Cut the Costs: Five Easy Ways to Save on Childcare
Amidst the current financial crisis, rising costs have made it imperative, more now than ever, to be smarter with our spending. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the best ways to save some pennies when it comes to nursery fees.
Though it’s not exactly being screamed from the rooftops, there are many ways that the Government can help with paying childcare fees. Your eligibility for some of these schemes may depend on your circumstances, so it’s certainly worth having a read through the following options we have compiled to find out what would work best for you – the amount you could be saving may surprise you.
If you’re not already claiming Child Benefit, this would certainly be the place to start! When claiming Child Benefit, you will receive £21.80 weekly, paid every 4 weeks, for your eldest— or only— child. You can then also claim £14.45 per additional child, paid in the same manner.
You are normally eligible for Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training) and you live in the UK. You can begin claiming as soon as you’ve registered the birth of your child, or as soon as they’ve come to live with you. It’s also worth noting that this can be backdated up to 3 months.
For more information on how Child Benefit works and how you can claim it, visit https://www.gov.uk/child-benefit.
Funded Education and Childcare for 2-year-olds
If you are already receiving some level of government assistance, the government funds 570 hours per year of early years education for 2-year-olds. This usually means 15 hours a week during term time— 38 weeks per year, though this funding can sometimes be stretched across the year with fewer hours per week. Make sure to speak to your nursery manager about the options available at your nursery.
The full list of eligibility requirements can be found here, but generally, you should be eligible if you live in the UK and receive:
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
Child Tax Credit
Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
The funding itself is intended to deliver free, high-quality childcare. It is not intended to pay for the costs of meals, drinks, snacks, nappies (where applicable) and other consumables, extra hours or additional activities (where applicable). To cover this, a consumables charge is made for funded sessions. The charge contributes to all the resources consumed during the Universal Funded sessions.
15 & 30-hours funded childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds
All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 570 free hours of childcare per year. This time is usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, but some choose to take fewer hours over more weeks, especially if their nursery provider is not term-time only— make sure to speak to your nursery manager to hear about the options available at your nursery. This funding begins the term after your child turns 3, and stops when they start Reception.
On top of the above, some families can claim a further 15 hours of funded education and childcare, equating to 30 hours, which you can apply for from when your child turns 2 years and 36 weeks old. Eligibility for the full 30 hours depends on a few factors, including:
if you are working
your income (and your partner’s income, if you have one)
your child’s age and circumstances
your immigration status
As with Two-Year-Old funding, this funding is intended to deliver free, high-quality childcare. It is not intended to pay for the costs of meals, drinks, snacks, nappies (where applicable) and other consumables, extra hours or additional activities (where applicable). To cover this, a consumables charge is made for funded sessions. The charge contributes to all the resources consumed during the Universal Funded sessions.
One of the best ways to save on the costs of childcare is Tax-Free Childcare, the Government scheme that replaced childcare vouchers. This offers parents up to 20% off their childcare costs, up to £10,000 per child, per year. This means that for every £8 a parent pays into their Tax-Free Childcare account, the Government tops up an additional £2. This could save you up to £2000 per child per year, or £4000 for disabled children.
In terms of eligibility, the scheme is open to:
Working single parents or couples who are both in work, and each earning between £120 a week and £100,000 per annum.
Parents with children under the age of 12, or with a disabled child under the age of 17.
This can be used in conjunction with 15 and 30 hours free childcare, however, it cannot be used by those already claiming Universal Credit, Tax Credit, or Child Tax Credit.
To read the full breakdown of information about Tax-Free Childcare, including eligibility and how to apply, click here.
Universal Credits for Childcare
If you are already claiming, or are eligible for Universal Credit, you may be able to claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs. This equates to up to £646 a month for one child, or £1,108 for 2 or more. You (and your partner, if you live with them) will generally need to either:
be working— it does not matter how many hours you or your partner work.
have a job offer.
The amount you receive will depend on your earnings. Your circumstances are assessed every month and changes in your circumstances can affect how much you’re paid for the whole assessment period— not just from the date you report them. If you stop working, you must report a change of circumstances in your Universal Credit account.
We hope you have found these tips useful, and that you are able to save some money by taking advantage of the schemes available to you! If you are already a Parent/Carer at a Kindred Nursery, speak to your Nursery Manager who will be more than happy to provide advice or help with any questions you may have. If you are currently looking for a nursery place for your child, why not use our handy Postcode Search tool to find one of our award-winning Nurseries near you and book a tour? We can't wait to see you!