Maternity leave! Endless coffee dates with friends, trips out for lunch, days out at the local farm, frequent soft play visits. Sounds like bliss doesn’t it? (Well, maybe not the soft play part!!).
However, all this costs money. If you were like me, and unfortunately did not have any kind of enhanced maternity pay, the big drop in income can feel daunting.
Here are my top ways to not only survive on maternity pay, but to actually enjoy the time:
Make sure you’re registered to receive child benefit
It may only be £20.70 per week, but every little helps! Make sure you apply for it ASAP after your baby has been born, as it can only be back-dated for up to 3 Months. Whilst you’re doing this, it may well be worth using an online benefits calculator to work out if you’re now entitled to anything extra. This can be found here.
Sell your stuff
Okay, it may sound drastic, don’t go selling all your worldly possessions! However, anything you’ve not used in a while, get rid! I’m a firm believer of not holding onto things you don’t need. Why have them collecting dust when you can sell them on, making money for you, and letting someone else enjoy them! I sell clothes, toys, books, anything I think may be of some worth. Check out my blog post here, for some tips on making money selling clothes.
Of course, there are lots of lovely things to do to fill your time, trips to the shops, lunches out etc. These do cost money though, and sometimes can sound a little more relaxing than they actually are (I’m thinking back to a time I was trying to feed a screaming newborn in Costa, whilst trying to remain calm and cool, haha!). One of my favourite activities, especially in the early days of maternity leave, was definitely going for a walk. Getting the baby in the pram, or in the sling, and walking, even if it was just down to the local shop, was such a help. Good for the body, good for the mind, and best of all, it costs nothing!
Be honest with your friends
There’s nothing worse than being invited somewhere, and feeling like you have to say yes, even if you know you can’t afford it. Be honest, tell your friends if you just can’t afford to go to that restaurant for lunch, or to that farm for the day. There is no shame in it, and you may find your friend’s are in a similar position! Play dates at home are a great, purse-friendly way of having a catch up, with a slice of cake and a strong coffee.
Do a bill check up
Go through every single direct debit that goes out of your account. Double check that you’re paying the cheapest you can for everything. For example, give your tv provider a call, and see if they’ll knock any money off your bill. Do you have a Netflix/Spotify/amazon subscription that you don’t really use? An amazing website to look at is Martin Lewis Money saving expert. This page can help you save £100’s
Make use of your KIT days
(KIT) Keeping in touch days, are exactly that. They are days you are able to use to go into work, to attend team meetings, catch up on training etc. You get paid for them, even if you don’t work all day! They’re great for giving your maternity pay a bit of a boost.
Maternity Leave is such a special time, hopefully by taking on these tips you will really be able to make the most of the amazing Months you have with your baby.