HELP! Really worried about money once on maternity leave!

(43 Posts)
SJC2014 Wed 07-May-14 12:04:30

Hi! I'm 3 months pregnant with my first and I can't enjoy it because I'm so worried how I'm going to manage? Me and my partner have a mortgage which is 675 per month and I have various debts I pay each month so my outgoings are well over 600 a moth at the least!! I have found out I am only entitled to 6 weeks at 90% pay and then SMP about 138 pounds a week! That's about 550 per month!! My partner is self employed and he makes enough for us to get by with our combined salaries but we do struggle sometimes! I am so so worried!! What can I do? Will the government help I have paid tax my entire life!!

ShanghaiDiva Wed 07-May-14 12:14:31

Not sure why you deserve special help from the government? Surely finacial implications of having children is something you and your partner should have discussed before getting pregnant?
As you are presumably still working start saving money to cover the shortfall when you are on maternity leave. How do you plan to cope with paying for childcare when you go back to work?

Can you just take a short mat leave?

katandkits Wed 07-May-14 12:32:36

When your baby is born you will receive £80 per month child benefit. If your combined income is below £26k you can apply for tax credits. That's it really. When you return to work you will need to pay for childcare. If you are eligible for tax credits you can get a bit of help with childcare depending on your income. Overall you will be worse off either way after having a baby when your maternity pay runs out. Either you give up your job or you spend £££ on childcare. Most people are aware of this before starting a family and budget for it. Look at how you can reduce your outgoings.

SJC2014 Wed 07-May-14 12:59:44

Wow.. No need to be so negative and judgemental I didn't plan my pregnancy and I am embracing it not every one has the perfect life and plans these things perfectly!! And in regards to the government I was referring to tax credits etc.. I don't have the resource to save enough to cover the shortfall in such a short space of time.. I thought this site was to get help and advice if you don't like a question keep your sarcastic opinion to yourself x

You plan - child benefit / tax credit's help a bit.
I had 5 months of mat leave & used a month of holidays (full pay).
From the moment I knew I was pregnant we saved every month, I worked out the short fall from Mat pay to what I would usually recieve & made sure we had enough to cover.

If you take short mat leave it can work. Not ideal, but doable.

LIZS Wed 07-May-14 13:07:28

The government are helping through 9 months of SMP. Do you both work full time ? You could look at entitledto.co.uk for an idea of benefits but given that you own your home and have a working partner you may find that any tax credits are low, or make an appointment with CAB.

ShanghaiDiva Wed 07-May-14 13:29:44

I am not being sarcastic, but you need to be realistic and as other posters have said you need to look at what outgoings you can cut now to enable you to save for your maternity period.
This is good advice and you need to consider how you will manage financially once the baby is here and you plan to return to work. I think you will find the financial support you receive from the government is more than some people receive in developed countries.

TheresLotsOfFarmyardAnimals Wed 07-May-14 13:36:15

I managed to save up �3000 whilst I was pregnant to cover my expenses for 7 months of maternity leave. SMP just isn't enough for me to live on as my expenses were relative to my pre child income.

For some reason people expect to take the full year off but you may not be able to afford it.

I got �600 SMP a month and then �80 child benefit.

I would look to;

set up as cheaply as possible for the baby - they don't know the difference between a Graco and a bugaboo
Live very frugally from now to d-day and save up
See how you can reduce your outgoings, meal planning etc
Sell anything you don't want anymore

It is just practise for when the baby arrives. Whilst they are cheap when they're little, you are either going to have to pay for childcare and/or reduce your working hours when they get here anyway.

We don't tend to spend money as we did pre-baby. We'd easily spend �500+ on eating out and drinks a month where this is probably more like �100 a month now. Your habits will change a debts will hopefully be gone ASAP.

TheresLotsOfFarmyardAnimals Wed 07-May-14 13:37:31

Also, you can't moan. In the US, they get a maximum of 12 weeks unpaid leave unless they get any pay from their company!

katandkits Wed 07-May-14 13:39:04

Can you get any advice on your debts? I am sure there must be organisations that can help you if you have a significant amount of debt that you can't afford to repay while you are not working. Often creditors would rather it if you are honest and will accept lower monthly payments rather than you getting into a worse situation with them.

whereisthewitch Wed 07-May-14 13:49:01

I was in this exact position OP...I didn't really think about it and my first baby was well and truly planned!

I saved £1200 while pregnant, when off on mat leave I saved a fortune by not actually travelling to and being in work!
I was lucky that my parents helped buy nappies and clothes for baby but you could look into using reusable nappies and breastfeeding? Ask friends who have had babies for any hand me downs, family helped us buy pram, cot and all the bigger items so I hardly had to buy a thing once I was off work.
The money you will save while off will surprise you, yes you might spend more on heating and electricity but I still found it cheaper than commuting to work.
you will just have to change your lifestyle, no more buying clothes, takeaways, nights out etc.

You could check with your mortgage company to see if you can take a mortgage holiday.

I made it work so much to a point that I went back to work part time and am embarking on it all over again.

Your lifestyle just needs to change around a bit and don't let it stress you...what's done is done and the "you should have thought about this before having kids" posts are just pathetic so don't take it tp heart. I think most people would agree that there's never an ideal time financially to have kids, especially in this day and age.

JessicaMary Wed 07-May-14 13:50:27

I worked until i went into labour and then went back full time at 2 weeks. It really does work extremely well and of course you lose no money either. In fact take the full 6 weeks off on 90% pay and you'll hardly be down at all financially. Can be better for the baby too.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 07-May-14 14:00:14

Do you have a monthly budget? If not start making one for NOW and see where you can cut back and then do one for when you are on maternity leave and work out the gap.

Remember you accrue holiday at full pay - maybe look at kicking off your leave with 2 weeks of paid holiday before maternity. I accrued a load of holiday while pregnant to ensure this. You will also return with accrued holiday so this can help you end your ML on full pay (which will help with childcare).

Is it possible to pay off your debts before starting ML? Look at getting rid of as much as possible before saving.

Your employer should provide you with an overview of your salary while on ML which should help budgeting. Are there any benefits you hold onto e.g. car allowance, performance bonus etc?

Remember SMP is taxed as well hmm

I know you can't control this either as it depends on how pregnancy and your health treat you but I would work as long as possible.

Also it's not how YOU are going to cope - you and your partner are in this together - he should be stepping up to cover the gaps as well.

bigkidsdidit Wed 07-May-14 14:08:46

I took 5 months leave and 1 month annual leave. Can you rearrange repayments on debt for a few months?

katandkits Wed 07-May-14 14:11:31

Yes that is a good point about your partner. Do you have joint or separate finances? If they are separate you will need to make a joint budget which is fair and takes into account baby related expenses, so you don't get into a situation where your debts get worse while he has spare cash. Sit down together and look at all expenditure. The money saving expert forum has tips from lots of posters who are dealing with their debts.

JellyStrawberries Wed 07-May-14 14:49:42

Why would going back at two weeks be better for the baby? I can't imagine why that would be true. It's not a great option for most people - few women want to go back so soon and many may not be well enough. I have a 4wo and I had to go off work at 34weeks due to illness. I'm definitely not ready to go back yet and certainly not getting enough sleep to manage a demanding job.

OP, you have to sit down and work out your budget. You will be surprised what you can cut out. I calculated what I would earn overall in my maternity leave and have divided that by the number of months I'm taking off so we manage on the same amount every month. You save by not going out, travelling to work etc as people have mentioned. Meal plan, shop at Aldi, compare deals on utilities/phone contracts etc. There are ways to manage though it seems daunting at first.

Congratulations and good luck!

SJC2014 Wed 07-May-14 16:19:36

Thank you for the nice advice this id all new to me I'm used to just spending all my money each month and then getting paid again! Never really budgeted or saved before!! It's a scary thought that my income is going to reduce by more than half!

atos35 Wed 07-May-14 16:55:05

Congratulations on your pregnancy! So you didn't plan things particularly well but it's not the end of the world. I agree that pointing out the obvious to you is not very helpful or constructive and I wonder why some people love to be quick to point this out! Money will be tight for a while but for what it's worth you do adapt quite quickly to a drop in salary. Check with your employer whether it is possible to 'average out' your mat pay so that you get a set amount each month rather than full pay at the beginning followed by a sudden drop. Many employers will do this. Also in regards to your debts you could speak to the CAB who can recommend government debt management plans which are free and can agree reduced payments to your creditors for a period of time and freeze interest. And of course as others have said you will get your child benefit. Good luck :-)

JessicaMary Wed 07-May-14 17:00:53

Going back at 2 weeks is better for the baby for these reasons:

1. It bonds with its nanny or childminder immediately rather than having a traumatic awful wrench at 8 months or a year which could damage its psyche.

2. Mothers tend to be happier (and fathers_) when they have a balance of work and home. Happy parents make happy babies.

3. You don't lose money or promotion. Little benefits children longer term as much as being at good fee paying schools and having money around for all kinds of reasons. It is the biggest indicator of child outcomes. Women give up work at their peril and to the detriment of families. The baby doesn't thank you for doing 8 more months of nappy changing when it's 18 but it may well be grateful you are paying its university fees and you have a career it can emulate and an example that women work rather than just clean and serve men at home.

4. Dual working couples earning similar amounts tend to be happier, have more sex, respect each other and have a more equal relationship with fewer affairs than unbalanced couples where one earns all the money and the other none. If things do not work out women who work full time can protect their child financially because they earn their own money or have the choice to divorce if subject to abuse or a nasty man. Women dependent on men for money cannot protect their children as well.

I could go on. Go back in 2 weeks. It really works. It is also physically easier than being at home minding babies. So your body recovers better which again is better for the baby.

MarcusAurelius Wed 07-May-14 17:04:23

Not much point in having a baby if you're going to palm it off at 14 days old.

thevelvetoverground Wed 07-May-14 17:07:49

Childcare isn't 'palming it off' Marcus. hmm

katandkits Wed 07-May-14 17:19:45

I don't think returning to work at 2 weeks is either ideal or necessary. For starters you might as well have the six weeks at 90% off. You will have more than what you would have on full pay minus childcare costs. Very few women would be happy to go back at 2 weeks and unless you have a textbook birth it is probably not medically a great idea. Not to mention bonding with your baby.

christinarossetti Wed 07-May-14 17:20:28

<waits for someone to say that they went back to work at 2 weeks pp, ebf for 6 months and enjoyed the bonding time with baby during the night while expressing>

TribbleWithoutATardis Wed 07-May-14 17:20:44

Jessica Are you for real? What about bonding with its Mother and Father? What about if you have a c-section or a complicated delivery. There is no way I could have gone back to work at two weeks post birth.

You must have had an extremely easy pregnancy and delivery to have been back at work so soon. I don't think anybody should plan to be back at work that soon, it could be detrimental to the Mother's mental health if things don't go according to plan and feel that you've 'failed'.

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