One of the hardest things for new parents to swallow is just how expensive it can be to return to work. Sophie Turton from Freelance Advisor explains how freelancing can ease the burden of rising childcare costs.
The cost of childcare in the UK is disproportionate to the average annual wage and, in many cases, British families spend more a year on childcare than they do on their mortgages. The Family and Childcare Trust reported a 27% rise in costs since 2009 – with full time figures hitting a shocking £11,700 a year – yet average annual pay in the UK remains steady at around £27,000. It is now up to parents to get savvy in order to develop more effective tactics to help juggle work, family and finances.
Freelancing is a fantastic way to make decent money, while determining your own working hours and, if you’re lucky, doing the work you love. The UK plays host to around 4.37 million people who class themselves as self-employed and 2014 has already been hailed the year of the freelancer. Freelancing allows you to make your own decisions, which often involves setting your own rates - because you are cutting out the middle man, you are able to take home much more than if you worked for an organisation.
Often freelancing involves working from home, which will allow you to be much more flexible when it comes to looking after your children. You could even enter into a ‘gift economy’ relationship whereby you give a service in exchange for a few hours of child-minding during the more busy periods of the week. You will quickly learn that the freelancing community, by and large, offer each other support and tips for successful business practice and the internet means you will never be far from someone who is in the same position as you with whom to share stories, struggles and successes.
Freelancing while on maternity leave can also be a fantastic way of making up the money often lost in the last few months, even if you decide to return to full or part-time work afterwards. The tax implications of doing so are the same as if you were freelancing alongside your job, which is a totally legal and often very viable course to take. However, it is important to be aware of the extra tax you will need to pay and when to inform the taxman. For more detailed information check out this blog post.
Although freelancing is sometimes seen as a risky route to take, progressively more people are choosing it as a more lifestyle-friendly option, particularly for those with young children. With the right support and advice, there is no reason why you too can’t take your skills to the market, enabling you to make more money and therefore work fewer hours, determining a schedule that works best for you and your family.