|Three kids under the age of 4! YIKES!|
I couldn't believe it the following year when I found out we were pregnant again. We lived in a 2 bed upstairs flat at the time, I had just been made redundant from my job and the thought of three kids under 5 scared me A LOT. I believe everything happens for a reason though and do you know what, we managed just fine. It can be hard to imagine how you will cope financially when a new baby comes along but the simple answer is - you just do. I've put together 5 tips which should help you make the most of your maternity leave:
1 - Are you entitled to any benefits or government help?
You never know until you check. Websites such as the Money Advice Service have been set up by the government to provide free and impartial money advice and should be your first port of call. You can also use entitledto.co.uk to check if you are entitled to any benefits and don't forget to see if you are eligible to claim a Sure Start Maternity grant too.
2 - Babyled weaning could be for you
Obviously check with a health visitor first but baby led weaning worked really well for us. Jars of ready made baby food usually cost upwards of 85p per jar. This works out at £17.85 per week or £928 per year. YIKES! With baby led weaning, you just give your little one some food from your plate and they just eat whatever you eat which really helps to keep the costs down.
3 - Look out for FREE baby classes
Specialist baby classes can cost anything from £4 - £10 per class. By the time you include baby swimming lessons, baby yoga and messy play, the costs can really mount up. Sure Start centres and councils will often run free baby classes and local libraries and museums often plan a programme of term-time events that are low-cost/free of charge too. Ask your mum-friends, pop into your local SureStart or check out sites such as Netmums for listings.
4 - Store your baby items & clothing for future babies
You may think you don't want any more children but I say, never say never! Store all of your baby equipment away until you are definitely sure and then you won't have to pay out for prams. highchairs and cots twice.
5 - Travel with your baby
Now this tip may be a little more unconventional but you will thank me for it once your babies start school and you are restricted by school holiday prices. Under 2's usually travel for free and when else will you get the chance to take a 4 week holiday abroad? Off-peak accommodation can work out very cheaply and if travel's your thing, I say go for it and save money on holidays whilst you still can.
I'd love to hear how you saved money during your maternity leave.