Welcoming a new baby into the world is one of the most incredibly rewarding experiences. Maternity pay? Unfortunately, less so. Here in the UK, we have one of the lowest rates of pay in Europe which can make the decision to start a family depressingly financial. None of us really want to think about budgeting for a baby but most of us will need to save money for maternity leave.
Unless you’re lucky enough to be employed by a fantastic company with great maternity benefits, you’re going to be one of the millions of families whose household income takes a significant nosedive the minute you go on statutory or self-employed maternity leave. Nevertheless, that hefty mortgage, rising utility bills, and seemingly endless packets of nappies and baby wipes still need to be paid for. Here are some of our favourite tips on how to get by on less whilst on maternity leave…
5 Ways to Save Money for Maternity Leave
- Make a budget
Seems basic but there’s an age old saying: ‘what gets measured, gets improved.’ Sit down and take a look at exactly how much money you’ll have coming in and if that leaves you with a shortfall from your usual household income. Get geeky and start loving excel. The sooner you start to track exactly where your money’s going, the sooner you can start to look where you can save a little here and there. Budgeting for a baby starts here! Allocating manageable amounts for things like food shops and socialising so that you don’t overspend will help you to save money for maternity leave.
- Embrace pre-loved
Let’s get the large dollar bill shaped elephant out of the way early doors. Babies cost a fortune! The forever revolving door of clothes, toys and equipment can really blow a hole in family budgets. The solution? Hand-me downs! Take a hunt around your local community and find a network of other mums who buy and sell or simply swap items that are no longer needed to save money. Look on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Vinted and the like. Charity shops are another gold mine of baby bits! Perhaps you know someone who has had a baby and might lend you a few things? Don’t be afraid to ask! Hunting out a pre-loved version of that ‘must have’ can be half the cost of buying it new – or even free – plus it helps the planet.
- Make presents work for you
Your friends and family will inevitably want to get your little one presents, and the key is to (politely) steer them in the direction of something that you either desperately need or want, or is at least useful. No one needs another blanket or cuddly toy to add to their existing collection. Perhaps create a wish list or ask for things for your own birthday or Christmas if they fall within your pregnancy. This will help you endlessly when budgeting for a baby!
- Change the way you shop
Aside from the fact that you’re likely to have less time on your hands, shopping little and often isn’t the most economical way to buy all your essentials. It’s far better to switch to a cheaper supermarket for a once a week, fortnight or month BIG shop where you can stock up on all the necessities (hello Aldi nappies!). That way you can take advantage of any bulk offers as well as cheaper prices. Meal planning, batch cooking and online grocery shopping (far less temptation!) are other great ways of reducing that family weekly food bill when you need to save money for maternity leave.
- Use loyalty schemes
Think they’re just another marketing ploy? Think again! Loyalty schemes can be a fantastic way to save money on everyday expenditure and are great for budgeting for a baby, as long as you choose wisely.
The Tesco Club Card is a nationwide favourite for good reason, but you can make it work much harder for you than simply getting vouchers on food. If you bought theme park tickets using your Tesco Club Card, you get nearly four times as many points!
Boots Parenting Club is another amazing thing to know about for a young family. It gives you a whopping 8 points per £1 spent on hundreds of baby products, as well as exclusive discounts for card holders. They’re free to join so making sure to use loyalty schemes consistently means you’ll get exclusive offers and money off vouchers. Win, win!
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