As more the price of living continues to rise, more mothers are forced to go back to work earlier and earlier after giving birth. This has led to a lucrative market growth around childcare and the various avenues parents can ensure their children are looked after whilst they cannot attend to them. Notoriously new mothers would take their maternity leave, and then some, to spend nurturing their newborns. Now we have seen such an influx in mothers returning back to work straight after, or during their maternity leave, due to the monetary restraints and job security issues.
Both finding and being able to afford childcare can be a long process, baring the questions how do people afford childcare? Whilst the cost differs from state to state, country to country, or even city to suburban areas, one thing is for sure it is on the rise. Below are some tips to help parents reduce the hefty cost of childcare, hopefully reducing their monthly spending on it.
1. Look into a tax-free childcare scheme
This option is utilised and favoured by many working parents. In essence the government scheme allows financial support of two pounds on every eight pounds you pay in childcare fees. The scheme only works if you are using government approved childcare, these include nurseries, childminders, nannies, after school clubs and play schemes.
The scheme is valid up to a maximum of £2000 per child per year, your child can qualify for this until they are 11 years old. When you compare this amount to the prospected cost of childcare; Full-time nursery for a child under two is around £13,400 per year, Full-time place for a three year old costs £5,100 per year, it seems a little low. Nevertheless, it is favoured by most and can be managed via a childcare account that you can check on your childminders or nurseries government approval status.
You can be approved for a tax-free childcare scheme if you or your partner work, earn less than £100,000 a year or via working tax or child tax credit, universal credit or childcare vouchers.
2. Apply for free childcare codes
This scheme has been developed to allow children ages only three or four in England only. This scheme starts from the term after your child’s third birthday and can amount to up to 570 free hours of childcare per year. This is usually split over 15 hours per week, for 38 weeks of the year, however shorter hours can be used and spread further across the year.
This scheme can be applied for online, then you will receive a code, and this should be shared with your childcare provider to redeem the discount. The edibility for this free childcare code can be obtained if you or your partner are working, if your income is under £100,000 a year and if your child is 11 or under.
3. Research various nurseries for discounts
There are also various nurseries or child-minders that do offer discounted childcare if you meet a certain criterion or are geographically located in a certain area. Whilst this can be very time consuming it can allow you to find some great offers and discounts relevant to your needs. These are very geographical based too, some areas may have better options than others.
4. Nanny sharing or childminder sharing discounts
This is a great way to get some really great discounts and make childcare more affordable for you and your close friends or neighbours. Nanny sharing or childminder sharing means that a group of parents all pitch in to share the cost of a minder for their children. Whilst most childminders don’t offer this service, some will for an additional cost. Nevertheless, this cost is still greatly reduced in comparison to hiring one per family or child. Be sure to check your local area and ensure that your childminder or nanny is open to looking after more than one child or households’ children prior to booking them.
5. Discuss this with your HR team
In this modern world more and more parents return to work to carry on with their careers many places of work are prepared to help. Not only does this encourage better working conditions, it gives more parents the chance to get back to work and better themselves. Many companies have schemes, offer huge childcare discounts or creches, all three options can really impact the affordability of childcare. You should check with your company for any offers they allow for or workplace childcare schemes.
6. Ask a relative or friend
This is probably the most obvious way to reduce your childcare costs, it is not always an option for some people but if it is you should definitely use it. Some parents opt to use their parents, or the child’s grandparents, as childminders if they are retired. Others may have close friends that are not at works and looking after their own children anyway. There are various situations that you can utilize, the only thing you have to ensure is your child’s safety and your friend or relatives’ competence.
This guide to helping you reduce your childcare costs is full of very helpful tips and tricks to ensure the best savings are made. The above techniques are used by many people to help them afford to go back to work and better their families. There are other tips and tricks that may be better suited to you, but the ones listed are known for their positive impact and use. Affording childcare when you go back to work is really hard, it is tough to get back into the working world and childcare can be a huge barrier to entry. It is important to keep all of your options open and to be positive, the right solution will come around.