Want to save money on maternity leave so you can enjoy a stress-free time with your baby?
The arrival of a newborn baby is an exciting time, but this also means there are new expenses you will need to cover as a family.
Most households see a drop in income during the first year after baby is born, as one or both parents takes time away from work.
Although maternity pay packages can be generous from some employers, you may find yourself needing to make up a shortfall in your income and afford a few extras your new baby needs.
Here are some easy ways to save money during your maternity leave so that you can relax and enjoy spending time with your new arrival!
Take stock of your budget
Whether you are taking a full year of maternity leave or sharing leave with your partner, at some point your earnings will probably drop from your normal full-time salary.
Take a look at exactly how much you will have coming in during your time off work and if that leaves you with a shortfall.
Then you can start to evaluate exactly how you will make up that shortfall.
It’s actually easier than you may initially think to survive on maternity pay.
For a start babies are social life killers. You are likely to find you will be going out less, and therefore saving a lot on things like meals out and trips to the cinema.
You may also find you no longer need things like an ongoing gym membership – which you can switch for long walks or runs with the pushchair.
This is also a good time to look into whether switching your energy supplier can make you a monthly saving too.
Have a gift list
Put together a list of the baby essentials you need and keep track of the stuff you have yet to buy.
This way when people ask you if you need anything for the baby, you can give them a quick suggestion from your list.
Most friends and family will be keen to get you something that will really help, so getting organised with a list of the stuff you definitely need will mean you can make the most of their generosity.
Snap up pregnancy and newborn freebies
Brands love giving pregnant women and new parents free stuff! You’re shiny new customers who they are desperate to entice to their products.
Nappies, wipes, baby food, toys and books are just some of the things you can get for free for your baby simply by signing up to a company’s mailing list.
New offers pop up all of the time, so be sure to check out your favourite baby food, nappy and clothing brands’ websites to see if there is any more free stuff you can sign up for!
Here are some great deals to check out:
Pura nappies will give you a free pack of wipes when you register.
You can get a free book when you sign up to the Little Dish book club.
Emma’s Diary will send you a pregnancy pack full of useful freebies when you register your details with them.
Ella’s Kitchen will send you free samples that will be useful for when baby is weaning if you sign up to their email list.
Sign up to Healthy Start vouchers
If you claim certain benefits then you will be eligible for Health Start vouchers which let you claim free fruit, vegetables and milk.
These are available to mums who are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a children aged under four. You will need to be claiming income support, income-based jobseekers’ allowance, child tax credit, pension credit or universal credit.
The cuteness of baby stuff can sometimes blind us to the prices. Remember to shop around and figure out where you can get the best prices for the stuff that you need to buy.
In terms of baby clothes supermarkets do cute and very practical clothing for a fraction of the price of some high street stores.
Also keep an eye out for sales events which can be a great opportunity to snap up bargains on the big ticket items you need to buy.
When it comes to buying the most expensive items like the pushchair and car seat look around for package deals that let you buy both items at a discounted rate.
Use your free dental care
You may be aware expectant mums get free dental care during pregnancy but you also get this for 12 months after your baby’s due date!
Be sure to take advantage of this by getting yourself an appointment for a check-up.
If you have friends with kids then chances are they have a stack of baby clothes they no longer need that are still nearly new.
As babies grow so fast they can often wear an outfit just a handful of times.
It’s not just baby clothes, many parents will also have toys and gear such as baby bouncers that can save you a lot of cash on your baby essentials checklist.
Make your money go further
Find easy ways to make your money go further and give you something in return.
For example being a part of the Boots’ Parenting Club gives you access to freebies and you will get 8 points per £1 you spend on baby products at Boots.
If you’re not already then you should also take advantage of cash back sites when shopping online.
Switch to supermarket brand nappies
You can make an enormous saving each week by simply switching your brand of nappy and you won’t notice much difference in the actual nappies!
Aldi’s own brand newborn nappies cost around 3p per nappy, compared to Pampers nappies which cost 9p per nappy.
Babies go through roughly 3,000 nappies in the first year, so it’s a switch worth making!
If you want to save money and help the planet then consider trying cloth nappies. These involve a bigger upfront investment to get all of the nappies you need, but will save money in the long-term especially if you go on to have more kids who can also use them.
The same goes for wipes. Supermarket own brand are always cheaper and you won’t notice a significant difference!
Evaluate gadgets before you buy
The baby stuff market is a booming business.
There are thousands of products out there promising to make life with baby totally easy for you.
Whether it’s making your baby sleep through the night, eat their greens or cry less, a lot of these products have quite lofty promises.
But the fact is if there was a magic wand, or magic gadget, that could actually make parenting easy then the inventor of that would basically run the world.
Always check reviews on products and speak to parents with older children to see whether a baby gadget is really worth the money.
Some things genuinely will help you solve a problem, but try to avoid wasting your cash on piles of stuff to remedy an issue that your baby will actually just grow out of naturally anyway.
Sleep issues are probably the number one thing that parents look for help with in the first year. Obviously when you are sleep deprived anything looks good if it promises to get you a full night’s sleep!
Just pause, evaluate what the product promises to do and read the reviews from real parents to ensure it is actually going to make a big enough difference for you to spend the cash on.
Find ways to make up the shortfall
If you are still struggling to save enough money then look for ways you can make money on maternity leave.
There are a few easy ways to make extra cash every week that can just tide you over.
Survey sites – my personal favourite is Prolific.
Sell your old stuff – this has the added bonus of clearing out space in your home.
Try your hand at matched betting.
Use Keeping In Touch days – also known as KIT days, these are paid days of work that many employers offer as part of maternity packages.
Vicky Smith is mum of two and blogger sharing tips for making and saving money at More Than a Mummy.