Luckily for me, the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) provides salaried employees with up to 50 weeks of paid maternity leave. While there are two available plans to choose from, the most popular plan is the basic plan which includes 25 weeks at 70% of your salary and 25 weeks at 55% of your salary (capped at an annual salary of CDN $71,500 as of January 1, 2016). While we are the few lucky countries who are granted such a generous maternity leave, needless to say that some budgeting must take place to save money for your maternity leave. This is a small price to pay for such a generous maternity leave. Of course, this applies even more if you don’t have access to a paid maternity leave.
Below are a few tricks based on my experience and good saving skills I’ve acquired over the years.
How To Save Money For Your Maternity Leave
1. Save before your maternity leave
As straight-forward this may sound, most people have a really hard time saving money. The best gift you can give yourself is a financial cushion before going on maternity leave because, well, life happens. You’ll still have social obligations, house repairs, maybe a vacation? The best way to do so is by setting an automatic savings transfer into your account (surprise, surprise). Even if it’s a mere $10/week, it’s still better than nothing.
2. Continue Your Automatic Savings During Your Maternity Leave
Needless to say, the automatic savings should continue even when you’re on maternity leave. It’s normal to decrease the amount since your income is less but please, please, don’t cancel it.
3. Make a Budget Based On Your New Income
Assuming that you already have a budget for your household, it’s important to update that with your revised income and make adjustments to you variable costs accordingly. Personally, the first expenses I slashed were restaurants, going out and shopping. Once you have a baby at home, you naturally spend less on your social life so that’s a great place to start. Warning: As a new mom, it’s important to have some “you” time so make sure not to cut it out completely. You can find budget templates here to get started.
4. Rethink Your Needs
Do you have that full TV package with the highest Internet speed? Maybe it’s time to sit down and review your usage. If you’re only using a fraction of your plan, you have room to cut. These cuts will save you money and you won’t even notice a difference in your day-to-day.
Are you paying for memberships that you barely use? That’s another easy cut!
Another way you can save is by bundling your expenses. For example, if you and your husband have two different cell phone providers, it may be a good time to get a family package. That’s an easy win!
Did your second car just break down? Rethink making that purchase right away. If you already have a car and can survive with one car until the end of your maternity leave, go for it! And maybe you can use that down payment for let’s say, a vacation maybe? Or you can be really good and invest it. 🙂
5. Reduce Temptation
One big mistake some of us make is subscribing to a bunch of mailing lists where we get bombarded with sales. Guess what? If you weren’t planning on making a purchase for a specific item, then it wasn’t a “good deal”. My personal recommendation is to unsubscribe from these lists if you’re often tempted to purchase things you don’t need. That will be your real saving! What I suggest instead is to give yourself enough time to buy what you’re looking for so you can look out for deals and buy when you find a good one.
And the obvious, don’t make the mall a weekly activity while you’re on maternity leave. That’s a huge temptation to spend money in places you shouldn’t.
6. Look For Free Activities In Your Area
This brings me to my last tip. If you have to avoid the shopping mall, then you surely need to find other “free” activities. Check your local community for free activities, every community has some!
If you’re the active type like me, call up a friend and go for walks. You don’t have any friends who are home during the day? Then your baby and iPod are your best friends! Check out Heidi Powell’s outdoor workout for inspiration.
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