It’s official - the countdown is on to Christmas and we’re getting very, VERY excited in the office.
We’ve all been reminiscing about the Christmases we had when we were young. I think my favourite memory is waiting for Santa and peeping out of the window hoping that I’d see him on his sleigh.
A lot of the team vividly remember running downstairs early on Christmas morning in their pyjamas, and impatiently waiting for Mum and Dad to follow, so they could start opening their presents. (A few of them even confessed to ripping the sides of the wrapping paper and trying to take a sneak peak at what Santa had brought them!)
It hasn’t changed a lot now we’re all grown up… This year I can’t wait to…
- Spend time with my family
- Tuck into a roast dinner on Christmas day
- Indulge in lots of mince pies
- Laze around in my Christmas jumper
- Wrap presents (and of course open them on Christmas morning)
We’ve also been talking about our New Year’s resolutions and what we’re going to try and do next year – have you thought about what your New Year’s resolutions will be?
The parents on our team have come up with some resolutions for their children already, such as getting them to:
- Keep their room tidy
- Do their homework on time
- Eat all their greens
- Take up a sport
- Put their hand up more in class
Our ‘Top Ten Childcare Voucher Tips’ for the new year...
If you have a child at school, juggling your childcare needs whilst you’re at work can often be a challenge – you need to cover the gap between you starting/finishing work and core school hours during term-time, and then you have to sort out cover during the 14 weeks of school holidays!
As the autumn term comes to a close, with the winter holidays almost upon us, here are our ‘Top Ten Childcare Voucher Tips’ to help you make the most of your childcare vouchers in the New Year:
1) Childcare vouchers can be used for school-age children, up to 15 years old (16 if registered disabled).
2) There are many types of ‘wrap-around care’ for school-age children during term-time, including breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and childminders. You can use your childcare vouchers to pay for all of these!
3) You don’t have to use your childcare vouchers immediately. You can save them up for when you need them most.
4) If you don’t currently order the maximum amount of childcare vouchers allowed for your tax band, you can increase your order to the maximum, and save the vouchers you don’t use each month, for a time when your childcare costs are likely to be higher.
5) You can use childcare vouchers during the 14 weeks of school holidays to pay for day camps, residential activity holidays, holiday clubs and playschemes.
6) Residential activity holidays and day camp providers include Barracudas, Camp Beaumont Day Camps, Camp Beaumont Residential, Supercamps and Kings Camps, and many more! For details of their offers and discounts visit our website.
7) You can easily catch up on any childcare vouchers you've missed within each tax year, if your employer allows you to. Simply log on to the ‘My vouchers’ tab on your Computershare online account and see what outstanding balance you have available.
8) You can find childcare for older children by:
a. Asking at your child’s school about extended services available during the holidays
b. Visiting your local authority website and searching on “Family Information Service”
c. Visiting websites such as www.netmums.com or www.mumsnet.com and forsaking about childcare in your area
d. Logging in to your Computershare account and searching by postcode to see which carers are nearest to you and registered with us. If they don’t appear, they can be added for free – just give us a call!
e. Searching online for residential activity holiday and day camp providers, and holiday clubs and playschemes
9) Don’t forget you can use your childcare vouchers for more than one child, and to pay more than one carer. And you should always ask your school/carer if they accept childcare vouchers.
10) Because the value of your childcare voucher is taken from your gross pay, you don’t pay any tax and National Insurance on it – this is how you save money. If both you and your partner are Basic rate taxpayers, and you’re both taking the maximum £243 in vouchers each month, you can save up to £1,866 in tax and NI exemptions as a family each year!