12 Ways to Save Money on Maternity Leave

Preparing to have a child is a huge step. First of all, congratulations! What a fantastic journey you are about to go on. Topics like this are some of my favorites to engage with because they remind us why we have money in the first place: to make our dreams come true

I understand that each person’s financial situation is unique, and there is no one-size-sits-all approach to saving for maternity leave. I will break down the advice by what stage of planning you might be in, that way you can create a master plan that works best to support your unique needs. 

If you are brand new to planning a budget, I would recommend downloading my free guide here. I will walk you through your money mindsets, setting your values, and I even included a whole free resources library. I am a big fan of a values-based budget, but there are lots of different budget styles out there. Finding what works best for you can help you feel empowered in how you spend your money (and how you save it, too).

 

Without further ado, let’s get into it! 

Before Pregnancy (the pre-planning phase):

Having a head start is always going to be helpful, right? If you are able to plan ahead before the pregnancy, I would recommend working the cost of childbirth and time away from work into your savings buckets. I will break down how to find these costs in the next section, but a quick preview: you take the end goal, divide it by how many months you have until you need the cash, and then you know how much you need to be saving every month. It’s really that simple (and yeah, that hard. But you can do this!). 

I am also going to advise you to have a fully stocked emergency fund invested in a High Yield Savings Account. Learn about that here.  

I know it might sound wild at first, but I am not against changing jobs because of the benefits offered. Of course, you want a job that you like and a company culture that you vibe with, but having benefits (especially during the time you are starting a family) can be life-changing. Certain benefits may even end up netting you more money in the long run, even if your salary is technically lower. When saving for maternity leave, adjusting your employer benefits to fit your needs is high to do on the checklist. 

When searching for a job, it’s essential to consider companies that prioritize their employee’s well-being and family life. Look for organizations that provide paid maternity leave, flexible work arrangements, and supportive work culture. Some companies go above and beyond, offering additional benefits such as extended leave options, childcare assistance, lactation support programs, and access to counseling services. 

One outstanding example of a company acknowledged for its exceptional maternity leave benefits is Patagonia. This outdoor apparel company is renowned for providing up to 16 weeks of fully paid leave for both birth and adoptive parents. They also offer on-site childcare facilities and support programs to help employees transition back to work smoothly. 

Does Patagonia feel like a one-off example? I promise, there are so many companies who are expanding their company benefits. You will find this often in the tech world, but there are gems in other industries as well. By researching and identifying employers who value and prioritize maternity leave benefits, you can find a workplace that not only supports your career growth but also respects and supports your journey into parenthood. 

Finally, in your pre-planning phase, it’s important to know your rights. Each state has its own regulations regarding maternity leave. Federal law, however, requires that a person is allowed to take 12 weeks of leave for a number of reasons, one of them being the birth of a child. You can also find a state-by-state breakdown here

I would also consider looking into Pregnancy Disability Leave. Reasons a person may qualify include physician-ordered bedrest, severe morning sickness, and more. You can read more about it here.  

During Your Pregnancy 

Planning how much money to save for your maternity leave is a crucial step in ensuring financial security during a significant period of your life. There are plenty of reasons to stress during pregnancy (“No, we will not name our child after your favorite Back Street Boy!”)– let’s not make money one of them. 

To begin, assess your current income and expenses to determine how much you can comfortably save each month leading up to your maternity leave. Consider creating a separate savings account or savings bucket specifically designed for your maternity leave fund. 

Here are a few unique tips to save money and make the most of your maternity leave: 

1.Create a Pre-Baby Budget: Review your current spending habits and identify areas where you can cut back. Consider reducing discretionary expenses such as dining out, entertainment, and non-essential shopping. Redirect those savings towards your maternity leave fund. Look for creative alternatives for entertainment and prioritize free or low-cost activities. 

2. Meal Planning and Batch Cooking: Meal planning can help you save money on groceries while also ensuring you have nutritious meals during your maternity leave. Plan your meals in advance, make a shopping list, and try batch cooking to prepare multiple meals at once. Freeze portions for easy access during those hectic newborn days. 

3. Embrace Second-Hand and Borrowing: Babies outgrow their clothes and gear quickly, so consider purchasing gently used items or borrowing from friends and family. Join local parenting groups or online marketplaces where you can find affordable baby items, often in excellent condition. 

I also love the philosophy of borrowing. Oftentimes, parents will hold on to clothes or car seats because they plan on having a second or third child in the future. But what about right now while it sits in storage? Most families are open to helping each other out. It really does “take a village” and that is a beautiful part of the parenting process. I have a friend who had an older boy and a younger girl. She traded clothes with her best friend who happened to have an older girl and a younger boy and the two friends would often take pictures and share them saying things like “Remember when your kid wore this to the Christmas party?” Sharing, borrowing, and gifting are great ways to save money and they can be a fun way to connect with your community. 

4. Explore Government Assistant Programs: as mentioned above, there are Government Assistant programs that may provide financial support during your maternity leave. Familiarize yourself with the eligibility criteria and application process for programs such as paid family leave, temporary disability benefits, and child tax credits. 

5. Check Out Community Resources: Many communities offer free or low-cost resources for new parents, such as parenting classes, support groups, and breastfeeding support. These resources can provide valuable information and assistance without straining your budget. 

6. Take Advantage of Your Employer Benefits: Review your employee benefits package to understand what support your company offers during maternity leave. Some employers provide additional benefits like supplemental income, paid time off, or flexible work arrangements. Take advantage of these benefits to optimize your financial situation during your leave. 

7. Plan Your Return-to-Work Expenses: Anticipate the expenses associated with returning to work after maternity leave, such as childcare costs, commuting expenses, and potential changes in wardrobe. Start budgeting for these expenses in advance to avoid financial surprises.

8. Find Creative Ways to Increase Your Income: If you are looking at how much you need to save and feel overwhelmed by the number, it might be time to find some creative ways to increase your income. Now, this is just for a time. It’s not so that you are working three jobs your whole pregnancy (or life!). At least, that’s not my hope for you. There are some creative ways to make extra income here

After Your Pregnancy

9. Get help with your taxes. There has been a big change in your family, and, if you are like me, up until this point you have been a TurboTax wiz who has always done her own taxes with ease (or the tax season version of “ease”). This is one time when I am really going to encourage you to partner with someone who knows their stuff. I generally believe that we can all be our own financial experts, but this is a time when you will likely want a professional to partner with. 

10. Cancel any unnecessary subscriptions. This might seem obvious, but you aren’t going to need that gym membership until you get your doctor’s approval (likely at the 6-week mark). Put a pause on some of the things you don’t need in the near future so that you can focus your resources on nourishing foods, activities, and medical care while you heal. 

11. Have a List of Free or Low-Cost Activities. Throughout your pregnancy, ask friends to contribute to an ongoing list of free or low-cost activities in your area. Look at your community calendars, explore new parks you didn’t know existed, and connect with our moms in the area. This is a great way to save money on entertainment and be intentional about how you are filling the first few months of your time with your child. 

12. Cloth Diapers, Anyone? I know this might be controversial, but strictly speaking from a budgeting standpoint, the average American spends around $2,000-$3,000 per year, per baby on diapers, whereas cloth diapers can cost between $800-$1,000 per year, per baby.

I bring this one up, of course, to encourage you to consider creative ways that may save money, not as parenting advice. Cloth diapers would likely end up costing you more time. In this scenario, you would need to evaluate which resource you would rather pull from: your wallet or your watch. 

Final thoughts

Saving for maternity leave means you are planning to bring a new life into this world. How exciting! If you have the ability, starting your planning early will help you in creating an extra savings bundle just for your leave. Don’t worry, if you are already pregnant, there is still plenty of time to plan for your maternity leave. Creating a savings bucket in your High Yield Savings Account just for your maternity leave is a great way to see how much you have saved and how much more you need to set aside. Finding ways to save that fit your unique financial situation and preferences takes intention but can end up leading to a stress-less and fun maternity leave. 

If these tips helped you, I would love to hear your feedback! Leave a comment below or send me a DM on Instagram

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1 thought on “12 Ways to Save Money on Maternity Leave”

  1. Your guide on ’12 Ways to Save Money on Maternity Leave’ is highly anticipated for its potential to offer practical and thoughtful insights. Excited to explore the strategies that empower parents-to-be to navigate financial challenges during this significant life stage, making it an invaluable resource for budget-conscious families.

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