They say a mortgage is your biggest financial commitment. But for Lauren Hansell and thousands of other parents, housing costs are dwarfed by the monumental cost of childcare.
The 34-year-old and her husband pay £69 per day in nursery fees for their 16-month-old daughter, totalling more than £800 a month for three days a week. But care costs are rising across Britain as nurseries struggle to absorb inflated energy and food prices.
Last week Ms Hansell received an email informing her of an inflation-busting 12pc price rise at her daughter’s nursery from April, which will increase the daily cost to £77.
She said: “Our monthly childcare costs will then be almost £1,000 a month. We already spend more on nursery fees than we do our mortgage, by about a fifth.
“My salary goes entirely on housing and childcare costs, there is no way we could afford it without a double income.”
Perhaps you just can’t afford servants then?