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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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

cory Tue 05-Nov-13 09:43:18

Different people find different ways if they decide having a second is important to them. We didn't have a car and both walked everywhere to save on bus fares. Friends of ours worked in shifts so that the husband set off early and the wife worked in the evenings/at weekends.

purpleroses Sun 03-Nov-13 12:01:53

Most people I know either have a small gap and a SAHM, or a larger (3y+) gap and both work. That's really the choice you make as two lots of childcare at once for under 3s would wipe out the second salary for most couples. Unless you're both very high earners.

If your DH is able to change his hours a bit so he starts late, work late, or works some weekends that could reduce the hours you pay childcare for.

Eletheomel Sun 03-Nov-13 11:52:04

We wanted a smaller gap but life didn't give us what we wanted so we have a 3.9 month gap between my two.

However, financially it's great, I'm currently on a years mattie leave with DS2 and have dropped DS1's childcare to two days a week (which work will need to pay for once I'm on statutory pay and unpaid leave as I get child care vouchers) and I'll only be back at work for 4 weeks before DS1 starts school, so will just have the same chilcare costs for DS2 plus an extra 70 quid a month for DS1's before school hour.

It is a larger gap than you'd like but for me it's actually worked out really well as I had horrendous, long lasting morning sickness until week 30 when I was pregnant and looking after an 18 month in that time would have been impossible (I had to put DS1 in full-time childcare for months, which I felt really guilty about). DS1 has just turned 4 so is well beyond potty training, dresses himself, feeds himself etc, so it's much easier and he's really interested in DS2 but not jealous at all (has looked out all his baby clothes/toys to pass on to DS2).

I do feel though, you just find the money for children if you have them, so if you go for a smaller gap, you'll make it through it just might be very tough financially for the first few years. If I wasn't so old, I'd definitely have another one and sod the finances!

Bumblequeen Sun 03-Nov-13 11:38:59

We waited until dd was four before ttc. This means no childcare fees in her first year at school as I am on ML. Also on returning to work we will pay for one f/t child and only wrap around care for dd1.

To be honest I would not have wanted a smaller gap.

mummyxtwo Sun 03-Nov-13 11:24:13

Don't forget that while you're on mat leave you won't need to pay that £560 for childcare for your older dc. If you can wait until the car loan is paid off that would help too. Do you get decent maternity pay or just statutory? Probably the mat leave period won't be a problem for you but it will harder for you afterwards. Exam marking is a good suggestion made by someone else if you're able to do that. Did you know that you can claim childcare vouchers as part of your salary? Most employers don't make you aware of that. You can choose up to a certain amount, which is based upon your salary, to claim per month, and then you use that to pay the creche / childminder. It means that you don't get taxed on that amount, which can save quite a bit of money. Definitely worth looking into - ask your employer or google it and speak to the appropriate agency. I don't know who to contact I'm sorry, as while it is a great scheme available to all, I'm currently working evenings and not needing childcare. I just know about it from a friend - wish I'd known about it when ds1 was smaller and in creche.

RandomMess Sun 03-Nov-13 11:05:38

Honestly I would start saving now, finding out how you can cut your cloth, even if it's just £50 per month it gets you used to surviving on less and it's not such a shock etc.

Work out what is the minimum gap you could cope with and aim for that as it may not happen straight away.

NorthernShores Sun 03-Nov-13 11:05:09

If you're both working with good wages surely you earn more than most people who have two? Certainly more than most people around here.

howaboutacuppa Sun 03-Nov-13 10:57:59

Thanks all really helpful stuff here. £560 is very reasonable I know, great CM and we are very lucky - we are not struggling now but would be with two. It sounds like the 2.5-3 year age gap could work for us, and if the CM doesnt accept the funding I can move DD to a nursery for when she is 3.

I just dont want to bring a second along that we cant afford and then we argue about money etc. I was hoping for a 2 year age gap but this conversation shows me that waiting an extra year could be a sensible thing.

MoldieOldNaiceHam Sun 03-Nov-13 10:24:39

No holidays, very few treats and counting the pennies.

It is such a short time to be doing it relative to a whole life time and it flies by with the second.

lotsofcheese Sun 03-Nov-13 10:16:04

We've just had our 2nd, with a 4.5 year age difference, not specifically for that reason, but it was a consideration.

We've reduced costs by swapping from Sainsburys to Aldi, selling the 2nd car, buying lots for DD on Gumtree/EBay & selling DS's clothes that way too to raise money.

Maternity leave hasn't been that bad as I have no childcare costs, but for the 1st months back at work all my salary will be taken up by childcare - sustainable for short-term but not a long-term option (as would have been the case if they'd been closer together).

nextphase Sun 03-Nov-13 10:14:53

Well, 9 months of preganacy, and 12 months off on ML is your car repayments sorted, so some of the extra childcare can be accounted for in that.
We went for a 2 year gap, and so missed a very expensive year of nursery for DS1, as I was back on ML. Made life very difficult for 18 months when both at nursery full time / with 15 hrs funding til DS1 started school.
Lots of others now have a very small baby, and a reception oldest. don't fancy that!

RandomMess Sun 03-Nov-13 10:08:40

EYFS - you can claim 2 sessions per day - all depends on what your provider offers.

peanutMD Sun 03-Nov-13 10:07:37

The 15 hours free nursery is 3 hour sessions Monday-Friday from age 3-5, its to get them ready for school smile

We have a 6 year gap here but tbh it worths well for us and we couldn't have coped/afforded anything younger.

If you need to save money you could try reusable nappies (buy for DC1 and use fir DC2), use a sling for DC2 then pushchair/buggyboard to save buying a double pushchair, keep car seats and clothing to reuse abs you could probably use cot from DC1 too so really main expense is lossof income/childcare

EachAndEveryHighway Sun 03-Nov-13 10:07:32

If you are a teacher, could you do some exam marking to bring in some extra income? Very flexible .... can be done while DCs are asleep etc. You could probably manage it without incurring childcare costs.

RandomMess Sun 03-Nov-13 10:07:31

I have to say £560 per month for 11 months per year is pretty cheap for childcare!!!

If you really want to look at your finances go over to credit crunch and write down your outgoings and see where you can cut back now and save up to have your 2nd in a year or so. In some ways it would save you the most by having a years maternity leave when your current dd would be in childcare IYSWIM.

I would look at nursery provision in your area now for term time only - is there one that would work for you and let you claim your EYFS funding - that will kick in the term she turns 3, possibly sooner with the proposals that are around at the moment. Also CM often give sibling discounts etc.

iamusuallybeingunreasonable Sun 03-Nov-13 10:03:05

We are having our second, 3 and a half year gap, we both have to work, childcare will be a killer as we have no family to fall back on for help, but we decided you can never truly afford them so what the hell... Before we had our first we didn't think we have 800 a month cash free for childcare, but we adjusted and found it, same will have to happen again ... Not to say in not worried, but life can be short and people matter more than anything else

RandomMess Sun 03-Nov-13 10:02:21

15 years free is term time only for those accepting early years so it may not help with your childminder costs to be fair.

Midgetm Sun 03-Nov-13 10:01:26

You can never afford a second child. Well I couldn't anyway. 16 hours free nursery makes a big difference though. So if things are that dire maybe try in a year or so when DC1 qualifies for free nursery hours? I would never be able to afford more than one child in nursery if I had to pay it all. I am one of five. My Mum said if she waited till she could afford us, none of us would ever be here. I found the second cheaper to start with though as you have all the big stuff you need and they eat nothing much for a while if BF.

RandomMess Sun 03-Nov-13 10:01:21

Well in 21 months time your car debt goes that is a big saving! A year off on maternity leave would save you childcare for that year too...

Sounds to me like you could financially cope without too drastic cut back with a 2.5 to 3 year gap.

I assume you're not wasting money on buying your dd new clothes and toys and going down the 2nd hand route?

howaboutacuppa Sun 03-Nov-13 10:00:23

Thanks all, the 15 hours thing has passed me by is it completely free? I guess if this is the case, another one then could be okay, as the car will be paid off and we will both be earning a little extra.

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