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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.

gdiin · 02/09/2022 15:28

My first and second have a 2 years gap and my second and third have just under 3 years gap. We didn't pay for any childcare as waited for the 30 funded hours to kick him. I have a huge flexibility in my job as I work 10-4 so do all school drop offs and also WFH twice a week so can do 2 pick ups a week. My husband work nights so does the other pick ups and dropping to activities etc.


Ifyouknowyouknowyouknow · 02/09/2022 15:30

2.5 year gap. Nursery for both would have been £2200/month. We got a nanny instead for around £1900/month and she’s been fantastic. She has her own son with her (which reduces the cost - would be more like £2500 in my area) but I see that as a bonus as he is a playmate for my DC2.

It’s been really tough and means we probably won’t have a third child.


CornedBeef451 · 02/09/2022 15:31

We spaced ours out so we only ever had one in nursery at a time.


cptartapp · 02/09/2022 15:33

I worked for nothing for nearly three years as my salary was the equivalent cost of the childcare (it came out the joint pot of course).
Nearly 20 years on I still believe it was worth every penny.
Luckily DH was a decent earner, but even if not, I would have given up lots of things to prioritise those nursery fees and keep me in the workplace.


TheBikiniExpert · 02/09/2022 15:34

Our "second child" turned out to be twins! We didn't have any family help and two nursery places were almost exactly equivalent to my salary. Luckily we could manage on dh's salary for the mortgage as we had a very small flat at the time. I went back to work anyway as I didn't want to lose my job. Luckily in Italy they start pre-school at 3 which is free.


neverbeenskiing · 02/09/2022 15:38

We deliberately timed it so DC2 didn't arrive until DC1 was ready to start school. I also took a pay cut to work TTO so we didn't need to worry about covering school holidays. I do know quite a few people who have decided to stop at one child because they can't afford two sets of nursery fees and feel they will be too old to start again by the time existing DC starts school.


everybodystalking · 02/09/2022 15:39

I trained and became a childminder 😆
Worked for 8 years whilst looking after my own....
then went back to my previous job....
worth a thought??


Hophop26 · 02/09/2022 15:39

We had small age gap so after 2nd maternity we had a 2 year overlap, it was painful, we funded some of it via a loan to spread the cost as it’s not forever. At the time we each earned around £30k each, for us the financial pain was worth it as it kept our careers going and promotions etc that we wouldn’t have got if stopped work.

What made a huge difference to us and enabled us to recover quicker was after a while to switch to a childcare provider that fully accepts the 30 hours funded will no top up fees etc, they do exist and worth asking around all the providers local to you including the preschools rather than just nurseries. We moved to a preschool at a primary so zero bill as 30 hours fully covers it and the preschoolers could attend the breakfast and after school club (£2 a hour so far less than nursery) which meant a full day of 8am - 5.30pm. I thought covering school holidays would be a challenge but worked out fine and have to do that once they are school age anyway.


EverydayIsPJday · 02/09/2022 15:40

Like a pp, I am expecting number 3 in a couple of weeks..eldest starts reception next week, ds2 is 3 in Jan so we can claim 30 free hours from april. I've just started a years maternity so by the time I'm back to work we will only pay for 1 child 3 days per week (I'm part time) with the exception of school holidays which I will put a little bit of money aside each month to cover for. I also use a childminder which is significantly cheaper.


Thehonestbadger · 02/09/2022 15:42

If you’re looking for some ‘hack’ or secret way then you’re going to be very disappointed. I had 2u2 and they go to nursery (eldest only 2 mornings and unreliable with it due to AN) but it still costs £850 a month between them. I had to leave work due to our elders AN but actually we wouldn’t have been able to afford the childcare anyway. We did originally have family care but as the AN became more visible they retracted their help as struggle to cope with it.

The only people I know who have 2u2 are in one of the following situations

  • free family care
  • highly paid
  • Working for nothing, some even hitting a deficit
  • managing on one salary

I can see a way around it, that being said it’s only a short period

SingingSands · 02/09/2022 15:44

We had a four year gap to accommodate childcare as we don't live near family (who would have loved to help otherwise).

I was ready for another when DC1 was 2 years old, but DH was right to say wait until she was 3.


TwinkleToesStrikesAgain · 02/09/2022 15:45

Spaced them out by 4+ years and prayed we didn't have twins (but we were lucky age wise as I had DS1 when 35 and DS2 when I was nearly 40)


Blondeshavemorefun · 02/09/2022 15:48

Space them out

a nanny with Own child so a bit cheaper

its Not forever. Ans if helps with career then worth almost working for no salary

tho R.E.M. childcare should come from both parents. Not just your salary


everywoman682 · 02/09/2022 15:55

As many PP have said, wait until the older one has the free hours of childcare. It's not ideal, specially if you have other reasons for wanting to crack on with trying for another baby.

But be grateful you're at least having a child in 2022 when you can take a long maternity leave (which should reduce your childcare bill for a while) and get free hours at age 3. When ds was born in the early 1990s, we had to wait until he was turning 5 and starting school to have ds2. No subsidised childcare back then.

It's not easy but there are solutions. You may also find a childminder might do you a cheaper deal for siblings than a nursery can afford to give


FruitPastilleNut · 02/09/2022 15:57

We both worked full time but compressed over 4 days and shared only one day off each week.

I was off Friday, Sat and Sunday. He was off Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. So it was only 2 days a week we needed childcare which brought the bill down hugely.

Other than a shared two weeks in August, we also split the rest of our annual leave - so there were 8 weeks a year in total where at least one of us was off (2 weeks shared and 3 weeks each individually). All holidays taken in the school holidays (even though our 2dc were below school age).

We had a childminder and only signed up for a term time contract, which meant we didn't pay for holidays. It left us with 5 weeks a year of no care (for the two days a week we needed) which we filled with a mix of unpaid parental leave, family baby sitting, ad hoc but not contracted sessions at the childminder if she had space and the very odd sickie when we just couldn't make it work 😬


butterflycatcher · 02/09/2022 16:07

@milawops are you aware that you can only get a maximum of £500 per quarter for each child / £2000 per year on tax free childcare. This means your bill will be a little more than £1600 a month.


Cabsnotlint · 02/09/2022 16:12

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.

2 kids is hardly a large family. Stop exaggerating OP is considering how she can make it work dud to her age. Nothing wrong with asking..

Can you go part time OP?


LoopyGremlin · 02/09/2022 16:14

I worked for around £50 a month when I had both in nursery. I only did it to keep my job! Luckily my husband earns well but it grates to think of how much we have spent on childcare over the years. At the last count it was over £80k 😫


JockTamsonsBairns · 02/09/2022 16:16

When my two DCs were little (21 month gap), I worked evenings and weekends and DH worked normal office hours. No subsidised hours back then, so it was a way to avoid hefty childcare costs - although we paid for both to have a couple of days at nursery from the age of 3.

It was knackering, to be honest. I had the kids all day then went out to work 6-11pm. DH was at work all day, then had both in the evening on his own.
In saying that, the arrangement sure made him an actively involved father in a way that he might not have been, had I been around in the evening to share the load.


NorthernLights5 · 02/09/2022 16:17

We work opposite each other doing 4 on 4 off. We can't afford nursery or to live off of one wage so this works for us!


Heatherbell1978 · 02/09/2022 16:22

I have a 2.5 year age gap and the most I ever paid when they were both there for 3 full days was £1100 with the tax free childcare. Your nursery seems quite expensive - £700 still seems a lot for a 3 year old. The funding I revived when DD reached 3 covered her 3 full days so her nursery costs were zero for the last 2 years. But we're lucky that my mum always did one day of childcare and I work compressed hours so cover the other day. Both now at school.


milawops · 02/09/2022 16:29

butterflycatcher · 02/09/2022 16:07

@milawops are you aware that you can only get a maximum of £500 per quarter for each child / £2000 per year on tax free childcare. This means your bill will be a little more than £1600 a month.

I really should proof read before I post. I meant £1800ish. Either way it's too blooming much for my liking


JhsLs · 02/09/2022 16:51

Surely if you’re entitled to 30 free hours at age 3, your bill would be far less? If you were to stretch them over 51 weeks a year, you’d get roughly 22 free hours a week or roughly 2 full days. £65 x 2 days a week over the year is roughly £550 a month or approx £440 if you use tax free childcare. Still a massive hit but much less than £700!


fyn · 02/09/2022 16:52

My oldest will qualify for the free nursery hours the same month my maternity ends. I also work in a flexible, part time job. With a small universal credit top up we will be better off than me working full time.


minimadgirl · 02/09/2022 16:59

We had a very unexpected 2nd child, 18 months after our first.
The truth is we can't afford childcare for both, the costs are more than I earn. If it wasn't for my mum, I would have to give up work.
We do send the oldest to preschool in the mornings when I am at work.

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