Cutting Childcare Costs

Anyone with pre-school age children knows that childcare is one of the biggest expenses they face each month, and it has been described by the Family and Childcare Trust as ‘the luxury families have to afford’.

Ironically, while having a nanny used to seem like a luxury available only to very wealthy families, the rise in childcare costs across the board mean you may actually save money by sharing a nanny with another family.

Sharing a nanny could be cheaper than nursery

In its childcare cost survey for 2013, the Family and Childcare Trust found the average full-time nursery place for children under two costs a massive £11,000 for a year, while a part-time place with care for less than 25 hours a week costs £106.38 a week. In London and the South East, the cost is around 25% higher than the average, with a parent in London buying 50 hours of childcare per week facing a typical bill of £14,000 a year.

For those over two, the cost of a part-time place has reached £103.96 per week, which is 6.6% up on last year, meaning the cost of a full-time place would reach more than £10,800.

A place at the most expensive nursery in Britain cost £42,000 a year – more than it would cost to send your child to top public school Charterhouse, at £30,574 a year.

The cost of after-school clubs, nursery and childminder places have all risen by more than 5% in the 12 months, yet at the same time wages have remained static and even fallen in real terms, while inflation has been running at nearly 3%.

While nursery costs have been rising, the cost of having a nanny fell in 2012, as live-in nannies in outer London and the Home Counties saw their gross income fall by £1,550 to £21,963 in 2012. Live-out nannies also saw their income fall, from £34,516 in 2011 to £34,124 in 2012, according to research from the website Nannytax.

So, while having a nanny may have been an out-of-reach luxury some years ago, it now makes sense as a money-saving option if you take part in a nannyshare. You are going to be saving a bundle, and your child will also have more one-to-one development time, and some friends to play with too that do not live far from you. You can share which house the children are looked after as well – maybe one day at one, the next at the other home.

Find a family to share a nanny with

The Nannyshare website will help you find a family close by that you can share a nanny with. It costs £25 to sign up for six months – they assume you will have found your nanny to share within that time – and you can post one job for free. If you do not have anyone close-by when you sign up, you will receive emails as new members local to you are identified.

For two families with three children between them, it could be cheaper in most areas to undertake a nannyshare than it would be to send them all to nursery.

You would need to pay tax and national insurance for your nanny, and it would be best to take out insurance too. You can find out more information about all of this at nannytax.co.uk which will help you with the PAYE and dealing with nanny contracts.

Finding a nanny to share

Once you’ve found another family to share a nanny, contact a nanny agency such as Tinies to discuss your requirements in more detail. If you are planning to find a nanny yourself, Tinies offer Nanny Screening Services specifically for parents who have sourced their nanny themselves. Reference checking, DBS and PVG checks (formerly CRB), contract writing and legal advice are just some of the other services they offer.