It’s hard to believe but we’re three weeks away from me going on maternity leave. Though I’m not due until December 16th, I’ve run the numbers and it actually makes more sense for me to go off work early than continue to work for another month. I have to pay an annual license fee for work which is a substantial amount of money, as well keeping Maria in daycare full time, means we actually lose money versus me claiming unemployment a few weeks early. I was put off work early during my pregnancy with Maria due to wicked carpal tunnel pains and it’s starting to rear its ugly head again so it’s all good that I’m planning to be off early anyway.
The difference between this pregnancy and the last, is that we’re actually prepared. With my first pregnancy, we didn’t have a great handle on our money and quite honestly I had no idea how we were going to make it all work. It was during this pregnancy that we really got our finances in gear so it ended up being a bit of a blessing, but my memories were full of stress.
We Have an Emergency Fund
This is one of the biggest difference between the two maternity leaves. We had absolutely zero savings when I was off with my first leave. If something were to have happened, we would have had to borrow money from somewhere or someone. Thankfully nothing major happened and we were ok but it was a stress I never want to experience again. Having an emergency fund is one thing, having, needing, an emergency fund while your income is significantly decreased is another. While on maternity leave I have no other income outside of my federally funded pay which is menial compared to my employment income. With no other way to bring in income for the 12 months, we need to have some extra cash on hand.
We Actually Understand Our Money
It wasn’t until I was about 70% through my first maternity leave that we figured out a budget that worked for us. Though it has evolved many times, I have a confidence in our money management skills and know what we need to do to make our decreased income work for us. This alone is a huge stress relief.
We’re Earning More Money
Though I will be claiming maternity leave for the time I’m off (upwards of 67 weeks in my case, 15 weeks of sick leave if needed, 52 maternity) at a loss of about 60% my net income pre-leave, it will still be a bit more than the last time I took leave four years ago. My husband is also earning more, these two things alone, assuming everything else is the same, will help.
We’ve Paid off A LOT of Debt
We’re not debt free, not even close (and I totally understand couples who choose to wait, so it’s an argument I don’t want to get into), but we’re much better off than we were four years ago. I have to be honest I don’t have the numbers memorized, or in front of me (bad PF blogger, I know) but I estimate we’ve paid off close to, if not more than $70,000 worth of non-mortgage debt since my last maternity leave started. A huge help.
Waiting even another year to have another child could have obviously made another substantial difference on our finances for many reasons (more savings, more debt pay off) but in the end we’re comfortable with where we’re at. It’s not for everyone, again, I get that, but it will work for us. There will never be a ‘’best time’’ for us to add to our family but the fact that we have a good financial understanding of where we are enables us to make decisions like having more kids and that’s enough for me.
Enjoy Plunged in Debt?
Subscribe to get our latest content by email.