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Boosting the family income while reducing childcare costs: Is it possible?

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Working parents have been hit particularly hard during the last few years with many facing redundancy, wage cuts, reduction in hours or stagnant wages, all while every other living cost is on the increase. As well as keeping a roof over their head and food on the table, many working parents have particularly struggled with the increasing cost of childcare, with the average costs of a full time nursery place for a child under 3 being around £9,000 a year.

According to the Child Poverty Action Group and Joseph Rowntree Foundation, for two parents to raise a child up to the age of 18, they will have forked out £148,105 in food, clothing, childcare, heating etc. – that’s the equivalent of £160 a week per child! So with these figures in mind and no magic wand to work its wonders on your bank balance, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of parents are looking at alternative ways of cutting back on childcare costs while boosting the families income.

New initiatives

With parents craving flexibility, many are quitting their usual jobs and becoming self employed. One way to make this possible is by direct selling which allows people to work from home selling goods while being a member of the Direct Selling Association. With less financial commitment than say setting up a business of your own or buying into a franchise, kits to set up your own micro-business cost around £100 and include some sample products. You can decide how many hours you want to commit to and fit them in around your children, saving money in childcare costs. Earnings will vary and be dependent on the time and commitment you provide, but with the savings on childcare and flexibility around your family life, it’s proving a popular option for many working parents.

children in childcare

Use your skills to your advantage

If the thought of abandoning all the skills you’ve accumulated in your job in order to start a business as a salesperson doesn’t sound appealing to you, another popular option you might want to consider is freelancing. With businesses as well as families being hit in the pocket, many companies are cautious of hiring permanent staff and look to freelancers to undertake work; anything from marketing, writing, digital content or virtual assistants.

Getting work as a freelancer is also increasingly easier with many online companies acting as a middleman between companies and freelancers. Sites such as elance.com, freelancer.co.uk and guru.com have seen a significant rise in people registering their services with ‘peopleperhour’ seeing an increase of 94% of mums registering and working from home. More and more companies are recognising mums as a highly skilled section whose talents and abilities don’t vanish as soon as they become a parent. With the ability to work around their children’s schedule or set up home businesses in the evenings, parents are finding new and innovative ways of cutting down on childcare costs and still contributing to the family coffers.

Self-Employed Consultant

Government help

As well as parents finding new ways of overcoming financial challenges, the government has also recognised the issue of childcare costs and are introducing a new Tax Free Childcare scheme which will offer up to £1,200 per year, per child towards the cost of childcare. The scheme is due to come into effect in the autumn of 2015 and will start for children under 5’s, with the aim of increasing provision for under-12’s over the next seven years.

As well as the Tax Free Childcare scheme, the government is also planning on introducing a more balanced system for parental leave and pay which will give working parents greater options when it comes to how they share the childcare responsibilities in their first year. Instead of mums getting maternity leave, parents will be able to share the 50 weeks leave between them. This move will hopefully benefit women who are the main breadwinners in the home, enabling them to return to work while dad stays at home to care for baby, as well as discouraging companies who may avoid recruiting women of childbearing age.

Although there is not perfect solution that will benefit every family, it’s encouraging for all that steps are being taken to help relieve the financial burden of childcare costs and that along with help from the government, working parents themselves are finding new and innovative ways of boosting the families income, cutting down on childcare costs and more importantly, starting to redress the work/life balance that we all crave.

 

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About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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