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Childcare worries(17 Posts)
Hello, I have just found out that I am pregnant a few weeks ago and it was a surprise as it wasn't planned. We are keeping the baby but I have worries over childcare and the expense of it all and just wondered how other families manage childcare with two children. When I go back to work after mat leave my ds1 will be 3 years 4 months so will still be at nursery and the new baby will also have to go to nursery two days a week, even though ds1 will have his free entitlement I will still have to pay £280 for him and roughly £520 for the new baby which is the majority of my wage for working 3 days a week.
Our agreement was that I would pay for nursery as my dp pays for everything else so I don't expect him to pay more, so I really want to gauge whether I am missing something? Does anyone use a childminder, are they costly?
We use a childminder I think they are generally cheaper than nursery (no overhead) however surely childcare for 3 days for your 3 year old should be mainly covered for free rather than £280?
Firstly, I'd highly recommend pooling all incoming money, paying bills, childcare etc from that, then splitting the remainder between you to spend on what you like. That way it's fair and you both have the same amount of 'fun' money.
As for childcare, it varies by area, have a look on childcare.co.uk for your area for an idea of vacancies and prices. We've found childminder slightly cheaper than nursery but not much (though much more flexible), YMMV.
CM are usually slightly cheaper but not massively, we still have the same job to do. There are other logistics to consider with CM though, e.g when we are really sick we have to shut, what would you do then?
Fees are a massive expense, I would echo PP idea of pooling money otherwise your whole wage will just get eaten up.
Could you consider having a friend/grandparent help out one day a week to boost earnings?
My DS only goes to nursery two days a week as my mum has him for one day so I currently pay £527 a month for two days and that only goes down to £280 with free hours due to the way they work it out plus paying for lunch etc and they seem to put their prices up a fair bit, twice this year already! Because my dp is self employed his wage varies month to month and he only tends to take enough to cover bills and food he rarely takes anything for himself so pooling wouldn't work the same way for us as it might for others.
I know that we are paying for all year round childcare but it seems such a lot of money each month!
Thanks for your responses so far
I have found a childminder whose parents are also registered childminders so they work together in terms of sickness and holiday cover, that could be an option?
Yes OP that sounds like a good option to cover their sickness!
Ask the nursery if they offer discount for siblings?
Also ask any potential CM if they accept 15free hours, some do, some don't.
The nursery offer 10% discount for siblings but by the time the new baby goes plus fee increases the figure won't be far different from what I quoted above!
I will and about the free entitlement I assumed that the childminder wouldn't accept but it worth asking, I am a bit anxious about takin DS out of nursery though but it might be for the best as childminders appear to be more flexible!
It's worth enquiring if the CM does not just for cost but so you don't have two drop offs in the morning!
Could you leave Dc1 at nursery and put dc2 with the CM if that's practical? He wouldn't be at nursery for much longer anyway. If your dh is self employed could he arrange his work so he has them for 1 day each week? Can you combine your hours into to 2 long days instead of 3? Could your mum have the baby for 2(or even the 3) days to begin with keeping only the nursery costs for Dc1?
Firstly - you need to pool Money as now have double the costs
Second - i would look at a nanny with own child. Generally you pay 80% of normal fee in exchange for them bringing their own child. and usually cheaper than nursery if you have x2 children. You then wouldn't need to get them up and ready in the morning either and they can be fed and in pjs in the evening if your working late. They will also care for them when child is ill.
Thirdly - can you and Dh swap hours slightly? If you went down nanny with own child ( or new qualified)route, a nanny say 8am -6pm will obviously cost more than say 9-4pm for example. If your Dh and you can work so one of you starts work early and one later in day you could reduce hours per day needed. So one of you works 7am-3.30pm, the other 10am-6pm or similar idea
I know working can be a sanity saver, but if child care is going to take your entire wage, why don't you stay at home a little longer and keep using the free hours for your first child and then once DC1 is at school send the second child to care with the saved money?
I say this as someone who says that as long as a job will pay for child care then I'm happy to work, but I only have one, not two kids, so not as much to do at home which would make you even more tired and questioning whether it was worthwhile...
Have you investigated childcare vouchers? They're tax exempt and NI free so might help you? You basically use then to pay for any registered childcare (nursery, childminder, before and after school club).
Thank you everyone, am on my phone but will try and answer as best I can.
I already have childcare vouchers in place but it still a large chunk of my wage with two children.
Keeping one at nursery and one at childminders is a good idea and I will look into that as your right it will only be around 18 months before he goes to school however their fees will continue to rise steadily.
I have thought about leaving work but I would then struggle to find the same work as well paid as it is now so reluctant to do that yet although redundancies are a possibility soon so I may be thrown into that position but it's unlikely!
I have contacted a childminder today to ask if she has availability as I would be saving around £120 a month by taking him out of nursery (based on my friends cm fees in the same locality)
Unfortunately I am unable to do compressed hours it's not something they are able to be flexible over and sadly it's difficult for my dp too.
God I sound really difficult don't I but I am just trying to be honest about our current situation.
Thank you for all your help and advice so far
Any childminder that could collect from nursery? So he just gets the free hours?
Technically, the new childcare vouchers /tax scheme will be in place in 2017, so your Husband might be able to access tax relief on childcare too.
Be careful with using nursery for free hours, but a childminders for the rest. Many need to charge for the whole session as they can't fill the 3 hr gap left.
Could the kids do 1 full day, and 2 mornings, with your Mum doing 2 afternoons? That might get you more free hours.
Also, keep your childcare vouchers during Maternity. Any period you are on SMP (ie most of us who don't get any enhanced maternity pay) you get SMP PLUS the childcare vouchers. If you save them up over 12 months maternity, that's quite a stash to either give you a few months free childcare when you return to work, or to spread out the total cost by adding an extra £100 of vouchers to each months payment.
It's worth bearing in mind that for school holidays, inset days etc etc there will be more long term flexibility with school+ a CM than school+afterschool club?
Well the cm is busy and she was unable to recommend anyone good who had spaces available so I will have to wait for now!
My company pay for my childcare vouchers whilst I'm on mat leave so DS will still go.
I have to pay the hours between the morning and afternoon slots plus meals which is why it's so expensive even when he gets his free hours, the nursery allow 11 hours per week to be used. I definately want to go down the cm route now I just need to find one.
Thank you for your help and comments
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