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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.

Caspianberg · 02/09/2022 16:59

Ds starts nursery soon, he will be 2.5 years. The last 2.5 years has been a mixture of longer maternity, tag teaming with Dh and working from home part time.
We only have 1, but wouldn’t have a second until Ds is older due to lack of childcare for under 3s in general where we live. Once you get childcare at 2.5-3 years it’s very cheap


Devo1818 · 02/09/2022 17:05

2 years between my 2. When I went back to work after my youngest, my oldest was 3 and therefore got her 30 hours free childcare, so I was only paying full for 1. Also remember you get tax free childcare so 20% discount.


Normandy144 · 02/09/2022 17:12

We have a 2.9 year gap between our two. I took a full year maternity leave with second DC and during this time we reduced the amount of childminder care we used for our first child plus as soon as eldest turned three we put her in pre school to use our free hours. When I returned to work eldest DC was 3.9 years and turned 4 that spring. Which meant we only had 8-9 months of double fees before eldest started school, so we just took the hit. It was tight but we did it and I'm glad I didn't give up work/reduce hours to cover it. I've not lost earnings/pension contributions. Childminders can be a cheaper option depending on where you are.


BertieBotts · 02/09/2022 17:15

It's horrific. We live in Germany and childcare is so heavily subsidised we'd be paying less than a third of that for two children. That's the only way we can afford it! Otherwise I'd be SAHM/work only part time.


IrishMamaMia · 02/09/2022 17:16

We had a 3 year gap with the 30hrs for one child in the year we had two lots of fees. It was still quite a financial strain. In retrospect, covid lockdowns helped us, as we had no additional petrol, socialising, or outings costs.
Some friends do condensed hours to get their childcare spend down.


Twizbe · 02/09/2022 17:28

We have a 2 year gap. I gave up work.

If I'd loved my job I could have still worked full time, but I didn't. It didn't feel worth spending all that money on.


felulageller · 02/09/2022 17:41

Waited til first started school!


gogohmm · 02/09/2022 17:46

I took time out until they were both in school. Every family has different priorities and budgets so it's hard to generalise


VestaTilley · 02/09/2022 17:47

We’re waiting until DS is nearly going to school before trying for a second. It may not work out, as we’re 36 now.

Some friends of ours managed with just a 20 month age gap by having 3 days a week covered by both grandmothers on alternative days, and part time nanny and childminder on other days, before eldest went to pre school.

Other people we know manage by having very high incomes or having Nanny’s or lots of grandparent help.


QuebecBagnet · 02/09/2022 17:47

I couldn’t which is why I didn’t have a second.


IbizaToTheNorfolkBroads · 02/09/2022 17:48

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.

Me too, but looking around at the parents of younger children I manage, it is getting harder and harder to even break even. My dc are nearly 11 and nearly 14. When my younger child started school 6 years ago, nursery fees were £42/child/day. Now one of my colleagues pays £67, and everything else is significantly more expensive and public sector salaries have not risen very much at all.


InChocolateWeTrust · 02/09/2022 17:48

We earn a lot.

We also chose a cheaper childminder, flexed our hours & planned on the basis that basically it's about 4 years of pain, it's not forever.


trampoline123 · 02/09/2022 17:50

We don't sadly! We collectively earn £4800 a month and childminder for our 2 is £2570 for 5 days a week 8-6. It doesn't leave us much left as our rent on top of that is £1250, we are minus £250 each month and that's just bills, not including clothes or treats.


Numbat2022 · 02/09/2022 17:51

Everyone I know either quit work and had babies close together, or waited until the first got 30 free hours or was at school depending on household income. Can only think of one family who had both parents working and two in nursery, and they're very well off.

We're comfortably off and couldn't have afforded two in nursery. If I'd wanted another we'd have had to wait until our first is at school, by which time I'll be 41. Fortunately I'm one and done!


TheOpportuneMoment · 02/09/2022 18:10

We had an age gap of 3 years for exactly this reason. DS1 moved to partly funded hours just as DS2 was born. We've also been using the tax free childcare account as a savings account basically - we've paid the full nursery fees into this account every month and then have been saving the top ups. We now have enough in there to pretty much cover DS1's fees for the period after my maternity leave and before DS1 starts school (around 8 months) where they will both be at nursery together.


Loics · 02/09/2022 18:24

When our free hours kick in for our eldest, we'll have been paying for 2 for around a year. It is extortionate, but I don't have any advice unfortunately as DP and I are both high earners, I think that's possibly one of the only ways to afford it without having to give up work or go without.


Cotswoldmama · 02/09/2022 18:35

I deliberately had an age gap of three years to get the free childcare ( with my first it was only 16 hours) but we still got into debt. I didn't want to leave my job as I knew once my eldest was at school we'd ok but it was really stressful at the time. It's easy to underestimate the cost of childcare.


Curiosity101 · 02/09/2022 18:42

Ours is significantly cheaper than that at £44 per child per day. We pay 5 days a week so £440 per week for 2 before tax free childcare.

We manage because we have high paying jobs. We also made sure I had good maternity leave pay as part of my contract. If we didn't then we'd have done the same as others and waited until our eldest was school aged before trying for another. You can potentially start trying a year before the school start date and pull your first out of childcare early whilst you're on maternity leave?


AuntieStella · 02/09/2022 18:43

We accepted that the level of bills entirely ate up the increase in family income from having both of us working.

But once the awfully expensive years were over, we had far more disposable income because the bills dropped and careers had progressed.

It was definitely worth it, even though in the last few months (after yet another price rise) we had to dip in to savings to balance the books. But it didn't take that long to replenish, and overall we came out stronger

(not giving figures as it's a while ago, so don't remember exactly, just the bigger picture)


SunscreenCentral · 02/09/2022 18:48

a Age gap
c Win the lottery
d Family help
e Move to a Nordic Country

I did a combo of A and B not having the language skills to realise a move elsewhere


Onehotmess · 02/09/2022 18:50

Have them 5 years or more apart. It’s so expensive


QforCucumber · 02/09/2022 18:51

58k joint income. Ft fees as no family help. 4 year age gap not accidental.


ladygindiva · 02/09/2022 18:54

You wait until free hours for dc1 kicks in at least. Careful number 2 isn't twins , there's no childcare discount ! You're truly fxxked 🤣( mum of twins here)


UpToMyElbowsInDiapers · 02/09/2022 18:54

3 DCs in nursery + a part time nanny so that we don’t miss too many days of work when the DCs inevitably get nursery germs and need to stay home with fevers (…or isolate due to COVID restrictions which are just relaxing where we live THIS WEEK). In practice, we found we had a kid home roughly 40% of the time last winter. No family help.

Childcare is around £4500/mo for us. DH and I are both what I would consider to be very high earners (senior consultant + senior product manager) but we only just balance the books some months. It makes me furious to think that it takes being in our types of jobs to be semi financially secure. Society has gone insane. Thankfully the government will be cutting daycare fees by 25% this autumn, 50% in the new year. Huge relief, and a step in the right direction (…for people lucky enough to secure scarce nursery places).


IrishMamaMia · 02/09/2022 19:29

@UpToMyElbowsInDiapers sums up lots of the childcare issues and conundrums really well. It feels like as working mothers there is a lot stacked against us.

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