Tuesday, 14 May 2019

How to get £2000 off the cost of childcare

'If I leave the office by 4, I can get to school by 5 when play scheme ends, but then you’ll have to do drop off, so can you go in late and leave late?' 

Ahhhhhhh. Kids are a logistical nightmare. I think I’ve had this conversation with my husband a million times since my oldest started school. 

Then there’s the holidays to contend with. Six weeks in the summer. Whose bright idea was that?! 

I don't know about anyone else, but sorting childcare feels to me like a full-time job. 

During term time we rely on breakfast club (£2.50 for a piece of toast, I should set up my own), after school club, nursery (for the youngest), and football club. 

During the holidays, it's camp and grandparents. This all costs money (apart from the grandparent option. They haven't started charging...yet!). But there's an easy a way of cutting your childcare bill. 

The government will give you up to £2,000 a year per child to put towards childcare costs. Yep, free money. 

The scheme is officially called Tax-Free Childcare (ignore the really uncatchy name), which replaced the old childcare vouchers (you can't sign up to vouchers any more but if you were signed up before the scheme closed in October 2018 you can still use them). 

To get your free money, you open an account here. This is the account you'll pay your childcare provider from. For every 80p you put in, the government will add 20p. You can pay in up to £10,000 per child each year. 

To be eligible, both parents must be working and earn at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week on average and less than £100,000 including any bonuses. 

Your child must be 11 or under. You can use Tax-Free Childcare to pay for childminders, nurseries, nannies, after school clubs and playgroups as long as they are registered with the scheme.

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