Post written in paid partnership with Sunlife
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying one of the stressful things about maternity leave is worrying about money. It is something that plays on my mind a lot and I’ve certainly had to make some changes since being on maternity leave – especially this time around as I’m now only on a part-time wage! But, earning a smaller amount of money doesn’t mean everything is doom and gloom and I’m stuck in the house! Actually, there are plenty of ways I have managed to keep our lifestyle just the same as when I was working full time. If anything our situation is actually even better as we may not have as much money, but I’ve learned to save money, as well as valuing and repurposing the things we had already. As this is my second maternity leave, I feel I’m well practiced at managing whilst on less money. So in today’s post, I thought I’d share how…..
Budget, plan, organise
I love a spreadsheet, so budget planning is right up my street! My maternity pay drops over time so I’ve worked out a budget plan that means there isn’t any nasty surprises when my money begins to decrease over time. I also love to meal plan, book tickets in advance and generally be as prepared as possible when it comes to our outgoings.
When we moved house I made sure I shopped around for EVERYTHING to do with our new home – from our energy supplier to our TV, broadband, car insurance and home insurance – I have worked out the very best deals for absolutely everything, then called the companies to see if they offer even further discounts. I’m a big fan of playing companies off against each other – I called Sky and Virgin numerous times and each time they would price match each other and offer than even lower price! There is no harm in asking for a deal and I love looking up the best companies to haggle with and giving it a go! There is nothing more satisfying than getting a good deal.
Hunt for voucher codes and discounts
As well as shopping around I am always on the hunt for voucher codes too. They are everywhere if you look for them so every time I shop online I do a quick scout for vouchers and discounts – we were even in a restaurant the other day and I found a deal on my phone that took £30 off our bill! I also make sure to claim my cashback with everyone online purchase with a site called TopCashBack – I’ve earned £600 since I opened my account on there so it’s well worth doing even though the amounts seem tiny at the time!
Make some money!
I’m a girl who loves a side hustle – I’ve done everything from buying and selling on eBay, owning my own crochet Etsy shop and mystery shopping. There is always a way to earn a bit of extra money on the side if you look around or have a bright idea! This time, I am lucky enough this time to supplement my maternity pay with my income from my blog and social media channels – which is a big help to supporting our family plus it’s my passion too.
I like to make money by selling on our unwanted baby things, once Violet and Pearl have grown out of something it’s good to declutter and give it a new home!
We also bought our own home this year, which although it isn’t money in my pocket now, it is an investment in the long term. We live in a popular area near to Brighton where prices seem to just go up and up. I found this handy calculator that shows how much the property has increased in value over time – which is reassuring to know that my future is secure in the value of our home too.
Get out the house for free
The worst thing you can do on maternity leave is feel like you need to stay cooped up in the house. I absolutely love ‘home days’ – slouching around with no make-up on and watching daytime TV is fab but doing that full time is never healthy! I try to go out on walks in our local area, go to the park or I check the Hoop app for local baby groups and meet-ups. They are either free or really cheap to attend. It gets us out the house, get’s Violet to let off some steam and usually there’ll be tea and cake included too. Win all round!
I did a couple of KIT days during my first maternity leave with Violet as they are a great way to earn a little extra money and to keep in touch with your workplace too. It’s even better if your employer allows you to bring your baby along as you don’t need to pay for childcare – however I took Violet in for a meeting once, it seemed a great idea at the time but she screamed for most of it!
Buy second hand
Baby stuff is SO expensive. I’ve bought a lot of Violet and Pearl’s baby stuff (like clothes, toys, bouncers, swing chairs, play gyms etc) second hand – mainly from Facebook selling groups. It’s always been like-new quality as babies use it for so little time and such low prices, I’ve saved a fortune and you’d never know!
Every little helps so as soon as both of my girls were born I signed up for the Child Benefit they are entitled to. I didn’t realise until I signed up for Pearl, but even if you aren’t entitled to it you still need to fill out the form (you’ll be given it within your Bounty pack in hospital) as it allocates your child a National Insurance number. Every day is a school day!
There are plenty of ways I’ve made my maternity pay stretch just that little bit extra! I’d love to know your top tips too?