As the impact of the cost of living crisis hits home for millions of people, parents across the UK are paying eye-watering sums of money every month in childcare fees.
A survey found that two-thirds of respondents said they are paying as much or more for childcare than for rent or mortgage payments, and one in four parents are claiming to have had to cut down on necessary expenses such as food, heating or clothing to afford childcare.
The average cost for a part-time nursery place is £7,000 — often one of the biggest fixed costs for families.
The best options will depend on personal circumstances, but here are some top tips from consumer group Which? to save money on childcare.
Working parents can claim tax-free childcare
Tax-free childcare is a government scheme that pays working parents a top-up based on their childcare costs.
Parents can claim up to £500 every three months for each child looked after by an approved childcare provider, sent via an online account. Parents that meet the eligibility criteria can apply through HMRC.
Check if you’re eligible for tax credits or universal credit
Both working tax credit and universal credit offer extra support for families where the government gives the recipient extra money towards paying for childcare.
To qualify for working tax credit, the person claiming, and their partner, must both work at least 16 hours a week. One person can be out of work if they are entitled to carer’s allowance, in prison, in hospital, or incapacitated.
Read more: Cost of living squeeze hits 900,000 more households
It is possible to save up to 70% of childcare costs, up to a maximum of £175 per week for one child, or £300 for two or more children.
Similarly, people claiming universal credit can get 85%…
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