Have you been wondering how to save money for maternity leave? Everyone is probably nagging you at the moment about making sure you have enough money and making sure you understand how long you safely have off work.
If so, you’ll love this blog post: How to Save Money for Maternity Leave.
In it you’ll learn:
- How to quickly work out how much money you need to save
- How to make a Maternity Leave Savings Plan
- Where you can make the savings which will have the biggest impact
- Where you can make some small savings to help
- How to track how much you have saved
PLUS you will get two bonuses in this post. I’m going to tell you the secret to making sure all of your hard work doesn’t go out the window as soon as maternity leave starts. I’ve also given you a mini work book so you can go away and get your plan happening. The best news is that it’s completely FREE. The link is at the very bottom so make sure you read to the end.
What is Maternity Leave Saving, and Why Does it Matter?
When I talk about saving money for Maternity Leave, what am I talking about?
The amount of money you need to save for Maternity Leave is the difference between what your income will be during the time you are not at work and the expenses and bills you will incur during that time. That is, your income minus your expenses equal savings required.Sharlene Smith
The amount of money you need to save is important. You need to know what amount of money you will need to see you through a long period without your regular income. During Maternity Leave your income is significantly reduced BUT your expenses are probably going to remain the same. So the question is, how are you going to pay for the same amount of things with less money? That’s where your Maternity Leave Savings are critical.
How to Save Money for Maternity Leave
1. How much money do I need for Maternity Leave?
Do you know how much money you need to save for Maternity Leave? If not, now is the time to do some maths. If you don’t have time to make a detailed plan right now. Here is a quick calculation you can do:
As you can see from the picture, you need to roughly work out your income. As a minimum, you should expect 6 weeks pay x 90% followed by 33 weeks pay at £151. You can quickly add in any other income like benefits if you think you will be entitled. Don’t forget to include holidays, bank holidays and keeping in touch days. You can read my How Maternity Leave Works in the UK post here for inspiration.
Next, you need to add up your bills, expenses and outgoings. If you don’t want to get into the detail right now, have a look on a few bank statements to see what you spend each month.
Make sure that you cover whatever time period you expect to be off work. If you are struggling to figure that part out, you can read my How Long to Have for Maternity Leave: 5 Questions to Ask post.
The difference between your income and expenses is the money you need to save for maternity leave.
Now you know how much money you need to save, you can make a plan.
2. How to make a maternity leave savings plan
Right now you are probably thinking – there is NO WAY I can save that much money for maternity leave. It’s just completely unachievable and not even possible for me to achieve it. I know – I thought the same thing when I was in your shoes. Instead, I broke things down into really small chunks which I could deal with.
Let’s say that your savings amount needed is £3,000. It might be a lot more or a lot less but let’s go with this for now.
The first thing I want you to do, is work out how many pay days are left until you plan to start your Maternity Leave. If you don’t know that date yet, assume the baby’s due date for now.
In our example, we need to save £3,000 and let’s say there are six months left to save it. That means we need to find £500 per month to save. I can hear you nearly fall off your chair. That’s still too much to save right? Stick with me for now, I’m going to keep showing you throughout this post, how you can achieve this.
Now we know how much to save, and we have a rough plan of how much we need each month. Let’s get to work saving some money.
3. Where can I make the biggest money saving?
In this step, we are getting our red pens out. It’s really important that you keep in mind that Maternity Leave is just a year or just a few months. If ever there was a time to ‘cut back’ or reduce what you spend, this is the time. I hope that resonates with you, but staying focused on this step could be the difference between the maternity leave that you have always dreamed of and the maternity leave you are forced to have.
When I’m looking to save money, the first thing I head for is direct debits. Look through your bank account and really challenge yourself where you can stop a subscription or regular payment to something you just don’t need anymore. Remember that you could always pick it up again once you are back at work.
Have a look around and see what old bank accounts you have. When I did this exercise I found 5 bank accounts with about £60 in them. That’s a LOT of money when you are working towards a bigger savings goal like this.
The next big-ticket item on my list is the weekly shop. We spend a small fortune in food (and I can tell you that my husband and I used to spend as much a week on food before kids as what we do now as a family of five). Yes I know that’s pretty bad! Are you meal planning? Do you shop from the cupboard first? Have you thought about ‘swapping down’.
Keep going through your big spending areas. Give your finances a deep clean. Who knows – this activity alone could reduce the amount of money you need to save for maternity leave.
Don’t worry if this bit seems a bit overwhelming. Keep going to the end of the post for my BONUS offer.
4. How do I make the most of my money?
Do you know the old saying “look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves”? What this means is that sometimes its the small changes which can have the biggest impact.
In the example above, a saving of £500 per month equals around £16 per day. Pre-kids, I would easily spend that on coffee, lunch and goodness knows what else in my lunch break. In fact, I would probably spend more!
I’m not saying to deprive yourself of everything BUT just think before you buy something, what impact would it have on your Maternity Leave savings plan? What would it mean if you only bought your lunch on a Friday? These small changes will soon add up to a big difference in your savings plan.
5. How do I track my maternity leave savings plan progress?
Progress and not perfection. This is my life’s mantra now. Everything does not have to be perfect all of the time. You don’t need to get to where you need to go on the first attempt. Baby steps, on the path is ok.
One of the biggest reasons why people don’t stick to a plan (whether it’s a diet, budget or exercise) is that they don’t celebrate the little milestones. One of the reasons why they don’t celebrate them is because they don’t track them – they are too caught up on what is left to do rather than looking at the progress they have made.
Write things down. Put pen to paper with what your goal is. Then fill it out as you make each little saving. Chip away at that big number. Are you reaching £500 per month? Has all of the work you have done here saved you enough already?
A final word of advice…
REMEMBER at the start I told you I was going to show you how to make the most of your maternity leave savings? The key is to open a separate bank account (with another bank if you can). That way all of your savings are in one place. Each month you can then ‘pay yourself’ the amount you need so that you (a) never run out of money on maternity leave and (b) don’t use up all of your savings in one go. Don’t be tempted to dip into these savings. They are so important. They are the difference between the maternity leave you want versus the maternity leave you can afford.
In summary, saving money for maternity leave doesn’t have to be a scary thing. You just need to put pen to paper and come up with a plan which is going to get you to where you want to be – the maternity leave of your dreams with enough money to make it happen.
Want to join a community of other New Mums who are planning their Maternity Leave? Come and join in the chat at Money Matters for the Mum to Be – Plan & Prepare for Maternity Leave