Being on maternity leave can be hard on your pocket. Not only are you likely to be on a reduced wage (if you’re lucky, you’ll get enhanced maternity pay, if you’re not, SMP) but it’s also likely that you’ll find it hard to save money as you want to get out and about with your new baby. Those weekly trips to the coffee shop to meet your new mum friends, plus the swim lessons, baby massage and sensory sessions you desperately want to take part in all add up!
This is my second maternity leave, so I’d like to think I’m pretty save savvy by now and have learnt where to save a bit of money whilst still being able to enjoy yourself.
Here are my 5 top tips for saving money whilst on maternity leave.
1. Meal planning and batch cooking
By planning your meals in advance, you are going to dramatically reduce your food waste as you’ll have planned in advance what you’re eating and when. By batch cooking you can take advance of bulk buy offers (and it also makes your life easier as you don’t need to cook a full meal every night!) By doing this, you’ll likely spend less money in the first place, but also save money by not wasting as much.
2. Free play groups
Have a look at your local children’s centre to see what free playgroups they offer. We have quite a few different sessions at our centre, from bumps to babies, to weaning courses to sensory play – all free! You can also take it in turns with your mummy friends to host coffee mornings instead of meeting at your local coffee shop. It will save you money and means the kids can be entertained more easily.
3. Use local Facebook groups for buying and selling baby items
Regularly go through your baby toys and clothes and sell what you don’t need/want any more on local Facebook selling groups. You get to clear some space whilst making a bit of money! Equally, use these groups to buy second hand clothes and toys. You can often find some great bargains. Also check out if you have a local NCT table top sale – whether you are buying or selling, it’s a great money making/saving opportunity.
4. Streamline your bills
Go through all your bills and make sure you are aren’t paying more than you should be. Can you switch your gas and electric bill to a cheaper rate or company altogether? Do you have Sky or Netflix or Amazon Prime? Are you using it to its full potential or just paying for it and not using it? Do you switch off all your plugs when not in use? Can you switch your lightbulbs to energy saving light bulbs? All these little adjustments can really add up to make a big difference.
5. Annual passes for local attractions
The last thing you want to do is be stuck indoors with a baby or toddler because you can’t afford to keep visiting local attractions. I’d highly recommend getting a couple of annual passes to local farms or zoos. This means you can pop in and out when you like and not worry about the cost – you’ll always have somewhere to go when the kids at bored. It can be an expensive outlay at first, but by asking for money towards the passes for birthdays and Christmas, you can keep the costs down whilst having a variety of places to choose from. We have a pass for the local farm, zoo and soft play which gives us plenty of variety and we always have somewhere to go when we’re skint!
What are your top tips for saving money whilst on maternity leave?
In collaboration with Urban Cottage Industries