Maternity leave is fast approaching, with only 6 weeks of work left for me before my maternity leave starts officially, but along with the excitement of having no work for 9/10 months, comes the financial worry of not having a steady income that we’ve been used to for the last 2 years. Since before we started trying for a baby, I’ve been saving what I can out of my monthly wage to help buy bits and bobs for the baby and also, to support me whilst I’m off on maternity leave but we’ve had to dip in and out of those savings and they’re not going to last forever so I’m trying to think of some other ways that will help us save money whilst I’m off on Maternity leave and hopefully will give you some ideas too if you’re also planning on going on maternity anytime soon.
Some people may be able to see Maternity leave through on just the basic SMP or Tax credits they have, others may need to take out a small loan from places like Swiftmoney.com to help them through the month but, hopefully, using some of these nifty tricks may avoid these worries and you’ll be sailing through maternity leave like there’s no tomorrow...
1. Loyalty cards and Store cards/Vouchers
I did a whole blog post about using store cards and vouchers such as Nectar, Clubcard, Boots card and all the other ones which you can read here but over the last year, I’ve really utilised store cards and voucher schemes like the Myvouchers.com from Nectar - you can load this up before you go shopping and it will give you extra Nectar points on certain items (like the receipts you get from the till) but also, our Nectar points are saved all year and I use them to buy Christmas eve dinner or Christmas dinner which can save us around £50-£60. We also try and buy nappies from Sainsburys as we like them anyway but it means that we’re also getting Nectar points too unlike if we were to buy them from Aldi or elsewhere. Boots is the same, you’ll be getting 10 points per £1 if you join their Babyclub!
2. Shop around in bargain stores
It might mean an extra hour of shopping but you’re on maternity, you have all the time in the world... right!? Not quite... but it’s definitely worth it! We do our food shop in Aldi most of the time as we prefer a lot of their foods including meats and vegetables - we find they last a lot longer than other supermarkets’ do! But, we head to places like B&M and Home Bargains for everything else such as Toilet roll, Cleaning products, Cat food and litter and other little necessities just because we’ve found that it works out so much cheaper!
3. Cut down on spending in general
I know it sounds daft but think about things you buy unnecessarily... Coffee? Chocolate when you pop to the shops? That top that’s on sale? Unnecessary spending is definitely one thing I’ll be cutting back on massively and to help me, I’ve worked out a budget for myself each week after all the outgoings have left my account and I’ll draw that money out every Monday morning and it will be my ‘pocket money’ for the week. Anything that I want will be a case of waiting and seeing if I still want it 2 or 3 days later...
4. Bills and Credit cards
It sounds daft but, try and work out where you can cut down on your bills. If you split your household bills with your partner like I do with Adam, it might be harder to do but, we have downgraded our Sky box and saved £5 a month on that and then there’s things like credit cards and phone bills that can also be cut down by just making sure they’re paid on time!
5. Monthy clear-outs
The one thing that comes with having a new baby is stuff. Yep, you’ll get through so many clothes, toys, accessories, baby items etc etc etc, but, you arent going to need them forever! So, at the end of each month, why not have a good clear out and have an eBay selling spree! Stick all the unwanted, unused items on eBay and make some money back from the things you either barely used or had double of! If you’re anything like us, you’ll be given loads of things anyway so you’re bound to be able to sell some things once baby is a few months old! This can also be your items too - shoes, clothes, makeup, the list is endless!
6. Start a Hobby or Business!
Now, this isn’t for everyone and there are obvious ties that come with starting your own business or hobby, but, if you do it properly, it may really be able to help you out when you’re on maternity leave, especially in the later months! I make my own earrings, I am also a Younique rep and I have just started my own Spray Tanning business. I don’t do them all full-time but they each bring in their own little wage each month that goes towards paying bills, the food shop or even a treat at the end of the week! You must register yourself as self-employed though if you’re selling items or starting a business but in the long run, it might really benefit you!
Hopefully, we’ll be able to see ourselves through the (almost) full year of me being off work as I hope to return just before Easter next year but, money will be the main decider of that and if we can’t pull in enough to pay the bills then I’ll need to go back to work earlier than expected!
The countdown is well and truly on now though... less than 10 weeks to go until I meet our little man!
(*In collaboration with Swiftmoney)