When Maternity Leave Pay is Gone

I remember being terrified at the thought of what would happen when my maternity leave with Chloe ran out.  Our “plan” had been to have a baby, go back to work and earn enough hours for another maternity leave, have a baby, etc.  It didn’t work that way.  By the time I went back to work after Chloe, I was already half way through my pregnancy with Ben.  I knew that when he was born, I’d be done working and earning an income for a while.  Here are some tips and tricks we used to work with a one-income budget.

1. Start living like you already have one-income. I honestly wish someone would have told me that before I had Chloe.  Cutting your income in half after years of relying on it can be a shock to the current way you are living, so start preparing now!  Put your maternity leave pay into a savings account and start budgeting NOW for how you will live when you really are down only one income.

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2. Learn to live simply.  You likely won’t be able to do all the things you did (or at least to the same extent) as you used to.  For us I had to cut out the regularly clothing splurge trips (which in hindsight was just a ridiculous waste of money), I went to the salon less frequently, and we learned to have frugal dates.  Budgeting and staying within that budget became a serious thing especially since we were now providing for our little ones.

3. Say no.  You don’t need to keep up with the Jones (or whoever that family is that everyone seems to envy).  I remember thinking that I needed to have this or that to be happy while at home, but we simply couldn’t (and can’t) afford certain luxuries.  When I’m tempted to splurge on something we don’t need and haven’t budgeted for, I need to say no (which is hard if it’s something I want and it’s on sale).  We’ve learned to be content with these growing years where our furniture is not the nicest (second hand and currently stained with purple nail polish), our bedding doesn’t always match and the walls in our house are a hideous yellow.

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I don’t even care that there is nail polish on it because it cost $50.

4. DIY.  Yup.  Do it yourself.  I’ve learned how to make blankets, we wash our own rugs, plant our own produce and hang our laundry to dry.  We are teaching ourselves frugal do it yourself ways so to help us live within our one-income budget.

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What are some of your tips?

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