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When you’re a work at home mom, the idea of taking time off to have a baby can be scary. The trick is to save for maternity leave to make sure the family is prepared financially.
I’ll admit that this isn’t something I did the first time. And it was stressful. The second time, I made sure there was money in savings to use during maternity leave. It was specifically saved for outgoings while I took time off work.
No, it wasn’t always easy. When you save for maternity leave, you need to sacrifice in some other places. At the time, this is difficult. It’ll be worth it in the long run.
Here are my top five tips to save for maternity leave so you’re prepared financially.
1. Get the budget in order
The first thing to do is make sure the budget is in order. You should readjust your budget on a monthly basis anyway. After all, various costs will always fluctuate, such as your grocery bill or school purchases.
When it comes to saving for mat leave, you need to think about where your money is coming from. This means adjusting the budget.
Will you take the money from eating out? Will you give up a subscription service? These are conversations that you need to have.
The budget will also give you chance to look at how much you need to save for maternity leave. You can look at how much is available each month from now until when you need to take time off.
2. Get everyone on board with the new budget
One of the hardest things to do is get everyone on board with this new budget. It can be especially hard if you have a partner who is a spender. Trying to save for maternity leave while someone else is spending makes it extremely hard.
So, get everyone who will spend money on board with this new plan. Everyone needs to be happy with where the money is coming from, especially when it’s a pocket that affects everyone, such as the groceries or the eating out budget.
All adults need to look at the family budget and talk about it. You may find a saving available where you didn’t realize there was one.
3. Automate the process to save for maternity leave
Make saving much easier by automating the process. Set up direct payments between accounts, so you don’t have to think about anything on the day.
If you know you’re going to save $1,000 per month into a specific bank account, automate it. Say on payday, that $1,000 is immediately withdrawn from the account and into the chosen saving account. You don’t need to keep an eye on the date and make sure you move that money.
Trust me when I say that manually moving money takes time. I have to do it with one of my accounts as there isn’t a set date when money goes in to move it elsewhere thanks to the nature of my work. It’s time consuming and stressful. Some months I’ve forgotten.
I automate as much as possible.
Just keep an eye on accounts when you do automate things!
4. Agree to only buy what you need
Talk to your partner about what you need for the baby. This needs to happen before the baby is born and afterward.
You may think that Moses basket* looks cute, but do you really need it? Possibly not. We loved ours and got a lot of use out of it, but I know a lot of people who found their Moses baskets went to waste.
Meanwhile, we got a playmat that was never used. There were a few outfits that were never worn. The money spent on those items could have been used on something else.
Granted, there are times you won’t know if something is any good. The playmat was perfect for our elder daughter, but our younger one didn’t take to it at all. She preferred a bouncy chair. It’s hard to make a call when you don’t know a child’s personality.
5. Have a backup plan in place
What’s your plan if you can’t save for maternity leave? This is a discussion that you need to have.
Sometimes, it’s because of an emergency. You’re on track to save and suddenly the car breaks down. You need to use some of the savings for maternity leave to fix the car. Now you have to put the money away again.
While you’re saving for maternity leave, you need to stay on track of other savings. You especially need that emergency fund.
You’ll also want to try to save some extra money for mat leave. For example, you may plan to breastfeed but suffer complications during childbirth. Now you need to buy formula that you never budgeted for.
Prepare for the unexpected.
What are you doing to save for maternity leave? What did you struggle with financially when having a baby? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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