Preparing for a baby is hard work. It makes it especially challenging when so many of us have limited paid or unpaid maternity leave. The financial burden is extremely high considering the cost of living not matching wages, high rent, and high student loan debt. Who needs this type of stress when incubating a child? NO ONE! But hey, it’s the price our generation has to pay as most households have to be dual income to survive!
Did you know the Guardian reported that, “40% of managers avoid hiring younger women to get around maternity leave”
Complete bullshit, am I right?
So what can we do as women to prepare for the financial burden of unpaid or limited paid maternity leave while pregnant? As an entrepreneur and self employed soon-to-be mama I had to facilitate a game plan!
Here are 6 things I did that (or ideas I’ve had) that was able to assist with our financial commitments so we have a smooth transition from a family of 2 to 3!
1 | Buy, Sell, Trade & Donate
I am someone who loves to sell and donate items whether through Facebook Marketplace, LetGo, or Goodwill. I have been slowly (very slowly) discovering minimalism and basically had a come to Jesus with a lot of items that aren’t sentimental to me. We currently are in the middle of a relocation and I just had to LET GO because first of all, pregnant and moving DON’T MIX, but also pregnant and unpacking sounds like the worst thing ever. So before you toss it, LIST IT! I listed many items on BTS boards to gain some extra dough flow before our move. Whatever didn’t sell in 2 weeks, I donated (oh hey tax write off!).
Head over to your garage, see if you have an old bike that doesn’t get ridden or some appliances that serve no purpose, LIST ‘EM! You’ll be surprised how much $$ you can get to put towards baby essentials and savings!
If you’re on a super budget, get second hand baby gear. A lot of items at stores like Once Upon A Child still have tags or are very gently used for a fraction of the cost of brand new!
2 | Budget Baby In
This one is fun! Take 10-20% of each paycheck between you and your spouse and open a savings account for your little one within 2 weeks of finding our your eggo is preggo! If possible, take an additional 5% and put it towards college savings (because education is important AF).
Imagine just putting $200 away every 2 weeks for 30 weeks, that’s $3,000! This can help offset some expenses and bills during your 12-16 weeks of leave. If you tell yourself that this is money for later, it makes going without right now a little easier.
TIP: transfer it to an account you don’t see at a separate financial institution. This makes it so much easier for you to not transfer money between accounts for simple shit.
3 | Gift Card Baby Shower
I’m such a fan of this idea! Only request gift cards at your shower! It makes it easier for you to allocate funds for yours and baby’s needs. You can get gift cards to so many different places these days and it’s very flexible. Also, it saves your guests time from playing the guessing game of “Will they use/like/need it”.
4 | Defer Student Loans
This is something I did, and I definitely don’t regret it. I am (newly) self employed with no maternity leave, having a baby and I need the extra $400 a month for my little! So I talked to my advisor and took 1 year off. Yes, I’ll get hit with interest, but not stressing is worth its weight in gold. This option isn’t for everyone and I’m sure people will say it’s not the best choice BUT HEY, you first boo! Your sanity FIRST!
5 | Stay In
This one is the easiest money saver when preggo since dancing on table tops and taking shots is non existent on the weekend priority list. Cutting our going out time to never has really helped save the $120-$200 a weekend we would spend on food & bevies. You guys all know your girl loves a good vodka soda with lime or a glass of wine. Not having that option for 9 months is a blessing (& curse, because WINE).
6 | Be Practical & Realistic
Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses because you’ll never win. Buy for baby what is affordable to you. If you can splurge, splurge but make it mindful. Ask yourself, how much, how long and how many. How much is it. How long will baby use it. How many future children can I also have use it.
TIP: buy neutral. Don’t get gender specific on major items like a car seat, stroller, bouncer, etc. keep it gender fluid! Why? So you don’t buy everything pink and your next babe is a boy and then you feel the need to replace it all! I stuck with all black, white, grey, navy, etc. because I want my investment to go the distance. Trust me, when babe #2 comes around, you’ll be glad you did it!
As always, let me know if any of these tips worked for you!
Best of luck to you & your bump!