Monday, 18 November 2013

Maternity Leave - the financial worries

My maternity leave started today, I am now off work for 9 months.  I'm not due back to work until mid August 2014!  When you say it out loud it sounds like a long time but I don't expect it to be a holiday, bump will keep me very busy I'm sure.  The bad part of maternity leave is maternity pay

When we found out we were pregnant I had just been offered a new job, luckily in the same trust I was already working for so my maternity leave allowance wasn't effected.  I have to say I was dreading telling my new boss I was pregnant.  We then had to think about how much time I was going to take off work, after a long hard think we decided it would be best if I took 9 months, as much as I would have loved to have taken a year we just couldn't afford it.

I decided to spread my maternity pay evenly over the 9 months, that way we would know (roughly) how much we would be getting each month.  Unfortunately my first proper months maternity pay is the worst, what happens in Decemeber?!? Yep Christmas!  There was no way we could pay all our bills and buy people Christmas presents like we have done in the past so we had to tell people we wouldn't be buying presents this year.  We explained that we don't expect people to buy us any either and that this would only be for this year.  Everyone was understanding and we have already started receiving presents from people even when we told them they didn't need to buy us anything.  For our Christmas and New Year meals we are only going to buy basics, every year we go mad and buy enough food to feed the whole street.  There is no need and this year we are being good and only buying essentials, since it will only be the 2 of us (plus bump hopefully) there is no need to have an extravagant meal.

We have also been looking around on how we can save money on our household bills.  Sky have reduced our bill for 9 months after we said we were going to leave.  Our electricity and gas is the best deal we could find anyway so we haven't changed that.  We now do our weekly shop at Aldi, we have halved our weekly shopping bill!! Whilst I have often been a bit of a food snob you can't tell the difference from the other main brands and its such a good price!

My biggest expense in my car, although I am planning on walking as many places as I can with bump once he arrives so this will cut down on my petrol use.  We have also told friends and family who live in Scotland and those down south that we won't be visiting them for a while and have asked that they come to us instead.  Again everyone has been understanding.  Not only will this save us petrol money but the thought of a 5 hour journey with a newborn fills me with dread!

I receive Martin Lewis emails every week so check them for ways we can save money.  We put the heating on at the last possible moment (we layered up on jumpers for a while).  When we were thinking about getting pregnant we both started saving in an ISA each so we have some savings should we need to use them but we also have to think about childcare costs, etc.  We are also going to start putting money in a savings account for bump but this will have to wait until I am back to work earning a full time wage again.

People manage every day and we will manage however having a newborn baby can be a stressful time, we don't want to have to worry about paying our bills on top of that, we want to spend our time and energy on enjoying our time with bump.