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Can't afford a second - normal situation?

(30 Posts)
howaboutacuppa Sun 03-Nov-13 09:48:57

My DH and I have a DD just about to turn 1. We would like to have another baby without a very big age gap, but I cannot see how we will afford this. He works full time, in an average earning profession and I work 4 days as a teacher. DD goes to a childminder 4 days a week on a term-time only arrangement, and this costs us £560 on the most expensive months. We pay a fairly hefty (but normal sized) mortgage and I also pay off a car at £170 a month, I have 21 months left on this contract. Obviously we pay food, bills etc so by the end of the month there is little spare cash left. This is fine, we knew this would be the case but now we are discussing the possibility of a second, we are feeling very sad that we simply can't afford it.

Everywhere I look, people seem to be steaming on with their next child ,even if they are in similar jobs/houses to us and I don't understand how they are affording it? Am I missing something? Or is this just life, and do people just have more children that they can't afford and deal with it? What would others do in my situation? As I see it, I would have to wait until my DD is about to start school before I could have another child which ends up being an almost 5 year gap.

MsJupiterJones Tue 05-Nov-13 10:58:53

I know exactly how you feel, it is hard and you don't want to bring a child into the world irresponsibly.

We are waiting till dc1 is 18mo before ttc #2 as I figure 18m+9m(preg)+9m(ML) = free childcare hours! It took a long time to have him though and I'm 37 so part of me is really scared about waiting in case it takes a long time or I miss my chance altogether.

In the meantime we are trying to budget, save and live healthily and enjoy DS.

gourd Tue 05-Nov-13 11:26:25

It depends on whether the number of children you have is more important to you that how much time you spend with them. If you juggle childcare between partners a bit you could reduce your childcare costs (although your salary and pension will still take another huge hit whilst on maternity leave) but you will not see your children in the morning/evening if you are at work then due to sharing work/home time with partner. The whole family will never be together (for meals) except on days that neither of you work (for us this would be weekends). I value the daily family time we have all together to eat breakfast and tea every morning/evening (partly as this is the only time we get to do the speech therapy work we need to do with our child). I wouldn't like to sacrifice this daily time with our child, in order to have another child who I'd then not see as much, particularly as I already feel I don't have enough time with the one we've got! I know I will see my daughter in both the morning and the evening which keeps me going during the working week. Its also good to know that should she want to go horse riding or play an instrument in the future we can just about afford to pay for her to do that whereas we wouldn't be able do that for two children even if the childcare will cost less due to school/work hours.

gourd Tue 05-Nov-13 11:32:20

As to how they afford it, you cannot compare. Every situation is different. You dont know if people have savings, inheritance from parents or grandparents/sale of another house, or whether they get free or subsidised travel from work, or whether they have free childcare from their parents or relatives. Our child care is half of my salary so it is a huge huge saving if you can get it for free. Plus some people choose to live on credit or very close to the red if not in it.

MummyLuce Wed 06-Nov-13 14:06:26

We have a second one on the way and although we have very little spare cash. It was was really important to us just to go for it and work the money stuff later... I guess our thinking was that our money situation wouldn't always be shit, but not having a second baby would be! I honk alot of people avoid childcare costs by not going back to work to be honest xx

Thurlow Wed 06-Nov-13 14:18:03

You sound just like us. DD is 21mo, most of my friends are having DC2, but at the moment we can't really afford it. There's no option at all for either of us to go p/t to try and reduce childcare costs, but anyway we have a commute into London so the cost of non-season ticket travel would be silly.

At the moment, after all the bills and childcare and travel, I have about the same amount left as would cover matching childcare for a second DC. Maybe £100-£200 left on a good month. Certainly nowhere near enough money to make it worth it.

If I left work, we'd probably be worse off. In theory we can run the house on just 1 salary but with absolutely no spare cash and very, very tight budgeting. I can be honest and say that is not the life I want out of choice for me, for DP or for DD.

I also don't want to leave work. If I leave work for 3-4 years, I have absolutely no idea how I would get back into the job market again, particularly in my sector. I'd be throwing away 5+ years worth of education and training. I would love to have another DC, but I'm not going to do that with the potential for me screwing up my working life for the next 20 years and having us live on the breadline. Not that I mean to say there is anything at all wrong with that decision, it's just not what I personally want to do.

We're holding off on DC2. Yes, in the long run I want another one, but I think we will wait until DD is nearly at school.

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