry a bit they'd turn into these lonely kids with no friends!

Londonmamabychance Tue 17-Jan-17 10:41:40

Admittedly biased as DD's nursery is amazing and she's thriving there.

Artandco Tue 17-Jan-17 10:52:30

True, with a good nanny though all that should be sorted by them. A decent nanny should be able to schedule the week themselves to include activities, socialising, outdoors blah blah.
But with one a nursery or childminder cheaper still.
Btw the nursery mine attended in London (just a 9-12 thing) didn't accept the free childcare hours anyway as too much of a loss. Government only cover say £3 a hour, so if your paying £6 now, the nursery would be running at 50% loss for those 15 hrs. I think ours was £25 for 9-12, so if government only paid £9 it wouldn't have been sustainable times each morning and all 3+ year olds

Another option. Can you and Dh look at working only 4 days each? If one mon-thurs, other tues-Friday, you would both be earning 4 days income, but only need 3 days childcare tues, wed, thurs as one of you home mon and Friday.

ImNotReallyReal Tue 17-Jan-17 14:08:59

If you take on a nanny you are an employer and so you're also going to have to pay tax and NI for them. That tax and NI comes out of your already taxed salary. It's a double whammy despite any tax breaks. You'll also need to run a proper pay roll with the inland revenue, provide paid holidays, sick pay and maternity leave if necessary.

I looked long and hard at it, and I couldn't find an OFSTED registered nanny for less than £15 per hour gross in Zone 4.

Then you have your power and food bills increased. You may need to insure them to drive your car. And in a worse case scenario you get a flakey one who just doesn't turn up sometimes citing illness. I'm not attributing that to nannies, we all know one at work!

I worked out that a £600 a week nanny would cost me round £40k a year in cash.

Nanny Tax is an excellent resource for calculating costs.

The good news is after school and breakfast clubs are much cheaper, ours is £17 a day. And because my daughter will still be under 6 in the six weeks holidays we're able to send her back into nursery and carry on working.

namechangedtoday15 Wed 18-Jan-17 09:33:18

We had twins so a bit of a shock to the system when I realised how much nursery would be!

I went down to 3 days - actually I'd have been better off to work 4 or 5 days as the costs were proportionately less (i.e. a full time place at nursery got a small discount, as did my travel) but I don't think I could have gone back FT with twins and still been sane (and happily married)! So certainly for me, paying out nursery fees & travel on 3/5 of my salary meant I didn't make much, but I was still paying into my pension (as was my employer), I was maintaining my employability / knowledge and now my children are older it has paid off.

You have to think about the long term as well as the short term.

namechangedtoday15 Wed 18-Jan-17 09:39:16

The other thing to bear in mind (if you are considering changing your hours) is how it will work in school holidays. I think there are 38 weeks of term, so you're looking to cover around 14 weeks. Holiday clubs here are anywhere between about £25-£40 a day, per child, so if you have 2, you could be looking at £400 a week.

My H had 25 days' leave and I had 15 days (3/5 of 25). Combined therefore, we've had 40 days between us but only need to use 3 days to cover a week if you see what I mean (because I was only doing a 3 day week). We had one week off together as a family in the summer holidays (3 of my days, 5 of his), but the rest of the time we've been off separately to cover the holidays - still hasn't been enough though to cover all of the holidays.

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