I have never been the maternal type, not ever. Not even a tiny bit. But as you fall in love and find yourself building a life with an amazing human, your female hormones start going into some sort of procreation overdrive. Society tells me that once you get married, having a baby is the next logical step but for some reason when I give any thought to it, I quickly turn back to my ‘No babies’ mantra. Perhaps it’s because we’re not ready, or perhaps it’s because we will never be ready. Until we figure that out, we’ll just keep practicing – sorry mum!
RELATED BLOG: “I’ve always been one to look too far ahead and tried to be in control of the passage of time but alas, that’s not possible. I really enjoy making goals and getting stuck into my work – both personal and professional, but I am known to go bull at a gate from excitement. But before doing a Bryanna and going a thousand miles ahead of your money goals, it’s important that you plan your 2018 money calendar before you realise it Christmas again and we’re still in the same position.”
It’s not that I don’t like kids, I have lots of friends with babies – it kinda comes with the territory when you’re in your thirties! Some planned, some came quicker than others and for a past work colleague it’s a beautiful little girl they have been blessed to adopt from the Philippines. It made me realise that everyone’s parenting journey is completely unique and will affect their lives in so many different ways. But the most common thread through all of my conversations with my parental circle, is money. And to be honest, it’s probably where my husband and I keep coming back to, as well. Don’t kids cost like $1mill over their entire life? I’m not sure if this statistic is entirely accurate or where it came from but in my household it’s a pretty effective contraception!
For those mummies out there, some are fortunate enough to have time to plan before and during pregnancy, whilst others are not. And when we’re planning for a financial hiatus, more time is preferred. So, to help all the mum’s-to-be and gorgeous women planning to add to their world, I have rounded up my nearest and dearest mummy friends to get their advice on how to prepare your bank balance for it’s new responsibility. These tips are from mum’s, for mum’s!
1.If you have the luxury of time before falling pregnant and delivering bub, a great way to prepare for maternity leave is funneling one income directly into savings for at least 12 months beforehand. For some single mum’s this may not be possible, but the take home message is to save like you’ve never saved before – Cessie, mum of cute toddlers Freddie and Rosie.
2. Do you have any leave entitlements – annual, maternity, parental etc? Perhaps maternity leave at half pay is an option for you? Always do your research and communicate openly with your employer. If you are entitled to leave payments, figure out how much this is and plan your maternity leave budget around it. I recommend always taking the conservative approach. If you estimate 5 weeks paid leave, budget for 3-4 weeks and keep the surplus aside for your emergency fund.
3. When you’re pregnant and waddling down the aisles of the supermarket each week, drop in a pack of nappies, wipes and any other baby-related stock to reduce complete post-birth budget shock. This will help you to manage your baby cash flow and prevent any budget blow-outs in the first few months of bub arriving. I hear this stuff can add up very quickly!
4. Don’t be fooled by the lure of maternity leave freedom, dreaming of life as a lady of leisure! In your effort to find escapism you may start depleting your budget on unnecessary café trips, brunches and endless coffee dates. I remember unemployment being terribly expensive. Not because I wasn’t earning but because I needed daily entertainment! Be careful, it’s easy to overspend when you’re in a financial adjustment period.
5. Try to avoid spending money on all the cute baby clothes! Truth is, most babies will spend a lot of their time swaddled or in a bonds onesie. If you want some cute onesies, my mummy friends suggest buying the first 3 months’ worth of clothes off trading websites like eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace.
6. When people buy you baby clothes, “resist the urge to unwrap and wash all those delicious tiny outfits. If you end up with too many it’s much easier to sell brand new and then you can reinvest the $$ for when they are a little bigger…I never did this because I couldn’t resist the urge to wash and hang up” – Kylie, mum of cheeky girls Maddie and Lulu.
7. Don’t be afraid of second-hand goods ladies! Social media and interior designers may tell us that we need the latest fancy wall paper, strollers (worth as much as a car these days) or hand-crafted cots. I hear that “a utilitarian cot that has been used as a spare cot at nan’s house will do the same thing and you won’t be heart broken when they start using it as a teething ring.”
8. Stay away from Baby Instagram influencers and Pinterest – it’s all a money trap for things you don’t need!
9. “Doing your washing and clothes drying off peak will save power. A fellow mum recommended ‘Powershop’ a pre-purchase discount power company. Powershop is a 100% online energy retailer that allows you to pay as you go, giving you control, helping you save all whilst caring about the environment” – Jen, a hot mummy-to-be!
10. When bub arrives, it can be hard to enjoy your new time as a mum without spending oodles of money doing activities. A popular mummy forum (read: group message) taught me that heading to free art galleries in your city is both stimulating for the bubbas and a great day out for mum’s too. It’s also quiet and air conditioned, both wins if you’re surviving summer in Australia! “Mum’s and bubs movies are also discounted.”
11. I’m definitely not a cook, so I’m not sure how I would survive this one but preparing your own baby food will most certainly save you money…just not time. Like any food prep, it can be laborious and frustrating when you would rather spend your free time napping or having a shower on your own. There are great tips on how to make the most nutritious baby food for the lowest cost at www.kidspot.com.au.
12. As we all know, gym memberships can be expensive, but exercise is so important for new mum’s both mentally and physically. There are a number of free walking groups, who meet in the park and keep each other motivated, and these are usually advertised through local mother’s groups. One popular (paid) exercise group in Melbourne is called the Bay City Strollers and another with branches across Australia is MEGA – Mum’s Exercise Group Australia. There are so many options available!
No matter how far away you are from becoming a parent, there are tips and adjustments you can make from the day you start planning right through until the day they arrive! Don’t get sucked into babyland, like I got sucked into weddingland. It’s bloody addictive and will destroy any savings you have in a mere minutes!
Fearless Female Traders
A HUGE THANK YOU to all my beautiful mummy friends who sent me their tips and inside knowledge on preparing for bub. I would not have been able to write this without Cessie, Kylie and Jen. Thanks ladies xx