CHILDCARE can be a costly headache for parents.
And in school holidays, the average spend ramps up to £138 per week.
I asked Lisa Holmes, a childcare expert and community manager at childcare company Tiney, how you can make savings . . .
CHECK WHAT YOU’RE OWED: “A surprising number of families are eligible to claim child benefit but don’t know it,” says Lisa. “This benefit could help parents pay for childcare.
“You’re eligible for child benefit if you are responsible for one or more children under 16 or 16-20 and still in education or training. You can get £21.15 a week for your first child, £14 a week for any others.”
CHOOSE WISELY: “In my opinion, childminding is by far the best-value form of childcare,” says Lisa. “For children over the age of two, the average cost of a childminder is £112 per week for 25 hours of care.
“By comparison, the average cost for a part-time nursery placement for children over two is £124 per week. Childminders also tend to be smaller groups, which means care is specific to their needs.”
ASK FOR HELP: “As a parent you’re entitled to request a flexible working arrangement from your employer,” Lisa says. “Whether they accept it or not is at their discretion, but it’s important to broach the conversation about flexible or reduced hours. Asking friends and other mums could really help, too.”
FREE EARLY YEARS: “Many parents aren’t aware that they’re entitled to some free childcare,” says Lisa. “All families are eligible for 15 hours’ free childcare per week for three and four-year-olds. Working families (earning over £139 a week) are eligible for 30 hours’ free childcare per week for three and four-year-olds.”
TAX-FREE CHILDCARE: “Parents can also get up to £500 every three months (up to £2,000 a year) for each child aged 11 or under,” adds Lisa.
“For every £8 you pay towards childcare, the Government will add £2 to use to pay your provider.”
Deal of the day
GO green with Higgidy’s veg-packed quiches, £3.75 at Sainsbury’s, usually £4.25.
START the day with Special K Red Berries, just £2 at The Co-op. Was £3.30.
GIN when you’re winning! Sun Savers Facebook followers have been going crazy for this new Gordon’s pink gin cake, which you can pick up for £12 at Asda.
MAKE batch cooking easier with a six-litre slow cooker. You could pick up Lakeland’s cooker for £39.99, or get Wilko’s one in the sale for just £20.
Giselle’s little helper
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