From as early as next year, working parents of three and four year olds will begin to qualify for 30 hours of free term-time childcare, up from 15 hours at the moment.
Short of sending me actual money through the post, there is pretty much nothing better the state can do for my finances. This free care is worth about £5,000 a year on average. I have two preschool children and so childcare is my biggest bill.
In September, my eldest starts school, so if my youngest received 30 hours of free nursery a week from next year then I would be about £12,000 a year better off in total. Twelve grand. And that's after tax (I am self-employed so I don't get childcare vouchers), meaning I am almost giddy at the thought of working in order to have money in my bank account rather than spending it on childcare bills.
Yet objectively I know that this is an idea to win votes and support, not an idea to help the country's children achieve their potential. How can we justify spending hundreds of millions on a universal benefit when child poverty is rising?
A government memo leaked to the Guardian last week showed that the benefit cap could force a further 40,000 children into poverty – how can we justify increasing spending on benefits that help well-off families when there are millions of kids in poverty?
The Child Poverty Action Group suggests that the 3.5 million youngsters living in poverty in 2012/13 will be joined by a further 600,000 by next year.
On top of that, children have been badly, badly hit by austerity. Research from the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion and the London School of Economics shows that tax benefit reforms have hurt families with under-5s harder than any other group; families with babies were particularly badly affected.
If there is now finally some money to spare, shouldn't we be spending it on increasing the life chances available to our poorest children?
These are not the only concerns; it's also been suggested that the scheme can't work. The Pre-School Learning Alliance has warned that councils are paying insufficient rates already, and suggested that at least £354 million more would be needed to make the extra hours happen.
Some preschools operate out of church halls and community centres and will be unable to offer such lengthy hours. It is a flawed scheme, both practically and ethically.
Of course, you might read this and accuse me of hypocrisy. Maybe you think that if I am so worried about poor kids I should donate the money I will save to the local foodbank or school uniform charity but I'm no saint. I am not going to work with no personal financial gain if I don't have to.
And even if I did, it would not even be a drop in the ocean when it comes to the UK's issue of child poverty. What would make a difference is the hundreds of millions pounds that is being spent on a universal scheme instead of being targeted at the needy.
You might be reading this and thinking that my argument is very unfair. Perhaps you're a working family forced under the breadline by the cost of childcare. Perhaps you're a parent working two jobs to meet the cost of childcare and the cost of living. Perhaps you can't afford to buy a home because childcare costs so much.
Families in that situation have my sympathy. I think you should certainly get more help. A few years ago, research from Save the Children and the Daycare Trust showed that the cost of childcare is forcing many families into debt, while some even reported cutting back on food in order to pay for childcare.
Clearly, those families need help, especially given that childcare costs for the under-5s rose by an inflation-busting 27% over the course of the last parliament, according to analysis from the Family and Childcare Trust.
But we live in a time of austerity and cuts, and we have to prioritise. The first priority should be lifting children out of poverty and making sure their parents can afford to keep them fed, warm and dressed. The next priority should be to provide more help to those working parents who are more likely to struggle to afford their childcare bills, perhaps by providing free care to those receiving tax credits.
Parents like me may find the childcare a severe squeeze; I am not wealthy. But we can still afford the mortgage, the heating, food bills and the childcare bills – and so really we need to be a lower priority than those who can't.
Free childcare for the comfortably-off is about politics, not about children. The government should not be providing such a vast and expensive kickback to comparatively wealthy families while in other homes children go hungry.
What do you think, is the government right to increase free childcare? Have your say using the comments below.
This website brings travellers together with people offering a huge variety of places to stay in 190 countries. The spaces range from an air bed in someone's lounge, to a luxury holiday home, so you can search for something to suit your needs and price range.
Before you travel, you need to sign up, search the site for accommodation, contact the host, and if they approve you can book their space. It means, for example, you can book a two bedroom flat in London for £80 a night - which is cheaper per person than a hostel - and much more pleasant.
This service connects people looking for a lift with drivers offering them. In the UK it is only operating in London at the moment - but it is expanding.
The service works through a smartphone app. When you're out and about you can use the app to find a driver in your area, hail them at the push of a button, and track their progress in reaching you.
The rates start at £3 plus 32p per minute for travel under 11mph and £1.75 per mile if you're driving faster. The flat fares include Heathrow to West London for £30 - which is significantly cheaper than a traditional taxi. The service was seen as such a dangerous competitor to London's black cabs that they staged a protest in June.
This is a free shopping app, which lets you scan barcodes when you're shopping, and the app will do a price comparison for the same products in local shops and on websites. You can even buy it online through the app.
It will also let you scan products you have at home and find the cheapest local (or online) stockist.
This started life as a flight search website, and has expanded to include car hire and hotels too. It draws together the advertised flight prices from over 1,000 airlines and travel agents and displays them in one place to save you the legwork.
It isn't perfect, because it relies on the information provided by the agents, so if the agent is tweaking the headline rate and then reverts to a higher price when you enquire, you'll waste a bit of time with the agents. It's therefore worth checking reviews on the cheapest agents that come up before you go any further. The prices drawn direct from the airlines, meanwhile, tend to be accurate.
This is a clever site which is designed to help you get a cheap deal on Amazon.co.uk. It has a few features, which you can use together to make sure you always get a good deal from the site.
The first is the price history charts, which show how the price has changed over time, and how the current price compares. If the price is comparatively low you can just buy at that price. Alternatively, if it has risen recently, you can set a price alert, where you input a price you would be happy to pay, and you will receive an alert when the price drops to this level.
If you use a lot of data on your smartphone, onavo extend will help you dramatically cut the data you get through.
It is a compression app, which works in the background on services like sending and receiving emails, checking maps and browsing the web, and ensures it all uses less data (although it doesn't work on things like Skype or streaming video). It works by ensuring that before any data is sent to your device, it goes through the company's servers and is compressed.
It can cut the amount of data you use by up to 50%, which can help you keep within data limits and save you a fortune. It will also monitor how much data you actually use which will help you pick the most cost-effective plan.
When you call 0800 numbers from your mobile it's not free, and it's usually not counted as part of your monthly inclusive minutes, so you'll be charged extra for the call.
If you install the free 0800 Wizard app, you type in the 0800 number, and it will automatically re-route your call to an 01, 02 or 03 number instead. These cost the same as a standard local call, so will be part of your monthly package. If you don't have any minutes left it will be charged as a standard geographic number.
This website is designed to let you shop around without leaving your home. You can use it in whatever way suits you best. For the dedicated bargain-hunter, you can input everything you want to buy, find the supermarket where each item is cheapest, and spend the absolute minimum.
For those who need a bit more convenience, you can fill your trolley as normal through the site (and use the swap and save button to see if you can save by buying a different size or brand). A basket icon on the right hand side of the screen will show you the cost of the same shop at alternative supermarkets, so you can switch the whole lot over at the click of a button. And there's even a vouchers button you can use before you checkout to see if you can save more. The site claims that you'll save an average of £17 every time you shop using the site.
There are lots of voucher apps and websites out there, but one which is worth a look is vouchercloud. Whether you're shopping, eating out, going to the cinema or going for a drink with friends, you can use the location function of this app to find the best deals on offer near to where you are.
This site has been around for a while, but remains a vital tool. You can search for the cheapest petrol in your area - or the area you are visiting - so you can pay less for your fuel without going out of your way. It's free to sign up and you get 20 free searches a week. There's also a PetrolPrices Pro app, so you can check prices when you're on the road.