Friday, 27 September 2013

Managing on Maternity Pay

Happy Friday everyone!  Today I've been thinking about my time off on maternity and the impact of taking a large cut to my salary aka maternity pay.  If you had asked me how you thought I would cope several months ago I would have probably dropped to my knees and cried for help however, now I have lived through it I must say that it hasn't been that difficult.

Ok just to put things into perspective, we had a joint household income that fell into the £40k - £50k bracket. We own our home, we receive no benefits and we have no existing children.  A pretty average situation for first time parents. Although I class myself as having a fairly good job in the private sector, my company only offered statutory maternity pay.  It was the level of pay I was going to receive that was the big worry as it was a significant reduction in my earnings.  Anyway here I am seven months on still alive, well fed, nothing cut off and my house hasn't been repossessed!  So how have I managed?

Well firstly we were lucky enough to plan our pregnancy around better financial times for us both (although I will say there is never a perfect time and we all know little 'surprises' happen). We sat down together in early pregnancy and decided where we could make savings.  One of the first things to go was Sky TV.  We were paying almost £80 a month for hundreds of channels we just didn't watch.  We also looked into reducing tariffs on phone contracts and energy bills.  We switched our main supermarket shop to Aldi and tried to reduce luxuries such as takeaways.

Once Joe arrived it was apparent that we didn't need a great deal of money in the first few weeks anyway.  It was cold and horrible outside so we spent most of the days indoors having lovely squishy baby cuddles.  I had also stocked up on plenty of nappies and wipes so I didn't have to buy any for a good few weeks.  We also received a lot of gifts of clothing and products (so of which I'm still using now) so it has come in very handy.

However, I will say that spending money is a mindset.  I find I can be very lavish with spending at times but then I can also be very good with my spending.  When it came to maternity I just accepted that a lack of money was going to be temporary (well maybe not THAT temporary, I do have a child now.....) and things have been fine.  I can live without those regular treats and luxuries and when I do get a treat i appreciate it more.

I'm actually looking forward to seeing how I manage my money when my salary increases again after going back to work.  Maybe I will find myself with some good savings and a nice holiday?

Thanks for reading.

PB & J xx

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