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Maternity pay worries

(8 Posts)
BlueKarou Mon 20-Jul-15 12:08:55

Hi all, I'm just looking for some advice really. I'm almost 10 weeks pregnant with my first child. There is no father as this was IVF with donor sperm.

I have a well paid job, but I live in an expensive area, so my mortgage is fairly chunky, but isn't something I've struggled with so far. My maternity package looks to be 90% of my pay for the first 18 weeks, then SMP for the remaining ML. I cannot afford to pay my mortgage on £139 per week (minus tax and NI).

I just wondered if anyone had any advice on how to cover my mortgage for 3 months, as I would like to take 6 months off as ML (Would like to take a year off, but that's definitely not happening) I've thrown together a hasty budget, and it would possibly be doable if I was super thrifty for the next year (the troublesome months would be July, August and September 2016) but that's going to limit what I can get for the baby. Plus it's not very robust in the face of unexpected vet bills or car trouble. Sadly my mortgage people don't allow payment breaks, as that would be the ideal solution.

I really thought I'd gone over everything before starting TTC, but I just hadn't realised how little SMP is.

Gawd, I guess I'm just venting really at how unfair it is that my ML is going to be tainted with money worries, when I'd much prefer to make the most of my 6 months at home with my baby. I know I've chosen to become a lone parent, where many of you will be in quite different situations, but all the same, advice, a hand hold, or a firm grip to be got would be much appreciated.

atticusclaw Mon 20-Jul-15 12:14:54

Its very difficult which is why lots of people delay having children until they have savings behind them. Clearly it's not something you can change now but it does't sound like you thought this through at all. Are there no savings left over from the IVF treatment?

Have you checked whether you would be eligible for any benefits? Could you take in a lodger? If not then I think you're going to have to get seriously saving I'm afraid and hunt out second hand/borrowed items for the baby. In reality you need very little for a baby.

Twistedheartache Mon 20-Jul-15 12:15:52

Not an expert but survived on smp via savings, but outgoings don't go up that much with a young baby really, til weaning in my opinion.
Tons of second hand baby stuff at amazing prices on fb selling pages, and look at the tax credit calculator to see if you are entitled to anything. I was v pleasantly surprised!

Twistedheartache Mon 20-Jul-15 12:17:23

Don't forget holiday pay & bank holidays plus option to do 10 KIT days on full normal pay too

SycamoreMum Mon 20-Jul-15 12:19:49

I saved a chunk of money from my wage and from my maternity leave wage to tide me over as much as possible. Pp is right about babies not needing much; buying vests, rompers, nappies, wipes in bulk helped. Will you breast feed? That will definitely save in costs as well.

Congratulations as well!smile

atticusclaw Mon 20-Jul-15 12:22:25

KIT days are only if the employer wants them though (e.g. for essential training) and so I wouldn't rely on that. They are not something the employee can insist on.

Holiday will continue to accrue but can't be used during the mat leave, only immediately before or immediately after. So you could in theory save up your annual leave now, delay until the last minute before starting your mat leave and then take five and a bit months' mat leave and the rest as annual leave (when you'd go back onto full pay).

There won't be much of a shortfall given that you get paid 90 percent for 18 weeks (which is very generous) and you are planning on going back after 26 weeks anyway.

Itscurtainsforyou Mon 20-Jul-15 12:26:58

I second what PPs have said. Start saving now, look at cutting back on non-essential things when on SMP (this includes pension contributions etc), check out what you might be entitled to benefit-wise/tax credits. Do a price-comparison on your supermarket shop to see where you could be saving money (e.g. if you have a B&M bargains, Home Bargains, Quality Save nearby they can be cheap for lots of things, including baby stuff).

Hunt out baby stuff on ebay/freecycle etc - you can get some real bargains. If you're disciplined, you could stock up on essentials/consumables now (I stockpiled things like toiletries, tinned food etc - although I might have gone overboard!).

Congratulations and good luck!

BlueKarou Mon 20-Jul-15 12:50:12

Thanks for the advice folks, and for the congrats - I was terrified the IVF wouldn't work, and probably wouldn't have been able to go for a second round, so it's been a wonderful surprise that it's all come together so far. I didn't pay for it fully as I used the clinic's egg sharing scheme to to donate my eggs and offset many of the costs, and the amount I did pay came from a small lump of inheritance. So it's not like I was loaded before I started.

Not entirely fair to say I've not thought this through - I'm 30, and have PCOS, so getting pregnant was never guaranteed. I'm about 90% confident I will not want to marry, and did not want to risk my fertility on waiting around and seeing if that changed. I put a lot of thought into going for IVF and spent over a year losing weight and moving house and preparing my life so I was in the right place to begin treatment. I will be financially solvent before and after that period of SMP, and am fortunate to have a fairly decent Maternity package at my job. It's literally just that period between 18 weeks post-birth and returning to work that I have worries about.

I will be saving what I can over the duration of my pregnancy, and am fortunate that my best friend has just finished having her family (totally awkward wording!!! She's had her 3rd child and isn't having more), so I'll get a lot of hand-me-down clothing and equipment from her. The only big purchases I'll need to make will be the cot (as her newborn will likely still be using it in 7 months) and the car seat/travel system. So I'll be looking for a reasonable price on those items.

Yes, Sycamore, I'm intending to breastfeed, although will have to look into the possibilities of expressing from 6 months so I can go to work, but not have to switch to formula. All depends on how baby takes to it/how my milk supply is, as I know it's not 100% guaranteed.

I've already looked in to holiday. My work holiday year begins in April, and I'm due in February, so I plan on using up whatever is remaining before my EDD, and starting ML from that day (unless baby comes early) as we can't sell back holiday days. Is a good idea to use some holiday to delay ending ML - if I stop ML after 24 weeks I can bolster it to 26 or 27 with annual leave and start getting paid again sooner. Thanks for pointing that out atticus & twisted

We do KIT days, but as I'm a sort of IT Support, it's unlikely that I'll be needed for many of them. Will definitely take them up if/when offered.

Thanks for the practical solution suggestions - it's helping to be forming a plan rather than just looking at my budget. I've got a spreadsheet of timings and incomings/outgoings (that's probably just outed me - I am the sort of person who has a spreadsheet for everything) so will play around with leave options on it and see if I can put in some extra annual leave instead of the end of ML.

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