Maternity Leave in the UK is one of the lowest paid maternity leave periods in the world.
So you have already started maternity leave and you haven’t had the chance to take a look at your finances? If you haven’t had the chance to look at this article, it’s a good place to start. It explains why it’s so important to take the time to think about your money and how long it’s going to last you during Maternity Leave.
Let’s not dwell on it, let’s make it happen instead!
These are my Top Things You Can Do to make your paid Maternity Leave last longer
1. Stop all spending
What do you mean stop spending? Right now you need a couple of hours to work out where you are at. That will be tricky to do if you are still spending money. Just stop until you figure out your finances.
2. Get clear on your entitlements
Write down everything you know about the paid part of your maternity leave. What maternity pay will you receive? Do you plan to take any KIT (Keeping in Touch) Days? What holidays and bank holidays will you build up while you are away from work. This is important because maternity pay is only part of the picture!
3. Look for any other sources of income
Have you checked what benefits you might be entitled to? (If you don’t ask you won’t know – check it out here).
Are there other sources of income that you might have coming in which you may have forgotten about?
4. Write down your income
Yes I know that doing a budget sounds boring and can be quite depressing. BUT its absolutely necessary to get a clear picture of what you money is going to look like for the remainder of your maternity leave.
You should know what income you are expecting each month.
Start by drawing up your budget with a column for each of the remaining months – I’ve done an example below. Write down your income for each month.
5. Write down your bills and expenses
Now do the same thing again but for all of your outgoings. Don’t forget to plan for some extra costs in ‘growth spurt months’ (usually every 3 months).
Remember you are in control of your outgoings. This is a key difference to maternity pay where you are not in control!
6. Review your bills and expenses
The key is to remember that maternity leave and the reduction in pay is not forever. What non essential things can you cut back on for the next few months? This is such an important step to complete – it could mean the difference between staying in maternity leave and being forced back to work before you are ready.
My second maternity leave was exactly like this – I didn’t plan and I wasn’t watching my money enough. I had planned a year off but was forced back part time when my twins were only nine months old.
7. Look at what you don’t need anymore
By now you have probably started to accumulate a mountain of outgrown and unused baby stuff. Chances are its probably all in really good condition. Now is the time to bundle it up and get rid of it! Even if you think ‘surely this isn’t worth it’ – you can easily get yourself £50-£100 by listing some items (and bundles of things) for £10 plus postage (so list them at £13 all in).
This is a really good strategy to get some extra cash together to put towards the next batch of items you need for your baby.
It’s really important that you get into the right mindset with second hand selling – yes you aren’t going to make a fortune doing (and the aim is not to get back what you paid) it BUT recovering £50-£100 by selling off some outgrown bits and pieces to put towards the next size is really helpful to make your maternity pay go further.
This is a really helpful post to guide you through the second hand buying and selling process.
8. Keep an eye out for second hand stuff
Once you have got into the swing of selling your baby’s outgrown things – start to keep an eye out for some second hand bargains for their next size.
Mountains and mountains of nearly new baby clothes and equipment are sat around just waiting for people to snap them up. You can save a fortune by shopping in this way.
Almost everything can safely be bought second hand. By doing this you can save LOADS of money – even if you only shopped second hand for some things, it will make your maternity pay go so much further.
9. Use Cashback Sites
I’ve written about this in other articles but if you shop online, you really should get into the habit of shopping via a cashback site first.
I have used Top Cashback for years. It takes a few extra seconds to do and over the years I have saved nearly £2,000 by doing this.
You can sign up to Top Cashback here (note that I will earn a small commission if you sign up by following my link).
10. Target some specific savings
I wrote a whole series in January on specific topics for money saving like toys, groceries, hair and beauty and more. You can find them here.
Join my FREE Facebook Group Money Matters for the Mum to Be – Plan & Prepare for Maternity Leave for more tips on financial planning and preparing for maternity leave.