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Any tips for supporting poor SMP

(19 Posts)
Bunnylady80 Sat 07-Jun-14 10:45:32

Hi guys, I am planning to start a family soon but am very worried about how I am going to afford the time off. I'm almost 34 and not wanting to put starting my family off for much longer.

I am on a good wage and earn almost twice that of my husband. We've finally managed to get on the property ladder and generally at the moment we're pretty solvent, other than a large-ish debt I have had for some years now on a couple of credit cards and a loan. Realistically I am not got going to be able to settle that debt for a few years.

My maternity pay within my employment contract used to be very generous but the company recently restructured and as such I had to interview to secure a new post (which was my old post with a new title and a little more responsibility). I kept my job luckily, but they cut all the maternity and sick pay benefits in the managerial contracts and now, should I get pregnant I will only receive SMP. I'm pretty much looking at a shortfall of about £1,300 a month to cover basic outgoings and debts during any leave. My husband will not have this disposable income to support this shortfall.

I'd love to hear any stories or tips from anyone who managed to perhaps negotiate OMP with their employer or whether anyone has any other advice in terms of managing large debts whilst earning very little maternity pay. I can't wait to start my family but I am worried that I'm going to get into some serious financial trouble.

melissa83 Sat 07-Jun-14 10:49:32

Can you write down your outgoings to see where you can save? Can dh get a second job? Anything to sell?

LIZS Sat 07-Jun-14 10:52:42

Start cutting back and paying off debt/saving now. dh increases his earning power/new job/extra work. How do you plan to fund childcare if you need to return ?

Jsa1980 Sat 07-Jun-14 10:58:36

Save save save. Try and pay as much debt off as possible. We saved a years rent when I very inexpertly fell pregnant. Gave us a good buffer.

Jsa1980 Sat 07-Jun-14 10:58:43


Jsa1980 Sat 07-Jun-14 10:59:27

Inexpertly! Unexpectedly even

Rockchick1984 Sat 07-Jun-14 11:05:54

Start saving now, and look into what outgoings you can reduce (mortgage onto interest only, any bills that you can cut etc). Also look into shared maternity leave so you could go back sooner and husband take some time off?

Remember you will need to consider childcare costs once you return to work.

Cabrinha Sat 07-Jun-14 11:12:38

You're not really that solvent, if you have large

Cabrinha Sat 07-Jun-14 11:14:54

You're not really that solvent if you have large debts though.
You earn a good wage, and you both work.
Honestly, I think you should stop thinking about having a baby, and go hell for leather to get the debts paid off first.
That will give you more security, more money (what are you wasting in interest now?!) and has the added benefit that you get used to living on less, so when you do have less - mat leave, then childcare fees - it is much easier.

melissa83 Sat 07-Jun-14 11:16:08

I wouldnt wait at 34 there must be some way around it

sleepyhead Sat 07-Jun-14 11:28:32

I'm the higher earner in my relationship and shared mat leave with dh. We did 6 months each, but you can share from 20 weeks. It's changing to after 6 weeks but I don't know when.

You need to work out what's important to you both, what's nonnegotiable and what's worth the sacrifice.

Sacrifices could include dh as sahd and you back at work 6 weeks postpartum, dh doing a better paid job he hates just for the money, relocating, downsizing, changing job to one with better mat pay but pay cut and waiting to TTC...

Check out childcare costs. You're unlikely to have as much money as you do now for c5 years, so if you can't manage on a lot less then something will need to change. Mat pay is ?just the start of it (unless you have family childcare)

fuckinglondonballs Sat 07-Jun-14 11:36:57

I know very few people who can get together a year's together rent in 8 months. That'd be nearly £14,000 for us and that's not even moving somewhere with a second bedroom!

OP, could your DH stay at home? It doesn't have to be you. A friend went back to work after five months because that's what they could afford. Not everyone takes a year. Another friend is taking a year - she likes to point out how responsible she's been in saving a years worth of mortgage and bills - but only because it took her 7 years to get pregnant so had time to save that much! grin

Put your debt onto a zero interest credit card and pay what you can. Save cash for mat leave.

I'm feeling the same as you re finance and family so I sympathise but at 34 I wouldn't wait much longer.

You will find a way. You just need to work out the maths and budget well.

Do it in between shagging wink

melissa83 Sat 07-Jun-14 11:42:47

Would you not move somewhere cheaper?

YoureBeingASillyBilly Sat 07-Jun-14 12:06:42

Legally you only have to take 2 weeks maternity leave. Work out how much you can afford to take an plan for that.

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 07-Jun-14 13:58:17

Save like stink in the run up to maternity leave, cut back on everything you can then don't take to long off.
I was the major income which feel by £1,800 per month when I went on maternity leave. I cut back massively to bare minimum and went back after 18 weeks.

CookieDoughKid Sat 07-Jun-14 16:38:36

The thing is how will you afford childcare if you both went back to work?

sleepyhead Sat 07-Jun-14 19:18:25

I know this all sounds really daunting, but I suspect if you start trying to live on as close to the amount you'll have coming in when you'd been on mat leave then you'll be surprised how less impossible it will seem.

If I were you, I'd cut back to the bone on all non essentials (question all spending, cut right back on eating/drinking out of the home etc etc) and try to save as close to that £1300 per month as possible - use it, every penny, to pay off your debt.

Have a look at Money Saving Expert, check out "snowballing" your debts, look for the poster talkinpeace's credit card spreadsheets. You can do it if you're motivated, and starting a family without the stress of debt over your head is a great motivation.

I know what I'm talking about btw. I paid off £2k of debt and saved £2k in 9 months while I was pg with ds2. If you'd asked me if it was possible for us to have £400 per month surplus when it felt like we were already scrimping I'd have laughed in your face.

Maybe you won't be able to pay it all off, I don't know how much you have on cards, but anything is good and every £ cuts down on interest payments and saves you money.

Clargo55 Sat 07-Jun-14 19:29:59

Will you qualify for child benefit? Roughly £80 per month, not loads but may help.

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 08-Jun-14 11:18:33

If you have large debts they you are not solvent so I would throw everything you have at them and clear them.

If you are both working and it sounds like a healthy joint salary, make a list of outgoings and see what you cut.

Save beforehand and during the pregnancy to make up the shortfall in salary, ideally save the amount it will cost you in childcare and then you'll be prepared for when the bill actually hits a you'll be used to not having that money anyway.

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