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As a self-employed nanny, you are running a business. This means that you’ll have expenses that you need to care for that you may not otherwise notice. 

  • What expenses do you have as a nanny? 
  • How to you track these expenses? 
  • How can you manage your nanny business expenses?

We’ll be going over these in today’s article.

What expenses does a nanny have? 

First off, every nanny will have your usual business expenses 

  • work clothes
  • Invoicing supplies
  • Work miles
  • Printer and ink
  • Gas
  • Etc. 

In addition to these, you’re going to have a few nanny-specific expenses:

  • items for the kids (snacks, toys)
  • Online entertainment (Netflix, Disney plus)
  • Sleepy time music (Spotify)
  • Activity subscriptions (play hooray, kiwico)
  • Items for the household (food items, organizing tools, kitchen items.)
  • Entry tickets to parks and play areas. 
  • Continual education (CPR and First aid certification, childhood development and psychology, etc.)

Now that we’ve gone over what sort of expenses to expect as a nanny, we need to see how we track these.

Tracking expenses

Receipts. Receipts are important. You’ll need them for taxes and you may need them to settle expense disputes with the parents. So, how do you track them? 

Many nannies take pictures of every work related receipt they get. Then, they organize them into albums. Others use apps to organize their receipts. 

I prefer to keep the paper receipts. I organize them in my personal tax binder file-a-fax. Any work receipts I receive I label with a pen “work”, then file it away into the appropriate category and month. If I’m working with multiple families, I’ll keep those receipts separate. Separate from family specific receipts, I keep receipts for supplies and general expenses. 

Miles. I track miles because I can be compensated for all work miles driven, either by the family or the government. With a simple tracker, I can record where I went, why, and the travel distance. Then, have a running total of miles driven. 

Who pays your expenses?

Generally, you can charge the family you’re working with for your expenses. If you feel that having a certain subscription service would improve the work you do, such as Disney plus or Spotify, ask the family if they could sign up to those services for you to use while at work. Or, if there is a specific project you would like to do with their kiddos, give the parents a shopping list. 

Alternatively, you can buy the items yourself and add the expense to your invoice. 

If you do an activity with the kids, going to a national park, going to the movies, going to the fair, or going out to eat, you should never have to eat that expense yourself. It;s best to have a weekly “allowance” worked into your contract that you can spend on the kids. This could be anywhere between $20-$50 depending on where you live. 

If you plan on spending more than that, run it by the parents first. That way there is no shock when they see your bill. 

What does a nanny do if the parent’s won’t reimburse an expense?

If a parent is unhappy with a purchase you made, there are a few options.

Return it. If you can return the item, just do it. 

Explain why this purchase benefits their family. Often, a purchase you make will make your job easier, which means you can do more for the family. Perhaps you can’t do your job without it. 

Ask yourself “was it within my spending budget?” If you went outside your spending budget without warning the parents, you might have to pay for it yourself. 

Show proof of purchase. Often, a parent will be confused about an expense. If you charge them for flour but the kids eat all the cookies before the parents get home, it can look like you’re just trying to pad your invoice. By showing the receipt you have proof that you made a purchase for their family. 

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