Monday, 18 February 2019

3 tips for making your money go further when on maternity leave

Planning for a baby and then going on maternity leave involves a lot of planning, and is likely to be an expensive time for you as you accommodate for your new bundle of joy whilst also ensuring you have enough to cover your monthly expenses. We all know how hard it can be to resist those cute, tiny baby clothes, but before you know it, you could be working away through any savings you have quicker than you would like - with months still to do before you return to work!

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With this being my second baby, I have learnt from experience and found a few things to help me make my money go further during this maternity leave period.



1. Budget everything


Creating a accurate, detailed plan of your estimated incomings and outgoings, and updating this as each month progresses, is really a surefire way to know where you stand financially and to ensure you have all bases covered.

I personally use Excel to do this, and have my anticipated maternity pay each month at the top of the column, then a list of all expected expenditure, in date order, and with the exact amount due - which I then update as the month goes on, for those variable items.

You'll then know what you need to cover and what your remaining disposable income will be, and can then use this to make your plans - be it something you are saving towards, like a holiday or buying something bigger for baby, or to make sure you have some money in your pocket to pop out each week for a coffee or whatever you fancy to keep you active and get you out of the house regularly.

One way to ensure you don't overspend would be to create a separate account to use for anything which isn't a bill. Have all your due payments come out of your main account, but transfer your expected remaining disposable income to another account and use this day to day. It can help make things simple when checking where you stand, and might help to keep your spending in check.

2. Explore your area and find those free activities

When you start looking, you'll be amazed at how many free activities there are, or places you can go, to keep active and enjoy your time away from work and with your baby, without having to spend a fortune.

From local libraries to children's groups, baby sling loans to parks and even shopping centres - there is bound to be plenty of places you can go for a day out, to meet other mums, stimulate your baby and save some money too.

Shopping centres, garden centres and retailers often host special events that give you a reason to visit - especially if you have another child already. Ikea has a free soft play facility, Pets At Home is well known for being like a free zoo (!) and retail parks or large supermarkets can gve you more under one roof.

And then there's other places you can go where you don't have to spend a lot. For example, I discovered that Everyman cinemas offer a Baby Club ticket for mums, where you can take a baby along to see a film, where the lights are dimmed and everyone else is just the same as you, and for £10 you get to see the movie, have a hot drink and enjoy a slice of cake.

3. Keep your eyes peeled for the best deals


Supermarkets like Aldi and Asda regularly have baby and toddler special buy events. These promotions tend to happen every few months and give you the chance to bag some bargains, especially if you plan ahead to what you might need. The key to ensure that you actually make a saving and don't end up over spending because you get carried away with the 'great deals' is to stick to things that you would normally buy any way, or making sure you don't double up unnecessarily.

For instance, nappies, wipes and other toiletries can often be bought in bulk around these special promotion events, so think about what you use and will need and buy based on this (bearing in mind whether your child is likely to change nappy size in the near future). When looking at clothes, consider buying the next size up when you do have some money to spare, particularly at the start of your maternity leave when, no matter what support you have in place, you tend to receive more, so that you have essentials covered and you don't need to fork out too much a few months later where money may be a little tighter.

Similarly, major retailers will also have their promotional patterns and you can guarantee that around bank holidays, Easter, Summer, the New Year etc, there will be good deals to grab, especially on larger ticket items. We bought our Cosatto Giggle 2 travel system over August Bank Holiday, but had been watching the deals for sometime and had noticed how Mothercare had an exclusive print, and it was this one that kept going into a bargain bundle offer. As a result, two other people I know ended up snapping the same one as us, later on than we did, because they knew what to look out for; often, buying several items together, such as this, ends up saving you more money.

If you do need to make a bigger purchase, like a pushchair, find yourself with an expensive bill, like servicing your car or replacing an appliance, or perhaps you need some help to get through your maternity leave, a loan is an option and iLoans is a lender that it may be worth looking into. If you need a short-term or even a longer term loan, they'll match you to the best deal, and all with the convenience of being an online only service, making it super easy to apply.

As with anything in life, a bit of planning and preparation can help you to map out your finances, work out what you need and the best way of doing things to suit you. Knowing where you stand is the best way to make it through maternity leave relatively stress-free.



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