Guest Post: Tips for Surviving on a Budget on Maternity Leave
19 January 2018
Having a baby is the most magical time. However, as your little one grows, you can find your bank balance shrinking. We spoke to family lifestyle and personal finance blogger Emma Maslin from The Money Whisperer who gave us some great tips to help you survive on a lower income during maternity leave.
Know what you're going to be paid
Each employer has their own policy on maternity pay so it’s important you know what you are going to be paid for the time that you are on maternity leave. You may be lucky and receive generous maternity benefits but for many, statutory maternity pay (or maternity allowance if you are self-employed or earn under £113 a week) is the baseline income.
Draw up a budget
Once you know how much money you’ll be receiving over your maternity leave, draw up a budget to help you keep track of how much money you have available. You need to plan a budget for the whole of your maternity leave as the income you receive changes over time. Remember you won’t receive any statutory maternity pay after 39 weeks. Try putting your income and your partner’s income in to this budget planner and then add in all your expenses. Don’t forget anything that you pay annually or any one-off payments coming up.
Make money a family affair
You’re going to be a family so if you and your partner have kept your finances separate up to now, now’s the time to think about making money a family affair. Together you may find ways to reduce some of your expenses and come up with ideas to make your money go further.
Don't forget your KIT days
During your maternity leave you are allowed up to 10 ‘Keeping in touch (KIT) days’. You’re entitled to KIT days as long as you are eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay, regardless of the hours you work. You’ll be paid for the work you do, as well as still receiving your maternity pay – so book those 10 days in and enjoy the additional income!
Use chashback sites for good as new items
If you can avoid forking out on new baby equipment like cots and prams, you can save a fortune. Look at local Facebook selling sites for great offers on nearly new items, or swap toys with your friends.
Keep bills to a minimum
You’ll likely spend more time in your own home than when you were working so you may want to consider making sure you are on the best energy deal to keep your costs down. uSwitch is easy to use and if you find a better deal, uSwitch facilitates the transfer over to your new energy supplier for you.
Remember to sign up to join all the baby and family loyalty schemes. You’ll receive vouchers to spend and discount offers, as well as the occasional freebie.
Play dates that don't cost the earth
Your mummy friends become your lifeline during your maternity leave. There is a lot of coffee and cake, and coffee and cake, and coffee and cake! Mix it up and take a thermos to the park with the kids or arrange a play date at someone’s house to stop the cost of a weekly two hour Costa catch up (complete with 3 lattes and a muffin!) denting your wallet too much.
Parents deserve to have fun too so when you do get a rare night out, enjoy yourself! Check out this great app to arrange babysitting amongst your trusted friends, using a points system so it’s free and fair.
Emma is a mum of two little girls and is always looking at ways to make her family’s money work best for them. She reviews products designed to help save money and writes about ways to boost your earnings. Keep up to date with Emma's latest posts on her blog.