Finances and Returning to Work After a Baby
The financial implications of returning to work after having a child are not simply the difference between your salary and the cost of childcare. In order to get a true picture of the cost of returning to work you will need to honestly weigh up the incomings and outgoings. This is the practical cost of returning to work and you will need to include the emotional cost to get a holistic view.
The Practical Cost of Returning to Work
ChildcareIf you are fortunate enough to have a choice of childcare options, you will find that they can vary in price considerably. This tends to reflect the flexibility and quality of the childcare, although availability and location can play a large part in the cost, too.
Many childminders and nurseries charge a set weekly or monthly fee, regardless of whether your child is looked after by them throughout this time. For example, even if you take two weeks holiday from work and you do not use the childminder, you will still be expected to pay.
You must also take into consideration the additional costs of using a childminder – will you need to prepare a packed lunch for your child each day or will you need to buy your childminder Christmas and birthday presents (mothers in some areas can be very competitive in this field).
ClothingWhen you return to work you will probably feel as though the clothes you previously wore for work are no longer suitable. This may be because you have not needed to wear a suit for many years or that the styles you wore before no longer suit you. Before you go back into the world of work you will probably have to invest in some smart clothes or well tailored suits. As you will need to do this before you have been paid, you will need to budget for it.
Tax CreditsRecent changes in the government tax credit system means that many working families are entitled to tax credits if they meet the eligibility criteria. You can nominate which bank account this is to be paid into – either you or your partner. You can find a great deal of helpful information on the government website and there is a helpline number to call for advice. You will need to inform them of any changes in your circumstances.
Increased SpendingThere can be many unseen additional costs connected to returning to work that are not required to the same extent when at home with your child. Costs such as petrol, parking, dry cleaning and lunches can make a big dent in your wage packet. Take these hidden costs into consideration when weighing up the financial benefits of returning to work.
The Emotional Cost of Returning to Work
Many women do not feel ready to leave their child in a nursery or with a childminder, especially if they return to work straight after statutory maternity leave. Other women are looking forward to going back to work having experienced feelings of boredom and frustration at home with their child.
However you feel, do not take going back to work lightly. You may feel emotional about the decision to leave your child, or that the cost of your childcare is barely covered by your salary. Talk to your partner and friends about how you are feeling rather than bottling it up.