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How expensive is maternity leave?(14 Posts)
I'm 13+4 with my first child and planning on taking a year off (nine months for me and three months for DH).
Since I got my BFP, we've been saving and putting together a budget so we know how much money we'll have coming in at each stage - my package is the standard 6 weeks at 90% then straight to stat.
We've recently had a few unforeseen money draining issues ( work on the car and a new boiler) which has depleted the savings we've built over the last few months. We can start again and have a pretty healthy stash ready for baby arriving (about 5-6k) and based on outgoings, we should have enough to last each month without needing to dip into savings too much.
However, I don't know if I'm being naive about how expensive mat leave will be. Baby is due January so I've upped the gas and electricity budget and also the groceries budget (by an extra £50 a week) but are there any things I've missed that I need to be aware of? Things like the cost of baby groups, eating out with other mums, petrol, clothing etc...
Any help on this from current mums would be fab!
Congrats on your pregnancy!
I'm just about to return to work and actually we've coped ok. Same as you I saved 5k, and paid myself £500 a month on top of mat money.
Our outgoings haven't gone up, they've gone down actually. Bills don't seem to have increased and we don't go out for dinner, cinema etc now. Instead it's been walks and picnics! Less booze. Nappies and wipes aren't cheap but we just stick up when there's an offer on...
We bought all the baby equipment/clothes while I was still earning and I thoroughly recommend h and m for reasonable clothes once they get a bit bigger.
I'm at home on month 7 or mat leave and agree that what you have planned sounds manageable. Our out going have gone down, less petrol, booze, dinners out as above. Although my costa/Starbucks habit does hit the bank balance
We have 3 savings pots, baby's items (use for big things that we need as baby grows), salary top up (used to top up monthly income etc.), extra (for if either of us fancy a treat (I've had my nails done twice lol)
Cutting down on non essentials seem to happen easily.
We also found that outgoings decreased significantly after we had our first, due to much less eating out and odd nights away in hotels etc. So if you do a lot of that you'll gain a bit hopefully. We don't spend anything like £50 per week extra on shopping, nappies we get from aldi one box of 98 does 2-3 weeks and costs £7.99 I think, and we only buy huggies wipes whenever they are on offer for big boxes. Bf so that doesn't cost anything. Clothes need replacing at least every 3 months for first year so that can cost a fair bit even from supermarkets unless you buy second hand bundles.
Gas and electric is direct debit so if you use more they don't put the monthly payment up for a while and then it is spread across the year.
Playgroups and lunches out can cost however much you'd like, but generally playgroups are around £2 where I live. Perhaps best to set yourself a budget for the week for that sort of thing if you're worried. But generally it's easier to meet friends for a drink rather than a meal once your baby is awake more/weaning.
I also found that our outgoing cut down a lot. Socialising went out the window, less petrol, no more expensive lunches, no need for work clothes etc. We'd saved up quite a bit whilst I was working too but didn't need to go in to that. We actually found that we could manage with me not going back to work and I never thought that would have been possible.
Congratulations and good luck with your pregnancy
My outgoings went up last time because I was buying baby stuff and meeting friends for coffee etc. I used the MAS calculator to get a budget and split it across the year using the pram and furniture part as excess to buy misc stuff like slings and toys.
I set up a spreadsheet with all of our fixed outgoings, annual/irregular costs such as car servicing or dental check ups and even stuff like how much DH spends on coffee and food at work. I used it to decide how much we needed to save and how much we could spend before DD was born. It was pretty accurate so would definitely recommend it if you're unsure about how much you'll need.
I was really worried how I would cope on mat leave last time. I took 9 months off, and was amazed to find I managed really well.
I did all the shopping in Aldi, saved me a fortune. (got not a full shop from sainsbury today, spent £81, never spent anywhere near that in Aldi!)
Made sure to combine journey where possible, so I wasn't driving into town every day. Did free baby groups instead of £5 - £15 per time baby sensory, water babies etc.
I managed so well I've gone part time. And then unexpectedly got preggers again, the next mat leave will be a shocker!!
In my experience, being prepared and budgeting well is invaluable - you sound so organised .
For me, the unforeseen expenses came when I had those hormonal and low moments after the birth and just wanted a bit of self indulgence. I bought some random blocks of naice cheese that's banned during pregnancy, posh breastfeeding tops, books etc, and this time I think I'll set aside a few quid to anticipate wanting that.
For baby clothes beyond the basics, I'd suggest eBay. You'll likely to awake to bid for items listed to finish at silly o'clock, so should find some great bargains.
My mat leave expenses have consisted of coffee, cake and clothes for baby! I saved enough to pay 'my' half of the bills and spends each month which like you, was around 5k savings plus statutory mat pay. It's been fine. It means I don't have much money for clothes for me or birthday and Christmas presents though.
We didn't really have any savings well, we had about £1500 maybe, that we managed to build up by budgeting during my pregnancy.
I honestly found that mat leave wasn't expensive. The first few weeks you'll barely get out of the house anyway, probably. Keep an eye out for free or cheap groups you can go to - if you start going to baby sensory and swimming and yoga and whatever else it'll really add up.
I found that my petrol costs increased slightly (didn't use the car much at all before) but I wasn't paying for bus fares for work so that balanced out.
We had a few things bought for us - my parents bought us a buggy (which we never bloody use, developed a sling habit instead), in-laws bought us a cot - but a lot of stuff we got second hand. Babies grow so fast that second hand clothes are great. eBay bundles are fantastic and I found a few instances where people would chuck in other bits for free just because they wanted rid.
We also got a crib second hand, just got a new mattress. It's like new.
The main thing to consider: will your partner's salary and your mat pay cover your essential bills (inc food and clothes)? If so then you're fine. If it won't but you can top it up a little with your savings, again you're fine. Make sure that you approach it as a couple. It's not you taking the financial hit, it's your household. You see way too many scenarios on here where the woman ends up not being able to buy anything for herself while her partner still lives the life of riley. The baby is both your responsibility.
I'm now pregnant with #2 and worrying a little how we'll cope as we won't have chance to save up but at least we don't have to buy anything this time round. If we have a boy he can still wear DD's pink sleepsuits, I'm not fussy
Thanks for the replies everyone - that's really reassuring.
We're concentrating on reducing all our outgoings by paying off CC's and anything on finance and getting better sky/mobile deals which should leave us with a surplus of between £250 and £300 per month after everything else has gone out.
I like the idea of paying myself a salary from the savings, something like £200 or something a month for things like nice clothes and haircuts.
milpool yep, we've agreed all funds are pooled and we both take the hit. We'll both be taking a period of parental leave so it'd be a bit shortsighted of DH not to take this approach when he'll be off for three months and earning nothing but stat!
Just seen your last posted and wanted to mention that the last 3 months are unpaid, so if you're taking the 39 weeks paid leave your dh won't receive any pay for his 3 months off, in case you weren't aware. This is unpaid whether it's the mother or father taking it.
My partner paid the mortgage (it's his house so he does anyway) but I paid half of all bills etc on maternity leave and managed to live on my stat maternity pay for my 11 months of maternity leave. I have no debt/loans etc to pay though/
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