Can't afford to work, can't afford not to work!

(23 Posts)
singmummysing Tue 19-Nov-13 12:54:43

Hi there,
Sorry if this has already been discussed, but there are so many topics flying around, it's hard to navigate (especially when I can't even navigate my own head some days!)

I wonder if anyone can help me? Excuse the rambling...

My SMP finishes end of Jan/ early Feb.
DH works FT but his salary only covers our rent/mortgage (we have shared ownership on our home) & some bills.
If I return full-time to work, my salary would not cover childcare and bills (we already only spend out on essentials), I would not be entitled to child tax credits.
If I go back part-time, I will be entitled to child tax credits, but it will leave us even worse off than if I worked full-time.

Plus, the icing on the cake - the added heartache of leaving my child when I don't want to in the first place sad like so many of us!(I myself am a childcare professional & qualified dental nurse; our house is not suitable to child-mind).
Doing our sums, without taking childcare costs into consideration, I need to make £800 p/m to make ends meet. (Anyone else in childcare/ dental nurseing knows that the salaries are nothing to shout about).

All of my relatives & friends work FT, so there's no option for family childcare.
I was recently offered a nannying job whereby I can still have my DD with me - this was suggested to me on the outset; I was then told this week that having her with me would no longer be an option so I was not accepted for the position. "...You have an excellent CV but having your own child would make it too difficult."
So I guess I feel quite down-in-the-dumps about that.

Just feels somewhat ironic that I should put my DD into someone else's care whilst I care for someone else's DD or DS confused

I guess I would ideally like to be offered a job like that again; except really be offered it this time - I have experience with twin babies & older children all at the same time, I am very practically functional & I adore children.

I don't know what I expect to get from posting this, maybe just a moral-support boost!? Sorry for the dissertation!

If you go back to work part time and yours plus your husbands salary come to £25k then you won't get tax credits with one child.

I only say that because you say 'I will be entitled to tax credits' and wanted to make sure you are factoring your husbands income in there.

However you MAY still be entitled to some tax credits towards the childcare which is a separate thing. You might have been entitled to tax credits this year if you've been on mat leave, they don't take SMP into account when calculating tax credits.

I have 2 dcs and went self employed after the 2nd one. I had to pay childcare as I could not work if they were at home. For the first two years I worked for nothing but we looked on it as coming out of the family income rathr than just being offset against my earnings. After that one then the other child got the free hours, then started school.

Now I am very glad that I kept on working even when it seemed like I was working for nothing, because I am in a far far better position work wise than if I had packed it all in after ds2. I am now applying for part and full time jobs as the flexibility of freelancing is not as important now the kids are older.

As my sister put it at the time 'you are never working for nothing, but sometimes you have to work to stand still for a while'.

Hopefully you will get a nanny job where you can take your child!

Emsmaman Tue 19-Nov-13 13:05:07

Hi sorry to hear about your (scarily common) dilemma. Around my way ft childcare for babies is 1400 per month so I decided I would only work breaking even but not if it cost us money. Thankfully due to dh we had this "luxury" of me working for practically nothing.

From your op it strike me that child minding could be an option for you - have you considered that at all? Perhaps you could just do before school and after school - that seems to be in demand for a lot of people and would leave you several hours per day alone with your baby. Good luck!

Emsmaman Tue 19-Nov-13 13:07:11

Sorry I missed the point about not being suitable to child mind! Renders my post a bit pointless...

Join the club sad I gave up my job when I worked out that I would be £300 a month down by going back. There was no way we could afford that. We only get by because my parents are fantastic and regularly give me money but in between those times (like now) it's horrible. For the first time ever I have no money accessible to me at all, not even a fiver. I hate it.

I wish I had words of comfort or an answer for you and sorry to moan on your thread. It's just very scary and worrying and, apart from all that, I miss my job sad

Where in the country are you? I'm a dentist and the dental nurses where I work get between £9.50-13 per hour.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Tue 19-Nov-13 13:14:55

I can't sort out your short term problems for you, but longer term, you will be better off if you go back to work sooner rather than later. Your salaries will both increase, and childcare costs will decrease as time goes on, so it will be worth it in the long run.

That doesn't help you out short term thought.
I can think of a couple of options you might persue:
1. You both ask if you can work full time, but work a condensed week (ie cram 5 days work into 4 longer days). If you both did that, you could save 2 days child care costs. This is quite a common option at the place where I work.

2. Have you considered having an aupair? This is a good and cheap method of child care. Au pairs need free time during the day, but you might be able to reduce the childminder/nursery costs by cutting down the hours the DC is there and using the AP for a few hours at the beginning and/or end of each day.

singmummysing Tue 19-Nov-13 13:15:26

It's a very weird dilemma isn't it?! f you're in a job that doesn't pay well, regardless of how hard you work and how qualified you are, sometimes your profession is just wrong confused great for boosting self-worth lol!
I guess the one thing I've learnt it that worrying just adds to problem and not worrying shouldn't make you feel guilty. I knit baby hats in my spare time and I can make a fantastic income of £5 every couple of weeks hahaha! grin

singmummysing Tue 19-Nov-13 13:20:40

NoArmaniNoPunani, sorry I sent you a pm by mistake (told you I had trouble navigating my own head)!

cantthinkofagoodone Tue 19-Nov-13 13:25:09

Can you become a childminder? Or work when your partner doesn't work to make up the shortfall.

You must have PMed someone else by mistake, I didn't get one.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 19-Nov-13 13:32:48

Sorry about your dilemma. I pay about £1k a month for childcare, so you'll need a after tax income of more than that to be able to afford to work.

Like you say, you have other options in childcare. You have mentioned you can't be a childminder because of your house. Is the nanny job you are looking at full time with a young child? If you look at it from the employer point of view, obviously they would prefer someone without their own child because 1) you are less likely to take sick leave 2) what if the children don't get along?

Have you looked at nanny positions that are less attractive to nannies without own child? For example part time or school pick up/drop off + holidays? You'll earn less but remember you won't have to pay for childcare either.

HTH

singmummysing Tue 19-Nov-13 13:39:36

Thanks everyone for the encouragement & suggestions.
I would like to do school runs etc. as a nannying job, it's just trying to find one that pays just enough... I will probably be looking at multiple mini-jobs. My DH & I could try to get back into doing local acoustic gigs as well.

RabbitRocket Tue 19-Nov-13 13:57:50

How about being a HCA and doing night shifts? Its not the best pay but you could work 8-8 3 nights a week.

Poloholo Tue 19-Nov-13 14:17:25

I'm a nanny employer and I think that if you're job hunting I think you have to expect a higher level of "fall through" of jobs that seem keen on you than you would have if you didn't have your child with you. People who are keen on the idea because it keeps costs down for them may wane when they really think through the logistics, costs and challenges there would be. Everything from car seats and buggies to attending toddler classes and managing sickness. So I think all you can do is proactively job hunt and think in advance how you'd answer questions that you are likely to come up eg how you'd cope with your child being sick, prioritising needs etc.

Babyroobs Tue 19-Nov-13 20:11:43

When faced with the dilemma of paying out large amounts in childcare, I think the only option is to work around your partners working hours so that you have little or no childcare costs. That may mean evenings/ nights & weekends. We have done this for 14 years now , we could never have afforded childcare otherwise.

pippop1 Wed 20-Nov-13 16:12:05

What about doing something on Saturdays and some evenings. Perhaps Nannying/babysitting. Can you drive?

CreamyCooler Wed 20-Nov-13 17:02:31

I worked part time as a home care assistant when the DC were young. This was years ago and used to pay £13 an hour at the weekend and £10 an hour in the evenings. I used to work a couple of evenings a week and every other Saturday morning and earn about £600 a month. Although I had been to university and perhaps could have got a higher paid job I felt like a SAHM but was earning as well.

Xmasbaby11 Wed 20-Nov-13 20:11:15

I think your only option is to work around your partner's hours, as others have suggested. Maybe just part time - 20 hours a week? If there were no childcare costs, you would be a lot better off.

It is a crappy dilemma and when we have 2 kids I will be in the same boat. However I will definitely return to work because I worked hard to get this job and it's worth holding onto. Also benefits of pension, sick pay etc which you lose when SAHP.

readysteady Wed 20-Nov-13 20:17:45

I think you should continue down the road of being a nanny. My cousin was very happy to employ her nanny plus toddler (they met at toddler group) or you could offer after and before school childcare as a nanny? Best of luck. X

looseleaf Wed 20-Nov-13 20:20:11

I've been similarly challenged (our youngest is 2) and have decided to wait until he's 4 if he can but doing what I can eg have learnt DIY to improve our flat and save bills, have advertised to pet-sit, tried to help on school runs and sold unwanted stuff on ebay. I've also massively cut our bills (changing energy supplier, using an app called Budget so track every £ spent) and got loads ideas from the credit crunch section here. We eat lentils , veg, less meat, never buy anything out anymore etc!

mrsmalcolmreynolds Thu 21-Nov-13 13:28:30

Are there day nurseries local to you? If they're hiring I think some offer preferential rates to staff members. That way even though you might not be looking after DC yourself you would be on hand.

Chunderella Fri 22-Nov-13 21:34:22

Have you looked at childcare vouchers? You might be better off with them than with child tax credits. Generally people on the lowest incomes or with very high childcare costs are better with tax credits, people who earn a bit ore are better with vouchers. There's a calculator.

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