UK Women on maternity leave are some of the lowest paid in Europe, according to a study by TUC. However, for most, the money received while on maternity leave is a far cry from their usual salary. A new baby brings lots of hidden expenses, and even when you makeover your baby’s nursery on a budget, money can still be tight. So, how do you make ends meet on your maternity leave budget.
Avoid parent/baby stores
Stores which cater just in parent and baby products tend to sell items for significantly more than other stores or online retailers. So many expectant parents feel they should only purchase goods from recognised parent/baby retailers. But, when the same items are being sold for a fraction of the price elsewhere, it makes sense to avoid the specialists in order to stretch your maternity budget.
Buy second hand
Babies grow out of clothes, Moses basket and toys at the speed of light. Where possible, look at buying good quality used items being sold in a good condition. This will save you hundreds in the long run and you’ll be proud of the savings you’ve made. Ebay, Gumtree, Preloved, car boot sales and local Facebook selling pages are all great places to start hunting for bargains.
In order to survive on your maternity leave budget, you should review your finances. In particular, pay attention to your outgoings so that you can identify where all your income is going. You’ll likely spot things you hadn’t even considered were contributing to your outgoings, such as your partner’s daily stop to grab a takeaway coffee or your weekly takeaway treat.
Make some cash on the side
If you have a hobby such as making crafts, consider selling them to top up your income. It’s worthwhile signing up to an online survey site to make some spare cash while your baby is sleeping, too. And, don’t forget to use cashback websites whenever you make an online purchase.
Make the most of your Keeping in Touch (KIT) days
During your maternity leave, you can work up to 10 days, be paid from your employer and still receive your maternity pay. These days are at your employer’s discretion, though. Therefore, choose the days you work carefully and opt for periods where your employer is happy for you to work all day rather than just a few hours. This will really increase your income and will go someway to helping you survive on your maternity budget.
Living off a reduced income is a difficult transition for many parents. But, careful planning and smart shopping can keep your finances during maternity leave on the right track.