Nappies, bottles, cribs, toys – they all add up. Any working mum or dad knows how hard it is to cover the costs involved of having a kid. Sure – we all signed up for it, but looking at that rapidly plummeting bank balance is a struggle for even the most confident of parents.
But there are ways that you can cut this down.
Although studies have shown the cost of taking care of a child has risen dramatically in recent years – with a recent stat showing that bringing up a little’un could set you back by £148,000 (up four per cent from the previous year) – there are a number of measures your employer could take to help reduce your budget.
Childcare vouchers are becoming an increasingly popular way for employers to help their workers cut down on costs.
Anyone who has had a baby will know that nurseries often charge extraordinarily high rates for their services and this can force even the most adamant of working families into considering a move back to full-time maternity or paternity.
This isn’t really ideal, especially as it is normally women that bear the brunt of this problem – compounding already poor equality figures across the country.
So what do employer childcare vouchers actually do then? Quite simply, they allow parents to get a 20 per cent reduction in the cost of care. Companies like You at Work specialise in helping firms set up their childcare platforms, which will take the money you owe to your nursery of choice straight out of your paycheck, minus the VAT.
This really helps with budgeting, as you won’t have to factor this expense into your monthly outgoings, as it will already have been taken care of.
When you’re looking after a child, worrying about every single little cough, sneeze and burp is a signal of an impending medical emergency. In the eyes of the parent anyway. But with all of this focus on your baby or toddler, your own health can often start to suffer.
However, there is something your employer could, or rather should, be doing to help you out. Health screening programmes have been a fixture of many industries for years, but this has not spread to the normal office-dwellers of the UK.
Getting regularly checked out by doctors has myriad benefits and could prevent a potentially serious illness from developing into something fatal. Although it might sound cold, your employer wants you to stay healthy so you can keep working, so this kind of screening regime is in everyone’s interests.
The school run can be a real nightmare – especially if you’re still hanging onto that old banger from 15 years ago. Company car policies are nothing new and can really help parents to save money on an outgoing as big as buying a new motor.
Many firms have helped their workers to get access to safer cars when they have children and this provides real peace of mind for commuting parents out on the road with a youngster in tow.
You shouldn’t be afraid of asking for help from your employer. If they don’t currently offer you benefits, suggest it – as it could be a great way for them to lower recruitment costs and increase retention.