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To ask how you afford childcare for 2 children?

125 replies

SunSparkle · 02/09/2022 14:12


i currently have one child (18 months old) and am starting thinking about having a second.

She’s in nursery 4 days a week which costs £65 a day or £1100 a month. After tax free childcare help it’s about £950 a month.

her nursery said at 3 years old that will drop to about £700 due to FEL hours.

how do you afford to have two children in childcare at £1650 a month!?

What is your household income and what is your nursery bill? How do you afford a second child?

i don’t want to wait too long as I’m coming up for 35 already. We don’t have family who can help. We both work 10 days in 9 to have the alternate Friday off and I don’t think we can condense our hours any more in our jobs.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

Eileen101 · 02/09/2022 14:32

Are you sure the calculations on funded hours are correct?

We have had 2 in nursery for 3 days - one getting funded hours, but on a similar daily rate. The reduction in our bill was quite a bit larger.

Anyway, to answer your question - also careful timing, child 2 started after child 1's funded hours kicked in. Even on two professional salaries, two in nursery at full rate would eat up the equivalent of my entire wage for a 4 day week! Our youngest gets funded hours a year from now - we're looking forward to having some cash again!
But realistically, we knew it'd be a frugal few years.


JennyForeigner · 02/09/2022 14:32

We can't. We ran out of time to even consider a gap, then had twins, so three under three.

We've had an outstanding nanny and earn good wages but it's fucking impossible. I've always loved work, but coming to terms with working just not being possible right now. We'll live on a shoestring instead.


Nonunsnonunsnone · 02/09/2022 14:33

Tax credits when my childcare bill was £1799 a month. And for all those who say ' don't have kids you can't afford' I presume you know that this country needs low income workers to function,


FoxtrotSkarloey · 02/09/2022 14:35

One year overlap with both at nursery. We started over paying on our mortgage before that year in order to reduce our monthly mortgage payments once we had to pay for both at nursery, and then used savings to cover the gap. Now working on trying to save again...


namedhange · 02/09/2022 14:38

Waited until first got 30 free hours


gwenneh · 02/09/2022 14:39

We had 15 hours, not 30, when my older two were small. I did flex my hours a bit - still do - but it doesn't really reduce costs all that much. It does give me more time with the DC though which helps.


abovedecknotbelow · 02/09/2022 14:41

I had to go PT, even way back then putting DTs in daycare was more than our mortgage payment. So I went PT, 3 days a week then gradually up to 4 days over 5 and FT once they were 7. They had some issues with school so I really felt I needed to be around. I've only just clawed myself back to where I should be in my career in seniority and earnings.


HousePlantNeglect · 02/09/2022 14:43

Porcupineintherough · 02/09/2022 14:31

Is it "awful and unfair" to not have more children than you can afford? Seems quite sensible to me. I'd have loved to have had a large family but I never felt that the universe or society owed me one.

Nobody is saying the universe owes them a large family. However it’s well known that child care in UK is comparatively expensive and not subsidised to the extent it is in other countries. Therefore families, even those with reasonably well paid jobs, are having to make very difficult decisions about family planning.

Me and my DH both work PT in professional jobs and are comparatively well paid. We need more cash due to the cost of living going up (and a surprise 3rd baby on the way) but if I go back to work one more day per week it’s barely worth it. Of course if the point of working more is career progression or just wanting to work more it doesn’t matter but for me it’s financial and diminishing returns to do an extra day due to child care costs. It really shouldn’t be the case that it doesn’t pay to go to work.


ShesThunderstorms · 02/09/2022 14:44

We're on an average wage. 20 month age gap between our kids and they're both in nursery at the moment.
I wouldn't be able to work 4 days a week because we wouldn't be able to afford the childcare.
I work 2.5 days a week. My mum has them one day a week and they go to nursery 1.5 days.
We're still absolutely skint at the moment, but I think I'd go mad if I didn't work at all.


Hillarious · 02/09/2022 14:46

Never used a nursery - too difficult to get a place and expensive, so opted to use a childminder for the oldest. Gave up work by the time #2 came along and no chance of working with #3 (three under four years). Started work again when #3 went to school and was part-time with DH doing drop offs at school so I could start work early and finish in time to do the school pick up. As a previous poster said, we could just about manage this, but lived very much on a shoe-string. However, I do treasure the time I was able to spend with the children at home in the early years.


HOTHotPeppers · 02/09/2022 14:51

I'm hoping for a 2 year gap if we decide to have DC3. Will take a year's maternity by which point DC2 will get her 30hrs at nursery. I work 3 days a week. If you do this, remember to take into account they don't get 30 hrs until the term after they turn 3!


acquiescence · 02/09/2022 14:52

Depending on how much you earn, it may be worth considering dropping a few hours each a week to have an extra day off a fortnight each. The top bit of your earnings is fully taxed/pensioned so the drop isn’t as much as you may think. My DH did this for a bit (dropped 5 hours per week as we both work condensed 10 hour days).

£700 top up for FEL hours is a LOT for four days. Maybe shop around nurseries. Although I imagine many will be needing to put prices up this winter.


Jubaju · 02/09/2022 14:52

Luckily I have a subsidised work nursery to afford 5 months with two kids in full time, one goes to school next week 🙌
£44 as opposed to our nearest one at £70 a day 😢


butterflycatcher · 02/09/2022 15:03

We had our DS1 in June and DS2 in September with 27 months between them. DS1 came out of nursery and stayed home with me during my second maternity leave. He then qualified for 30 free hours the September after his 3rd birthday which coincidentally was the end of my maternity leave with DS2 so that worked well. Both kids in nursery full time together for the last year and now my DS1 is starting school. We were paying £2500 a month for both - that includes the discount for 30 hours funding. We have a joint income of £150k and found it a tough year when factoring in all of our other commitments. Spring/summer baby is a good nursery fee saver. Unfortunately our second who was a September baby will have a whole year longer at nursery than our first summer born. Something to consider too although not easy to plan, we had hoped for another summer baby but it didn't work out.


queenatom · 02/09/2022 15:10

We're unsure on having a second anyway, but if we do then we'll be waiting until DC1 is old enough for free hours at nursery to ease the pain.


W0tnow · 02/09/2022 15:12

I had my first baby, then twins 18 months later. I hired a nanny and paid her cash. A massive amount of my take home pay went on her but it meant I kept my job and no one had to take days off of any of my kids had a temperature.


TheLette · 02/09/2022 15:13

Shop around for a cheaper option with the 30 free hours. The difference is sometimes quite considerable between different providers, even in the same area. Some will also only let you do 15 hours and not 30 so you can't enjoy the full saving. My nursery (excellent and quite expensive) costs approx £350 for a 3 day week with the 30 hours but my friends nursery a little bit further down the road (in a cheaper area too) costs approx £750 for the same number of days.


Blue2021 · 02/09/2022 15:14

I’m waiting until he starts school. Only way we can even consider it. Especially with the current climate.


Pinkbananas01 · 02/09/2022 15:15

Are you using Tax free childcare? Saves 20% on your costs. Check if you're entitled to 30hours funded childcare instead of the universal 15hrs. If you're on UC then you might be entitled to claim childcare via this.
Find out if the nursery offers a sibling discount, many do


milawops · 02/09/2022 15:18

There's 13 months between mine. One at nursery at the moment cost £1000 a month. My youngest will go next month when I finish Maternity leave so £2000 for both which with tax free child care will drop it to £1600 for both. There's only me, household income of £3000 so once nursery and bills are gone I'm left with about £400 for food, nappies, clothes, emergencies etc. it's tight but doable. I'm aware there are plenty worse off than me.


SiblingDespair · 02/09/2022 15:19

We waited for a 3 year gap. When I was on maternity for dc2 I cut dd nursery hours to funded 3 year old hours only. By the time my maternity ended she was just starting school.
I also found that DH working f/t and me working 3 days was the best balance financially. When I did 4 or 5 days (which I did at times when we were short staffed) we really lost out - the additional NI, tax, student loan, pension & nursery cancelled out the earnings!


trilbydoll · 02/09/2022 15:20

We have a 2y age gap. When I was on maternity leave with dd2, dd1 went to nursery 2 days pw.

I went back to work just before dd1 qualified for her free hours, that was an expensive couple of months! I work 2 short days so dd1 was able to go to a term time only preschool for free those days, which I think is more of a saving than whatever nurseries charge for wraparound.

Basically we just saw it as a temporary situation and knew it wouldn't last forever. If I remember correctly, we finally paid off the credit card bill when dd2 finished Reception.

I only get SMP, if you get enhanced pay that will help.


Apollonia1 · 02/09/2022 15:20

I've toddler twins, and my childcare bill is over €3,000 a month.
I try not to add up how much in total it will all have cost until they go to school.


MotherOfRatios · 02/09/2022 15:20

An age gap is worth considering especially for uni years, because you might potentially have to fund 2 together at uni

(ofc course dependant)


IbizaToTheNorfolkBroads · 02/09/2022 15:20

Savings, if you have them.
I've heard of people take out a loan for childcare, which they've paid off when the child(ren) starts school. Often with twins.

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