Can I afford time of with my baby ?
Here are 5 steps towards doing just that….
1. Look at your finances
What do you earn? (Write it down) What payments do you have that are essential and what can you lose? Be ruthless with the big and the small stuff. How much basic can you afford to live on? Can you manage not to work? Factor in the benefits you get or could get. Can you do it? Would part-time be better? Explore all your options maybe you just want a year off, maybe two years? What can you afford to do? You do need to start out by knowing exactly what is coming in and going out and reducing those non-essentials.
Just think though if you don’t work you want have childcare costs, work clothes, travel, lunches you wont need to keep so groomed and you definitely wont have so many birthday cards to buy or Christmas lunches to go on! You miss things less than you think you will. I now go 8-10 weekly on the hair colouring not 6 weekly no one can tell and I save nearly £150 a year! Once you know exactly how much income you need you can work you what you can afford to do in regard to returning to work.
2. Put your finances in order.
Consolidate loans; pay off those credit cards and get a good interest rate at your bank. Cut up those store cards. Being financially streamlined and healthy before you embark on this adventure of parenting is a smart move. Cut out as many standing orders as you can; subscriptions, charities (its only for a while), the chocolate eaters club (it exists!) and gym membership etc. But don’t stop your life or buildings insurance. You need to safeguard your family.
Switch your mortgage, insurance, phone, gas etc. to the lowest possible provider. Do your research on this NOW and make that move you will not have time to sort these things out when little dude has arrived.
3. Save up
Saving up (however little the amount) is very effective. If you can save in advance for the time you will have off with your baby I promise you its money put away that you will be so grateful for. Start as soon as you can…it is the best investment you will ever make. Ask to speak to a couple of financial advisors at a local bank so you get a great deal- make sure you can release the money when you need to though. Ask at birthdays and Christmas as soon as you conceive (or even start planning) for cash and sock it away. You will NEVER, EVER, EVER regret this.
4. Share your plans
Tell your family and friends what you are planning to do and that consequently you will be financially limited over the next few years. It is better to prepare them (so they don’t think you are tight) and so they may be more considerate regarding any gifts they may give to you. Tell them this with pride and as a matter of fact (don’t ask for or expect approval.) Don’t be embarrassed about being financially constrained either – you are prioritising your child over your career and they will see far more of your baby as a result.
If you have any savings be really smart. Quite what are you saving for? Your baby is your best ever rainy day reason. There may never ever be anything worth spending your savings on more worthwhile than time off with your children. You have from ages 5-18 to get them a nest egg for university, buy them a car, and help them with their first house/wedding/child. But you only have till they are 5 before they start to build a world away from you. Enjoy them whilst you can. Don’t save so one day they get rich when you pop your clogs. It could all have gone on nursing homes by then.