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Anyone else stressed about money

33 replies

2020mumtobee · 21/06/2020 01:27

Don't know about you guys, but I've just worked out what I get in stat mat leave, which isn't enough for the mortgage let alone everything else. And what I need to send out soon to be DD to nursery when I do go back and needless to say. Horrified!!! Stressed!!! How are people managing!!

OP posts:
thattravelphotographer · 21/06/2020 02:16

Yup, I don't know how people afford it. She's not even here yet (4 weeks to go) and already I know we can only afford me being off a maximum of 6 months before I have to go back to work and leave her with complete strangers. And don't even get me started about nursery fees... They are almost as much as our mortgage, it is sickening. We don't have the option of parents living nearby to help out either, nor do we qualify for any form of child benefit.

ivfgottostaypositive · 21/06/2020 04:59

Yes it's rubbish and we are only just coming out the other side now that DD gets 30 hours childcare. Did you not have a look into this though before now??

One tip is to take out a 10 year loan for nursery fees - that way you are spreading the cost of childcare for 3 years over 10 so makes it much more affordable

Dinosauraddict · 21/06/2020 05:39

I'm on mat leave atm with my DS. I always knew I'd only take 6 months off. Wasn't prepared to have my salary reduced to SMP (and no way I could afford that). It's also meant far less impact on my career, and also protected my future (carried on paying pension contributions etc). I am dreading leaving him in nursery when he's 6 months, but am clinging to the fact that it'll only be 3 days per week. DH and I will each compress hours so that we get 1 day a week with baby, and take an even hit on how this affects us in the workplace...

BabyG123 · 21/06/2020 05:54

Save save save every penny whilst/before pregnant. I didn't really do much on mat leave. Made the most out of free baby classes and picnics. Ran a tighter household budget. We had no take outs etc.
Breastfed because I loved it and was fortunate it worked. That saves easily £40 a month formula. Really did my research on it to get me there.
Sit down and have a proper discussion about childcare options. Nursery/childminder/nanny/au pair. Work out the costs and timings with you work.

BabyG123 · 21/06/2020 05:55

@Dinosauraddict baby will thrive in nursery. Don't worry. Needs must and it'll grow that special bond the 4 days you do have baby. 😘

SpillTheTeaa · 21/06/2020 05:56

I am currently on maternity and have taken a year so no income at the minute as on the 3 month unpaid to take it up to a year.
I saved before I went on Maternity and most of my wages would go aside into my savings.

SpillTheTeaa · 21/06/2020 05:57

Also reduced my working week from mon- fri to tues, weds, Thursday. My sister will have him then which is good because that also helps with childcare and money.

Hedgehog26 · 21/06/2020 06:03

There’s also tax free childcare accounts if you are in the uk that will save you a 5th of the cost

Scrumpyjacks · 21/06/2020 06:34

I find it's easier for those who earn less in general as the drop to smp isn't a shock. Im lucky that smp is basically half my normal wage so it's not a massive difference really. We also claim UC to bump it up a bit which helps. DS will still be going to nursery while I'm on mat with dc2.
Look at how you can reduce your outgoings while on mat leave, fuel is a big one.

Dinosauraddict · 21/06/2020 07:08

Thanks @BabyG123 I appreciate that!

clemmie83 · 21/06/2020 07:46

I know the feeling! Also worried about money and how we'll cope. I know everyone says you adjust your lifestyle according but it's hard to imagine right now as this will be our first. Out of interest how much is everyone going to have left as disposable income for the month and how are you planning on making it stretch?

StoneSourFan · 21/06/2020 08:05

I saved money before having a baby. That's the only way we could do it. We've always been a very good at saving so worked out prior to getting pregnant (took us 2.5 years to conceive so had a while to look at finances).
Otherwise SMP is impossible to live on. I'm currently on my unpaid leave of maternity leave and with being on lockdown I obviously haven't spent as much.
I'm going back to work 24 hours so 2 12 hour shifts and I work weekends and nightshifts so between me, my husband and Mam were sorting out the childcare.

MsChatterbox · 21/06/2020 08:07

All I will say is it will work out. My husband unfortunately has been sent home on unpaid leave and unable to be furloughed with corona. We have a toddler and I'm 39 weeks pregnant. I've just decided not to stress.

ritzbiscuits · 21/06/2020 08:25

You don't mention much about your situation/partner. I think it's important to remember during this period your household income need to be pooled. And longer term childcare costs need to be paid by each of you, it's not just your responsibility. (PS, if you are going to be a single parent, this obviously isn't relevant!)

I only got statutory maternity and your outgoings can drop while you're off if you are careful. (No work sandwiches, commuting costs, work clothes etc). Rely on free clubs where possible (baby massage at the church, library sessions) rather than £15 per week baby swimming if you can't afford it.

Re: nursery, I'd start thinking now about how you are going to structure your week when you return. We didn't do this straight away, but ended up with both DH and I working four days per week. Nursery 3 days a week was therefore a much easier cost level to pay before 30 hours kicked in.

clemmie83 · 21/06/2020 08:35

I think that's very true about pooling your money, if you don't already have a joint account then now is the time to get one!

LouisLitt1 · 21/06/2020 08:37

Are you a single parent?

WhatWouldPennyDo · 21/06/2020 08:39

You’ll get quite a broad spectrum of answers on this sort of question, and I’m sorry to hear that you’re worried @2020mumtobee.

We made sure we had sufficient saved before we started trying for a baby, and then it took us years to conceive so, thankfully, money worries aren’t on our list presently.

As @ritzbiscuits says, this is an issue re household income. I’m not saying people on this thread are doing it, but the sooner more people in general accept that the cost of a child should be borne by the partnership of parents having the child (where this is the case), it becomes less of a ‘women’s issue’.

We are fortunate - we both earn well in senior jobs, but chose those paths for a reason. We’re going to split the care during the first year, with my husband taking a significant chunk of SPL. Good for him as a dad, the baby and for me/my career. We both pay for the cost of maternity leave once the enhanced element drops, and then the cost of childcare. I recognise we’re fortunate to be in this position, but I’m also conscious some of it was a choice (we agreed on this approach before we were even married, and if we hadn’t we’d not be married or starting a family!).

Good luck!

clemmie83 · 21/06/2020 08:51

Have you worked out a monthly budget so you know exactly what's going on what, checked if there's anything you can cut out/reduce and worked out your left over disposable income?

Always a good place to start...

NelliePig · 21/06/2020 08:56

Its tricky, we earn well and have a low mortgage, but we will still have to make lifestyle changes.
We saved a fair few grand before falling pregnant and my other halfs wage will cover all our bills, mortgage, car finance and food etc. My wages ate usually saved or spent on treats and days out.
I get enhanced (90%) mat pay for 6 month, then 50% for 3 months then I have a month off unpaid, with this years holiday (couldnt use as my company furloughed me on full pay due to being preggers) and then next years holiday giving me another 12 weeks off with full pay before returning.
When I go back to work, it will be only maybe 2 day s a week (if work wont agree to only 2 days I wont go back at all) hopefully and my mum will have the baby so that I am able to keep all the money and not pay childcare.

We sat and worked it all out so that worst case scenario we were comfortable on just one wage, however with covid we are slightly worried about companies going bust, my other half works for a builders merchants and travis perkins have announced closure of 150 branches so that's a bit worrying. No immediate concern as we have all the savings, but long term might be a bit shit if he lost his job!! X

BabyG123 · 21/06/2020 09:51

I have to say to those saying smp is impossible to live on are WRONG. I've done it for the full 9 months so don't panic OP.

As someone has said it depends on your usual wage and life style. We saved hard to ensure our mortgage was low. Made phones sim only, lowered sky package to what we actually 'need' startered shopping in Aldi and writing what we exactly need each week. Called all bill providers to try and get them down low. Looked into cheaper running cars and made sure both diesel and tax low/nothing.

I think you just need to sit down and look at your outgoings.

IF you're a single parent look into universal credits.

You may also not know but you could get £80 p/m child tax credit.

When baby comes shop around for nappy/wipes deal. Ironically Aldi are the best quality award winning nappies at £4 ish for 80 nappies. You use cotton wool and water at first instead of wipes so that cheaper than wipes anyway. Study about breast feeding and try really hard at it if you can waves in formula.

There's so much you can do. It isn't impossible if you look and try.

Good luck

Carabu1 · 21/06/2020 10:08

It sounds like a difficult situation - understandable you’re stressed! Are you a single parent? If not, presumably your partners pay will be being polled into a joint account? I have to say we waited longer than I wanted to to try until I knew we were in a financially stable place, good mat policy etc as I really didnt want to be worrying about money. But obvs that doesn’t help you much now. I would take a hard look at all outgoings and see what you can cut - with lockdown that may be easier than usual. Is a car essential where you live, for eg? Beyond that, I would just say to remember that people in all sorts of situations have children and most do a brilliant job - I’m sure you will too, and when push comes to shove you’ll find a way to make it work.

Minkies13 · 21/06/2020 10:11

SMP is a joke! When you're on mat leave and you're meeting up with other mum friends for coffee etc it doesn't go far. I made sure I signed up to as many free baby classes as possible to make sure I was always out doing something.

And yes, Nursery fees are insane. We have no family close by either. I only work 2 days a week and my daughter goes to nursery on those days. My income only just covers her Nursery fees- I literally work for free, however I don't mind as I love my job and want to make sure I keep my skills up to date. Luckily my DH's income is really good and we pool all our money together so this is how we can afford it all. But the system is definitely set up to disadvantage women and to make that gender pay-gap and gender inequality wider.

heroineinahalfshell · 21/06/2020 10:28

I totally understand your worry, I stressed about how we could afford maternity & nursery costs prior to getting pregnant, and we're both on good wages.

We're in a very fortunate position that we're both WFH during lockdown so our wages haven't taken a hit, so we've been living frugally and saving everything we can towards my maternity. Should have around £6K saved by the time I go off in August. DH's wage covers all our bills, now that we've slimmed them down by changing tariffs/going sim only on our phones. Would definitely recommend reviewing all your monthly bills and contacting providers - we did this a couple of months ago and have saved about £250/month on our outgoings.

My mat leave is 13 weeks full pay, 13 weeks half pay, 13 weeks SMP, 13 weeks no pay. So savings will cover the SMP months, plus extra to top up the half pay months if needed, and to cover the cost of going to Florida with the baby to see my mum at some point during my leave. I'm ending my mat leave at 39 weeks but then taking all my annual leave in one go, so won't return to work until the baby is 11 months.

Like PP above, we've also decided that DH and I will each compress our hours and take 1 day per week home with the baby, so that she's only in nursery 3 days which will save a lot in nursery costs. Also looking into childminders as they are marginally cheaper in our area.

EithneBlue · 21/06/2020 10:38

Like a couple of others on here I highly recommend sticking rigidly to a monthly budget. I use YNAB, which you have to pay for but I love. A spreadsheet works just as well, though. Depending on your household income, be sure you have looked up all the possible additional support you can get - you can do this on the government website. Even if you're in that higher salary band where you don't qualify for child benefit you still qualify for tax free childcare up to a salary of 100k (and tbh if one of you has a salary that high you don't have a problem...)

Our monthly budget has show us that we can live on my husband's salary alone (if a little more tightly than usual: we are saving lots now to compensate for the fact that we won't be adding much to our savings for a couple of years) - when I go back, childcare is going to cost just under my monthly salary but as my pay should continue to rise it's a relatively temporary sacrifice of only a couple of years - as soon as we get 30 hours free childcare our disposable income will go back up. That does depend on your working hours and salary of course but budgeting rigidly with every penny will help you be as empowered as possible. It'll also show you where you are spending more money than you think: if you're not already onto the art of batch cooking/freezing, I highly recommend it - it avoids the 'convenience food' trap :-)

Buying as much as you can second hand will also help: e.g. I've made the decision to buy reusable nappies as the long-term saving is significant (plus better for the environment so double win) -- but I am buying them on ebay so they're cheaper and a hot wash will kill off any nasties. Also accept anything offered free or cheap from friends: I've acquired so much as loans or hand-me-downs that we barely need to buy anything :-)

nowaitaminute · 21/06/2020 10:47

When I went on mat leave I ended up getting 2 lots of SMP because I had 2 jobs!! I think I would have had more of a shock if I had only had 1 lot!!

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