According the the annual Halifax Cost of Childcare research, the cost of raising your kids from birth to 11 has risen significantly in the last few years by 4% - to the sum of £87,000.
|Childcare costs can form a significant part of your monthly outlay|
Childcare costs obviously vary according to the child's age and needs. Some parents will not need childcare after their children start school, other than for school holidays.
For others, breakfast clubs and afterschool clubs become the norm, often supplemented with childminder fees to cope with pick ups and drop offs.
Add in the costs of holiday clubs, play schemes, activity camps, babysitters and nannies, and the costs soon mount up.
But do you know about Childcare Vouchers?
These are a way to help parents save money on childcare costs through holiday periods such as half-term.
Childcare Vouchers are available through employers to pay for any registered childcare for children up to the age of 16, and can provide savings of up to £933 per year.
Simple to use, a chosen amount is deducted from your wages in return for the same amount of Childcare Vouchers before tax and National Insurance. They are then placed into an online account for parents to use to pay their childcare provider(s).
Vouchers can be deducted each month or as and when they are required. They can be saved up in the online account for when they are needed – perfect for those who only need them to pay for sporadic or school holiday childcare.
Both parents can join their employer's Childcare Voucher scheme, potentially doubling savings – making childcare more affordable.
The Government were planning to launch their new Tax-free Childcare scheme in autumn 2015, but this has now been delayed till 2017.
|After school clubs also come at a cost|
Furthermore, they will be many parents who will be better off continuing to use Childcare Vouchers as the savings they provide will be more than they would get through Tax-free Childcare.
Under the new scheme, many parents will be worse off, including middle-low earning parents, families with only one working parent, families using childcare for only a few days a week and those who have children in childcare over the age of 12.
Childcare Vouchers could therefore be the answer and it may well be worth speaking to your employer about Childcare Vouchers, especially since they will save money too.
Or, you could talk to an agency such as Busy Bees Benefits who can discuss the scheme with employers on your behalf.
Busy Bees Benefits' Childcare Voucher scheme helps working parents to save money on childcare and their employers can offer this valuable benefit at no cost to the organisation. Parents can also receive an additional discount if they use a Busy Bees Voucher at a Busy Bees Nursery - there are currently 230 in the UK.
It is certainly worth exploring your options when it comes to defraying your childcare costs and making sure you are getting what you are entitled to.
Further information at Busy Bee Benefits or you can call them on 0330 333 9100