Taking time off with your newborn can come at a heavy financial cost, but those precious early days with your baby is a time that you can’t get back. It is possible to experience maternity leave on a budget and here’s how:
- Buy secondhand – Whilst there are some items that shouldn’t be purchased secondhand (such as cot mattresses and car seats), you can save a fortune by taking hand me downs, loans or buying secondhand products such as toys, bouncers, bath seats and clothing. If you have friends and family whose own children have outgrown their clothes, don’t be too proud to accept them. Babies grow really fast, so often these clothes have barely been worn and will be in excellent condition.
- Sign up to discounts and baby clubs online – many supermarkets and online retailers have their own baby club scheme, with vouchers and discount codes being shared to help you save money on your newborn essentials. Look out for freebies, discount codes and giveaways, the savings from which can really add up.
- Meal plans & Batch cooking – If you can batch cook some of your favorite meals before your baby arrives, this can be a huge help. Not only does this save money and reduce waste, but also when you are exhausted, you haven’t got to worry about cooking meals from scratch, and instead simply reheating or warming through the meals you’ve already prepared.
- Shop the sales – Look out for the real bargains (not just the over inflated black Friday deals) and buy items in the sales (I often by next winter clothes in the post Christmas sales). Becoming a savvy shopper and only buying the items you really need can be a huge help.
- Make a budget – and stick to it. Be realistic about how much you can afford to spend during your maternity leave and use that to understand what you can and can’t afford to do. By planning a budget in this way you can allow yourself to have the odd treat or extravagant experience, knowing that you have factored this in to the overall plan.
- Don’t overbuy – it can be all too tempting to continually browse the newborn clothing aisles as everything is so cute – but remember – babies can only wear one outfit at a time, and they grow incredibly fast! Whilst it may appear to be a bargain, it’s only a bargain if they actually get to wear it.
- Avoid the take out coffees – Whilst you need to stay hydrated on the go and may be craving some caffeine after a night of regular wake ups, invest in a flask and make your hot drink before you go. Doing this can save a fortune on extortionate take outs!
- Seek out the Free Activities – Finally, it’s worth remembering that you don’t always have to be paying for an experience to have fun with your baby. Whilst it’s tempting to sign up to every Mom and baby group going and do stay and plays, baby signing, baby massage and so forth, it is also lovely just to spend some one on one time with your baby. It’s completely free and it does your mental health the world of good too. If you have friends with babies of a similar age, why not meet up in the park for a walk with the strollers, having a chat and a catch up as you do so.
Maternity leave is what you make it, but its also an important time to get to know your baby and witness the joy of those first crucial milestones – the experiencing of which is absolutely priceless.