By Sabrina Rogers-Anderson
Sabrina is a writer and author with three children – including twins, which can be expensive! She shares her top tips for lowering their cost of child care.
I started my business in 2011 and I worked hard to build a client base that included fitness magazines and parenting websites. I felt so lucky that I was getting paid to do what I loved.
My first daughter was born two years later and my whole world was turned upside down. I forgot all about work as I tried to make sense of breastfeeding, swaddling and mumming on very little sleep.
When my daughter was six months old, my bank account balance clearly indicated that it was time for me to go back to work. I didn’t want to tear myself away from my adorable milk monster, but I was lucky to have my mother-in-law and sister-in-law nearby to care for her while I worked. I decided I would start with two days a week.
As soon as I started writing, the fog cleared from my mind and I felt like my old self. I had thrown myself into motherhood with everything I had, but it felt amazing to have a sense of purpose outside of being a mum again. I found that I was able to be more patient and loving when I’d had some time away from my daughter to purse my passion.
So was the cost of child care worth it?
When my daughter was two, we found out that I was pregnant again… with twin girls! As much as we loved our life in Sydney, it was an expensive and busy place to raise three kids under three. So, we packed up our life and moved to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland when I was six months pregnant.
Because we were moving away from family, we had to find a child care centre for our daughter so I could continue to work. But when we looked at the cost, our jaws dropped! I’d barely be covering her child care fees with my slim income.
In the end, we decided it was worth it because my work kept me sane and I’d busted my chops to build a client base that I wasn’t willing to give up. You can’t put a price on that.
Many of my friends who don’t work feel that the cost of child care is worth it for their family too. “I was going a little crazy being at home alone with my kids six days a week while my hubby was at work,” says mother of two Melissa.
“Thankfully, he was supportive of me enrolling them in day care two days a week so I could have some time to myself. I spend most of that time grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning with some short trips to the gym, but it’s made such a difference. I felt like I was getting depressed before and now I feel so much better. It’s worth every penny.”
Making the most of my Child Care Subsidy
Fast-forward five years and now my twins are in child care… to the tune of $600 a fortnight! (There was even a year when all three girls were in care and I don’t even like to think about how much it cost us…)
While that may seem like a lot of money, I don’t even question whether it’s worth it anymore. I’m working four days a week now and earning more than I used to. Plus, my career is a crucial component of my mental wellbeing and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.
I’ve also made sure that I’m receiving the correct amount of Child Care Subsidy after making a costly error one year. I’d overestimated how much I would earn and was overcharged for child care all year! I got all the extra money back, but we struggled to pay all year long and I’ll never make that mistake again. Now, I regularly revise my estimated income on the Centrelink website to make sure I’m not overpaying.
I also recently revised my activity level to reflect the fact that I’m working more hours and I realised that I was entitled to 100 hours of subsidised child care per fortnight. I needed those 100 hours to cover my twins’ four days a week at kindy (preschool), so it’s a good thing I checked because I could have been overcharged all year again!
Figuring out how much Child Care Subsidy (CCS) you’re entitled to might seem complicated, but our easy Child Care Subsidy guide will have you sorted in no time.
We even have our very own Child Care Subsidy Calculator for calculating how much CCS you will be entitled to.
If you have any questions about CCS, feel free to reach out to a member of our team on 1800 314 517.
We’re always happy to help!