With the cost of living ever increasing, finding ways to save money is more important than ever. Childcare costs can create a significant financial impact on many families and often prevents mothers from returning to work due to financial strain.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can save some money on childcare expenses, allowing you to seek help with childcare, without compromising on the level of care your child receives.
1. Nanny sharing
Many parents who are looking for childcare consider a private nanny or childminder over a nursery. There are many benefits to using a nanny over a nursery which includes a more personal level of care for your child. However the cost of hiring a childminder can be just as expensive as nurseries, therefore sharing a nanny with another family can help reduce costs. If you have a friend who is also looking for childcare, sharing the cost of a child-minder is a great option while also allowing your child to socialise with other children.
2. Tax-free childcare
The UK Government offers parents a top-up based on their childcare costs. If you are eligible you can receive up to £500 every 3 months for each child using childcare from an approved childcare provider. You can also claim this alongside 30 hours of free childcare (which we will discuss below) as long as you are eligible for both.
Tax-free childcare can be used for childminders, nurseries, and also after-school clubs as long as the childcare provider is signed up for the scheme.
3. Working Tax credits
If you are a low-income household and are receiving either Working tax credits or Universal Credit you may be able to claim additional support for childcare.
Check the UK Government website to see if you are eligible for working tax credits. If eligible you could receive up to 70% of what you pay towards childcare, with a limit of £175 per week for one child. If you have multiple children this could be more.
4. Free childcare hours
In England, families are entitled to free childcare hours, and depending on your family’s income will determine what you are eligible for. In some cases, however, you may still need to pay for nappies, meals, or day trips that your child will need.
You can claim free childcare for your 2-year-old if you are on income-based support, your household income is below a specific threshold, or you are receiving other benefits.
Every household in England is eligible for 15 free hours of childcare per week for 38 weeks per year. This is available for families with children aged between 3 and 4 years old. This is available with any approved childcare provider until your child starts the Reception year at school. To apply or find out more click on the above link.
Some families will be able to claim 30 hours of free childcare per week from the government for 38 weeks of the year. This is available to children aged between 3 and 4 years old, again with approved childcare providers. To check your eligibility click on the above link, however, eligibility depends on your income, your working status, and your immigration status.
5. Part-time nursery hours
It is worth checking if you can send your child to nursery part-time. Half-day nursery fees are cheaper than a full day if you are able to organise care for your child in the afternoon. You can still use childcare vouchers for part-time nursery hours, however many nurseries require a minimum attendance. There also might be extra costs for nappies, wipes, and trips so check the nursery’s requirements before reserving your child a place.
There are many other schemes run by the UK Government which you may also be able to benefit from so it is worth looking at the Government website to see what help you are eligible for.
Childcare expenses can cause a considerable financial impact on families, however, there are a few ways to help you save money on childcare costs. With the help of government schemes or sharing a childminder, you can greatly reduce your childcare costs and take the strain off your finances. By checking what you are eligible for from the Government you can greatly reduce your childcare costs without compromising on the care for your child.
*Please note this information was correct as of April 2023. Please check the UK Government website for the most up-to-date information on help with childcare.