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Keeping the lid on Nanny expenses?

26 replies

r3dh3d · 02/03/2007 09:44

I guess, looking back, we've been very lucky with Nannies in the past. We've had some broad rules about what is and is not acceptable spending, and they've had the common sense to stick to it.

This one, unfortunately, is different. It's not her money, so she's not bothered about spending it. She's just hit me with an expenses bill for Feb of £300 even though she knows we are completely broke atm. (This is after all her and DD1's food is theoretically paid for on Ocado - Ocado bill a whole other area of contention)

A lot of it is mileage. We have a nanny car, but as she is live out it's easier for her to use her own so we pay mileage at the standard RAC rate. So she'll say to me "we're going to Tuesday morning" and it's not till the end of the month when I get the bill that I realise it was £5 admission but £30 mileage there and back because she has driven to the arse end of nowhere to meet up with non-local friends of hers.

Obviously I have to put in some budgetting rules for her, but I don't know where to start because I've never needed to in the past. What does everyone else do?

OP posts:

Eleusis · 02/03/2007 11:44

Oh no. I give an advance in expenses each month. She is free to do as she chooses with it. She get no where near £300. And I do all the grocery shopping so I can 1- keep a lid on the budget and 2- not buy the expensive kiddie junk food that I so hate. I buy wholesome ingredients and she is expected to cook them. (which she does)

Each month my nanny gets:
A greater London Bus Pass
A pass to Kew Gardens
A mobile phone and £30 toward its expense
And of course I pay for any activities that I choose such as ballet or ad hoc drama workshops.

If I were you I would probably set a cap on the milage.


jura · 02/03/2007 11:48

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jura · 02/03/2007 11:52

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sinclair · 02/03/2007 13:20

Second vote for the kitty system - we shoved in £20 a week for two pre-schoolers (3 days a week) and occasionally nanny would ask for more for a special activity/treat. We never asked for reciepts - we are a fairly relaxed family and we wanted nanny to know we completely trusted her - but nanny would always supply them when she felt she was getting through the cash a bit fast.

But this is in London and nanny didn't need to drive - the car thing sounds like the route of your problem?


Mumpbump · 02/03/2007 13:26

We don't have a nanny but this thread caught my eye as we might get one after the arrival of no. 2. I think the idea of agreeing a budget in advance is a good idea. Or get her to tell you at the start of the week what she is proposing to do, the cost and the location. Sounds to me like she is abusing the system and making money out of the car thing if she's racking up £300 of expenses.

For this amount of money, I would also be asking for receipts to show that she actually went wherever she says. I think £300 is completely unreasonable to be honest with you...


uptomyeyes · 02/03/2007 13:30

We paid £15 per week towards petrol as opposed to milage on our old Nanny's car. I would give her £30 cash as a kitty and she would tell me when she ran out - it usually lasted weeks. I paid for all classes in advance so it was usually just juices etc

I've known some pretty ruthless nannies - and parents too for that matter here in central London - but I've never come across £300 expenses in a month!


ScottishThistle · 02/03/2007 13:34

As a Nanny I find £300 expenses outrageous!

I'm a non-driver therefore use public transport to get from a-b...I don't understand why she doesn't use the Nanny car you've provided, is there a reason for this?

All my Bosses have provided me with a kitty which gets topped up when empty, though I've never been blase about spending lots of money!

Also, does she know your not loaded at the moment?


ScottishThistle · 02/03/2007 13:36

One very loaded Boss of mine used to give me the equivalent of £350pm to buy pain au chocolat, kinder eggs & art materials!

Of course I didn't spend it!


r3dh3d · 02/03/2007 17:05

I suppose we've taken policy decisions (as it were) about the car and the kitty which work best for us in the past but maybe not so well with the current Nanny.

We tried the kitty thing a while back with a previous Nanny, but it went horribly wrong - she kept mixing it up with her own money and then forgetting what she had spent and not knowing when to ask for more. Although I felt mean at first paying her in arrears, in the event it turned out to be kinder to her to just save all the receipts and let her add them up at month end. The other thing is I have an irrational fear of the tax man and if I pay her a monthly amount identical to an itemised expense claim, I feel more "above board" - if that makes sense?

We do have a car but because she lives out I didn't have a problem with her using her own; I've had Nannies do both in the past and both have pros and cons for us. It's actually my car (we bought an SUV which I hate driving and a previous Nanny inherited my beloved Puma and reversed it into a hedge within 2 weeks) and I don't mind paying her a "fair" mileage to keep mine intact. The issue is that she's claiming infeasible amounts. One run of 3 days last week where I can't think how she drove more than 30 miles each day, she's put in for nearly £50 mileage (at 40p a mile) each day. That's £360 miles over 3 days! Her total mileage claim for February is over £200.

Yes, Scottish, she knows we aren't loaded; well, are bust, actually. I told her mid-Feb that we had (as a family) only £300 to live on till the end of the month, so don't go crazy. She then spent over £150 in two weeks on food for herself and DD1, and put in a claim at month end for £300 additional expenses, most of which incurred after that conversation.

Anyhow, thanks all for your thoughts. I'll try putting some budget/rules together. I was thinking of something like:

  • £20 pw for activities,
  • £5 per week shopping (things we can't get on the internet shop)
  • £5 per day on mileage
  • one "big" trip per month in term time, one per week in holiday time, and she has to calculate the mileage costs on those in advance so I agree it before they go.

I'm desparately trying to be fair here because I really don't want her to be out of pocket or restricted in what she can do. But, increasingly I am thinking she is not being fair (to put it nicely) with us.
OP posts:

Eleusis · 02/03/2007 17:11

Actually, after reading that post, I think she is rather inconsiderate. I would be really unhappy if I told my nanny we as a family had £300 to live on for the rest of the month and she spent it on petrol.

I think you need to cap the monthly expenses. Just say that expenses (including travel, food, etc.) max out at £150 per month. When it's gone it's gone.

It is perfectly reasonable to expect her to be fiscally responsible.

(or you could also get over your Tesco snobbery and start shopping there instead of Ocado )


BuffysMum · 02/03/2007 17:12

speaking as a mum only but has friends who Nanny she is taking the p! You can limit her to local activities and meet ups. I think you should start doing your own internet shop and let her cook with what is provided.

She should not be claiming mileage for going to visit her friends unless they are local!


WriggleJiggle · 02/03/2007 19:41

With milage like that I'd be concered about the ammount of time your little one is strapped into a car seat. Can't be much fun for the child. Could you work out in advance the costs and then she would have to check about anything over that before doing it.


EColi · 02/03/2007 19:43

Is she providing proof of the mileage? Sounds very dodgy to me.
For what it's worth our nanny uses a nanny car during the day (drives her own to work), we pay £50 a month in fuel, and she spends about £20 per week for extra food (which she never buys since I provide everything), entrance fees (couple of quid a go for a playsession, soft play, one trip a fortnight to somewhere more expensive (butterfly house or reptile centre), and we have bought her an annual membership to Kew Gdns.
I also made up a file (before we employed her) with informatin on free or cheap things to do with the kids eg. storytelling at the library, church playsessions, location of different parks.
And if she takes the children out she always packs snacks/lunch.
Our nanny understands that if she spends too much we won't be able to afford to employ her (although she doesn't seem to understand that if she doesn't turn up I'll lose my job and she'll lose hers)


hunkermunker · 02/03/2007 19:49

Where's she going?

Can you get her to detail her mileage and check each one on a routefinding website like the AA?

If she IS doing the mileage she says she is, then you either have to pay it, talk to her about reducing the miles she drives (so say if she's meeting a friend, meet halfway rather than go the whole 30 miles, etc.), or get her to use your car.

Sounds to me like she's blagging it though. Did she misunderstand your convo where you said you had £300 to live on as "Only £300 for you to claim in petrol" and try to get to it as a target? Or is she just a bit thick?


Ladymuck · 02/03/2007 19:57

In our nanny's contract I have put a weekly maximum for paid mileage (which works out at about 10 miles per day - the various school runs would come to 5 miles per day, but there is enough leeway to go swimming/park/playdate etc.)

When I put this in, it wasn't about the money per se, but I didn't effectively want to incentivise someone to drive my children around all day. I prefer for them to do stuff locally. It also enables me to neotiate petrol moeny rather than RAC rates if she does do a day trip to the beach or something.


paros · 02/03/2007 20:51

She is taking the piss royally . I charge my boss petrol but once a month I meet up with my best mate who has a DS the same age as the little boy I look after ,We got to Heathrow gym I dont charge her petrol for that day as I am seeing my friend and the round trip is 30 miles she just pays the entrance fee for the kids gym .


MadamePlatypus · 02/03/2007 20:59

Never mind the cost of the mileage - if shes doing that much driving in a day your DD is spending alot of time sitting in traffic!


NurseyJo · 02/03/2007 21:02

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jura · 02/03/2007 21:47

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nannynick · 03/03/2007 10:35

I'm a nanny and I use my own car. I found that if I wanted 40p per mile, my employer would severely limit my mileage. So instead we agreed a flat fee £10 per week, to cover part of the mileage. If I want to do a long trip, then I can do a lot less mileage the week before, so sort of be in credit if that makes sense. £10 per week is regardless of the amount of mileage I do each week.

For general expenses have a weekly kitty. I get £20, which is to cover all activities for 2 under 5's, plus 8 year old when on half-term school holidays. There are no pre-booked activities, so we hunt out those low cost pay as you go activities, and take advantage of any discount schemes - such as at local swimming pool where you can collect stamps for a free visit.

Not being in a city, my mileage does tend to be a bit high, but I tend to try to visit places within a 10 mile radius. Some longer trips do occur, especially during school holidays. It is surprising how the little trips add up, but certainly do require evidence for the mileage your nanny is doing.


nannynick · 04/03/2007 20:20

I think your proposed budget is quite acceptable:

  • £20 pw for activities,
  • £5 per week shopping (things we can't get on the internet shop)
  • £5 per day on mileage
  • one "big" trip per month in term time, one per week in holiday time, costs to be calculated in advance

I get similar for 2 under 5's, though my mileage is a lot less at £10 per week.

I think you may have posted over at NannyJob, if so, please check your e-mail as have sent you more info.

harrisey · 06/03/2007 16:24

My nanny gets nothing like this, nor would she try!
She gets mileage for the nursery run (which is quite long for us), and any reasonable activity. Far away trips (one per week in the school holidays - and not often that far away) are planned in advance and alway reasonable.
I buy all the food - she does get odds and ends like milk, bread, maybe goes out for a coffee with dd2 (the only 3 year old who - when asked what she wants to do - says 'lets go ata toffee sop and dink a cuppa tea! An reada paper! -she's spent a lot of time with dh looking after her!)and pays for swimming and toddlers with her kitty. I put £20 in her box 2 weeks ago and she still hasnt asked for more. In fact, I have trouble getting her to tell me all she spends - she'll buy things like art materials (boy, do my kids go through a lot of glitter - she's better at restricting it than I was when I was a SAHM) and not charge me. I have to chase her down sometimes when I notice it. Her mileage is usuallu about £25 a week - she works full time hours, does 5 nursery drops and pick ups a week.


Mumpbump · 06/03/2007 16:29

r3dh3d - if you haven't already paid this, ask her for details of the trips and who, if anyone she met up with. There is a difference in my mind if she is socialising and dragging your child along with her. I would only be paying for trips where it was specifically for your child's purpose. So if she meets a friend of hers for coffee, I wouldn't pay for the mileage... I do hope you won't let her get away with this!!


knakered · 10/03/2007 16:43

I agree mumpbump my new nanny is fab...has asked occasionally to go and met friends for lunch - has said she eoulnt charge which is fine ...but I am concerned that she is out at leas 3 lunctimes a week - which is 3 hrs where my 9month old in a car - in a cafe being fed sh+t - dont want to demotivate my nanny -it can be boring and lonely - but my house is far from clean and tidy and some of the jobs are not getting done - not sure how valuable it is for mt lo to be sitting in a cafe what is appropriate socialising time in a week -- these are not play dates - but meet ups with her mum/friend etc


Millarkie · 10/03/2007 18:41

I would not be happy with my nanny (well, a future nanny, I don't have one right now) taking my child out to meet up with her friends unless it is more of a playdate ie. the children's happiness comes first, so meeting up with a nanny friend at a soft play centre I would encourage, whereas meeting up with her mum for a cuppa and cake I would not be happy about.
I might be sensitive about this having had a nanny who pushed this too far in the past (inviting her boyfriend to my house during her working day, taking dd to her mum's for the day and plonking her on mum's sofa to watch tv).

R3dh3ad - hope your chat with your nanny went well and she's keeping within your budget now.

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