Planning to start a family is an exciting experience for many mothers and father’s to be. There are countless great experiences to look forward to, from your child’s first smile to their first word. However, before you can begin exploring all of those meaningful moments, you’ll need to come to terms with your financial plan.
Making ends meet with a new baby on the way is easier said than done. When you’re on maternity leave, there’s a good chance that you’ll only be earning a fraction of what you usually bring into your household. That means you’re going to need to make some changes to your lifestyle if you want to feel financially secure.
The good news is that there are a handful of things that you can do to improve your finances and get ready for a better maternity leave experience. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Start your Post Baby Budget Immediately
A lot of new mothers and fathers make the mistake of waiting until maternity leave starts before they begin living on a single-income budget. However, it can be much more effective to start living with your new financial strategy from the moment that you discover you’re pregnant. Sit down with your partner after you discover your pregnancy and figure out how much money you’re going to have after the baby is born, considering maternity leave income, and other sources of support like child tax credits.
Even with extra help, you’re probably going to have less money to spend, so start practicing your life on that lower income now. This will help you to see what it’s going to be like living without the same amount of cash. At the same time, any extra money you save aside by spending less on your baby budget, you can put towards things like high chairs, diapers, and other expenses. You may even be able to make a dent in your debt by going online, comparing your options, and choosing a refinancing loan with a cheaper interest rate. With less to pay off each month and more money in your pocket, you can start getting rid of your loans faster.
2. Come to Terms with New Expenses
There’s a lot of expenses to deal with when you welcome a new baby into your home. If you’re a new parent, you might not be 100% certain what to expect. After all, you’ve never been in this position before. You know that you need to keep cash aside for things like formula, diapers, and extra baby accessories, but what about the big-ticket items that you need to buy before your tot arrives, and the other “added extras” you might not have thought about.
Consider joining a few parenting forums to find out what other people need to budget for each month to see if you’re on the same track. One of the most expensive things you’ll need to consider is childcare, and how you’re going to have your baby looked after when you go back to work. Discuss your options with a professional from the citizens advice bureau if you’re unsure, as some people will be eligible for free childcare credits.
You may also discover that you can save some extra money by applying for child tax credits and other forms of government help when your new baby arrives.
3. Look for Ways to Top Up your Income
There’s a good chance that you’re going to be too tired during your maternity leave to get much done besides looking after your baby. However, if you’re worried about your finances, then you can start exploring opportunities to make cash from home now. Your maternity leave doesn’t have to be a cash hole that puts you and your family in an awkward financial position. This break from your typical nine-to-five lifestyle can also be an opportunity to discover other ways of earning cash.
For instance, the digital world has opened up endless opportunities for people who want to make money online. You can check out a wide variety of work from home jobs that feature everything from coding to answering emails and acting as a virtual assistant. If you’re just looking to make a bit of extra money fast, then selling a few items could be an easy option too.
The more extra money you can make to top up your maternity income, the more comfortable you’ll feel when your child arrives, and your financial situation changes.