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How on earth do you pay for two at nursery?

60 replies

Verso · 20/11/2005 20:30


Seriously, though. I do wonder how people manage this. I realise a lot of people have small mortgages, because they did well out of the property boom, but for those of us with big mortgages to service, how do you ever manage to have more than one child?

(btw I had my first this year, so I am getting somewhat ahead of myself here - but DH and I were talking about planning the next one and childcare is a huge consideration . . .)

If either of us gave up work we would have to move away from London to be able to put a roof over our heads (and even then I know property is not cheap elsewhere - I used to live in Edinburgh)

So - how do you do it? What choices have you made to make to make it work?

OP posts:
northerner · 20/11/2005 20:31

We can't afford it. Hence ds is 3.5 and an only child. Will consider number 2 when he's at school.

dinny · 20/11/2005 20:32

I did pay for two at nursery but shortly after ds started I decided he was too young to go so I took them both out. Now dd goes to playgroup instead and I drastically cut my hours so dh looks after them when I work. I bring home more now working 12 hours pw than I did working 30 and paying for two at nursery. Crazy!

ladymuck · 20/11/2005 20:34

Some manage with a larger age gap. Some drop to 4 days a week (both partners so only pay for 3 days a week childcare, out of 4 day a week income). Some just struggle for a few years.

Verso · 20/11/2005 20:42

I think we will end up in the 'some just struggle for a few years' camp. And here I was, hoping someone had a magical solution for us that we had never thought of . Oh well!

OP posts:
tortoiseshell · 20/11/2005 20:49

It's a nightmare. There are one or two ways round it - they all get a grant from the term after they're three, which made quite a difference to our fees - it's 5 'sessions' at £7.50 per session for about 38 weeks, so whatever that is. our nursery also gave a 10% discount for having 2 there. You can get your work to pay a certain amount in childcare vouchers which is before tax, so you pay less tax, but conversely you then lose out on how much Working Families Tax Credit you get (as your fees are less).

Bozza · 20/11/2005 20:51

Right well what we did was have a 3.3 year gap which meant that DS was on the nursery grant (set to be improved I believe) by the time DD was born. Nusery grant is worth about 1200 a year and kicks in the term after their 3rd birthday. When DS was born I had already dropped to 3 days week. So with the nursery grant we were getting 5 sessions in those 3 days. The 11 months from when I went back to work to when DS started school were still quite tough though. We live in Yorkshire so relatively cheap and pay out approx £500/month during term time for childcare. This is for a 1yo at nursery 3 days and a before/after school childminder for a 4yo for the 3 days.

dropinthe · 20/11/2005 20:53

I used to pay just under £300-oo pcm for ds1 to go to nursery for 2 and half days a week-when he turned 3 it went down to £120.00-still far too much so will have to wait until he goes to school next September to put ds2 in!

paolosgirl · 20/11/2005 20:56

We spent a few years being absolutely, completely skint when they were both in nursery. We're still not well off, but we are getting back on our feet a bit.
I took a career break of 2 years when DD was 3 and DS was 5. I actually earned more working p/t in a call centre in the evening than I was making from my 'proper' job after I'd paid for childcare and petrol.

zebratwizzler · 20/11/2005 21:43

I worked 2 days/week for about £40/month for a while (nursery fees ate the rest), then I switched to a childminder.

morningpaper · 20/11/2005 21:46

Verso we have hit the 3-year age gap so No. 1 is getting the nursery grant. DH's work has just brought in the scheme where you can pay the nursery direct and tax is effectively taken off the fees - this saves us a fortune. So for 2 days per week at nursery, No. 1's nursery fees have gone from 250 per month to less than 100 per month. Sibings get 10% off fees.

bluebear · 20/11/2005 22:08

We bit the bullet for 18 months and paid out more in nursery fees than I earnt each month (lived on dh's salary..strictly budgetted) - worth it to keep my job open and to keep me from going mad (I have tried the stay at home mum thing and it doesn't work for me) - have breathed a huge sigh of relief now ds has started school..although the wrap-around childcare before//after school is almost as expensive as nursery.
When we had a 'nursery mums night-out' most of the mums said that they were waiting for no1 to start school so that they could afford baby no2.

jamiesam · 20/11/2005 22:12

Verso - nag your employers into starting the nursery vouchers scheme. It could save you £800 a year on nursery fees (or £1600 if both your employers do the vouchers) and it doesn't cost the employer anything at all, in fact I think they save a little money - hand over all the work to a 'nursery voucher provider'. It took my employer (a local council) over 18 months to introduce the scheme from the time I first started nagging Human Resources....

Will try to post a link to one 'provider' of nursery vouchers which looks like it has useful info here

Verso · 21/11/2005 07:01

Bluebear - what is 'wrap around' care? I've heard the term but don't know what it means.

So sad at thought of waiting until DD is in school to try for #2, not least as I'm (ahem!) no spring chicken. I can see it would make financial sense though .

Thing is, we were kind-of hoping to have three eventually, but I don't think that would work. My cunning thought was that if you can find a way to manage with two, then you can afford three because #1 would be at school by the time you had #3...

Makes me think I should never have got a job and worked all these years as then I could have a council house and benefits like my SIL .

Apologies if I offend anyone. I don't mean to. Just this makes me really sad.

OP posts:
Verso · 21/11/2005 07:02

P.S. There are lots of parents at my work and they've been lobbying for childcare vouchers for years now. I have no idea what the company's objection to it is, but they have resisted so far.

OP posts:
fisil · 21/11/2005 08:32

It is a nightmare!

We get 10% off the eldest and in March he'll get vouchers because he'll be 3+ (he misses getting them in January by just 11 days - if he'd been born on his due date ...). Dp's work does the tax vouchers, so that saves a bit too.

Then we buy clothes from Primark, Tesco or jumble sales. We have halved our grocery costs by careful planning and shopping at Lidl. We use the library instead of buying books. We sacked the cleaner. We've stopped saving so much each month. All the work the house needs can wait. In other words, we've seriously cut back on our spending.

One reason why we're scrimping so much though is to preserve our mental health. I was signed off sick with depression at 26 weeks with no.2 and I still find looking after 2 and working full time too much so I have one day off a week with the boys at nursery. Obviously we could save money there, but the effect on my health would not be good. I'd rather be a happy, skint, good mummy than a rich tired crabby mummy!

SackAche · 21/11/2005 09:14

First all Verso I think a choice I would make to make it work would be to NOT move to one of the 2 most expensive places in the UK to buy a house..... London and Edinburgh!!! We bought a house 25 miles from Glasgow and Edinburgh simply so we could afford childcare. I commute to Glasgow, DH commutes to Alloa (15miles away).

We also could work it that the kids didn't have to be in fulltime as DH can work a Saturday and a weekday off. Plus my Mum offered to watch them on a Friday. So this has meant 3 days a week in Nursery...... which comes to £600 per month.

cori · 21/11/2005 09:36

We choose to have a larger age gap. DS will be four by the time the next one is born. ( we didnt want that large a gap, but thats the way it worked out ) So by the time my maternity leave is finished DS will be at school fulltime.

jamiesam · 21/11/2005 12:24

Verso - I really do mean that I was nagging our Human Resources about nursery vouchers! My aim was to make them sort of like me but just wish I'd bug*er off!!!

And the vouchers can be used until children are 14 - for breakfast /after school /holiday clubs....

crunchie · 21/11/2005 12:37

Verso this is the ultimate dilemma. It is a question of balancing the books 'so to speak'. We were lucky with a smaller mortgage, and we decided to have a nanny (don't live in London) which for US was cheaper than two in full time nursey. We got into about £8k debt in 12 - 18 months (but fortuneatly to my parents! so they are knocking it off my inheritance )

Somewhere something along the line will have to give. Unless you are super-rich I do not believe you can have two or three kids in fulltime childcare, with a huge london sized mortgage, and all the extra costs involved.

Compromises have to be made, Now I work fulltime and dh doesn't but they are older.

carlychristmas · 21/11/2005 13:01

i have two ds ds1 is 3 ds2 is 17 months and i wonder if someone could give me some more info on the vouchers a link or a site would be great tia

Normsnockers · 21/11/2005 15:40

Message withdrawn

Passionflowerinapeartree · 21/11/2005 15:56

I gave up work and we were happier but a lot more skint. In fact I'm not actually sure how we managed to financially survive the first two years, but we did.

bluebear · 21/11/2005 18:16

Carlychristmas - My employer uses Accor for childcare vouchers -

Dh's company uses Busy Bees

You can take just over £200 per month of your salary in vouchers and you don't pay NI or tax on it...if you are both earning and both claim then the saving is double....but it can affect things like your pension, maternity pay and other benefits.

Verso - 'wrap around care' is usually used to descibe before and after school care (so school age children are looked after 8am to 6pm) Ds's school has no breakfast club so I have ended up paying £10 an hour for someone to watch ds have breakfast and walk him to school...luckily I leave work in time to pick him up from school.

speedymama · 21/11/2005 20:01

I work 3 days a week and so twin DS, age 21months, attend nursery and that costs just under £900 per month. I pay that as well as all the household bills and DH gives me £200 for the monthly food bill. The child benefit covers the twins nappies,clothes and some food. DH pays the mortgage (over £1000) plus the gym membership. The only debt we have is the mortgage, we run one car, the twins' clothes that I buy are from Asda or Primark (I think they are excellent value for money), most of the food we eat is made from fresh ingredients, I shop at Aldi, Somerfield, greengrocers or market and butchers, DH goes out twice a month, I go out about once every 2 months and we also manage to save every month. We only buy clothes for ourselves when it is necessary, not desirable.

Fortunately, both our employers have just adopted the voucher scheme so we will be saving nearly £200 per month on the fees. Plus the nursery fees will go down to the lower rate when the twins are 3 years old plus we will receive the 20 hours paid by the government plus we get the 10% sibling discount. It can be done if you spend your money prudently.

twirlaround · 21/11/2005 20:06

Would a child minder be a cheaper option for you?

And I think huge numbers of people do move out of London when they have kids!

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