If you are one of the lucky ones who have the opportunity to take maternity leave after you've had a baby, then you will know it is one of the most beautiful times in your life. You will experience so much joy as you raise your little one. But through all the joy, there are often many challenges. One of these challenges is money, or lack of money to be precise! Isn't it always....
I’m due back to work soon and have spent the last 12 months living off one income, my husbands. We have been smart about our money though which has made the last twelve months not so tough after all. So I thought I’d share my saving money tips to hopefully make your life that much easier too.
1. Buy groceries on sale and in bulk
Buying our groceries makes up a large portion of our weekly budget. We always buy fruit and veg, that is never negotiable, but the other foods are really dependent on whether they are on special this week. The types of meat we eat, our choice of treats, and whether we buy cleaning products (for example) are determined by that bright yellow sticker that says ‘On Sale”. Further, we always buy highly used products in bulk. This includes baby products such as nappies and wipes, and longer staple items such as oil, rice and pasta.
2. Only buy things you need
This is a biggy and helped us tremendously. We have been very frugal by rarely buying things we wanted before the things we actually needed. For example, I didn’t buy one pair of shoes in the entire twelve months, I bought some running clothes because none of the pre-baby gear fitted me, and I made any cosmetic purchases online as it was cheaper (yeah I know I’m not helping the economy but for 12 months I am okay with that). This also goes for children’s clothing. My little boy didn’t need three jumpers no matter how cute they are. He didn’t need eight t-shirts during the summer as he spent most of the time in a singlet and nappy. He didn’t need an abundance of toys. We made our own fun by reading, playing with magnets on the fridge, playing chases when he learnt to crawl, and pulling all mummies shoes off her shoe rack (!!)
3. Make the most out of your birthday Christmas gifts
When my birthday came around and people wanted to know what to get me, I asked for things I really wanted such as a new doona cover, a new book and picture frames. I really wanted to put some picture frames on the wall in a nice design but each of the eight frames I like cost around $30-$50 which was an expensive project. So when my family and friends asked what I wanted, I pointed them straight to the direction of the frames. I now have a beautiful collage of baby pictures on the wall. I will blog about this project one day!
4. Where possible walk, ride – not drive
To save money, we walked and rode a lot. My husband rode to work everyday – even during those cold winter Canberra months. I too walked everywhere with bub in the pram. Rarely in the entire twelve months did I use the car more than twice a week and usually these times were for long road trips or because of bad weather. Plus the secondary benefit, I got fit!
5. Holiday locally with friends
Before babies, my husband and I made a goal to travel overseas every year. Well this year it didn’t happen, but we did travel a lot around our own country for a change. We had three week-ten day road trips. We spent time visiting and staying with friends and family, which helped cut the cost down, and stayed in budget accommodation at other times.
6. We ate planned home cooked meals
Each week I planned what meals we were going to have (after our grocery shopping that is). And we did deviate from them at times, but not heaps. We cooked with fresh local produce at all times, we had leftovers for lunch from the night before, and at the end of the week when we had very little in the cupboards and fridge, we pulled a frozen meal from the freezer that we had cooked several weeks earlier. When we did eat out, we went to cheaper places such as Asian restaurants or for a parmy down at the pub.
So there you have it, my 6 tips for saving money on maternity leave. Hopefully now you will can spend more enjoyable time with your baby and not worrying about money.
Please share your tips for saving money on one income…