How To Get Help With Your Childcare Costs

Nov 07

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working tax creditWhether you choose to return to work after the birth of your baby by choice or due to financial pressures, childcare costs can be astronomical.

In the UK, the average cost for a full time place at nursery is around £177. Which means some people will be paying considerably less, but others will be paying considerably more.

But there are ways to get help with your childcare costs so that you don’t end up going back to work just to pay to keep your child safe.

Childcare Tax Credits

Unlike most other types of credits that are only applicable to those out of work, Childcare Tax Credits are specifically designed for those that do have a job to reduce the cost of childcare.

But in reality, this tax credit is not actually called the Childcare Tax Credit, although that’s what most people call it. Instead it is titled the Childcare Element of the Working Tax Credit, much more official and far more difficult to remember!

How the Childcare Element of the Working Tax Credit Works

Basically, the Childcare Element of the Working Tax Credit is a sum of money that is paid to you on a weekly or monthly basis to help with the cost of raising your children.

Eligibility will depend on the number of hours you work, your salary and the number of children you have. And all credits must be applied for to ensure you get them.

Thousands of people every year miss out on this basic entitlement just because they don’t know about it or think they earn too much to be eligible. But even if you think this isn’t the case, isn’t it worth a few minutes of your time to ensure you couldn’t benefit?

How To Apply

The easiest way to find out if you are eligible is simply to pick up the phone and ring the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900.

As a guideline, Childcare Tax Credit is offered to individuals or couples who work a minimum of 16 hours per week with an average income of less than £41,000 per year.

But with different options for those with more than one child and for parents who have a disabled child, or are disabled themselves, even if you do not think you are eligible, it is always worth a call.

It’s Not Just For the Childminder

It is important to also realise that this support is not just for individuals who put their children in full time nursery. It can also help parents who have older children that go to afterschool clubs or summer camp.

Anyone with a child under 16 years of age, or under the age of 20 and in full time education, can apply. And there’s no penalty if you apply and you are not eligible, so why not give it a go.

Working Tax CreditRemember to Renew

Once you get your tax credit, the key to long term success is to make sure you sign and return the annual renewal statement when it comes through the door.

Thousands of people every year are losing their benefits, just because they don’t realise that the form has to go back.

In fact, the deadline at the moment is the 1st July every year, and if miss this deadline it can cause all sorts of problems.

Take Action Now

Though you may not want to think about it just yet, returning to work can be a difficult time for your whole family. So make sure you are as prepared as you can be using every means possible to get the best support.

And when you have a few moments putting your feet up with the PC, browse the HMRC Website and get the latest up to date information on all the support you are entitled to from Childcare Tax Credits.

You never know, it could make all the difference.

Get Your Maternity Fashion Tips From New Look

May 03

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When the creators of the ‘Best On Budget Maternity Line’ offer to share their inside secrets on how to look good during your pregnancy, it’s probably a good idea to take a couple of minutes to see what they have to say – and we really glad we did.

This new short video from New Look, who were voted Pregnancy & Birth Magazine’s Best on Budget Maternity Line for 2012, gives an insight into what to expect throughout your pregnancy as well as real life women discussing what is required from maternity clothes and why the new range from New Look is definitely worth considering.

It’s great to see normal shaped women showing us what maternity clothes should like and we loved seeing the key pieces from the new collection including great shaped maternity leggings which are so essential through pregnancy as well as tops and trousers for casual, workwear and special occasions.

Maternity Paisley Print Maxi Dress from New LookBut the item that stood out for us has to be the Paisley Print Maxi Dress as worn by Amanda in the clip.

As you can see from the video itself, the colouring and sophistication that this dress provides the model is instantly apparent. The beautiful shape floats gently over her bumps and gives an elegant, summery feel that you too can achieve with this gorgeous style.

Though only on sale in some flagship stores, this dress is readily available online and at only £24.99, it is not something that is going to cost you the earth, but it is going to make you look and feel amazing.

Maxi Dresses are perfect for pregnancy. The under the bust emphasis draws the eye up your body while the long floating skirt gives you a fluid silhouette that makes you feel feminine and attractive even towards the very end of your pregnancy. And because you choose your pre-pregnancy size in all maternity clothes at New Look, this dress is also perfect for wearing after the baby is born and will give you some extra leeway when you are still trying to get rid of that extra post baby weight.

Whether you are going to a special occasion or just want to feel a bit more gentile during your pregnancy, order this dress from New Look today and see that maternity fashion with elegance and style doesn’t always have to come with a heavy price tag.


Don’t Forget Your Hair In the Sun

Jun 29

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Maternity Bikini from Marks and Spencers at Simply MaternityNow that we are finally beginning to see the start of summer and an upsurge in demand for Maternity Swimwear as the days get warmer, most pregnant women are making sure they keep their skin properly moisturised and protected from the sun, but how many of us remember our hair?

The consistency and style of your hair can change dramatically when you are pregnant. Some see an improvement in the quality of their hair while a significant number of women experience a reduction in the quality of their hair thought to be due to the nutrition that is needed to build the best hair follicles being used to build your baby instead.

While it is the case that pregnancy can ruin the quality of your hair, there are more significant factors that can damage your hair at any stage in your life and they are the things that make the summer most fun: the sun, chlorine and salt!

Celebrity hairdresser Mark Hill has gone on record to warn women about the damages of the sun on your which can cause drying and bleaching. This leads to existing colour fading more quickly and a poorer quality of hair. And if your hair is weakened by pregnancy, this damage is going to occur even quicker.

To keep your hair in the best shape you can this season, make sure that you rinse any salt water or pool water from your hair every time you come out of the pool or the sea and wash your hair with a good quality shampoo at the end of the day if you can. Use a replenishing conditioner to give your hair an extra boost and consider using leave in conditioner or day protection when you are out and about.

Wherever possible covering your head can also help. Not only will this protect your hair but it will protect your scalp from harmful sun rays and keep the heat off your head which can be very uncomfortable during pregnancy. Choose a brightly coloured scarf to add interest to your outfit and draw attention away from your bump or a sun hat with an oversized brim for a fun, cool style that will work to ‘thin out’ your body at the same time.

So when you are in the sun this summer, make sure that you put as much attention into protecting your hair as you do your skin. Whether you want to get a nice brown tummy in a maternity bikini or want to stay covered up, being safe in the sun is not only going to keep you looking great and feeling comfortable this summer but it is also a great practice to start now to teach your children in the years to come.