Now that I’m on maternity leave for the next 12 months, my monthly income has more than halved. At the end of my leave (last 3 months) I’ll be earning zilch. Nada. Nothing. With a mortgage, childcare costs, usual household bills etc I need to find ways to make all that fit. We have savings, but they are an emergency safety net and I don’t want to dip into them. So, here’s my plan:
- Meal plans: I did meal planning for a while last year, and it helped me organise my evenings and optimise my shopping. I then ended up pregnant and
morningall day sickness meant I had to ‘go’ with cravings. I think I could probably save £20-£30 per week by reintroducing weekly meal plans.
- Making & baking: I am a sucker for buying delicious looking cakes, takeaway pizzas, carb-y snacks… all things I can easily make at home and for a fraction of the cost.
- Cancelling my meat boxes: monthly organic meat boxes are no longer in my budget range; lentils and beans are going to be on my menu this year.
Things I do that I can tweak/step up a notch:
- Cloth nappies: Oliver has been in cloth since birth; we’re using a mixture of some new shaped Lollipop Bamboo size 1s and Isabel’s old stash. I plan to save more here by using indoor airers and the washing line to dry them instead of relying on the tumble drier. I will sell on the size 1s when Oli outgrows them.
- Sell off old stuff: I regularly ebay off old stuff but I’ve got bags and bags of Isabel’s old clothes gathering dust which I could sort through and sell; tons of nerdy books that would be more useful to some of you lot etc. I need to hold an online jumble sale!
- Use my skills: I’m a competent web developer and a blogger of over 10 years… if I can’t use that to make some pocket money I need shooting :P
Lastly, there are things I won’t be doing. Things that would usually be recommended to those on a budget but would actually cost me more:
- Ditching the second car: One of my biggest expenses when I was on maternity leave with Isabel was daily bus fare, and the ticket I’d need to get around is now £6. I could put that £6 of petrol (gas) into my car and get a few days travel minimum. The insurance etc is all paid for so unless something drastic falls off, it makes more sense to keep on driving.
- Ditching the organic veg box delivery: I get my veg and milk delivered every Thursday by Riverford, eggs every fortnight and a fruit bag every 3 weeks. I could scrap this all off but having this stuff delivered saves me nipping to the shop for a pint of milk, only to come away with a pack of biscuits, tub of Ben & Jerry’s etc. If anything, I could probably save more money by adding some of my other weekly purchases to my order.
I’m hoping that combined, this will save me £150+ per month. Not being at work (and thus not splurging on lunches and cake from the café next door) should save me an additional £20+ monthly. If I can make this work, we’ll only be down about £250 per month after maternity pay. Child tax credits may even cover some of that.
Are you budgeting? What easy-to-implement things have I not thought of? If I can get our outgoings down, it’ll help with my long term plan to drop my work hours down… but more on that another day :)