Childcare is so damn expensive

Emily’s nursery fees have gone up, not by a lot (although the original email nearly made me puke), and it’s amazing how expensive childcare is. Now that I am in full time employment (luckily remote), I added a few more hours to Emily’s nursery so that she could be fully entertained and in a educational fun environment. Adding one a few extra hours and including a full day, I thought it would be a great idea for all of us.

Working from home has enormous benefits, to which I’m lucky. On the odd occasion I may need to go into London, but more often than not, I don’t need to, instead going to meetings via virtual systems or taking calls as and when is needed. These extra hours at Emily’s nursery has enabled me to be able to commit to a better work schedule. Going from £168 a month on fees to around £410 a month, it wasn’t cheap but it was a good thing for both of us when I applied for the hours increase a few months ago and when Emily started the new hours the last week of July.

That is until a week into the new month of these new hours, I got an email from Emily’s nursery that said they were increasing everyone’s nursery fees, “due to the increasing rise of operational costs.” They insist “the fee increases have been kept to an absolute minimum, that enables us to maintain a high level of service that we offer.”

Emily doesn’t apply to the eligible criteria needed for the 15 hours a week at this moment in time – believe me I’ve checked, and she won’t qualify for the 30 hours a week until next January.

But fuck me that’s expensive. She’s not even full time and it’s expensive.

I have friends who work in nurseries and I salute anyone who has to put up with 20 different mini personalities on a daily basis, but it’s still a shock load of money. I have a friend who works in a nursery who said she’s chuffed she doesn’t have to fork out nearly all of her salary a month to pay for her son to go to nursery as he now gets his 30 hours a week.

I totally understand why for most families, they’re better off staying at home and look after their kids. The reality of it, unless you earn a bloody good income, it does not pay to work. The cost of childcare is far too high. Emily is only in nursery for 19 hours a week, but it’s still costly, whichever way you look at it. But, that’s just 19 hours, I feel for other parents who have to pay more for their child who has to be in nursery for longer hours throughout the week and if they have siblings too.

Coram Family and Childcare revealed in its 19th annual Childcare Survey, that the average price for 25 hours of nursery childcare for a child under two has risen by 3% to £6,600 per year. Most parents will be able to get some form of support with paying for their childcare, but others miss out.

“This year, the average price of 25 hours of childcare a week for a child under two in a nursery is £127 across Great Britain, or £6,600 per year. The average price of 25 hours of childcare a week for a child under two by a childminder is £113 across Great Britain, or £5,900 a year… The price of a part time childcare place for a child aged under three is about twice as much as the average household spends on food each week (£60.60, ONS, 2019).

Childcare is vitally important for many families in this country. It supports parents to go out to work and high quality childcare helps to boosts children’s outcomes, particularly in the early years. According to the Department for Education, in 2018 over 7 million children in England alone use formal childcare. Many more children use informal childcare, where children are being looked after by their grandparents. If you’re lucky enough to get 15 hours a week childcare funded for 2 year olds which works out for 38 weeks per year for parents who receive benefits, I’m envious.

Childcare is not cheap and I’m looking forward to the day Emily gets those free hours because it would bloody well help. Nothing is cheap these days but childcare costs an arm and a leg, it’s pretty shocking that most women can’t go back to work because their pay packet goes on childcare. It’s also the worst feeling when you have to hand over most of your salary to childcare costs and important bills.

Anyone feeling the sting of nursery fees? Do you work full time or part time, or does your child now get free hours? Or even, have you not gone back to work because of this?

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Cherryl says:

    A single parent friend of mine pays over £1000 pcm for four days of childcare for her two year old and works from home one day per week – I couldn’t believe it – sounds like childcare costs have risen a lot over the years – and it seems like other parts of the world, like Scandinavian countries – look after families a lot better than what we get in the UK, sadly 😔


    1. This is the thing. So many people ask us when we are going to have a second but they don’t think about the cost of childcare etc. A woman I know who has 2 children in nursery under the age of 3 so she can go back to work full time pays almost £1600 a month on childcare – she works to pay for childcare and lives off her husbands salary. That’s insane. There is help available but not for most of until your child turns 3. Having another would be great, I’d love to for Emily, but I couldn’t work from home with 2 kids and pay for excess childcare and whatnot in between. It’s unfair.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cherryl says:

        It’s very unfair – almost like it coerces women to ‘live to work’ (which for some women, creates a huge amount of stress and health problems, working long hours, and lack of time to spend with the children – raising the question ‘is it all worth it”) – or should we just sacrifice careers/jobs. I think it’s very insensitive to ask people flippant questions about ‘having children’ – especially if it isn’t done privately and sensitively. Having a job that is flexible enough to accommodate working from home is a privilege not all can access – so this isn’t really the answer – unless women choose to seek careers the are/can be home based. Childcare costs need to come down or come with a fairer (means testes) fee system perhaps. The other side of the coin is that lots of couples are trying desperately hard to have a child and it isn’t happening for them – they might not want to share this with all and sundry.

        It’s a tricky balancing act – I hope you manage to keep steady on the parenting tight rope 🤗 x


  2. kelly81x says:

    As much as i fully sympathise with childcare costs and having to pay them, unfortunately as a childminder under pressure to provide for my family i can say that i am not in a position to drop the price of fees. I am sure that i already offer a flexible service to meet the needs of the parents and families in my care. I do try really hard to be flexible and with lower costs but this has a massive impact on my family too. After all of the expenses have been taken out i barely have enough to pay my own bills and anything else that i need to make my business viable.

    There is so much focus on the cost of fees that fewer people seem to realise that they are not the only ones in that position. I work 55 hours a week to care for the little ones as their parents go to work. Based on a minimum wage alone this means that i would earn £451.55 a week. I don’t even earn that and this is before all of my expenses. Some people need to wake up to the reality of what is really happening and not what they assume is happening!


    1. Gosh, I’m not looking for anyone to drop the price in fees. That wasn’t my intention with my blog post, all I was saying was how expensive it can be. One of my friends works in a nursery and says the cost as a mother is costly and also she doesn’t get paid enough. I don’t think the pay to deal with my child on any occasion is enough or the 30 others on top, but it’s tough this end too, with one, being self employed, paying bills, and all the rest on top. Childcare shouldn’t cost so much that you have to choose between your job or education/learning or funding it to make it work for you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ps, it annoys/angers/f*cks me off that the educational/NHS/healthcare/national services can work their arses off, educating or saving lives, yet here is the world worried about some reality star’s next t-shirt debut. The money is spent in the wrong place.


    1. kelly81x says:

      I definitely agree with this! All the money is poured into the wrong places. Childcare at a school age is free so why shouldn’t that be the case for childcare of all ages. There will never be an answer to any of the questions that we ask unfortunately. 😦


      1. Yes exactly. I have friends who work in childcare and they tell me the horror stories they have to put up with for so little money. It’s baffling how a “reality” tv star gets paid for zero acting skills or a football gets paid millions, but our most needed professions (doctors, fireman, police, teachers, nurseries, childminders) get pittance.


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