Babies can be expensive.
I’m currently on maternity leave with my first baby, and yes, admittedly I spend way too long browsing through designer decor.
And branded outfits.
And fancy toys and gadgets that really I just want to play with.
While we don’t realistically have enough money for most of these kinds of things, we’ve still found ourselves spending more than we initially anticipated.
With all the new furniture, clothes, toys, gear, etc. that you end up buying for your new bub – your wallet can be left feeling rather empty…
Not only this, but many new mothers only get a short amount of paid maternity leave if they’re taking time off work. If you opt for taking some unpaid leave (like I’m doing at the moment), this has the potential to add some financial strain.
Particularly if you’re used to relying on more than one income to support your home and lifestyle (and lavish shopping habits).
But here’s the good news! There are some easy ways to manage your spending and budgeting during maternity leave, and in fact, improve your overall saving habits.
Here are 9 money saving tips for those preparing for or currently on maternity leave:
1. Stock up in advance
It’s actually impressive how many nappies and wipes you’ll end up going through in the first few months after your baby is born. In the lead-up to your maternity leave, start stocking up on these essentials (and learn what I do to save over 60% on these things!) because buying them while you’re still bringing home an income make these expenses not seem so bad.
It can also be worth stocking up on the higher cost grocery items like washing products as well staples like rice and pasta. By adding an extra item or two each week in the lead-up to your leave, you’ll later have more manageable grocery bills when you’re living off one income.
2. Cancel or pause memberships you’re not using
After giving birth, you’ll need to wait at least 6 weeks before getting back into regular exercise so put your gym membership or personal training sessions on hold for a while. There’s no point in continuing to pay for it if you’re not even going! This is also a good chance to reevaluate which memberships are actually worthwhile and what you’ll realistically be able to commit to now that you have a newborn in tow.
Take a look through all your subscriptions and discuss with your partner if you’re utilising them or if it’s worth downgrading certain plans. For example, do you really need that high-speed unlimited internet? Or do you have a Foxtel subscription when really all you watch is Netflix? Don’t pay for what you don’t use!
3. Get on top of your groceries game
Groceries are often one of people’s biggest weekly costs – so it’s a perfect thing to try and budget a little better during your leave.
Buy your groceries online and get them delivered to your doorstep. Not only will you be less distracted by the chocolate aisle you just had to walk through, but you can be more conscious of what the total cost is going to be before you hit the checkout with a $500 bill. Added bonus – you don’t have to worry about dragging your little one through the supermarket in those early postpartum weeks when you just want to rest.
Online shopping isn’t everyone’s piece of cake though. There are other ways of being more frugal with your groceries such as writing a shopping list in advance (after meal prepping for the week ahead) and only getting those items with no impulse buying. Or opt for no-brand alternatives of products, and keep an eye out for specials!
4. Don’t spend heaps on maternity or nursing wear
Maternity clothing stores tend to be quite overpriced. Instead, get outfits from the stores you’d normally go to anyway but in a couple of sizes bigger. You can also find surprisingly great nursing tops from stores like Target and Kmart where you won’t be forking out large amounts for a branded item elsewhere.
5. Don’t go overboard with baby clothes
Babies outgrow their outfits super quickly, so there’s not much point having lots and lots of outfits. And be practical, zipper onesies are the way to go (the Bonds Wondersuits are awesome), no matter how adorable that buttoned shirt and suspender pants look.
6. Buy second hand
Baby gear can take a huge chunk out of your savings if you’re not careful! Try to get big ticket items like a bassinet, pram, etc. second hand or from a friend/family member if possible. Check eBay and Gumtree for some potentially great deals too.
7. Get freebies
Sign up to receive freebies! Lots of brands offer free samples of things ranging from baby sensitive detergent, to nappies, to baby food and more. Just search on Google for “newborn freebies” and you’ll see what’s available. Also, if you’re in Australia, make sure you get your hands on a free Bounty Bag!
8. Scout out free local activities
Whether you’re with friends, your partner or just bub, there’s no need to spend money every time you venture out of the house. Instead, head out to the park for a picnic, drop by the local library, or have visitors over at your house instead of eating out.
9. Try living on one wage beforehand
A couple of months before you plan to start maternity leave, put all your earnings straight into a savings account and try relying on just your partner’s wage for bills, mortgage payments and everyday expenses. This will help prepare you for what it might be like when you’re on unpaid leave!
It can also be a reality check, helping you think twice before buying takeout again.
Do you have any money saving tips for maternity leave? Drop a comment below and share your strategies!