Category: Finance

Qualifying for tax free childcare

The Government scheme that gives you up to £2,000 per child What is Tax-Free Childcare? It is the Government backed scheme to simply help parents with the cost of expensive…

The Government scheme that gives you up to £2,000 per childtax free childcare

What is Tax-Free Childcare?

It is the Government backed scheme to simply help parents with the cost of expensive childcare.

The scheme was launched in April 2017 and if you’re eligible, you can get an extra 20% towards childcare costs. If you are eligible, you can get up to £2,000 (£4,000 if your child is disabled)  a year per child towards the cost of childcare for free.

You can even use the funds to pay towards activities like summer clubs.

How does Tax-Free Childcare work?tax free childcare

For every 80p you spend in childcare, the government will add 20p. This essentially gives you basic-rate tax back on your payment.

You can open a centralised account to make it easy. So for every 80p you put into the account, the government will add their 20p. You can then pay your childcare provider directly from that Tax-Free Childcare account.

With the scheme, you will be able to pay for up to £10,000 of childcare.  This works out as you would pay £8,000 and get an extra £2,000 per child each year! If the childcare bill reaches the government maximum, you will not be able to get any more financial support that year. However, you can still pay childcare through the tax free scheme using your centralised account, just with no additional funding. If this happens, it may be easier to pay for your childcare directly with the childcare provider.

Do I Qualify for Tax-Free Childcare?

The scheme is open to all qualifying parents.

  • You (and your partner) need to be in work to qualify for tax free childcare – This includes self employment.
  • Available to single parents
  • Your child must be 11 or younger.
  • For children with disabilities, this is up to the age of 16.
  • You (and your partner) must be earning at least £131 a week. This is the equivalent of 16 hours/week at the national minimum wage for 25 year olds or over.
  • You’re self-employed and your income varies on a weekly basis, use your three month average to see if it meets the £131 a week minimum.
  • Each parent needs to earn less than £100,000 a year.
  • If you have been self-employed for less than 12 months, the minimum income requirement does not apply to you.
  • If you are currently not working but are due to start in the next 21 days.

If you or your partner is in work and the other is not able to, you can still be eligible, if you receive any of these benefits:

  • Carer’s allowance
  • Severe disablement allowance
  • Contribution- based employment and support allowance
  • Incapacity benefit or long-term incapacity benefit
  • National insurance credits

Can I qualify for Tax-Free Childcare whilst on maternity leave?

Yes! paid or unpaid statutory maternity, paternity or adoption leave is still classed as being in work. You just can not apply for the child that you are currently on leave for. You can use the scheme for older siblings.

Example of Tax-Free Childcare

Lt’s say that if your total childcare bill was £500 a month, you would pay £400 and the Government will pay the remaining £100. Therefore, this would cut your £6,000 yearly costs down to £4,800.

If the childcare bill for one child is £1,000 a month, you would pay £800 and have £200 paid for by the Government. However once the maximum amount of £2,000 has been given by the Government, in this case, after 10 months, you will have to pay the full total.

Who is Tax-Free Childcare best for?tax free childcare

  • Self-employed or couples earning less than £100,000 each.
  • Families with more than one child and high childcare costs.

How to sign up for Tax-Free Childcare

First of all you need to create an online childcare account here: Government Tax-Free Childcare site.

You will need:

  • 20 minutes spare
  • National insurance number
  • Unique taxpayer reference (if you are self-employed)
  • Debit card

You will pay money in using your debit card through a standing order, or a payment from your bank account. Although both parents can use the account, only one parent can open it and you will need to decide who’s name you will use.tax free childcare

The government should top the money up hours later after you put money into the account. It can take up to five working days to pay the childcare provider.

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A career break: can this be positive?

When a pregnancy test result displays as positive, one burning question on the mum-to-be’s mind is “how will this impact my career?”.  Whether you are planning to have 6 weeks,…

When a pregnancy test result displays as positive, one burning question on the mum-to-be’s mind is “how will this impact my career?”.  Whether you are planning to have 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years off, time out of work can appear daunting.

positive career break

Although the financial strain of  a family is a huge factor in starting a family. Many women feel that having time off from their job may destroy all what they worked hard for. For me, I felt that my career was finally taking off after years of studying. To take the break initially felt like a positive decision for my family but, a poor decision for my personal growth. I couldn’t explain how I felt to anyone. I didn’t want to be seen as ungrateful for being  lucky to have time off from work to raise my family and that I didn’t bring in the most money anyway, so my job was not that important.

Focusing on the positives now, here are a few things to why taking a career break is positive:

Recharging your batteries

positive career break

Taking time off allows you to rest. Being out of the office or where ever you worked will give you that mental space needed to focus on other things in your life and have a mental break from your job. As a teacher, I remember before I would go to sleep, I’d start planning starter activities in my head or begin thinking about all the books I needed to mark. It has been lovely to truly have a break from these thoughts and reset myself. Now, when I think about work, I become excited as I feel so refreshed and ready to dive back into it.

The unexpected results

When you go from working full time to suddenly not working at all, even as a new mum you will find yourself with a lot of unusual time on your hands. Many women take this opportunity to study something new or start up a business venture they have always dreamed of. I started this blog as a hobby in my spare time, simply documenting my experience as a mum, I never expected that I would end up earning from this. If I was working full time I doubt I would have taken the plunge to start a blog.

“It’s not necessary to think of being away as a way to start a business or go to a new career,”. “The point is: What would you do if, for a while, you don’t have to think about making money?”

New Skills

positive career break

Work is the place where it has been drilled into your head: “this is where you develop skills and grow as a person”. As a new mum, taking time off, you actually gain an abundance of skills. For example, I have way more patience now than I have ever had in my life. Looking after a toddler, I have gained the skills of being extremely organised, resilient, level headed, punctual and my problem solving skills from figuring what she wants during  tantrum have progressed too!

Time for a change?

Having a long period off work gives you the space to think if that was the career for you. Now that you are having time away, you will be able to see clearly if that job was making you happy and you could see great potential in progressing in that job.

Even if you decide that you love your job after having time off, it will be nice to go back with a fresh mind set that you are in the right place without second thoughts.

More appealing candidate

positive career break

You may think that taking time off from will hurt your career. But, have you thought of this? Taking a well needed break, gaining life experience and being 100% committed to you again, will make you look like a more appealing candidate, in comparison to someone who may not know what they really want out of life yet.

 

 

 

Taking the time off can show that you want to further your skill set and try new experiences.

 

So when you feel that you may be hurting your career or you receive the comments “oh you don’t work?” or “you just stay at home all day.” look at the bigger picture. Remember that you have got this incredible time off raising your family whilst resetting yourself ready for your next step. If you decide never to return to work, remember that you are still gaining life experiences and developing skill sets as you would in the work place.

 

 

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Don’t Suffer | Get Help With Debt

Take control of your finances and get back on track. Today there is more help than ever to stop your debts spiralling out of control. It is frightening enough having…

Take control of your finances and get back on track. Today there is more help than ever to stop your debts spiralling out of control. It is frightening enough having debt without it getting worse.

With this advice, you will gain confidence and an understanding on the starting point to getting your debt back on track.debt help pink mole

Where to start?

Many people will bury their head in the sand at the first sign of debt. Unfortunately, this is the worst thing to do as this will not solve your financial problems. You need to admit to yourself that you are in debt. Admitting to yourself is one of the most important steps.

One of my favourite methods is to start by writing down everything you currently owe on loans, credit cards etc. That way, you will know exactly how much debt you are in.debt help pink mole

Prioritise payments that need to be paid off first and payments that are actually manageable. Having order to your financial situation will stop you feel like you are drowning in your problems.

If you are in a relationship, talk to your partner about your current financial situation. Off loading the pressure and working as a team on how to get back on track will give you more support.

Debt Solutions

Here are some more debt solutions on offer:

Professional help

You may have tried to speak to your creditors about your debt struggles and nothing has come from it. Seek professional help.

There are many charities out there today that want to help you. They will provide free help and advice to getting your finances under control.

You can also contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for a manageable repayment plan and they help you discuss your situation with your creditors.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is a formal agreement between an individual and the unsecured creditors. An insolvency practitioner or debt advisor administers it.debt help pink mole

Why? Well, if you are struggling to sort out an arrangement to clear your current owed payments gradually through a debt repayment plan, an IVA is something to consider.

IVAs last for five years. During this time, you will pay an agreed amount to your creditors. Once that period of time ends, any remaining debt will be wiped out.

Do I Qualify For An IVA?

To obtain an IVA, you must fit within the criteria.

  • A minimum debt level of £5000
  • A minimum of 2 credit lines e.g. 1 credit card and 1 loan.
  • A regular income
  • The ability to pay a minimum of £90 per month into the IVA
  • An IVA should offer a higher return for your creditors than bankruptcy
  • You must live in England, Wales or N.Ireland.

You will not be able to borrow again during your IVA.

Bankruptcy

If you cannot clear your debts any other way then this option is a last resort.debt help pink mole

You can either be forced into bankruptcy by your creditors or apply for bankruptcy yourself.

If you owe £750 or more, a company can apply for you to be declared bankrupt. It is however, only recommended to those with unsecured debts of £50,000 or more.

When you declare yourself as bankrupt, other assets such as your home or your car, can be used to pay the people you owe money to.

Bankruptcy lasts for around one year. The bankruptcy will be noted on your credit file for six years. Meaning you will not be able to apply for any further credit and you will be unable to get a current account that offers an over draft. Any accounts you have, your bank will freeze them and as you may not be able to open any new accounts, you will struggle make or receive payments.

This may seem daunting. But, for some people this method has been their last resort to get out of debt.

 

Remember to always seek professional advice before proceeding with an IVA or bankruptcy.

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5 Maternity Rights You Need To Know

Do you know the 5 things your Employer is forbidden from doing while you are on Maternity leave? Knowing your own rights whilst planning and going on maternity leave is…

Do you know the 5 things your Employer is forbidden from doing while you are on Maternity leave?

maternity work leave rights

Knowing your own rights whilst planning and going on maternity leave is critical. I’m not saying that employers try to catch you out on purpose for their own benefit. Sometimes they can make a simple, honest mistakes. But, not knowing your legal rights on maternity leave could cost you.

To put that to a close, whether your employer deliberately or unintentionally makes one of these mistakes whilst you are on maternity leave, they are breaking the law.

1. You have to tell your employer as soon as you know you are pregnant or else you will not get full maternity pay.

Wrong. You are only required to inform your employer at least 15 weeks before your due date.

Your employer is allowed to ask for your maternity leave in writing which I believe is acceptable and a good reference for you later down the line. Please do not feel you have to inform work as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed by the doctor.

 

2. Redundancymaternity work leave rights

Making you redundant in attempt to avoid maternity pay is wrong. You are entitled to statutory maternity pay if:

You have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the completion of the 15th week your before your baby is due.

You were employed for part or all of the qualifying week (15th week before the baby is due)

You earn at least an average of £116 in the two months prior to the end of the qualifying week.

 

3. Give you less than 52 weeks of maternity leave

You are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave.

Considering that you are not classed as self-employed or a worker. The length of time you have worked for your employer should not be considered.

The 52 weeks of maternity leave is made up of the 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave (OML), and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave (AML).

 

4. Deny you changing your return to work date.

You have to give your employer at least 8 weeks notice. You are allowed to change your return to work date. In some cases this cannot be helped as you may be refused nursery placements or other child care plans could fail leaving you no choice. So it is important to remember to have everything in place 8 weeks before returning.

 

5.Refuse to provide you with flexible working arrangementsmaternity work leave rights

If you opt to return to work at the end of your maternity leave your employer must make effort to accommodate you after you return to work. E.G. You may want to go back on part time hours, or have one day a week where you can work from home.

If returning to work is a struggle, having a chat with your employer may help as they may find hours to accommodate you.

 

Being Smart

Employers nowadays are aware of the laws and they do comply with them. A lot of employers want you to talk to them about your maternity leave concerns so you can both be in a position of understanding where you both are at.

Unfortunately there are also bad employers that don’t’ follow the laws.

Use the information above to protect your rights.

If you need more information on your maternity leave rights, there is personalised guidance published by the GOV.UK website. You can find it here.

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10 Money Saving Tips | Baby Shopping

Baby shopping. Now, if you’re anything like me, you can just spend, spend and spend. Baby shopping is my biggest hobby. For some reason, when it comes to shopping for…

Baby shopping. Now, if you’re anything like me, you can just spend, spend and spend. Baby shopping is my biggest hobby.

For some reason, when it comes to shopping for my baby, I do not seem to focus on a budget even when I really need to. It is like a part of me thinks if my baby needs it then I will buy it her. Which is okay but half the time, does my baby really need it?

Look:

I have been strict on myself to save more money as my maternity pay has come to a stop. It is sad, yes, but I feel so much more secure financially now.

You’re probably wondering how:

By following these ten tips I have been able to think twice about my biggest outgoing which is baby shopping.

10 Money Saving Tips When Shopping For A Baby

  1. Think twice before you buy
  2. Shop around and compare prices
  3. Go for second hand
  4. Re-sell anything you no longer need
  5. Avoid baby clothes shopping unless necessary
  6. Do not stockpile
  7. Join baby groups for freebies
  8. Shop neutral
  9.  Spend with cash
  10. Prepare your baby’s dinner from scratch

 

saving money tips with a baby

Think twice before you buy

Did you know some parents spend over £10000 in their baby’s first year?

I can guarantee that most of their spending would have been on items they really do not need.

Have a good think before you put the product in the basket. Ask yourself will you use it enough times to be worth the money or will your baby get their use out of it before they grow out of it.

A good idea is that if at that moment in time you are set on buying it, wait a few days before you go ahead with the purchase. If I have been online shopping and I go back after a few days to check my basket 9/10 times I no longer want it and do not purchase it.

Shop around and compare prices

You can get many brands for less at different stores. Do not jump on the product straight away. Check for price comparisons online first to see if you can get the product cheaper.

Go for second hand

There should be no shame in second hand items. Mole has had tonnes of second hand items from clothes to her Jumperoo. We love it! It has helped me out so much that friends have been able to gift us with what their baby no longer needs. Plus, Mole would never have been able to tell the difference if it was second hand or brand new anyway.

Re-sell anything you no longer need

Selling your baby’s items that you no longer use is a great way to make some money. I love to sell Moles preloved clothes and I think its amazing knowing that another baby out there will be wearing her outfit. It is recycling clothes at its finest.

All the money I earn back from selling her items I use for her next clothes. It has been really fun selling her items. There are so many ways to do it now it makes the process so much easier.

I have a Depop site where I sell her clothes: @zjwaite. But there are many other ways such as Facebook Market Place.

 

Avoid baby clothes shopping

It is so easy to flitter away your saving when you shop for baby clothes. Try to avoid the baby clothes section when you can. Obviously if your baby needs new clothes then you can get what you need. I always do this when I go shopping, I end up picking clothes out for Mole even though her wardrobe will be full.

I have found to really look for good quality in her clothes now. I tend to avoid the really cheap shops as I know how much I wash her clothes they will not last and I end up buying more to replace them.

I love to count out exactly how many pairs of leggings she has then I know how many tops she will need. That way, when I am shopping, I don’t get distracted in buying another pair of leggings lets say when she already has more than enough.

Do not stockpile

It is extremely easy to stockpile on baby products. Whether it is their food or nappies. It is always a good idea to have spares in the house but when the wardrobe is bursting at the seems with spare nappies or your draws are becoming draws just for baby wipes then you need to stop.

baby products savings

If you’re trying a brand for the first time, do not go and buy more than one of their products as you might find you do not like them and you could have used the money on your favourites.

Join baby groups for freebies

Joining as many baby groups as you can, you will be sent vouchers or free samples. These can really help you save! Check out what baby group your local supermarket has!

Shop neutral

Shopping neutral will be ideal if you are planning on having any more babies. You will be able to hand down their clothes or nursery items no matter what the sex is of your baby. It saves you from having to buy lot’s of items twice. Items you will  fall in love with too will be able to stay in the family for longer. It’s a bonus that it will save you money in the long run.

Spend with cash

Now we have contactless payments and our wages are paid through online banking, we rarely have cash. This is a downfall as we can not physically see how much cash we are spending. If you took your spends out in cash rather than on your card, you are likely to spend less.

I love to withdraw a budget then once that cash has gone I can not spend anymore on baby products I don’t need. It’s also fun challenging myself to a spending budget and rewarding when I find the bargains.

 Prepare your baby’s dinner from scratch

baby products savings

Food has to be one of my biggest outgoings at the moment for Mole. Especially during her teething phases I find that I open up more than one shop bought pouch at dinner times to see if I can get her to eat anything. But with most ready made shop bought pouches of baby food costing around £2.00 each now, this all adds up and gets pretty pricey.

I have set the time aside and bought fresh produce or frozen from cheaper stores like Lidl or Aldi and prepared her food myself.

I am saving so much money doing so. Any spare meals I have for her can go in the freezer too. I remember doing this when she first started off weaning and I was saving around £8.00 a week!

 

 

What are your favourite saving tips?

 

PLEASE LIKE, SHARE AND SUBSCRIBE!

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Help your baby’s Grandparents benefit from childcare

We are all aware of formal childcare fees becoming more and more expensive and the best cost effective decision for us can be to let the Grandparents care for your…

We are all aware of formal childcare fees becoming more and more expensive and the best cost effective decision for us can be to let the Grandparents care for your child/children whilst you have to work. They have been a vital role in many of us being able to even return back to work.

grandparent caring for grandchild

Many working grandparents have even give up their jobs in order to care for the grandchildren.

Unfortunately, this can mean losing out on their state pension rights.

So how can grandparents benefit?

Grandparents that care for children under 12 can qualify for National Insurance Credits that can top up their pension in retirement.

Grandparent Facts and Figures

  • Half of the UK’s 7 million, working age, grandparents in Britain have a grandchild under the age of 16.
  • 63% of all grandparents with grandchildren under 16 help out with the childcare. Surely yours must be one of them?
  • 1 in 5 grandmothers provide at least 10 hours a week of childcare
  • 1 in 4 working families and 1 in 3 working mothers use grandparents for childcare
  • The childcare they provide is worth £7.3 billion a year, mainly from school holiday care.

It is clear to see that the decision for grandparents to provide the care whilst parents can return to work is growing in popularity.

How the system works

Working parents can transfer their Child Benefit credits they receive and donate them to their child’s grandparents for the previous tax year.

Both parents and grandparents must apply for the credits to be transferred first. Hopefully by transferring National Insurance credits will stop grandparents missing out on building up a full state pension.

So, if the grandparents care for grandchildren under 12 years old, they can qualify for class 3 national insurance credits. The credits will count towards the grandparents qualifying years for a full state pension.grandparent caring for grandchild

The NIC details

Retirees need to have accumulated 35 years’ worth of National Insurance Contributions (NICs) – These are the credits built up for each year they’re in work.

But, not all grandparents that are retired worked for the full 35 years.

Instead, if they are looking after a child below the age of 12, the childcare credits can top them up.

This means the grandparent can continue to build up their National Insurance Contributions as they look after their grandchild.

How to claim

To claim download this form here.

You can not claim if you have claimed for any other NIC’s that year. The back date for claiming is 2011.

 

 

 

 

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