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Surviving on Statutory Maternity Pay

(37 Posts)
JustGotMyBabyOnBoardBadge Tue 05-Aug-14 14:08:47

My partner and I have pretty separate finances and after the baby is born I will no longer contribute to the household bills (mortgage, utilities) but I will still have to look after the weekly shopping bills (except alcohol which I have convinced him I wouldn't be able to afford!) my car expenses, phone, crappy gym membership etc

Will this be manageable on SMP? I won't be able to get child benefits due to my partners salary level. I am saving what I can now and am pretty frugal (biting any ones arm off for second hand stuff, going cloth nappy route etc) and I am not high maintenance. But what I am worried about is unforeseen expenses and socializing with other new mummies...It's a new world to me so not sure how costly it is and really don't want to miss out because I can't afford it confused

Any tips would be most welcome

rallytog1 Tue 05-Aug-14 14:39:01

Erm, if you're having a child together, don't you think you should perhaps think about joining your finances up a bit more, or at least having a much fairer split of how you reach contribute?

Who will be responsible for buying the things your baby needs?

It worries me that your partner wouldn't want to arrange things more fairly, especially since you presumably will be raising your child together and it sounds like he has money to spare...

TheresLotsOfFarmyardAnimals Tue 05-Aug-14 14:47:39

I got SMP. I saved up �3k to make up some of the shortfall. I was bringing home �600 SMP plus �82 child benefit a month. I had 7 months off. I couldn't afford any longer on that much of a drop.

We now have totally joint income and expenditure. Both salaries paid into the joint account and all bills paid, some saved. Whats leftover gives each of us a bit of fritter money for chocolate, beer and papers.

You just need to write down what will be coming in, what's going out and what's leftover.

If it isn't much, you can either cut back or go back earlier. Lots of folk seem to assume you take a whole year off but this is quite a luxury.

Do be realistic about what you're going to spend when you're off. A bit more on utilities but maybe less on petrol or your commuting costs if you have any.

A bit of meeting people for coffee or having them over, the odd baby group if that's your thing. You might struggle to live on �10 a week fun money!

JennyBlueWren Tue 05-Aug-14 14:58:56

Have you had a chat with your OH about finances? I'm going to have to do this with my DH as we currently have separate accounts but I think a joint family account would be a good idea. We have a bit of a difficulty in that my husband might be losing his job before I have baby so might need to go down to one (smaller) salary sooner. Also I don't want to find myself being the one who pays for all the baby essentials!

squizita Tue 05-Aug-14 15:16:45

My DH and I don't have joint bank accounts but I would be utterly shock if he split the household finances in such a linear way (or indeed if I dod because I am the main breadwinner so to speak). It's not practical with a child!
If you need more money for food, you need more money for food. Ditto petrol etc'.
I agree with PP a sit down and a chat is needed!

squizita Tue 05-Aug-14 15:21:59

...we can't have a joint account as DH is self employed in a rather archaic field when it comes to money/business management (very ancient anti-corruption laws) so it would be a headache.
However what we do is simply add up net money in. Add up what needs to be spent and decide.

I've always thought the joint account a bit unreliable for fairness - it always seems to be the woman/lower earner who worries about overspend constantly and doesn't have their own account ... whereas the bigger earner always seems to have a second personal account which they dip into!
Personally would find that infuriating.
2 accounts, 1 spreadsheet. smile

Waggamamma Tue 05-Aug-14 16:31:57

Do a budget, work out your essential monthly costs then see what you have left.

The gym membership can probably be dropped as you won't be able to go for the first few months with a newborn anyway.

I can tell you my budget for mat leave but everyone's circumstances are different so that might not work for you. I'll be getting SMP and I've saved about £3k. Per month:
Car (mot &insurance) £50
My share of househols bills/food £550
Mobile £30
spending money £100
Petrol £50
ds1 leisure membership £20

Dp will cover the other half of household bills, mortgage, food (£600) and his own car, phone, spending money etc.

We put our child benefit money into a seperate account for treats and unexpected expenses.

I generally spend a lot less on mat leave as no childcare bill or expensive commute and go out socialising less, when I do it's usually somewhere child friendly and cheaper.

Heatherbell1978 Tue 05-Aug-14 17:42:06

You need to put together a spreadsheet listing both of your monthly outgoings (house costs included) alongside both of your monthly incomes while you're on mat leave. Assuming you've both cut back where you can, he should be making up the shortfall after your SMP has been spent.

My DH and I probably still have a lot of separate finances compared to other people but only because we still live in my flat, once we've bought a joint house, we'll then look at everything more jointly. I'm taking a year off and we've put together a big spreadsheet showing how it's going to work financially and we're happy with that. I am more financially minded than he is so I do have to remind him now and again that all the baby stuff won't be coming out of my pocket.

FromagePlease Tue 05-Aug-14 17:51:04

You are going to have to talk to him. You simply won't be able to work this arrangement and neither should you! It's his child I presume, why on earth should you be struggling to feed yourself whilst he doesn't shoulder any extra burden?

I say this all as someone who also has mostly separate finances from my DH (he earns a variable amount and this works perfectly for us) If you are interested we have the following arrangement as I'm in mat leave: I pay a small amount into our joint account (circa half of my SMP) and he picks up all the shortfall. Normally I pay half of all bills/food etc and pay a small amount towards the mortgage. He earns considerably more than I do.

What will you do when you go back to work? Please tell me that you are not shouldering the cost of childcare all yourself?

splendide Tue 05-Aug-14 21:59:55

Me and DH will be surviving on my SMP - I've had to save 12k to make up the difference. He might earn a bit but it's nothing I can rely on. Like you we're out of the child benefit threshold but it's my income so we'll be able to get it be t year while I'm off at least.

Sleepyhoglet Tue 05-Aug-14 22:18:51

If you can't get child benefit because of your partners salary (which must be over £60k to get nothing or 50k to get a reduced amount) then I think he is being selfish. I'm sorry. You need a joint account.

Sleepyhoglet Tue 05-Aug-14 22:22:28

Also you still pay tax/ national insurance on smp. Does your partner know how much it actually is?

Sleepyhoglet Tue 05-Aug-14 22:23:57

Also you still pay tax/ national insurance on smp. Does your partner know how much it actually is?

Sleepyhoglet Tue 05-Aug-14 22:23:58

Also you still pay tax/ national insurance on smp. Does your partner know how much it actually is?

Sleepyhoglet Tue 05-Aug-14 22:25:43

Also you still pay tax/ national insurance on smp. Does your partner know how much it actually is?

Sleepyhoglet Tue 05-Aug-14 22:31:31

Also you still pay tax/ national insurance on smp. Does your partner know how much it actually is?

Sleepyhoglet Tue 05-Aug-14 22:31:47


ohthegoats Tue 05-Aug-14 22:35:51

I think you need to combine your finances a bit more.

We looked at the costs of our 'life' in a month - mortgage, utilities, insurance, food etc in total. Then we added together how much we earn in total together.

Then we split our joint incomings into a percentage amount (ie, mine is 60% of the total, his is 40%), then split up the total costs of our lives in the same way. So I pay 60% of the total, he pays 40%. We still have plenty left over for our own spending.

These % will change massively when I'm on mat leave, and if I go back to work part time. So - he ends up paying more. That's what he is essentially paying for the mother of his child, so it seems totally reasonable!!

For us also, I've saved some money - I'll use some of that, but ideally not too much. I've used it to pay for all the baby stuff too, so I'm already £500 down on him.

Hedgehog1977 Tue 05-Aug-14 22:42:39

We add our incomes together, then add together all essential expenditure. Then subtract the 2nd from the 1st and divide whatever's left (minus savings) between the two of us. At the moment I earn more, but when I get onto smp dh will earn much more. We've saved a few thousand pounds over the last few months to supplement it is we wouldn't have enough money to live on otherwise.

Agree you need to talk about it. I think especially when you become a family, you are both making equal contributions (whether financial or childcare) so should both have equal money.


Justgotosleepnow Tue 05-Aug-14 22:43:19

I worked out smp over the whole year off is basically £100 per week.
Averaged after tax etc.

MotherOfInsomniacToddlers Tue 05-Aug-14 22:47:50

You still need to claim child benefit even if it just means you claim and it comes out of his salary? For national insurance contributions?

MotherOfInsomniacToddlers Tue 05-Aug-14 22:48:25

You still need to claim child benefit even if it just means you claim and it comes out of his salary? For national insurance contributions?

FishWithABicycle Tue 05-Aug-14 22:57:56

erm - yes you can and should still claim child benefit - this is money your child needs. the fact that the taxman will deduct this from the salary of the man you live with does not mean that you aren't entitled to the money.

I'm frankly horrified that you are so accepting that he is allowed to impose such an unfair split of financial burden and you are asking how to survive on this pittance rathee than how to convince this sorry excuse for a partner to contribute more whilst your energies and earning potential are being directed to creating and nurturing his flesh and blood.

Elletorrito Tue 05-Aug-14 23:27:27

Hi op. My dh and I are nothing like as clued up as pps here, there are no spreadsheets etc but what we do have in common is a joint account; theoretically both our earnings go in and we pay for everything out of it....except my work is rubbish and went back to paying into my old account.

Which has been useful coz we now use just tip everythin in it into savings and are aiming to start mat leave with approx 6 k and the knowledge that we get by on one income anyway. If it's feasible I would recommend trying to live off one income and save the other, it has given us a real sense of security

LittleBearPad Tue 05-Aug-14 23:39:14

You need to have a sensible conversation about this.

You will have a family together. You need to share at least some of his money.

Mother you can claim child benefit without actually receiving the cash. I do think thr OP should claim it and her DP can pay it back. Selfish bugger.

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