Finding out you were pregnant likely brought on a whirlwind of emotions. Happiness, excitement – and maybe a bit of anxiety! That’s natural. Having a baby is a big life adjustment, and you’ll need to adapt to the changes. If you’re planning to take maternity leave, this may include reviewing and updating your budget. Below are a few tips so, when baby arrives, you can focus more on bonding with your little one instead of keeping your budget out of the red.
5 effective ways to budget for maternity leave
1. Know what to expect
Saving is the name of the game. But you must know how much to save to accurately gauge preparedness. The average middle-income family spends over $10,000 on child-related expenses the first year of their baby’s life.1 While you won’t be paying all this upfront, it’s important to have funds stowed away for big-ticket items like a crib, a car seat, and everyday care items like diapers.
Another thing to consider is your own postpartum care, which may include doctor’s visits, medication, and mental health services.
2. Review parental leave policies
Once your pregnancy is announced, get in contact with your company’s human resources department to get more information about the parental leave policy. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), passed in 1993, guarantees workers up to 12-weeks of unpaid leave.2 If your company does not offer paid leave, you may be able to use PTO or vacation time to pad your budget for the first few weeks of post-partum. Or you may work at one of the 55% of U.S. companies that now offer paid parental leave!2
By sourcing this information and nailing down how much, if any, pay you can expect, you can better budget for the days ahead.
3. Lean on support
The less you spend preparing for baby’s arrival, the more money you can stow away for their future needs. That’s one of the reasons so many expecting couples create a baby registry! Friends and family will have the opportunity to help you stock up on diapers, clothing, and even expensive items like strollers. After birth, consider organizing a meal train. Loved ones can drop off home cooked meals or supply gift cards to food delivery services or restaurants to take the mental load out of planning postpartum mealtimes. Even better, it will also minimize your eating out and grocery budgets!
4. Cut back on expenses
Now is the time to cut back on spending for non-essential items. Maybe you currently pay for four streaming services but only use one or two of them. Cancelling the lesser used ones will up your savings game each month. To spot any reoccurring payments you may have forgotten about, review your transaction history in online banking or your credit union’s mobile app.
5. Increase your monthly income
More money coming in means more opportunities to save. If you feel well enough and are able, consider using your time or skills to increase your monthly income. This could be anything from tutoring a neighbor’s child once a week to selling art online or taking advantage of your company’s overtime pay.
General Electric Credit Union (GECU) is happy to be your financial partner during this exciting time as you prepare for maternity leave. Parenthood is a lot to adapt to, and you need solutions that simplify everyday banking. Online Banking and our top-rated mobile app allow you to manage your money 24/7/365 (even during those late-night feedings!), consolidate and pay all your bills under one login, and much more. Plus, our on-demand webinars and weekly blog content answer your most pressing questions about family finances.