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Coping on maternity leave

(41 Posts)
Dolwar Wed 25-Jan-17 09:14:11

Hi guys I wanted to ask how got all copies financially on maternity leave if YOU are the main earner?
Dh is a trainee teacher so will be on basic salary of around 21k as of September. I literally earn double that. We have a joint account for all direct debits and mortgage etc and I pay 2/3 of it as I earn more, my contribution is approx £1100 pcm. Then we split the credit card bill which is food and petrol fairly equally after I have paid in my petrol allowance money from work. I work for the NHS so have a decent maternity package but tbh I'm struggling to see how I can afford to take any more than 6 months off work. Obviously when it comes to it we'll switch to free sat etc etc. I know people survive on a lot less but we have a big mortgage and a house we are renovating too.

DraughtyWindow Wed 25-Jan-17 09:34:23

People save up. You can't have everything. confused

Babyroobs Wed 25-Jan-17 09:36:37

You earn between you a joint salary of £60K !! I would be saving as much as possible until the baby arrives. On a high income like yours this should be possible unless you have very high outgoings or a lot of debt. As you've said the Nhs maternity package is one of the best around so you are lucky there. Perhaps you will just need to put the house renovations on hold as much as possible ( non essential stuff). You will most probably get child benefit of £20 a week unless you earn over £50k a year.
Look on MN and money saving websites like martins money saving for budgeting tips and best deals.
The baby needn't cost a lot extra, you don't need to buy everything new, breastfeeding is free etc.
Have you thought about how you are going to afford childcare when you go back to work? Or are you planning to work around each other ?You are unlikely to get any help with childcare costsn your joint wages, although might do if you reduce your hours. You could look at whether either of your employers offer the childcare voucher scheme which is a salary sacrifice scheme. The NHS certainly offers this so may be worth looking into.

geekaMaxima Wed 25-Jan-17 09:38:24

Or go back to work after 6 months. Lots of people do.

Babyroobs Wed 25-Jan-17 09:38:56

Also I think you could split/ share maternity leave so your partner takes time off but sorry I'm really not sure how that will work if he's newly qualified. It may be possible for you to take the first six months the he take some extended paternity leave?

INeedNewShoes Wed 25-Jan-17 09:40:54

I think if you want more than the six months off you either have to save in advance or accept that you'll build up some debt.

I'm single and will be coping on Statutory Maternity Pay from May onwards. I have been building up my own freelance business to help make ends meet but I accept that I will have to start working from when the baby is around 3 months' old as SMP only just covers my mortgage, CT and water.

I have been reducing all monthly bills where possible (ie changed to a basic Tesco mobile £10pcm contract) and will have to live very very frugally for some time.

On £21k your DP's take home salary should be around £1200pcm so he should be able to cover the 2/3 that you usually contribute. Then the 1/3 that he usually covers will be covered by the £560 SMP you will receive. Presumably you'll still have money left over because NHS maternity pay is more generous than SMP.

Babyroobs Wed 25-Jan-17 09:41:18

geek - This is very true I went back when my babies were 6 and 5 month old despite my ds2 being born 6 weeks prematurely. We had no choice, and we lived abroad in a country which had no maternity pay so I literally didn't get paid from the day I left work at 34 weeks ( when I went into labour) until I went back when he was 5 months old !!

ninenicknames Wed 25-Jan-17 09:41:52

You save like crazy!

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 25-Jan-17 09:42:29

I agree with saving as much as possible while you can. Put the renovations on hold, remortgage cheaper if you can. I did an audit of all our utilities, Tv, phone, mobiles etc and got cheaper deals where possible. I also meal plan and stick to it which helps too.

Is there any chance your DH could take shared parental leave for another 3 or 6 months after you've had your part of the leave?

purplefizz26 Wed 25-Jan-17 09:45:57

I don't want to sound harsh but you just have to manage if you want to take the time off work.

I had basic SMP £139.58 per week. After that the remaining time I took was with no pay whatsoever.

My husbands take home pay after tax was £1800 per month.

After mortgage, bills, petrol, food shop etc etc, that left us with very little spare.

You cut your cloth, cancel sky tv, don't buy brand name groceries, don't eat out, cut out everything that isn't essential.

With the amount you are earning between you, and a generous maternity package, I fail to see how you will struggle confused

MrPoppersPenguins Wed 25-Jan-17 09:50:24

The NHS will let you spread your pay out over 9-12 months if you like. So you get an average pay packet rather than larger drops at certain points. Remember to cancel all your outgoings like work car parking/any other salary sacrifice schemes. And you accrue all your annual leave/bank holidays which could add up to 6 weeks onto your leave and would be paid. It's amazing how little I spent during my first few months with baby as you're so busy caring for them that eating out etc doesn't happen!

starsinyourpies Wed 25-Jan-17 09:54:09

1. Save up in advance
2. Time your return to work with school holidays so OH can do a stint then rather than DC going straight into childcare
3. Be bloody grateful you have such a generous maternity deal in the first place!

Dolwar Wed 25-Jan-17 09:55:01

We are saving already but it's hard to know how much we need really. I already plan on bf BUT even the best laid plans...
Although it sounds a lot to earn I have to pay a lot in fees and memberships, exams etc on top of £600 for a compulsory course in November, £505 for a compulsory exam next month. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining but I don't have as much spare cash as you might imagine after all that is paid plus the household bills. And dh wrote the car off in November.
Some of the renovations are essential so can't be put on hold. Mostly it is the kitchen and painting that needs doing, the bathrooms are all ok for now. We can't remortgage as it's a new mortgage and it is a good rate already. We are not ones for going to the pub or concerts etc but dh is not good at saving money. Actually not good at money in general!
When I eventually go back to work it will be at 60 or 80% depending on finances. Dh might be also be able to do 4 days a week. Nursery fees here are around £45/day so not as bad as London. I just worry as he isn't as forward thinking as I am so doesn't plan ahead enough.
How much a month would you

inneedofaliein Wed 25-Jan-17 09:55:19

It won't completely solve the problem but as MrPoppers says you will find you don't spend anywhere near as much whilst on mat leave.

Babies don't cost a lot- don't go mad with clothes etc as they grow fast. We found our dd1 didn't really "cost" a lot until after she was 2 and wanting to do more expensive activities like gymnastics..

Also as pp says- look at all outgoings and see what you can cut/ reduce. We've cancelled direct debits to savings etc. It's still tight as my mat package is poor this time but I hope by being careful we will be ok.

Dolwar Wed 25-Jan-17 09:55:53

Sorry double post

How much would you be saving?

Ps dh is a trainee teacher so won't be on 21k until September so our combined income is not 60k!

user1468850651 Wed 25-Jan-17 09:58:56

Yes, we were in this situation when I was pregnant. We saved £1k a month while I was pregnant and while I was still on full pay on mat leave. I went back to work when my daughter was 9 months old and my husband took 3 months additional paternity leave (this bit was unpaid). We used the savings to top us up once I went down to SMP (which works out at about £600pcm) and while my husband was off.

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 25-Jan-17 09:59:25

The simple answer is as much as possible. It would be ideal to have 3 to 6 months worth of your take home salary saved, as you know that would cover you for the period of time with low or no pay.

user1468850651 Wed 25-Jan-17 10:00:17

Actually we saved more once I was on mat leave but still getting full pay as I didn't need to pay for my season ticket so that was another few hundred a month we were saving.

LordPeterWimsey Wed 25-Jan-17 10:20:23

You go back at 6 months and your DH takes the rest as shared parental leave. Problem solved and he gets time with the baby on his own. Honestly, men don't assume it's their job to be the main earner and the main carer - you shouldn't either as it's a quick route to going insane.

FWIW, I'm the breadwinner and went back after 6 months (before shared leave was available), and DD went to nursery a couple of days a week.

Catherinebee85 Wed 25-Jan-17 10:29:18

Similar situation here in that I earn just under 30k and DP earns just under 20k.

I'm planning to have 6 months off and he'll have the next 6 months off. I work 3 or 4 12.5hr shifts per week so I'd still be at home 3 or 4 days even when not on maternity anymore. Could your hours be condensed at all?

I'm not sure what your job is but if you're clinical could do do the odd overtime or bank shift whilst you're pregnant. I did two overtime shifts this month and plan to put that money to one side.

Dolwar Wed 25-Jan-17 10:43:41

I'm not sure how feasible shared parental leave is in teaching tbh. I'll look into it.
I'm afraid there's very few extra shifts available for me and given last week I worked 72 hours in not sure I could physically do any more. They are a bit funny about doing extra shifts in other hospitals.
I know we will cope but I like to feel secure and I just don't at the moment. We will just have to save a bit harder I think. We've had an expensive few months with the car, moving house, Christmas etc that our savings have dwindled a bit so need to rebuild

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 25-Jan-17 10:51:12

Assuming you meet the qualifying criteria for shared parental leave, then your employer has to allow it, it's not something they can refuse.

holepunchkid Wed 25-Jan-17 11:08:56

When are you due? or are you TTC. ditch all the non-essentials now (gym, sky etc), shop round for all your insurances etc. maybe delay TTC for a year or two if you aren't pregnant and your age isn't an issue?

Spam88 Wed 25-Jan-17 12:33:03

Keep track of all your outgoings in a spreadsheet. Absolutely everything you spend. Then you can easily see how much you'll need per month. And if you can't save enough then you'll be able to see where you can cut back.

Cwtchythings Wed 25-Jan-17 12:47:04

I'm in a similar position and want to stay off for a year...We've been saving since I got the BFP. I'll keep saving throughout my mat leave as I get 6 months full pay too. There are things we will just have to do without though, e.g. Sky TV went months ago, my car is not big enough for us all so I'd like a new one, but we will just have to manage until I'm back in work. If the money runs out I'll have to go back to work sooner than I wanted. I've done this twice before with my other DCs and it needed both of us to be scrupulous with our outgoings from the start of the pregnancies for it to work!

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