No change to child support or preschool funding coming out of the federal budget means the financial squeeze on young Canberra families like the Kiddeys will continue.
Jonathan and Rebecca Kiddey of Macgregor have their youngest daughter, Matilda, in child care three days a week and their older daughter, Olivia, in kindergarten, resulting in a constant juggle of working hours and finishing times.
It makes for a complicated workday timetable and an occasionally stressful family life.
Jonathan, 36, is a service electrician working with a national firm on a major construction project at the ANU while Rebecca, 30, has a permanent part-time reservations role in accommodation.
"Jon and I are lucky to be able to structure our working days so that we don't have to pay after-school care but it isn't exactly stress free," Mrs Kiddey said.
With a significant mortgage, their family income is tight but carefully managed. The income tax cut provided in the budget was a welcome one, but is not expected to go far given the fast-rising cost of bills such as rates and electricity.
Mrs Kiddey described full-time childcare costs as “horrendous” and wondered how people could afford it.
“You would need to be on a very good income to make it worthwhile," she said.
"So many kids are now growing up in all-day care. It must be a very difficult decision for women in those senior roles and jobs who have very young children."
A year ago the couple made the carefully calculated decision to stop paying private health insurance to help trim their family budget.
For her family of four, Rebecca Kiddey said it "got too expensive to justify" because they didn't claim on it and it was "just another expense".
“We know it’s a bit of a gamble on us all staying healthy," she said.
“It is a worry if one of us got sick and we had to go on a waiting list in the public system, because you hear a lot of horror stories about how long people have to wait for treatment.
“But I guess you have to look at the positives; I had both the girls in the public health system at the Calvary Hospital [in Canberra] and they [the hospital nursing staff] were terrific.”
Mr Kiddey rises well before dawn and arrives at work before 6am on a construction site at the ANU. It's a significant project so there will be work there for more than a year.
He usually heads home around 2.30pm so he can pick up Olivia from kindergarten and take her off to any scheduled activities such as swimming, as well as look after Matilda at home.
He often cooks dinner and cares for the girls until Rebecca gets home from her evening shift. With their different working hours, there are some long days when the couple don’t get to spend much time together.
“But I guess that’s how it is for a lot of families with both parents working these days; we try to make up for it on the weekends,” Mr Kiddey said.
The couple sold their small but modern house about three months ago and bought an older but slightly larger house in Macgregor. It gave the girls a bedroom each and a backyard for their dog, Ruby.
They are busy with renovations, stripping back the old carpet to expose the floorboards, completely repainting the interior and clearing out the overgrown garden.
They have to run two cars, so the high cost of fuel in the ACT is also a consideration.
“I don’t understand why we pay so much more for fuel here in Canberra than they do in Sydney and Melbourne,” Mr Kiddey said.
"It would be good if the petrol market was more competitive in Canberra; people like us who live a long way from the cheap fuel outlets don't have a great deal of choice."