When you take time off to have a baby, chances are your income will take a hit
So here are 11 ways to survive quite happily on less money.
At a glance
- Know your rights - you may be entitled to help from the government
- Your friends might also be in the same position - see what you can do to help each other
- You may be able to save money on your bills and utilities
1. Want to take more time off?
We all know how precious maternity leave is – all those happy months bonding with your beautiful baby. And with some careful budgeting, you might be able to stay off work for longer than you expected, or stop work altogether if that’s what you want. So check out these top tips for keeping your family finances healthy when baby arrives.
2. Find out what you’ll get paid
First, find out what you’re going to have coming in. Not only will you get statutory maternity pay, while you’re on maternity leave, but some companies really value working parents and pay mums more than they’re legally obliged too. So find out everything you’re owed - check the details though as extra pay may come with conditions. The government is keen to support new mums, so find out what payments or credits you’re entitled to.
3. Budgeting brilliance
Careful budgeting will make a world of difference to your finances. Just start with a detailed plan of your outgoings, looking for any potential savings. Check out this great budget planner from the government’s MoneyHelper.
4. Money saving ideas
There are countless inventive ways you can reduce outgoings, from money-off vouchers or paying less council tax, to free days out and throwing out less food. And any money you can save in advance will make a huge difference when money stops coming in.
5. Joint finances
Now’s a good time to combine your finances and think about ‘family expenditure’ - so you can track your financial situation more closely and save money together.
6. Bills with baby
While you’ll probably be saving loads by going out less and avoiding commuting, being at home all day with your baby may send your utility bills creeping up. So why not check out uSwitch to make sure you’re getting the best deals on gas and electricity.
7. Coffee shop madness
Meeting friends for coffee and cake is a lifesaver when you first have a baby, but we all know posh coffee costs. So if your cafe bills are going through the roof, why not visit people at home sometimes instead? Chances are your mum friends need to save cash too.
8. Save on sitters
Team up with likeminded friends or neighbours to create a babysitting club. It’s a great way to hit the town without breaking the bank, and your baby will enjoy knowing the sitter too.
9. Pause payments
Find out if you can take a break from things you won’t need for a few months, like an expensive gym near your work or union subs. This means you can usually avoid paying a joining fee again when you go back work.
10. Borrow and swap
Save cash by borrowing and swapping stuff with your friends and family. If you can avoid forking out on new baby equipment or clothes, books or DVDs you’ll save a fortune!
11. Pause your pension
Why not ease the pressure by reducing your contributions to your pension for a few months but don't forget to set yourself a date to re-instate it.
Surviving on less money doesn’t mean you should cut back on protecting your family’s financial future. Try to still be ‘saving savvy’ as policies like life insurance and saving towards the significant life events of your child do secure your family’s financial future.