Oh The Economy (IV)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN Well the economy has done its job and i lost my nanny job of 2 years, it was only part time but it was hard news to hear financially and emotionally. I was lucky and found a 3 day a week (9 hours a day) position in a few days with decent pay for a 2 year old and a 8 month old. I work on Tues and Thurs, as well, and mainly have a 2 year old. Even tho i have been a nanny for about 5 years this will be my first as the "first nanny" to a family. With this being said I am having to coach alot on how and what expectations on both ends are. So I have a few questions about things that have always been provided but now I am the one to bring it up. So i need help on correct amounts and procedures to bring it up to the family.

I would love feedback form both nannies and families..

What is the current gas reimbursement? I will be driving my car and have always just been given money. Do you generally go for it or just a set gas amount weekly?

Activity/crafts/etc: What would be an appropriate amount to suggest for a weekly budget? I'm all about free activities but there are things such as the pool, craft material, or other random things that may happen that I would like to do that do come with a fee. like I said 3 days a week 9 hours a day. I have always been given money or just made a list and was given what I wanted. I will of course save receipts as such.

Car Seats: If the family does not have an extra seat is it OK to ask for seats for my car. with a 8 month old I don't want to have to unload and reload every day. I do not want to leave them alone inside while I'm struggling to do car seats and I definitely wont sit them on the grass or anything like. On my T/TH job i just put in the seat on Tues and take it out Thurs..so its a once in once out. He is easier to load with because he will stand on the grass or sit on the porch. I was thinking that if I did have a 2 year old size seat from my MWF family I'd just use it for the T Th family too. So would I ask for them to pay for it fully or maybe just half?


Just my two Cents said...

I leave $25 per week per child spending money in an envelope for the nanny. That seemed pretty standard among the working Moms I know. If there is a a special event or activity, I may have to add to it, but generally that seems to be the right amount since most weeks there is still money left at the end of the week.

Ask the family about the car seat. They may have an extra (or have a relative or friend with an extra, but you should never buy one second hand since they need to be thrown out if they were ever in an accident). It will reduce wear and tear if the seat is not constantly being moved from car to car and they can be more certain it is installed properly if it is not constantly being moved. Personally, I always had my car seats installed at one of the local police's car seat inspection days (Toys R Us also runs them periodically around here) to make sure they are in good and tight and then don't move them. You should let them know you will be using it for another child and if one does need to be purchased, you shoud offer to pay half only because it won't be exclusively for their children's use. Don't know about the mileage. I've only had my nanny transport in my car.

Another opinion said...

I've never heard of parents buying an extra carseat for the nanny. That seems excessive. I don't see why you would have to leave a child alone anywhere. Put the baby in the carseat before you load it in. A two year old can walk on their own and wait the 30 seconds it takes to buckle in the seats.

As for money, I think $25-50/week is fine, and probably more than you'll need. They may already have memberships to a lot of places you could go, like zoos or museums.

chick said...

Another Opinion, it takes way more than 30 seconds to correctly install a carseat. In fact, the belief that correct installation can be fast and easy is the reason more than 75% of carseats are NOT installed correctly, and will NOT provide protection to the children riding in them in the event of an accident.

IMO, OP needs to have a carseat permanently installed in her car for each child she cares for. The parents need to provide the seats. If they are no0t willing to do so, buy seatson your own, keep the receipts, and take the business expense deduction next year on your taxes.

The IRS mileage rate is 55 cents per mile. (link thru my posting name) "The mileage rates for 2009 reflect generally higher transportation costs compared to a year ago, but the rates also factor in the recent reversal of rising gasoline prices. While gasoline is a significant factor in the mileage rate, other fixed and variable costs, such as depreciation, enter the calculation."

As far as spending money/supplies money is concerned, ask for $100 per week, be frugal, stick with a budget, keep your receipts, and re-evaluate after 3 months to see if the amount can drop. Having some extra allows you to also make a milk and bread run without using YOUR money, if that is ever neccessary.

Another opinion said...

I was exaggerating. But I honestly have never experienced an employer offering a carseat to the nanny- maybe it's more common than I realize. However, I would consider a few factors, like how many parks and activities are in walking distance, and how often you expect to take the children in your car, realistically. This is just a part-time job.

Another opinion said...

That said OP, if you feel like your employers would be open to buying an extra seat, and you feel like you really can't manage wrangling up the two kids and loading in the seats then you should ask. There's no reason to have extra stress at an already tough job. But I would feel the situation out first to see if you really need one. If there are parks nearby I'd think you'll be relying on the stroller a lot more.

ATL Nanny said...

I hope you are still in the negotiation stages because this is all stuff that should really be addressed before beginning a position.

It's hard to estimate how much money you will need without knowing your location and average prices of activities, but I would assume $25/wk is enough for a part-time job. The infant will be free, so we are really talking about one adult and one child admission. $25/wk should get you one paid activity plus snacks or tons of craft supplies. The other two days you can do free activities like parks, story hours, etc. Of course, you can always reevaluate after a few months or sooner if it is a serious problem. And you can ask for additional money up front if you are planning a big/expensive outing like the zoo/aquarium/etc. (I would also ask them about family memberships to paid activities. They may be happy to purchase a few, and that would make your weekly expenses almost non-existant. I take my charge to local museums, the zoo, indoor playgrounds, etc daily and almost never have to shell out cash because we have memberships all over the place. Memberships are great because they not only save money, but most offer a family + caregiver options, so nannies can take the kids during the week and parents can use them on the weekend.)

As chick posted, mileage is $.55/mile right now. Legally, you should keep track of your mileage and be reimbursed the actually amount not given a random amount of "gas money" each week. But obviously there are families who prefer to handle it that way and it's up to you to choose how you handle the situation.

As for car seats, I have very little experience with this because I generally will not interview with a family unless they have a nanny car. (Lots of nannies use their own vehicles, but that's a dealbreaker for me.) If I DID use my car, I definitely would not want to be installing car seats every day with a toddler and an infant. That is both a waste of time and unsafe. I would definitely ask them to provide car seats for your vehicle. If you are going to use those seats for other children, I think you need to make them aware of that and offer to pay half the cost or something.

Good luck!

MN Nanny said...

I just get a set amount in gas money each month. It's typically well above what I actually use, but wear & tear is factored in since I am using my own car.

I have always had a set of carseats/infant base provided for me to leave in my car 24/7. I have only done full-time nannying for a minimum of 2 yrs. though so not sure if that makes a difference. The carseats were then returned to the parents.

In the beginning of my current position, I was just left a cash envelope. Anything over, I was reimbursed for on pay day. The cash envelope faded out after about 7-8 months. Now, if I know ahead of time we'll need x amount of money, MB/DB just gives it to me if they have it on them. Otherwise, it's just tacked on at the end of the week. Same thing goes for Target/Michael's runs; sometimes I use MB's CC with no issue or just use my own and am reimbursed at the end of the week. Not that big of a deal for either of us, so it works.

If it is an activity that you plan on frequently doing, look into what the prices would be for a season pass/yearly membership. My current family has a membership to the pool (including one for myself), zoo, and Children's Museum. It just made much more sense to go the membership route, so maybe that is something they can look into getting for you.

BostonsGirl said...
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ericsmom said...

My sister had her carseats installed by the police in town. Your not supposed to take them out. Once there in they should stay there.

Anonymous said...
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Laura said...

This is the OP.

Thank you all very much for your answers!

I have already looked and know we will have to drive to the park or anywhere else. Which I hate, i love having a park in walking distance! I am still in the negotiation stages. I pretty much took the job but have the 2 week "trial" period. Like I said I have never been with a family who hasn't had a nanny before. So I am having to bring up a lot of common stuff and every time I talk to them i have a few more things that is usually talked about on interview one.

I hadn't even thought about memberships. That is a great idea. I work in Livermore, ca and most places we would have to pay are closer to San Fran and to far. So mainly it will be money used for crafts/the pool/ or the occasional snack/lunch out.

As for car seats...safety is a big thing for me. I really want the seats installed at the police station. If it was there car I would feel a little less paranoid/over the top about it...but when its my car, my insurance and their child I worry more. There is a child warehouse with car seats at a discount because they are last seasons colors and whatnot so I will suggest there so a good solution.

Another opinion - I have never heard of a nanny not having a set of seats - if it be in the car provided, extras or the nanny set to keep. I don't see how I could safely carry a 8 month old buckled in a seat, a 2 year old car seat, a two year old, diaper bags, and load and unload every thin with out a good eye on everyone. It would be different if i parked in the garage but since I'm on the street...little different...

thanks again everyone!

monikers rule said...

Yeah the family should provide you with all that you need for the babies.

Another opinion said...

Got it. I've only nannied in cities with great public transportation- too bad you have to drive to the park, etc. Good luck, and congratulations on finding a job in this economy!

just another mommy said...

Since you mentioned that you drive your own car, I thought I would bring up (which I'm sure you know, but for others who don't) that you need special insurance to be toting around other people's kids on a regular basis. As a nanny, there is a special addition to your insurance.

Anyway, I assume the family would need to take care of that expense as well.

nannyinsd said...

I am a nanny with 2 families also. I have a 3 and 6 year old on MW and a 18 month old (with parents expecting on TRF. since the 3 year old is really tiny she is just in a convertible seat that the 18 month old can use as well I just have to tighten and loosen the harness which takes 2 seconds and you should do anyways if the child has a coat on one day. I talked to the mom of the 3/6 year old about sharing it with the 18 month old and mom of 18 month old inspected it as well. Its so much easier and since the 6 year old is in a booster I just take that out if need be without messing with latches.

Mom os 3/6 year old usually has a cash envelope with 25 dollars in and if we go somewhere where it would cost a little more than I check a week a head of time before I suggest it to the kids. But we go to a lot of parks close and the yogurt shop.

Mom of 18 month old just adds it onto my check.

Again keep receipts and track your mileage.

Also libraries are not starting to have passes for museums that can be checked out for a week. Some museums also might be free one day but be prepared for crowds!

Wicker Park Nanny said...

I have about a $20-$30 budget for a 9 month old child. I would say that's pretty appropriate/child.

As for the car seat... why don't you check out your local salvation army or other second hand shop for a bargain find, with safety in mind of course.

upstate mom said...

Car seats "expire" after six years (there is a made on sticker on each seat), plus it should not be used after a car accident, so don't buy used. Your local car safety person (usually sheriff's office and can be found on the web) runs clinics for installation and very often has seats to give out (they get grants from nhtsa).

CaliNanny said...

Gas reimburssment is 55 cents/mile. I would suggest 20-25 dollars a week for expenses. Definitely ask family for carseat or have them pay for you to buy one. (try craigslist for cheap used ones)

chick said...

AHHHHHH!!!!!!! No used carseats!

Such a bad bad idea, unless you know and 100% trust the person handing them down to you. Even then, it's better to buy a new seat.

It's never a mistake to be OVER protective when it comes to car safety.

safety #1 said...

Let me just reiterate what others here have said:
DO NOT BUY USED CAR SEATS. This is not recommended for anyone, but especially as a nanny toting around other people's kids, I would not want to take the risk.

Another Mom said...

Shoot for free--I never had $25 per week to spend going out with my kids at that age, so I stuck to free or as close to free outings as possible. (I realize that arts and crafts at home will cost money--I spent about $50 to get a craft station set up at home, which included Rubbermaid drawers to contain everything and the supplies to fill it with. I average $5 a month to restock.)

Kudos to those who suggested free days at museums, zoos, and the like as well as checking out the library for passes. Don't forget, libraries also may offer free story times and other activites for little ones. (Not to mention free use of books, videos/DVDs, and CDs). Barnes & Noble here also offers free story time and crafts for kids twice a week.

Parks and rec was a life saver for me. It's cold and rainy for big chunks of the year here, so indoor playgrounds and toddler art and dance classes were our major outings. They usually only ran a few bucks each week.

If the parents are willing, by all means, ask them to contribute to the cost of a new car seat. Since you know you will be using it for another child, be up front. Even if they are not willing to split the cost, it may be worth your while--you'll know the seat is safe, how to use it, that it will fit in your car, etc. There may be an option to deduct it from your taxes as a business expense if you foot the bill, so that may be another way to be reimbursed.

SD said...

I would never work for a family who wasn't willing to pay for a car seat to be put into my car for their child. If the car seat were to be shared, that would only mean each family would split the cost, which would be better for them anyways.

I use my own car for one of my nanny positions and I hate it. I feel bitter about it everyday and I will never do it again. Lesson learned.

ally said...

If the family doesn't really want to have to buy an extra carseat, as they can be expensive, I would ask around to other families that you've nannied or babysat for. One family I nannied for ended up buying an extra carseat for my car from the family I had been with previously- the child had just moved to a full back booster from a 5 point harness toddler one, so they sold it to us for pretty cheap. I trusted the family, knew it hadn't been in any accidents (since it had been solely in my car anyways) and it worked out great.

deaf nanny said...

I am a CPST(Child Passenger Safety Technician) and a Nanny. I want to reitterate that you should NEVER buy used car seats unless you know the seat's history 100%. If a car seat has been in even a minor accident, if the harness straps have been washed in a washing machine, if it is expired, etc, it is an unsafe seat. It is not worth the risk to save a few bucks.

I have been a nanny for 6 years, for 4 different families. The first family were infant twins. The parents purchased extra bases for their infant seats for my car. Second and third families, they bought seats to leave in my car. My current family, I went out and bought the seat(they wanted me to pick out the one I thought would last their 35lb 1yr old the longest) and they immediately reimbursed me. I would never switch seats in and out every day, that is completely rediculous. It takes time to properly install a carseat, it CANNOT be done in 30 seconds, OR with the child already in the seat!

As for money. My current employers add an extra $20 for gas onto my paycheck every week. They also give me $20 cash for lunches out, activities, etc. If we do anything extra they usually leave extra on the counter, even if I don't need it. They don't let me return change, they make me keep it. (One time I left $15 of change on the counter for 4 days protesting me keeping it. One day the Mom stuck it in my purse while I was out of the room, lol).

Helaine said...

I surmise by your post that you are scrimping at the bottom of the employer pool. I do not believe in hiring a nanny who needs to use her own car to transport the children. That is ridiculous and unsafe, unless the parents pau for and maintain your vehicle, 100% across the board. I would never allow it, nor would I allow anyone to remove a carseat from my car, even temporarily. That is why employers who can appropriately afford nannies as a childcare choice have nanny vehicles. The rest of you absurd parents should relegate your children to daycare rather than cutting corners that could inevitably cause harm to befall your children.

Baltimore Nanny said...

I have always required my employers to supply me with car seats. I have gone through training to learn how to properly install car seats.

As for expenses, I have always paid for the arts/crafts supplies and given the receipts to my employers to reimburse me. Or, if it was a project I planned far in advance, I would give them the list of supplies and have them buy them.

Admission to zoos, aquariums, etc. is something I have always gotten from the parents before the trip. I would give them a few days' notice that I was planning the trip. And there have been times that a family has said it just wasn't in the budget that week, which I simply accept and plan something else.

On the gas expense, I've always had employers offer me a couple dollars here and there. Also, keep track of your mileage related to work (and any other out-of-pocket expenses) as they are tax deductible if you itemize and file the long form. **of course this is assuming your employers are paying you legally and withholding taxes