To realise I've been entitled and ignorant Re: maternity leave

(137 Posts)
AliceScarlett Thu 31-Dec-15 06:47:55

I've had this idea in my mind that when I eventually went on maternity leave that DH and I would have less money (obviously), but that it would be OK overall. "Everyone" appears to have children and they manage it! But I worked it out roughly last night after DH and I decided we will start TTC early 2016 and I'm shocked....and annoyed with myself that I'm shocked.

I just assumed that as our household income is about 40k a year and I work for the NHS (which I've heard has good maternity pay) I'd be able to have about a year off...feel silly now. After the first few weeks of 90% pay I'll lose about 1000 a month after tax....I'm the highest earner by quite a long way, how does this even work?

I don't understand how other people manage and I'm SO cross with myself for feeling hard done by.

Can you live on 1700 a month? Or do a lot of women return to work after a few months? I feel like I'm missing a trick here.

Flame away!

mcdog Thu 31-Dec-15 06:50:46

Do you have savings you can use to top up your salary?

HumTiddlyTum Thu 31-Dec-15 06:50:49

You have to save what you're going to stop earning before you go off.

GinGinGin Thu 31-Dec-15 06:51:13

Yes you can live on 1700 a month, does that include mortgage, bills and food?

Meal plan and write shopping lists (do not buy anything else!) and shop in lidl/aldi. Pound shops for toiletries/cleaning supplies. Nappies from aldi/lidl.

hesterton Thu 31-Dec-15 06:54:22

Lots of people live off much less- it rather depends on your outgoings.

If you save 500 a month for a year before maternity leave you would have enough savings to halve that drop in income but have the lower income for longer.

Chaby Thu 31-Dec-15 06:55:33

I felt the same way as you when I started looking in to it, but you will find a way to manage if it's what you want. I was the higher earner and only got 6 weeks at 90% of my salary and then on to statutory.

We made sure all our debt was cleared and reviewed every direct debit / standing order to try to cut down expenses. Then we saved like mad before my son arrived. We were just about able to cover our fixed expenses eg mortgage and utilities from my husbands pay, we had to be frugal but actually you don't need much cash for young babies. One of my big motivations for breastfeeding was that it was free!. Use own brand nappies etc.

It is scary financially but sensible that you are looking at the finances now, don't let it put you off.

We agreed if we were struggling with money I would go back to work at 9 months but in the end we were able to stretch it to a year. Wiped out all our savings but I think it was worth it.

I would also research childcare costs and think about what your household budget looks like at the end of mat leave - that was a bigger shock to me!

Enjolrass Thu 31-Dec-15 06:55:47

It depends on how much the bills that you can't change are.

Mortgage, debt etc.

It also depends on where you live. We have lived in less than £1700 per month. It's not easy but it's done.

You need to save as much as you can between now and when the baby is born.

At least you looked it up now rather when you were 8 month pregnant so have time to prepare.

Hopelass Thu 31-Dec-15 06:55:55

Just a quick note; it doesn't give you more money but in the NHS you can have your payments spread throughout the 52 weeks so you aren't left with nothing for the last three months. You can ask on the form when applying for mat leave.

petalsandstars Thu 31-Dec-15 06:56:01

Your outgoings are less initially - no going out for dinner and drinks every week etc. You both save up a cushion before and during pregnancy to top up the later months when pay drops. Go through your finances and cut out the expenses you don't really need eg sky tv

Bringiton2016 Thu 31-Dec-15 06:56:33

Do a spreadsheet today. All outgoings. There you will find your answer. My dh's salary pays for the household and I live on the child allowance money. It is a huge sacrifice but relatively short term and completely beneficial imo. You can prepare yourself by paying off debt and building savings, but mostly just strict food budget and clothes from Asda grin.

ingenvillvetavardukoptdintroja Thu 31-Dec-15 06:56:37

Depends on your outgoings? I'm taking a year. Had full pay for 3 months, half pay for 3 months then statutory for 3 months.
On nothing now but you get paid for keeping in touch days and the 2 meetings I've had about returning to work have counted as that.
Partner earns £1400 after pensions and tax. Mortgage and bills is about£1200. We get child benefit of £80 every 4 weeks. Plus I've had some tax paidback in payslips. It's been fine. I got cheaper presents for Christmas etc.
We saved about £2k while I was pregnant though. Thank God as had £1k repair bill on car this summer! Also don't forget you will need to pay nursery fees up front so we've got that put aside too.
We've just been shopping in aldi and stopped doing stuff that costs money.

IslaMann Thu 31-Dec-15 06:56:58

NHS maternity pay is 8 weeks full pay, 18 weeks 50%+smp @ £140.00pw, then 13wks smp only. You then have the option to take 13 wks unpaid. For me as a top band 5, this means a loss of about £80pw during the 18wks of 50%+smp. It's the smp wks that will be tough but it's only for 3 months and if you haven't started TTC yet you have time to save that shortfall.

Heatherbell1978 Thu 31-Dec-15 06:57:18

I guess your biggest mistake has been not researching it properly. No idea about NHS maternity (I thought it was better than that though?) but I had full pay for 3 months then stat pay for the rest. I took a year off with last 3 months unpaid although you do accrue holidays when you're off so I took a lot of these before going back.

I saved loads of money during my pregnancy but am lucky that DH and I both earn the same and we managed fine. I know a lot of people who earn far less and seem to manage ok but you need to spend some time looking at you in comings and outgoings while you're off. £1700 a month - does that include statutory maternity pay and child benefit? Remember you'll get these too. Your employer should be able to help you work out what your take home pay will be. Good luck.

ingenvillvetavardukoptdintroja Thu 31-Dec-15 06:58:04

Think I was more naive about returning to work.... They are refusing to let me go part time which is a whole other nightmare...

AliceScarlett Thu 31-Dec-15 06:58:31

OK. Yup 1700 would include mortgage/bills, etc. We do have savings, you're not supposed to talk about money are you but we have 15k. Best get saving even further. Quite glad the reality of the situation is hitting now while we have time to save rather than when I'm actually pregnant.

Might put it off for 6 months and save more money.

chocadd1ct Thu 31-Dec-15 07:00:05

really depends on your outgoings if £1700 is enough.I know a lot of people who live on a lot less. Is this after or before rent/mortgage? You may also be entitled to tax credits. have you looked into it?

And if you worry about how you cope onat leave, have you thought about the time after? We were actually better off on may leave. once I went back to work all my earnings were swallowed up by childcare. That was when it got financially really tough for us.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 31-Dec-15 07:01:20

My mate who's a nurse in the US gets two weeks unpaid. That is repugnant but you see how people cut their clothes according to their cloth?

Remember that you won't have transport, lunches, coffee and crap to the same extent.

AliceScarlett Thu 31-Dec-15 07:02:14

IslaMann, maybe its the difference between trusts? My contract doesn't say the same.

Spreadsheet+Aldi, I can do that smile

AliceScarlett Thu 31-Dec-15 07:03:21

Oh yeah, child benefit would be about 80 a month.

Bringiton2016 Thu 31-Dec-15 07:03:28

I think one child is manageable financially but you need to think about if there's a dc2. What age gap will there be? Two lots of child care or will you stay at home for an extended period of time? I've been off from 4 years now. The is a lot of sacrifice. I couldn't imagine 15k I savings though, so I think you'll be fine.

lougle Thu 31-Dec-15 07:05:15

If you're on bands 1-8 the contract is the same for everyone under Agenda for Change.

PiccalilliSandwiches Thu 31-Dec-15 07:06:43

You could consider having say 8 months off and letting your DP have the other 4 months as you're the higher earner. Is sharing the parental leave feasible?

Whatsinaname2011 Thu 31-Dec-15 07:10:48

I'm the higher earner so DH is taking the time off this time (3rd pregnancy). He was the higher earner with the first 2 so I took time off. (In between my income has shot up but his stayed the same)

Isn't the logical thing for your DH to take the parental leave?

PiccalilliSandwiches Thu 31-Dec-15 07:13:26

Also agree with chocadd that it's childcare when money really bites. Nurseries cost in the region of £50-60 per day outside London and you often have to pay 5 days a week even if you only work 3 if those days are subject to rota changes. So most people pay £1000+ and that's before clothes/food/extra water and heating bills.

You will make it work, but the budgeting was quite an eye opener when I was pregnant with my first!

Roonerspism Thu 31-Dec-15 07:17:38

Don't forget you accrue holidays whilst you are off.

So I went back to full pay the last 6 weeks of my 11 month mat leave.

Also factor in that your mat leave start from when you go off, not when your baby is born. So I worked up to 38 weeks, bay came at 39 weeks. Very tiring but I didn't want to waste my paid mat leave sitting at home.

Shit mat pay is one of the many reasons people don't have more kids. The cost of nursery care being the other.

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