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Statutory maternity pay - am I seriously meant to survive on £128 a week!

(88 Posts)
Lozza05 Tue 10-May-11 22:56:35

can anyone help advise on whether statutory maternity pay will make me a low income earner? This is my first child and I'm confused about what help I can get in terms of benefits. My salary would not class me as low earner generally but once the 6 weeks 90% pay is over and I'm on £128 per week, will that put me in a low earner bracket?
I don't see how smp will cover anything but it's not clear what other benefits I will get. Any advice much appreciated, currently panicking over how my partner alone will cover all costs without a real salary from me!

ZimboMum Wed 11-May-11 01:24:12

You should get child benefit which is about £80 a month. Check the website to see if you can get any tax credits. Off the top of my head you need to be earning a joint salary of not more than £42k.

Not sure about any other benefits, but I'm sure someone else with more knowledge will be along soon.


Chil1234 Wed 11-May-11 07:12:23

You really should have checked these things earlier. SMP isn't very much at all and having a baby puts a serious dent in everyone's finances for a long time. Best place to check what it available is this Benefits Checker. Input your and your partner/husbands details as fully as you can, assuming your baby has arrived safely. Then you should be able to see what you're entitled to in terms of tax/child credits and other assistance. Child Benefit is not shown but is available to all parents until 2013 and is about £20/week.

If you haven't already, now would also be a good time to think through your plans for work & childcare costs or staying at home and becoming a non-earner. Also, save save save ..... the more you can save up from both your incomes in the run up to the birth, the less stressful it will be when you go onto SMP

frgaaah Wed 11-May-11 11:11:31

Isn't the 128 quid equivalent to just below amount minimum wage on a fulltime post though? OK i've just found a calculator on the computer to workit out and it's nearly 8 grand before tax after the first month and a half, it really isn't that low when you add in the fact that you're also entitled to child benefits and a large proportion of women have the baby's father to financially contribute too - you're still bringing in 90% of your normal salary for 6 weeks, and a perfectly acceptable "real" salary from after that.

People on 10 grand a year working fulltime still contribute a "real salary" to their household, you know hmm It might not be a lot but it's still income!

The benefits checker Chil1 linked is a good idea, if your partner's income is also at the low end e.g. NMW, you'lll be entitled to more - make sure you check into this very thoroughly!

You also didn't say how far you are off - more details would help with some advice smile How much does your partner earn, how much maternity leave are you taking (does your employer offer any enhanced packages?) etc.

vj32 Thu 12-May-11 10:14:25

no - you are supposed to have planned and saved and for your partner to support you financially while you need to stay at home.

I don't know what you mean about it making you a low income earner - on income support as a sole parent you would only get about £67 a week so £128 is generous really as (very nearly) everyone is entitled to it. You don't get any discount on council tax/housing costs though.

You can get CB and CTC once baby is born. Also - make sure you aren't over taxed while you are on maternity leave - depending on your income you may be able to claim some tax back.

Starbear Thu 12-May-11 13:40:06

That why so of us go back to work. various rainy day funds disappeared while on I was off & I could only stay away for 6 months sad maybe I should have planned better too.

groak Thu 12-May-11 13:43:40

My p/t wage is about the same as SMP!!!! That's why the baby is in you for 9 months so you have time to save money! grin

ChablisLover Thu 12-May-11 13:45:25

yes - SMP Is not much - I was in the same situation - 90% salary for 6 weeks and then SMP for the remainder.

But agree - that the nine months previous was spent saving as lovely as it is to have 9 months off - it really does dent the finances.

Plus, at the mo, I am job seekers (was made redundant 3 weeks ago) and am currently earning £67.50 a week. I would love to get £128 a week!

I would check the benefits online but remember that Child benefit goes after £42k from next year and that CTC etc is only available to low earners. we as a family never received it and we would not consider ourselves high earners

sophe29 Thu 12-May-11 19:35:04

I dont know what job you do but if it is one with any perks eg company car or whatever, then these should continue whilst on mat leave. Also, if you have already signed up for childcare vouchers, these should still be provided by your employer throughout your mat leave. Starting this before your baby is born and throughout mat leave means that you should have a good pot of vouchers banked if/when you return to work and need to sort out childcare.Your partner can do this also.
It is really worth scrutinising your contract and getting proper advice on what your employers actually offer during maternity leave. Also some employers do offer more than the legal minimum of SMP.
None of these are going to change the basic SMP rate but might ease things in other areas.

zebedeek7 Fri 29-Mar-13 12:52:48

I have read a few of the responses above and "What ARE you all talking about???"
I too am in the same position as the lady who posed the first question, how am I going to survive. I have a decent wage usually, and work bloody hard for it, but on maternity leave I will be on £135 per week after the 1st 6 weeks. How can some of you say that this is not bad? How can you say you should have prepared more and saved more? None of you know this family's circumstances.

From my perspective I've never claimed a cent, and don't know how or what I am entitled to. I work, and my partner and I have a mortgage and a home to support. Nothing cones cheaply, and as much as I would have liked to have saved before my maternity leave I was not in a position to do so. We have had to do work in the house as well as buy the things needed for the baby. All in all resulting in very little savings.
going back to my mortgage. Our monthly bills total is around £700 a month. Thats before any shopping and housekeeping. So you can add on another £4-500 a month. and we don't overspend.
Its not always realistic for a couple to save enough before maternity, coception is often unexpected. For myself was sooner than I'd have expected and we've just had to deal with it. We shouldnt get criticised for wanting a little help when our income stream drops considerably lower than what we have had to manage.

The £20 per week child benefit will prob cover the cost of nappies and milk. Then your back to square one really. Oops I forgot the cost of my car! Thats another £65 per month insurance (luckily mine isnt that high) and then petrol. I budget £20 per week but always go over. It will be plenty of walking when I'm on maternity!!

And for the people whose views are that this lady should have thought about the financial implications first, this implies dont have a baby if you cant afford it. You dont always know, and you dont always know what costs are around the corner preventing you saving enough etc. But isnt that like saying if you dont work dont have a baby then because you cant afford it?? People who dont work dont get as much critique i've noticed, mainly because the government funds alot more. You may think that workers are more financially sound but theyre not. the Government needs to help people from all financial backgrounds, because no matter your circumstances, having a baby has a financial impact. The Government needs to manage benefits better!

So, I refer back to the original question. How can I manage to pay my outgoings on £135 per week? And is there anything I am entitled to that can help? Why shouldn't I have assistance because I work, (and should have saved)!

zebedeek7 Fri 29-Mar-13 12:58:24

Oh and, I am only taking 6 months leave! many many women have said to me "is that all"? I would love to take 9 - 12 months to be with my baby!! But unfortunately I am going to struggle on 6 months! its a shame. And recently I have heard that the Government are looking at this as it is a problem for so many. Unfortunately it may not be in time for me. But lets hope they do something.

stargirl1701 Fri 29-Mar-13 12:59:44

This thread is 2 years old. Zombie.

Lj8893 Fri 29-Mar-13 13:04:06

I'm so glad you wrote that zebedeek!!! I was reading through the posts and thinking exactly the same thing!

I struggle to survive without a child on my VERY low full time income, and am baffled as to how we will survive with not much more than half of what I'm bringing home now.

My partner is equally on a low income. It won't always be this way but we are young parents, 19 and 25 so low income it will certainly be for a long while yet.

Smithsgirl88 Fri 29-Mar-13 13:29:45

When I was on maternity leave with son i was a bit puzzled with the tax credits who don't actually calculate the maternity pay until the following year. So, my tax credits for the same year I was receiving maternity pay was based on my full time wages from the year before. Luckily I had a partner who was on a good income so the maternity pay issue wasn't a big deal. Of course don't forget you'll get housing benefit if you're renting, child benefit and if your partners working you'll get child tax/working tax credits so will all mount up.

Babyroobs Fri 29-Mar-13 17:00:16

Having had my first 2 babies in a country where there was no real maternity pay until you went back to work after 6 months/ no child benefit / no tax credit system , I think we are pretty well helped in this country.

dashoflime Fri 29-Mar-13 17:05:20

It is low but with other benefits to top it up it's livable. I'm in the same position but with Child Benefit and Tax Credits it's really not so bad.

dashoflime Fri 29-Mar-13 17:07:03

Smithsgirl88 You can write to them and request that they assess on this years income, if it is significantly lower.

JakeBullet Fri 29-Mar-13 17:12:44

SMP is low but it is doable....I managed it when we had DS very unexpectedly (the "you will never have children" and "oops you are pregnant" unexpected).

It was very tight and I went back to work when DS was 16 weeks as that was all we could afford for me to have in maternity leave and it wasn't as long anyway 10 years ago. However, for the short time I was on SMP it was tight but just about manageable with some cutting to the bone in our outgoings. everyone telling the OP she should have planned all this aware that pregnancies sometimes occur unexpectedly even when you appear to have taken every precaution. I don't recall the OP asking your opinions on her planning or even commenting on the expectedness or unexpectedness of her pregnancy. She asked about SMP....confine your comments to that and keep your judgey pants out of the comments.

favellio Sun 31-Mar-13 20:17:07

I'm 11 weeks pregnant (1st baby) and the main bread winner of the family. I have 2 jobs, 1 full time mon-fri and 1 weekend one. The weekend job is a zero hour contact but I generally work 50-80hrs a months, but will only get SMP from my full time job. This means when on maternity leave I will be losing around £1200 per month in wages!! My husband only takes home around £1100 a month which won't cover the mortgage, bills, shopping, petrol etc
There's no way I can save the £1200 a month I will be losing whilst pregnant but will try and save a few pounds here and there whilst pregnant.
The pregnancy was a happy accident. We live in a tiny 1 bedroom flat and desperately need to try and sell it and buy a house before baby is born but this will in turn put our outgoings up even higher....that's if we manage to sell at all in these current times.
We are crapping ourselves about how we're going to manage and yes in a perfect world, we'd be able to save, manage on 1 wage, live in a huge house etc but the world isn't a perfect place and there's never a perfect time to get pregnant.
I'd love to take a year off but chances are i'll be back full time within a few months and our poor baby will be in full time child care, which sucks.angry
Don't judge other people's situations, they come on threads like this for helpful advice and support. smile

JaquelineHyde Sun 31-Mar-13 20:24:39

This is 2 years old people!!!!

RedlipsAndSlippers Mon 12-Aug-13 22:20:17

Does it matter how old the thread is if it's trying to answer questions that are still relevant?
I'm 29 weeks with DS, and am currently working full time. DP is a stay at home dad to our DD, which means that when my wage drops to SMP we'll be around £400 a month worse of with apparently no more coming in than is already, apart from an extra £13 child benefit.
There's no way we can cover our bills on SMP even with tax credits etc, so I will be having a very short maternity leave. sad

Tasmania Wed 14-Aug-13 22:12:05

Go back to work after a few weeks rather than months? Does your employer actually offer more than SMP? My employer pays 100% of my salary for 6 weeks, and after that 50% (this is fairly standard, and has been the case at most companies I have worked for) up until the sixth month.

Still, the max. amount of time I would take out would be 3 months - purely for career reasons (in my industry, taking a long maternity leave will cause your career to stagnate). DH and I earn roughly the same amount (me a little more), and losing my income would be a big blow.

ilovebabytv Wed 14-Aug-13 22:20:47

2 years old. Lol. I did wonder in one of the first posts about the £42k threshold for tax credits. Its deffo not that now! Is it about £26k for one child?

Buswanker Wed 14-Aug-13 22:33:17

Wonder what the OP did? Her baby is about 2 now?!

mummybearah Thu 10-Oct-13 13:01:14

Yes this question is still very relevant! I am in exactly the same position as some posters- 18 weeks and only entitled to SMP.

Currently renting a room, can't stay here once baby is born and have nowhere else to go! Won't be able to survive anywhere on SMP.

By the looks of it I'm not entitled to any benefits either, so this is a real, terrible situation for me. Oh and I'm expecting twins!! Hopefully the government can help.. I'd like to think so as I've been paying taxes since before I can remember!

Any help would be much appreciated sad xxx

mummybearah Thu 10-Oct-13 13:04:51

Forgot to mention that my current wage does not entitle me to any benefits! Real bummer!

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 13:14:39

I'm actually wondering this too..

Our incomings and outgoings are much the same, so we can't save to prepare for me only earning. £130 a week or whatever it is. And we can't afford our rent and bills on DP's wage alone, so we will be homeless!

We will get TC but they don't make anywhere near the difference, and we won't be entitled to housing benefit.

Genuinely, what will we do?

debtcamel Thu 10-Oct-13 13:24:59

@mummybearah - apart from SMP you will be entitled to child benefit and possisbly child tax credit when the child is born. And possibly Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. (It's not clear from your post if you are a single parent or if you have a partner - if you have a partner their income will be taken into account in calculating your benefits.)

Use to see what benefits you WILL be entitled to.

If you are just renting a room, you need to talk to your local council about either rehousing you or giving you help with a deposit so you can rent somewhere in the private sector.

debtcamel Thu 10-Oct-13 13:32:48


see my reply to mummybearah and work out what benefits if any you are entitled to.

This is the time to start seeing how you can reduce your expenditure - loads of sites on the web to help with this, here is a start:

Tell all your friends and family you would like any baby stuff they have - small babies don't know or care if their cot, buggy, babygrows, baby bath etc are new or secondhand.

You may have to choose between major lifestyle changes or going back to work earlier than you want sad

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 13:36:56

According to the benefits agency, we are not entitled to housing or CT benefit.

I have no friends/family with any baby stuff.

And we have looked at our finances, there is nothing we can cut back on. Other than getting rid of the car, but we'd spend about the same a month on bus and taxi fares so would be pointless.

Going back to work earlier would be fine, except I wouldn't really be earning anything after paying child care for a little baby, and it doesn't help for the month or two that I would be off. We literally cannot pay the bills.

I genuinely don't know what we will do.

debtcamel Thu 10-Oct-13 13:48:34

"According to the benefits agency, we are not entitled to housing or CT benefit." are you talking about NOW or after the baby is born?

Tell everyone at work and your partner's work you want baby stuff - people have attics full of it that they would like to get rid of! Look on Freecycle and Freegle. Ask your neighbours.

Do you have any debts?

Working Tax Credits may help with the childcare costs.

Use to see what benefits you will get - pretend you have already had the baby and are getting SMP only and see what comes out.

If you want some help looking at your finances in detail, you could go to your local CAB, but if you are working that often isnt convenient. You could post on this forum which is mainly for debt advice but they would be happy to help in your situation if you post details of your income and expenditure.

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 13:52:55

No debts.

I work in a company with only 4 other people, all of whom have teenagers. DP is almost the exact opposite - works in a very young office. I have asked my colleagues, but DP is new in his office and doesn't feel comfortable asking if anyone has any extended family/friends whom could donate stuff to us.

We don't know any of our neighbours (other than one childless couple).

I did turn2us just now. The only thing that came up was CB?

sebsmummy1 Thu 10-Oct-13 13:58:16

I was only entitled to maternity allowance as I had just switched jobs. It worked out around £250 every two weeks. I have savings, my OH pays the bills, I stay in a lot. You just make it work.

sebsmummy1 Thu 10-Oct-13 14:00:57

Free cycle would definitely be your friend. If you google freecycle and your local area you should find a few sites you can join. Then post asking if anyone has any baby things, I am absolutely sure you will get lots of offers of help.

Otherwise bundles on eBay, car boot sales, NCT sales, charity shops xx

sebsmummy1 Thu 10-Oct-13 14:03:32

If you seriously think you could end up homeless then you must got to the citizens advice bureau or make an appointment to see someone in your local council housing office. Are you renting? Could you downsize? I can feel your stress and I'm so sorry you're feeling this way xx

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:04:45

That's all really lovely, let's hope we get free pram, cot, etc etc... But it won't change the fact we can't make our monthly payments without my income!

I love the tip 'I stay in a lot' as if we are out all the time spending money, ha!

Without my income, we won't be able to pay our rent and bills. So we have to move out. Thus, rendering us homeless. We've looked for cheaper properties but there aren't any in this area.

No idea what we will do. And I can't seem to find anyone that will actually help other than suggesting we stay in more hmm

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:05:15

We aren't eligible for council housing as DP earns too much.

EdithWeston Thu 10-Oct-13 14:17:04

There is no magic wand solution.

If you can't cut your expenditure, then you have to boost your income.

You will need to return to work as early as you can, and both you and DH will need to chase promotions and overtime as hard as you can. If you cannot increase income in those jobs, you will need to look for better paid ones, or take a second one.

I know how hard even a fraction of that can be. But it's what has to be done, rather than a fruitless search for "anyone that will actually help".

Can either of you secure any additional income now, and get a bit in the bank before your ML?

debtcamel Thu 10-Oct-13 14:25:26

"And I can't seem to find anyone that will actually help other than suggesting we stay in more" post on woith details of your income & expenditure and you WILL get help, honest.

It's just that without full details it's impossible to say anything specific to your case.

As EdithWeston says, there is no magic wand solution but there will be a way forward for you and your family.

sebsmummy1 Thu 10-Oct-13 14:26:06

DSM I know your stressed but people on the thread are just trying to help.

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:28:00

I'm not looking for magic, just help. I don't understand why we aren't entitled to any help? Or am I doing something wrong?

There is a better future for DP, and he is working towards that, but it is a slow process (involves sitting exams) and he is working through it but it will be another 2/3 years before he sees more than £1k a year uplift on his salary. There is no overtime, for either of us.

I could go back to work as soon as I can, but then we can't afford the childcare. We looked at nursery sand CM's, nursery is MORE than I earn and CM is only very slightly less.

I can't look for a new job now, as I won't get hired when pregnant. Be realistic! I also wouldn't qualify for maternity as I wouldn't have been working long enough, as you have to have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks up to the 15th week before the expected week of birth.

I don't know what other people do?!

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:29:19

I know sebsmummy, but telling someone who is in a dire! stressful situation to just 'stay in more' comes across as really patronising.

I do appreciate the help, but there's no point in just smiling and saying thanks when it is entirely useless suggestions.

sebsmummy1 Thu 10-Oct-13 14:31:01

:bows out:

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:32:32

Sorry blush I don't mean to sound so rude!

I do appreciate the suggestions! but I hope you can also appreciate the patronising tone of people suggesting we could make our money stretch further somehow! as if we aren't smart enough to have worked that out ourselves.

Maybe I am being sensitive, I blame pregnancy hormones grin

bigkidsdidit Thu 10-Oct-13 14:38:29

I think people don't have another child, we can't afford another so won't have one. I genuinely do not mean that in a judgey way, btw.

debtcamel Thu 10-Oct-13 14:41:21

"I don't understand why we aren't entitled to any help? Or am I doing something wrong?"
No one can answer that without knowing your full circumstances.

"We looked at nursery sand CM's, nursery is MORE than I earn and CM is only very slightly less. " you may be able to get help with childcare costs through working tax credit

"I don't know what other people do?!" post on the forum site I linked to before with all your details and people will tell you.

But at the moment if people say things you just say they aren't relevant. Which doesn't help you but also it doesn't help us to be more helpful.

To point out the obvious, you don't have a temporary problem because of the low level of SMP. if you can't make ends meet when you are back at work you have a serious long term problem.

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:45:37

Right now, we make ends meet.

We won't when I am on ML.

So, we don't have a serious problem, until ML starts, which is why I am asking what we should do.

Most people on that site seem to get benefits. We have been told we aren't entitled.

It's really confusing.

frogwatcher42 Thu 10-Oct-13 14:52:45

Not sure you will want to hear this, or if it will help, but I think it is very common for people to find they can't cover their bills when one wage goes. Lots of people don't want to be working and would give up if they didn't need to to enable them to cover bills. SMP doesn't last long and isnt very much.

I think most people save a bit ready for the maternity leave knowing it will be tough.

We didn't get any benefits and hadn't saved. We found ourselves in a really tight situation. I took a weekend and evening job around dps job so we didn't need childcare. You could do that fairly soon after dc born?

A lot of my friends borrow a bit of money, take a mortgage break, or get a loan to cope while on ML.

sleepyhead Thu 10-Oct-13 14:55:03

DSM, it's not a great way to live, but can you and your dp get jobs where you work opposing shifts? Ie one of you does nights and the other days, or less extreme, a Mon-Fri and a Sat Sun? This is one way that a lot of couples avoid childcare.

For the poster worrying about moving from a 1 bed, ds1 is 6 and ds2 is 6 months and we're just now selling our 1 bed to hopefully get a 2 bed. Not ideal, but my god in hindsight I'm glad we didn't bust a gut to move when I was pg with ds1. 5 years worth of redundancy, massive income drop, long periods of ill health on statutory sick pay, our small mortgage, lower council tax and lower fuel bills in our tiny flat was the only thing that kept our head above water. Babies don't take a lot of space, don't need their own room, don't need a garden. Nice but not actually child neglect if you can't afford it.

Good luck people. I'm about to go back to work after 6 months (luckily having had additional employer mat pay) and dh is taking 6 months as he's the lower earner. It's a big shock when you realise you're going to be taking a huge financial hit for the foreseeable future.

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:55:58

Definitely can't get a loan. We've tried. And we couldn't afford the repayments anyway.

We rent so no chance of a mortgage break (though great suggestion if we were owners!)

I could do an night/weekend job, are you allowed whilst on ML?

I wish we could save. I really, really do but our incomings and outgoings are basically the same. And our only variable, is food.

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 14:58:42

sleepyhead we could! and if we have to we will but this is what we did when DS was little - I worked nights and DP days. But working nights then caring for a child is horrific. I was sleeping on and off in short spells for maybe 3 or 4 hours a day. I eventually had mental health issues because of it, so it's not ideal.

Weekends would be okay, but wouldn't be enough income over only 2 days, really. I'd need to quit my job to do either of those options as well.

frogwatcher42 Thu 10-Oct-13 14:59:05

But it does get better sleepyhead. We are almost out the other end now, and work is easier, childcare easier, a little more money sloshing around (little being the operative word!).

Its really tough financially when dc are little. For us working opposing shifts was a lifesaver. I did anything I could get (even temporary washing up or bar work would be ok) - dh stayed in his normal job and did a second job when he could.

Good Luck all. Tough times.

sleepyhead Thu 10-Oct-13 15:05:10

Oh I know! I remember the first pay after ds1 started school - Ive never felt richer.... 5 more years until those days come again grin

DSM, I think you can do some work when you're on SMP, but you may have to have the additional job before you go off. I looked into it before ds2 was born as I have 2 jobs and was thinking about returning to one at 8 weeks, but didn't go through with it in the end.

I agree working nights and looking after a baby would be horrific sad.

KiplingBag Thu 10-Oct-13 15:06:25

I went back when one of mine was 9 weeks old. I worked nights, he worked days. It had to be done.
I didn't expect anyone else to be subsidising my life because I chose to have children.

KiplingBag Thu 10-Oct-13 15:06:52

oh 2 years old grin

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 15:11:25

Yeah, kipling so did I. My DS was only 2 months old when I worked nights, DP worked days.

But it caused a lot of problems for me, mentally, and I don't know that I could do it again.

I don't expect anyone to subsidise my life - I am 34 and never claimed a penny in benefits. But, when things are hard and I can't manage, then I do expect that the 18 years of tax and NI that I have paid might contribute to a little hep, for a year or so.

I could look for a second job now, but realistically who is going to hire a pregnant lady?

debtcamel Thu 10-Oct-13 15:20:30

"Most people on that site seem to get benefits. We have been told we aren't entitled" but the site isnt limited to those people. If you want tailor made advice, go there and you will get it.

KiplingBag Thu 10-Oct-13 15:34:03

DSM I know just how you feel, it was really really hard work. I had 3 under school age, and was catching bits of kip between nursery, it was dire!

Looking back I don't know how I did it, but there were lods of mums doing the same as me so we had a bit of cameraderie going on and lots of tea and sympathy for eachother as the night passed.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 10-Oct-13 21:01:39

Surely you knew the rate of maternity pay and chlldcare costs before planning to have another?

Working an evening or weekjob job or taking a second job may be your only option now.

DSM Thu 10-Oct-13 22:52:02

Not everyone plans their pregnancies, happymummy.

Rockchick1984 Fri 11-Oct-13 08:39:09

DSM you need to go to somewhere like CAB and do a full income/expenditure analysis. If it's only a problem while you're on maternity leave then you will just have to go back earlier if you can't afford to save anything now. If it's going to be a struggle to pay rent and bills once you return to work then you need proper advice of ways to cut your outgoings.

Apologies if this sounds harsh, but I've been in your situation - unplanned pregnancy, both wages going out as fast as they were earnt, and had to deal with it. You will find a way, but not if your attitude is just to brush off everyone's suggestions.

Tiredemma Fri 11-Oct-13 08:45:54

I had to go back to work when DS1 was 6 weeks old because we would have starved/been homeless otherwise. I hadnt worked with my employer long enough to accrue any OMP and wasnt entitled to SMP only Maternity Allowance.

With Ds2 I returned at 4 months because that when we worked out we would have a shortfall of incoming money.

DD1 ( born 4 weeks ago) I am having 7 months off. I have a better job now with reasonable OMP and with SMP - would be great to have a year off- but we cant afford it.

None of my children will planned by the way blush- but we did recognise that we had to tighten the purse strings in order to survive.

williaminajetfighter Fri 11-Oct-13 09:11:10

Dsm you are coming across as needy and barky.

I suggest you bow out of this thread and go do some homework. You are sounding like that kid in class who is complaining that he can't do his maths problem, asking everyone to help, without actually sitting down and trying to work it out.

DSM Fri 11-Oct-13 09:54:30

The problem is we have done this homework!

I am not meaning to come across as needy and barky blush i'm just really feeling at my wits end, and so bloody stressed about it all so maybe it isn't coming across well.

We've been to CAB, we've been to the benefits agency, and both have said there is nothing for us. Even if I go back to work after 6 weeks, when the 90% pay ends, we'll be paying a fortune for childcare. More than I would be earning, so it isn't viable.

I guess I was hoping there was an answer that I wasn't aware of, and someone could help me.

I don't know why we aren't entitled to any benefits, other than DP's income being too high. We don't qualify for social housing either.

Sorry if I have come across badly. I think I was hoping someone would say 'try this!' with a new suggestion, rather than just the obvious 'spend less' comments, which really are of no help, we have been stressing about this and thinking of every single possible solution for the past few months. We've cancelled all non essential outgoings (even my contact lenses - I just wear my glasses now) and DS swimming lessons, really everything we possibly could so to be told to 'stay in more' really hit a nerve.

Sorry again.

KiplingBag Fri 11-Oct-13 10:51:35

Could you work later into your pregnancy possibly? Would this give you a bit longer to get some finances behind you?

DSM Fri 11-Oct-13 10:57:23

I'm planning to work right up until my due date... even then, we have no opportunity to save.

We are currently looking for cheaper places, but genuinely, there are none. We are lucky as we have been in our apartment for 5 years, and the rent never went up. So we are paying the market value for 5 years ago. Even crappy flats are the same price as we pay now.

debtcamel Fri 11-Oct-13 10:58:52

"I think I was hoping someone would say 'try this!'"

I have - twice. Try posting details of your income & expenditure and family situation on here

Although the board is aimed at people with debts, it gives useful advice to anyone having problems making ends meet

If your situation is difficult - and it sounds as though it is - then you need detailed, specific comments, not generalities. Even if you suspect it won't help, it is worth a try!

sebsmummy1 Fri 11-Oct-13 11:04:30

Well I think unfortunately we are all out of ideas for you unfortunately some families seem to fall through the gaps when it comes to benefits and the welfare state. It is assumed that you can cope with what you are earning a d the benefits go to parents living on their own etc

I assume you have no family that can help? You can't give up your car and car share or yr OH perhaps cycle to work?

I think the only thing you can do is work weekends/nights. I know you said it effected your mental health before but was that the actual job you were doing or the hours?

In so sorry things have worked out this way for you, if you have truly exhausted every agency that is out there is offer help and guidance and written on the forums that have been suggested then I don't know what else to say sad

KiplingBag Fri 11-Oct-13 11:05:16

DSM - As you have othr children maybe you could have vouchers instead of presents for the baby from your friends then you can buy food? As you will still have stuff from your last baby.

I know it sounds awful but when we got married we were so skint that we spent some of the m and s vouchers on food! Needs must and all that.

KiplingBag Fri 11-Oct-13 11:08:06

sebs - good point about the weekend work. Then at least you won't have to stay awake in the day time if you dp is there for the children? I used to try to do the weekday nights but it was bloody hard then I managed to do weekend nights and that, although not perfect suited me better and gave us an income which was what was necessary at the time.

SoonToBeSix Fri 11-Oct-13 11:14:08

DSM how much does your dh earn? How much is your rent ? And am I right this will be your second child( have skimmed read the thread as it started out old) not being nosy just trying to work out some figures for you .

DSM Fri 11-Oct-13 11:20:21

Thanks everyone.

sebsmummy - We do have family, DP's parents live close but work full time. Mine live far away, and also work full time. Both our siblings live very far away.

We only have one car, DP walks to work currently as we cut out his bus pass. No one we could car share with, and DS's school is too far to walk (over an hour walk).

Kipling Sadly, our existing DS is nearly 10, so we don't have any baby stuff left over. We sold the big stuff and gave the little things to charity, a long time ago now. I wish we hadn't..

The night working caused me issues because I wasn't sleeping. I did it from when DS was a few months old until he was 4. I would get home, sleep for an hour or two then be up all day. I would get an hour or two nap in the afternoon when he was younger. Then work all night and repeat.. it played with my mind and I was having hallucinations, panic attacks and never felt 'awake', ever. It was really horrible, and I don't think I could risk it again.

We looked into me doing weekend work, but it wouldn't be enough hours over 2 days to make up the shortfall from full time.

It's just a crappy, crappy situation. I guess some people do just fall through the cracks.

Incidentally, the CAB told us that if I were a single parent, I would get everything. Social housing, rent and council tax benefit, CTC, Unemployment benefit if I wasn't working and childcare allowance if I was working. But we are a couple, and get nothing. It's a crazy system.

SoonToBeSix Fri 11-Oct-13 11:28:56

DSM I am confused your dh earns too much for hb and you will get over £200 a week extra when baby is born in maternity pay , tax credits and child benefit. Am struggling to understand how you won't manage as that is nearly £900 a month tax free extra income and obviously you won't have childcare costs to you will also continue to get tax credits and child benefit for your ds.

KiplingBag Fri 11-Oct-13 12:36:44

soontobe - the maternity pay won't be extra though will it, because she won't have an income and I presume the income was more so there is a shortfall.

DSM do you get tax creds?

Shame about the baby gear, I did that too, gave everything away then baby number 3 decided to come along!

What will your short fall be? Then maybe we can help with ideas a bit more.

Rockchick1984 Fri 11-Oct-13 12:49:25

DSM can you post your income and expenditure so we can make suggestions? Realistically, you will find a way to manage, but may be easier if we can offer solutions knowing all of your circumstances?

Summerworld Fri 11-Oct-13 13:02:55

no, you won't be classed as a low earner just because you went on maternity leave. You are still regarded as employed on whatever terms you normally work. This is exteremely unhelpful and this is why so many mothers go back to work sooner that they would have hoped. The only thing you can do is to call CTC and estimate your income for this tax year and next financial year when it is there, so CTC award you the correct amount of money. But as to any other benefits, you are at a big disadvantage because you are classed as employed (FT?) and married, so unless you husband earns very very low amount, you are entitled to nothing other that CB and CTC. Worth checking the websites posted here, but your case does not sound too hopeful, sorry....

SoonToBeSix Fri 11-Oct-13 14:42:32

Kipling yes I realise that the op won't get maternity on top of a wage and their will be a shortfall. However the op will have £900 a month, plus another wage that is deemed to high for hb, no travel costs for the op or childcare costs plus tax credits and cb for her ds . I am confused about why she cannot cope financially am not saying she will have spare money but surely that would be enough to live on or am I missing something?

Rockchick1984 Fri 11-Oct-13 14:45:45

Soontobesix the OP has said she won't get tax credits, so will be around £650 per month not £900?

KiplingBag Fri 11-Oct-13 14:45:45

ah I get you now soontobe.

mummybearah Fri 11-Oct-13 14:48:06

debtcamel- thank you! I'll be a single mummy. I had a look at the turn2us website and it really didn't give me much hope! Maybe I'm doing something wrong so will try again when I get home.

DSM- oh how I understand your frustration sends a hug

I also feel at a loss. At this point I'm thinking I'll have to go back to mum and dads.. who live in a different city! But my only option. I believe once babies are born I'll score a few points in terms of benefits... (God that sounds awful!)

Thanks everyone for all the ideas !

SoonToBeSix Fri 11-Oct-13 15:26:11

Rick chic she hasn't said she won't get tax credits she said she won't get ct as in council tax benefit.

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 11-Oct-13 16:34:06

The OP says she has never claimed a penny in benefits so presumbly doesnt claim tax credits or child benefit.

Given she doesnt want to work nights or weekends, she is very limited with regards to making up the loss of her salary but it sounds like the DH is a high earner so childcare vouchers via salary sacrifice may be an option to assist with childcare costs.

Babyroobs Fri 11-Oct-13 17:00:30

I've always worked nights and weekends around my husband even when we had 4 kids under 7 and had to go back to work when each one was 6 months old. It was incredibly tough but really there was no other option as we weren't entitled to any help from tax credits etc. I'd say my mental and physical health suffered and still is suffering after 14 years of working like this!

frogwatcher42 Fri 11-Oct-13 17:02:14

It does sound like ops dh is a high earner. Therefore it is highly unlikely they will get any help whatsoever.

Op - assuming the above, your only option is to cut back, move to cheaper accomodation, work more (either dh or yourself - you say it wont be enough but surely it will help as you wouldn't have any childcare costs if you worked weekends).

How did you manage childcare for ds1? That would be a saving if you worked shifts around each other as he wouldnt need any.

myBOYSareBONKERS Sat 12-Oct-13 23:11:02

Spread your council tax payment over 12 mths instead of 10.

Cancel landline and use free minutes on mobile.

Take out a 0% credit card and use it to pay off any loans. You can then save money each month by just paying the minimum amount.

Stop any pension scheme payments for now but do restart again when sorted!

thistlelicker Sat 12-Oct-13 23:26:00

I only
In 1st trimester of pregnancy and already worried about mat leave/money! I earn 14550 per year and dh earns 12300. So when I go on mat leave we in the shit because I'm the higher earner and sometimes it's 300 extra a month more than him! We already on the basics of life! We have a car due to my location of work, he gets the bus he doesn't drive, we rent, we also have a debt plan due to is having badly advised loans about 7 years ago! Baby was accident(told we need fertility treatment) but anyway it's happened
But I worry! We don't have luxury a and we don't smoke or drink! But we don't have spare to save for when may leave starts!

Im just a bit meh over it all!!

IdaClair Sat 12-Oct-13 23:56:59

When I had DC1 I couldn't get any maternity pay, and couldn't qualify for maternity allowance. Eventually I did manage to get income support, for a little while, then got tax credits. I tried to put the mortgage on a payment break, but they said no, I went deep into arrears and ended up in court trying to save the house (I did, eventually, with repayment plans). Then my gas and electricity went on prepayment meters. When DC1 was 4 months old the boiler broke and stayed broken until I was able to fix it 11 months later so we had no heating or hot water to spend gas on anyway. I had baths at friends houses. The food budget was £25 per week and that was a huge chunk of income. I BF and used cloth nappies. DH worked two jobs, one regular hours and three nights a week, I went back to work four evenings a week when DC was 11 weeks. We got there, it was all OK in the end. We saved the house, had a new boiler put in when DC was a toddler, payed off the debts, managed. DC was fine. For second DC, I actually got maternity pay and was able to take 5 months off completely, no debts, was bliss. It's not easy, I never saw DH, we had awful relationship problems, I hated leaving DC, I hated taking DC to court for repossession hearings - but the world did not implode and we're alright now.

debtcamel Sun 13-Oct-13 15:56:13

@Thistlelicker "We have a car due to my location of work, he gets the bus he doesn't drive, we rent, we also have a debt plan due to is having badly advised loans about 7 years ago!"

a debt, plan - who with? If it's with a fee chargging company you need to switch NOW to a charity that doesnt charge any fees so all your money goes to repay your debts, see

how much do you owe? because it may be necessary to rethink whether you can afford to repay ANYTHING to your debts.

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