When you are expecting a little one, there is a lot to prepare for. Every question seems to bring about more questions instead of answers, and you aren’t exactly sure what “free advice” to follow. One major concern that you may have running through your mind is how can you afford to take time off. There is no question that you will need to be with this little one the first few weeks of their life, but you still need to pay the bills. Here are a few tips for how to save enough money for maternity leave.
Start Saving Money NOW
The minute you find out you’re pregnant is the minute you need to start putting away money for your maternity leave. Even if you can only afford to save $20 per week, every penny counts. Do what you can to start squirreling away money. Can you afford $42 savings on this paycheck? Excellent, do that. Only $17.83 this paycheck? It’s certainly better than the alternative. Every little bit helps. And in the end, if you are able to save $20 per week, you will have somewhere around $760, depending on when you find out you are pregnant. That is a nice chunk of change to get you started paying your bills for the weeks that you are off.
Decide How Long You Will Be On Leave
Now that you’ve begun to save, it is incredibly important to determine the length of your maternity leave. Without knowing how long you plan to be off, you won’t know how much money you will need to save. Some people get paid for a certain number of weeks after giving birth, but will want to stay home with baby longer, and others need to get back to work sooner because their leave will be unpaid. Based on these scenarios with your job, ask yourself how long you can afford to take time off from work. Once you’ve narrowed down a window of time, you can be a little more certain about how much money you will need to have by the time baby arrives. Keep in mind that you will need to look into child care costs well before the birth and that you’ll want to try to obtain at least some of that payment during your savings period.
Start Being Extra Thrifty
Another great way to star saving for your maternity leave is to begin being thriftier than usual. Do you pick up coffee every day or eat out for lunch? It’s time to make your coffee at home and eat leftovers. These little charges really do add up and suddenly you’ll have an extra $5 per coffee that you would have spent to save for your time with baby. Additionally, try not to go out joy riding, plan your trips well so that you save on gas, and carpool when you can. There are lots of ways to cut the budget, it’s just a matter of making the little day-to-day changes. You can read more about how to save money while planning for a baby to get some other ideas.
Happily Accept Hand-Me-Downs
When someone offers to give you a hand-me-down for your new baby, you will likely want to answer with a resounding, “Yes, thanks!” Anything that you can get from someone else is one less thing that you have to buy. Baby items typically get used for such a short time that they are often in great condition. Wash the clothing and disinfect any furniture so that they are ready to use when you need them. What you would have spent on those items is now money that you can put towards your maternity leave and staying home with baby!
Sell What You Can
Most of us have stuff in our house that we’re not even using. Keep this in mind as you are coming up with money for your maternity leave. Now is a great time to go through your belongings and start selling what you no longer need. If it’s summertime, holding a garage sale or two is a fantastic way to sell everything in one place. In the off months, consider sites like eBay, Craigslist, Let Go or Facebook Marketplace to unload some of the extras. (If selling items in person, do your best to meet somewhere other than your house and in public for safety reasons). Once you’ve made your sales, save all of the money instead of spending it. This could be an extra couple of hundred dollars to put towards expenses during your time off.
Avoid Impulse Purchases
While it super tempting to purchase every unbelievably adorable outfit you pass, don’t do it! Your child will have more clothes that they will even be able to wear. In fact, there will be clothes in your baby’s closet that will likely not ever get worn. So when you pass the rack with the season’s cutest outfits, keep walking, and remind yourself that your money can be spent better on something much more important – your time with your little one. Remember, babies really don’t care what they wear, as long as they’re in clean clothes and surrounded by love.
These tips are for both mothers and fathers to keep in mind, as it is also important for dad to have time with baby! Come up with the best plan that you can, being sure to check into what your job will offer in terms of time off. Many companies are more progressive these days and may offer some paid paternity leave as well. It’s worth looking into! Every little bit will help during this life-changing time, so be sure to take this free advice straight to the bank – along with any additional ideas you have!