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Saving / Preparing for Maternity Leave

(39 Posts)
MyGoldenNotebook Sat 07-Jan-12 16:08:55

I was reading the no-spend January thread over in Chat, and among the good ideas there somebody mentioned how they had stocked up on washing powder and dry goods before their maternity leave. Now, I'm beginning to think about when I will start mine at the end of May, and I need to really plan as we don't earn lots of money and my husband's job is a little precarious so I want to be prepared! I have decided to take nine months off (would love more!) but this will be a stretch, particularly the last three months when I will receive SMP only. So ... I was wondering if any lovely MNetters in a similar position could share their ideas smile Up to now I have:

* Bulk buy washing up powder / other pricey cleaning products.
*Start buying nappies and formula (only panninf to BF for 6 weeks ... managed 4 las time) each week in my weekly shop now.
*Save family allowance in a seperate account for big items like pram (unfortunately the one I had for DS canno be reused)

Any others????

TIA

pootlebug Sat 07-Jan-12 16:14:59

If you're planning to bf to start with I wouldn't stock up on formula just now - you never know, you might find bf goes better than you think and you end up carrying on longer than you thought.

Equally I wouldn't buy too many nappies...some babies grow faster than others and race through the sizes. It is worth looking out for nappies on offer though, and check out reviews of cheaper supermarket own brands e.g. Lidl.

For bigger purchases like buggy check out your local NCT sale, local for sale boards etc.

Rather than buying lots of stuff I'd be tempted to put bits of money aside - that way you can spend it on what it turns out you need, rather than what you think you need but might turn out not to.

LoveInASnowyClimate Sat 07-Jan-12 16:16:50

We are living (pretty much) on DH's salary and saving almost all of mine. We have used some of mine for baby shopping and have a little fund for back up money while I'm off (my maternity pay is terrible). We have also done a very strict budget for once I am off. I am still desperately worried about money, though...

therumoursaretrue Sat 07-Jan-12 16:32:11

I only found out 3 days ago that I am pg but put all spare money I had in an envelope straightaway - will bank this in a seperate account.
I am a student so (as far as I know) won't be entitled to any money when am off (hoping to take a year out) and my bf is self-employed so his income varies massively from week to week, i.e. none at all some weeks! Although I work p-t this is self-employed too so still looking into the logistics here...but even if I get a percentage of this it will not be much. Pretty much live of my loan at present.

We have decided to save as much as we can by cutting back on things like me having my nails done and him going out...sacrifices starting already lol! As I am pretty much going to be without an income for a while by the looks of things we have also decided I should put away as much as possible from work and we will live of his pay for the meantime so that we will have atleast a little money for all the extras we will have to get.

MyGoldenNotebook Sat 07-Jan-12 16:32:39

Pootle yes there is a chance that BF will go better than last time - but even if it did, I cannot imagine being to continue after four months or so. It is such hard work. I would be thrilled if it did though, so fingers crossed. Maybe I'll just get a couple of tubs in rather than lots. I will definitely make sure I get nappies in some of the bigger sizes and not only tiny ones ... and not go over board either!

Love I am in awe of you living on one wage. I really must to better. Ended up spending over budget at Christmas blush Not by many people's standards but I promised myself I would be more careful and then panicked at the last minute and bought more presents. The next pay check is a new start though.

Zay04 Sat 07-Jan-12 16:39:00

I'm the only one working between me and patner at the mo, trying to find a job for him is getting more stressful by the day, and not easy keeping stress free. But I'm using my old cot, the one I had about 20 yeatrs ago and my mum kept. As it is a first grandchild, for the pushchair mum, dad and sister pooling together to get us one. My cousin, who had a baby last year, has said she will lend me a moses basket and other stuff as just has it lying round.
My sister who works at a nursery says formula milk, does have a exp/ must be used within 10 weeks kinda thing on it, I think so I don't know about stocking up. I am also putting money aside out of my wages to help once I'm on Maternity Leave. For a pushchair, try Ebay, if you don't want to buy 2nd hand, you sometimes have outlet stores which will sell things cheaper. Pick up deals along the way too. Also if you join the Asda baby club, you get a free pack of newborn huggies nappies, think it is per household. If they don't mind sign up as many people as you can think.

Hope that helps...even a bit.

LoveInASnowyClimate Sat 07-Jan-12 16:39:52

If it helps, I do find not spending really hard! I think it helps that I hate all maternity clothes in the shops so haven't had the usual clothes shopping temptation when popping out for a sandwich. I have had to really fight my usual make up buying habit, though. I can't wait until I start ML and don't work in the city where the tempting shops are...

MyGoldenNotebook Sat 07-Jan-12 16:40:29

therumour I was a student when I got pregnant with DS, and DH earned a pittance, but it worked out. Certainly made us grow up! (think I was quite immature). I ended up starting a PGCE when he was 11 months old and I've been teaching three years now. It's a cracking job ... once you get over the horror of the training!

With a first baby people often buy you quite a lot. We didn't have to buy pram, cot etc as family pitched in.

Seperate accounts are definitely the way to go! So much easier to avoid spending.

McPhee Sat 07-Jan-12 16:44:52

Watching thread with interest smile

therumoursaretrue Sat 07-Jan-12 16:47:16

Nice to hear someone elses situation was similar and worked out fine! I am actually off uni when I'm due but thought of going back to do final year and having no time with baby (aswell as the stress of juggling both!) is making me think a year out is best.
Money is a big worry for us at the minute but I know family and friends will help out...I think if people want to buy presents we are going to ask for practical things like money towards cot, or nappies instead of being given 100 Newborn babygrows!

Yes I have to be strict on myself. If I start saving in my current account I'll break far too easily!

MyGoldenNotebook Sat 07-Jan-12 16:54:08

Love The big thing that I spend on at the moment it the house. Nesting seems to have kicked in super early and all I want to do is paint, buy new curtains etc. I haven't done much to be fair, just re-painted the kitchen so far. Keep fighting the urge and looking for cheap ways to jazz up the place.

Zay - looking for a new job is awful, especially at the moment. It's bad enough that my DH hates hates is current job (it isn't what he trained for) and is looking for something else. I don't actually think we are in a position to complain too much. It does make him unhappy though sad I really hope you strike lucky soon.

MyGoldenNotebook Sat 07-Jan-12 17:03:07

therumour you can get by on very little. Have you investigated CTC yet? They helped us out so much. You will get family allowance too of course. A year ou sounds best to me. I imagine you are quite young??? so you have plenty of time. It's great being a young mum you have tonnes of energy smile

You can have los of fun doing free things with a baby e.g. sure start groups, library, museums, parks just to name a few. I made myself a little weekly schedule so I wasn't always in the house feeling poor! Finding people in a similar position helps too. Had some very lucky rich friends who were also on maternity and it didn't help!

But you know ... that 11 months off with DS before going back to uni were the happiest of my life. Really, really. Lots of memories of dancing to music with the baby, learning how to make soup, bake lemon cake, knit scarves, listening to woman's hour /radio plays every day (found finding time to read hard in first months ... knackered by the time DH got home at 7/8). No time to do these things at the moment!

Does anyone here keep a spending journal? I was thinking I need to work out where I am losing so much each month. Surely I should be able to save a couple of hundred each month?

LoveInASnowyClimate Sat 07-Jan-12 17:05:50

Oh yes, we did spend quite a bit of the savings from my salary on sorting out things around the house, on the basis that it might be the last time we could afford to do it! Forgot that blush. We spent quite a bit on sorting out storage and general "perking up" the place before the baby arrives, and a bloody fortune on getting the garden properly fenced to keep next door's terrifying dog out. But now feel happy with the house and garden so worth it, I think. Enjoy your nesting! Is there any way you can do cheap things like dying existing curtains or adding trims so they feel new?

LoveInASnowyClimate Sat 07-Jan-12 17:07:43

X posts - I tried writing down everything I spent for a while. Found it a real faff but was helpful and make me consider whether I really wanted a coffee or new mascara. I didn't keep it up but I think it's helped change my spending habits slightly...

MyGoldenNotebook Sat 07-Jan-12 17:16:04

Any change is good love, however slight! I've hardly managed to save anything so far sad

I'm glad spending stuff on the house is considered by some to be okay too. It does make a difference to your well being I think, being happy with your home. I may look into dying curtains.

therumoursaretrue Sat 07-Jan-12 17:16:19

No not yet, I will have to do some investigating; hoping once we tell our parents they will be able to help point us in the right direction. One good thing is my bf is fantastic with money; one of those peope who just naturally is money smart, good at saving etc. I am not!!

Yes, I'm 22 so a year out isn't a big problem in terms of time, my course is pretty hard going though so I hope I have the motivation to go back after the year! Especially since you make the time off sound so lovely smile

LoveInASnowyClimate Sat 07-Jan-12 17:18:42

I agree re benefits of sorting house - we won't be able to afford to move for ages, and I will be spending a lot of time in the house on ML. Having got it sorted has made me feel way better.

miaboo Sat 07-Jan-12 17:22:54

I saved up all the coppers and 5p's, 20p's and 10p's from january last year up until december last year and that paid for my boys Christmas presents £500 in total! I also saved my tesco clubcard vouchers for the year and that paid for all my Christmas food shopping to.

therumoursaretrue Sat 07-Jan-12 17:27:08

Miaboo saving all the small change is such a good idea, must do that...I have 5p's and 10p's in the bottoms of all my handbags. Wonder how much I can hunt out!

NoGoodAtHousework Sat 07-Jan-12 17:28:55

We bought one thing a week with our weekly shop from Bering 12 weeks preg like nappies pack of vests, sleepsuits, wipes etc. we didn't need to buy nappies for about 6 weeks and I swear the wipes lasted for about 4 months!!
We were really bad and didn't save anything as such before I went on ML and surprisingly we're actually in one of the best money situations we've been for a long time!! (bare minimum SMP aswell!) weirdly I don't feel like we've lost any standard of living as such either.
Good on you of you can save though!

MyGoldenNotebook Sat 07-Jan-12 17:31:37

Yes that's exactly how I feel love - you do spend a lot of time in the house and we won't be able to move for a good few years either. I'm looking forward to sorting out the garden a bit too when the weather gets brighter.

I'm planning on growing herbs again - great for home made soups and sauces. At least we will be time rich for a bit. Even if we are completely knackered!

I might also try and put aside some money to buy a few bits clothes wise after baby is born ... say £150, as unless you are super woman most of us will have an inbetween phase when you don't fit into all pre-pregnancy clothes. I'm getting ahead of myself here ... let's save some money for bills first!

MyGoldenNotebook Sat 07-Jan-12 17:34:18

Miaboo I am taking that idea as of now! £500!!! That's amazing!

No good yes wipes ec, great idea. My little boy (4) has also started putting a little box together for baby. We buy something every time we go out e.g. bubs, dummies, a rattle. We shall keep it up.

stressheaderic Sat 07-Jan-12 17:35:09

These are the things I did to get me through a years mat leave:

Saved my Tesco vouchers, Boots points throughout being pg and the 1st half of mat leave so at least I had a bit of spare cash to buy make up etc when I was super skint
Browsed all of the supermarkets for the best deals (had the time)
Stocked up on nappy deals Pampers 2 x box for £20 is good - although I have heard rave reviews about Kiddicare's Just4Bums nappies and they seem great value. They'll send you a sample to try first aswell.
Sold everything I had on ebay - I became quite a fervent ebayer during mat leave as I had the time to go to the post office etc
Do paid surveys online - Yougov and Valued Opinions are good (again, I had the time - newborns sleep a lot!)
Went to NCT nearly new sales and picked up brilliant toys and clothes for pennies
Went walking with the big pram every day, helped me lose weight, enjoy the sunshine, get us out the house and stay out of the shops
Offer to have baby friends round rather than meeting in coffee shops
Went to free classes at surestart centre and library

It was hard but we managed ok, the final month before I returned to work was the toughest, along with the first month of work waiting to get paid! I'll try to do the same next time around.

I loved mat leave - such a special time.

MyGoldenNotebook Sat 07-Jan-12 17:35:33

It's also amazing how so little can change when you have an income drop. I think we're designed (by the media no doubt) to fritter every last penny away each month.

miaboo Sat 07-Jan-12 17:37:21

Yeah we were surprised at a how much there was but it really took the worry away knowing that the boys were sorted, I know that they dont need loads and we did have some left over but I suppose you live to your means and when that drops so much its hard to adjust to! My local asda have a change changing machine and you just tip it in there, they convert it all into a voucher and you change it at the till, they do take a little comission but its not alot considering what you can walk away with,

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