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How do you manage on mat leave?

(28 Posts)
Littleelffriend Wed 25-Nov-15 15:08:00

Ok, so I may have been a little naïve. I told my work today that I was pregnant (first child). I stupidly hadn't looked into maternity pay etc, and have discovered that I only get 90% pay for the 1st 6 weeks, then just statutory, which I'm led to believe will be about £500 a month. How on earth do people manage on this? It wouldn't even cover my mortgage.

atticusclaw2 Wed 25-Nov-15 15:14:17

Lots of people save up for a long time. And then you cut your cloth accordingly when you're off on mat leave and only take off the time that you can afford to take.

atticusclaw2 Wed 25-Nov-15 15:15:11

SMP is currently £139.48 per week

annielostit Wed 25-Nov-15 15:16:18

No wise words, if you've time & ££ now save some to use up then . when I had mine there was only 12 weeks paid leave so I went back then.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Wed 25-Nov-15 15:18:21

Save save save. Even now until you have your baby, live frugally so you can spread it out over the time you have off. And then maybe cut your maternity leave a bit shorter?

captainproton Wed 25-Nov-15 15:18:22

Are you raising baby alone? Is the father living with you? If not then he will need to pay you child maintenance.

But tbh I knew the finances before I got pregnant so saved like crazy. If pregnancy is unplanned I can see why it's not possible.

You have to cut your cloth now. Pay off as much debt outright as you can to reduce monthly outgoings. Look at halving your weekly outgoings, packed lunches, no meals out, limited shopping trips, be sensible about buying stuff for baby, go to NCT sales and use second hand. Little babies don't need toys. Consider breastfeeding as it's free and formula is expensive as is boiling kettles a lot. Ask your bank for a mortgage holiday?

Go back to work early, I only ever took 6 months off, but some child care providers will take 3 month olds.

thatsn0tmyname Wed 25-Nov-15 15:18:47

You need to review your budget/ spending habits. I'm afraid it doesn't get any easier when you return to work and consider part-time/ nursery fees etc.

mrsmugoo Wed 25-Nov-15 15:22:44

I could only afford 8 months off on SMA. My maternity pay just about covered what I usually contribute to the shared costs and then all other costs had to be covered by my husband. We certainly do not have the disposable cash we used to pre- baby! (No frivolous clothes shopping, strictly packed lunches for work, limit meals out to the occasional pub roast etc...)

Chchchchangeabout Wed 25-Nov-15 15:22:53

You can also save annual leave to take with mat leave to extend it while being paid.

QforCucumber Wed 25-Nov-15 15:24:55

my workplace is the same, currently 25 weeks. Have spent this time reducing all outgoings, negotiating deals with suppliers and setting up a spreadsheet to show my incomings and outgoings weekly while I'll be off so I know what balances I'll have where and when things will go out (I like spreadsheets)

Will be taking 6 months leave as we cannot afford more.

Asking mortgage provider if you can take a 3 month payment holiday may be of use.
You need to list all your outgoings and reduce like mad basically.

Littleelffriend Wed 25-Nov-15 15:31:10

Thanks everyone, I think I'm just a bit shocked at how little it is! Yes, very naïve.
aticusclaw2-I believe you get taxed on that amount, which brings it down to about £120/week.
Cutting mat leave shorter is definitely something I'll need to consider seriously. Save save save for me from now on in!

mrsmugoo Wed 25-Nov-15 15:43:04

Maternity pay is subject to tax but if you aren't getting any other enhanced maternity package from your employer than it will be under the tax free allowance.

AndNowItsSeven Wed 25-Nov-15 15:47:25

Maternity pay is almost double JSA/IS and people have to cope on that.
You will also get just over £20 a week CB don't forget.

Littleelffriend Wed 25-Nov-15 16:36:59

Andnowitsseven-I thought that was scrapped in today's budget plan?

CaptainKit Wed 25-Nov-15 16:41:39

The short answer is that I won't be able to manage.

Baby is due February, all my savings went on getting pregnant in the first place, but to be honest, if I'd waited for the more cost effective route of marrying and saving, I would have run the risk of never having a kid, so I totally don't regret not saving.

On the practical side of things I have got a modest(ish) loan from the bank. This has been put in an ISA, so it's separate from my current account, but still easily accessible. I've set aside enough money to cover my mortgage during the second half of my maternity leave - 7 1/2 months off thanks to a healthy padding of annual leave at the beginning and end; I get 18 weeks at 90% of pay; thanks to work, before down to £139p/w minus tax where the loan money will kick in to cover things. I've also set enough aside to cover the monthly loan repayments until I'm working again. It'll probably be quite tight at times, but it'll be doable. If I ever have a week when I have no money for food or fuel I can either dip into the last dregs of the loan (to be kept for emergencies) or can walk round to nearby family for a meal.

The loan isn't ideal, but it's enabled me to get a naice pram, and to not have to worry about all the other baby-related purchases; I'm not angsting over how to afford maternity jeans, baby clothes, bottles, nappies, etc. It's given me the chance to enjoy pregnancy, which is great as unless things change in the next 5 or so years, this is likely to be my only child.

Not sure if you qualify for Child Tax Credits. Annoyingly I don't - I get paid too much to qualify, despite the fact that a: I'll not be getting that pay during my Mat Leave, and b: I live in an expensive part of the country, and so a large proportion of my income goes straight out to the mortgage. But that's my fault for not picking somewhere cheaper to live.

CaptainKit Wed 25-Nov-15 16:45:31

Looks like tax credits will be phased out by 2018, but not cut this April... is what I'm getting from a very quick scan of the BBC news article. From April 2017 there will be a two-child limit on child tax credits.

RandomMess Wed 25-Nov-15 16:59:57

I went back to work.

In fact when my 18 year old was born due to our circumstances I had to be actively seeking work from when she was 6 weeks old, I started a new job when she was 9 weeks old!!!

Even with my 13 year old I got a very enhanced package - a whole 16 weeks of mat. pay - it's always been very difficult financially to have children sad

Babyroobs Wed 25-Nov-15 17:00:40

Save as much as you can now. Once baby arrives you may be eligible for tax credits and child benefit depending on income. If you can't afford to take the full mat leave ( last 3 months is unpaid) then you may have to go back to work earlier. My eldest 2 dc's were born in a country where there was no maternity pay so I just had to go back to work when they were 5 and 4 onths old, even depsite ds2 being born prematurely.

AndNowItsSeven Wed 25-Nov-15 17:23:10

No CB not being scrapped.

sparechange Wed 25-Nov-15 17:28:58

Don't forget that you still accrue holiday while you are on maternity leave.

So if you usually get 25 days holiday, and you take 6 months off, you will be entitled to 12.5 days holiday, paid at your full salary.
So the last few weeks of your leave can be taken as holiday rather than Mat Leave, and you'll be paid more than if you took it all as mat leave

Umbrelladilemma Wed 25-Nov-15 17:37:00

I was actually better off financially during my mat leave on £500/month (tax free) than went I went back to work and had to spend most of my salary on nursery!

ilovehotsauce Wed 25-Nov-15 17:40:45

What might also be worth considering is childcare costs, even though SMP is only £530pm you don't have to pay childcare out of it a full day at nursery is about £45/55 a day, we live in West Yorkshire.

Boosiehs Wed 25-Nov-15 17:46:15

I had to use savings and then go back at 6 months. My DH doesn't work (health issues) so he stayed home and i had to go back to earn money to pay for food/mortgage.

I am v lucky - work pays 4 months full pay. Add in 10 KIT days and that covers another month.

Umbrelladilemma Wed 25-Nov-15 19:39:58

X post, hotsauce! My nursery was about £80-90/day!! (London)

ElizabethG81 Wed 25-Nov-15 22:25:14

CaptainKit tax credits will take account of your reduced income while you're on maternity leave. I get the impression from your post that you're single? If so, and you have no income other than statutory maternity pay then you will get tax credits.

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