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Including a baby checklist and real tips on how to save
Wondering how much money to save before your baby arrives? Getting pregnant can give you a huge amount of mixed feelings from excitement to money fear. Before your little bundle of joy even arrives your wallet is hit with so many expenses that you really don’t know what’s just hit you!
We’ve put together 21 ways that you can save before your little one arrives so you know that you are in the best financial place you can be. Leaving you to concentrate on your new baby and not on the bills.
Facing a reduction in your household income can be hard but there’s loads of ways that you can stretch your income.
Cut out unnecessary expenditure
Saving for a baby isn’t easy but with these 21 tips to help you, you’ll be on your way to having a saving fund for when your income is cut or for when you are on maternity leave.
Once you’ve made your decision to start saving then sit down and list every single piece of expenditure you have in a month.
If you’ve always been a bit laissez-faire with your finances as long as you’ve got enough money to last the month then this can be pretty confronting but it will really help show you where you can cut back.
Some of the cuts will be easy to make, like taking your own lunch into work rather than buying it, while some of it will be slightly harder. Like cutting that monthly donation to a charity close to your heart.
Save money before your maternity leave starts
We offer FREE saving money help in our Money Saving Mums Facebook group. Please join our safe community of parents who all want to save more to live a better financial life. Becoming debt free isn’t easy but together we can all help each other.
You can also join The Resource Vault that offers you over 15 FREE money saving printables. (By agreeing, you are happy for us to send you details on what we are up to and other money saving tips.)
We also have a FREE six-week money saving course that can help you save up to £300 a month. Come join us now!
So without further ado, here are our best ways to save before your baby arrives and your maternity pay kicks in with a vengeance.
1. Start a monthly budget and stick to it.
That way you know what you have left over at the end of each week or month. Use my FREE downloadable budget planner to help.
Unsure how to budget? Then come join my FREE six-week money saving course that aims to help you save at least £300 a month.
2. Go through all your bills and check you’re on the best deal.
We all know we should be doing it regularly and it really can save you money. If the whole idea fills you with dread then have a look at Bulb*. They make switching really simple, promote going green and also offer you a bonus when you switch.
We recently swapped to Bulb* and saved over £100. You can get a quote here and find out how much you could save. It costs nothing to find out.
3. Have a plan in place before baby
Think of your money saving journey like a diet. If you restrict yourself too much then you’ll want to eat bad food more and sticking to your plan is harder. Budgeting is roughly the same. There’s no need to cut out all your treats in one go. Slowly cut them out and pick one a month.
We have a “treat jar” with over 100 things that we all want to do, like go out for a meal or go to a theme park. Once a month one of us picks one out and off we go. It means we are looking forward to treat day as a family and helps us remember why we are saving.
4. Never auto renewal ANYTHING without price comparing first. It will always be cheaper elsewhere.
Phone them and ask. What’s the worst that can happen? Use price compassion sites like Compare The Market* to get a baseline of how much your premium may cost. Call all your existing suppliers and find out what they can do for you.
Use a site like Switchcraft* for your electric if you don’t like the hassle of looking around. They automatically switch you to the best deal for you at the end of your term. Find out more here about how Switchcraft* could work for you.
5. Use money managing apps like Plum to keep your money under control.
Using an app like Plum* can really help you keep your money in check. Plum* can help you build up your savings while showing you exactly where your money is going.
You can link all your accounts to it. It’s very transparent! It’s free to use and perfect if you prefer all your knowledge in one place.
6. Track your older kids spending
Use an account like GoHenry* to track your older kids spending habits. No more slipping them a tenner here or there. Load up the card and they can use it like a debit card.
Not only does GoHenry* give them freedom but it shows them exactly what they’ve brought and tracks how much you’ve added to the card. It’s a great way to teach your tween how to budget.
7. Use cashback websites
We recommend Quidco* and Swagbucks*.
You get money off whenever you shop online through their sites which can really come in handy once baby is born.
It doesn’t cost you a penny to use them. If you make a purchase through their site you receive the money. It’s that simple!
We use Quidco*for cashback on things like insurance and day to day shopping.
Swagbucks* is great for earning free gift cards and cash when you do normal things online like watching videos, searching the web and answering survey questions.
8. Meal plan like a queen. Everything gets put down, including snacks and desserts.
Whatever you and your family plan on eating that week gets put down. Make this your one and only shop for the week.
Start by listing every meal time and plan out the week. Get everyone involved to pick a meal.
Having trouble filling up your meal plan? Then use these meal plans as ideas.
9. Use the meal plan to then make a shopping list. Take it with you and stick to it!
Write down whatever ingredients you need for your meal plan to work including drinks. Then look through your kitchen staples and check you don’t need anything. We have a full list of our kitchen staples here. They are all cheap but can bulk out a meal if needed.
10. Food shop in cash
You’ll be surprised how much this can help limit your spending. Set yourself a budget for food then get the money out. Leave your card behind and then that’s all you have to spend.
Make sure you use your meal plan and shopping list. Stick to it!
It might mean you have to put a few things back but your bank balance will thank you for it later.
Bring a calculator or use your phone if you’d prefer to work out how much it will cost before the checkout. For kids – use it as a game so you can all guess. The winner gets to pick the treat for that month.
We normally spend a max of £45 a week for the four of us. Use one of our:
Feed a Family of Four for Under £16 a Week
How To Feed a Family for Just £18.
Remember though – this is your one and only shop for the week so make it count. If you need more than £45 then set more. There’s no point setting a low bar if you know that you are going to go over it.
11. Try to add one cupboard meal into your meal plan.
If this week is looking tight money wise then use some kitchen staples to cook a meal. A handful of spaghetti with some tinned chopped tomatoes, puree and herbs makes a quick dinner.
We have loads more simple yet budget meal ideas in our post “59 Cheap Recipes for Families When Cooking on a Budget.”
12. Pack lunch.
No more school meals (unless they’re free) or office outings. Keep track of what you’ve saved. This will inspire you.
Need some budget lunch box help? Then try these under £1 a head lunch box ideas.
13. Embrace the free
Regardless of if you have kids already, embracing the free is a great philosophy. Walk instead of drive as much as you can. Take lunch and drinks with you on a day out and visit as museums and country parks that can be free.
If you have kids already then use our list here of free kids activities you’ll all enjoy regardless of the weather.
14. Free dental for mum within the first 12 months if you live in England.
Use the free dental health care while you can. It’s free while you’re pregnant and for the first 12-months.
15. Food downshift
When you’re shopping try dropping down a brand to see if you like it. If not then go up one. The difference in price between a saver range and premium is high price wise but hardly anything in taste.
16. Food waste
We all want to keep our food waste down, especially as on average households in the UK throw an estimated £470 of food each year, most of it still edible.
Think of it this way, that’s an extra £39 a month in your pocket!
Use up any leftover food that’s going off. Smoothies, cakes and slow cooker recipes are perfect for this.
Here’s 21 ways you can keep food waste down in your house even before baby is born.
17. Life insurance
None of us want to think about the worst happening while you welcome a new baby into the family but it happens, sadly.
It’s so important to consider what would happen to your family financially if you weren’t there.
Have a look at GoCompare* and check prices. You can filter depending on the product you want i.e fixed payout or decreasing and play around with the options.
This really isn’t an area you want to skimp on.
18. Check you’re paying the right council tax band and aren’t over paying.
19. Move to a water meter if you haven’t already. This tracks your exact water use so you have complete control.
20. Pay by direct debit when you can. You normally get a discount and don’t have to think about it.
21. Try the penny challenge for three months and put that saving toward a family trip out.
Here’s how to start the 1p Saving Challenge and save over £100 in 30 days. You can start this anytime in the year.
22. Turn off the central heating when you’re out. This could save you £75 a year.
Turning it down by just 2 degrees could also save you money!
23. If you can’t afford to pay your bills, don’t leave it. Call them and ask for a payment plan.
24. Shop at the online outlets and get massive brand discounts.
Getting the whole family involved will really help you to cut costs!
25. Avoid ridiculous interest rates
It may be tempting to dump everything on a credit card for nine months and not think about it in till you have too but don’t unless you can’t see another way out.
Credit cards charge a high-interest rate and could start a spiral of debt that is very hard to get out of.
If you know that you have something big coming up while on maternity leave then phone up early, before baby and try to haggle it down. This works on most things like insurances and phone contracts. All companies would prefer you paid something than not at all!
26. Use Christmas money wisely
If you are lucky enough to have generous people in your kids life then saving that money and using it at the right time can really help.
Having a high-interest savings account can help you save for the future and there are loads of these kind of savings accounts out there. If you can, tie up for at least five years and keep adding to it, even if it’s a small amount. This could make a huge difference to the total when you need it.
If you think the money will come in handy now then put it away in a drawer in till you need it. If your kids do any lessons then use it for that. Need petrol or food then use it. Better than everyone going hungry.
Ignore the guilt. You’re about to go on maternity pay and unless you have a very good package agreed your income will drop big time. Use any spare money you have to survive. Kids don’t need much, especially in the early days. Best advice: giving your time to your new baby is the bets gift of all. If spending this money can give you that then spend it.
27. Use Facebay and eBay to find all the baby bits you need.
The baby doesn’t know what’s brand new and second hand. Buying the bigger furniture second hand especially could save you a lot of money. Our best savings whereon:
Wardrobe and baby changer*
Tips To Help You Budget for Maternity Leave
If you’re struggling to save money then why not join our FREE money saving course that takes you step by step through saving money as a family. All simple steps to help you build an emergency fund or save towards that mega holiday.
Join our FREE Money Saving Course here and I can’t wait to see how I can help you!
This is the perfect time to improve your finances.
With this free email course, we cover everything from setting financial goals to ways to earn some extra money in your free time. Over the next 6-weeks, you will receive an email that will help you save your family more money.
Come Join us now and watch your savings grow.
How to earn money on maternity leave
If you need to save money quicker, then why not start earning a little extra while at home.
If you are getting Maternity Allowance (MA):
Then any work, whether self-employed or for any employer, counts as one of your KIT days. You can only do a certain amount before it affects your pay so please do check the governments current guidelines.
SMP: Any self-employed work will not affect your SMP. Just check your work contract and you are technically still classed as employed on SMP. Like above, please take advice for the governments website first to make sure that no payments are affected.
Depending on what you’re looking for, have a look at our post on how to earn extra money as a stay at home mum which gives you business ideas and quick hits that you can do at home.
- One Month of Aldi Slow Cooker Recipes: Family Meal Ideas on a Budget
- Budget Meal Planning: How to meal plan so it saves you time and money
- No Money for Food? This is What You Do When You Really Have No Money To Feed your Family
Our top five favorties are:
There’s so many apps that can help you make money while you’re on your phone. Here’s a full list of money making apps that can help you make some money on the side.
A handy little earner that you can do on your phone while out or in front of the TV when the kids have finally settled. You won’t necessarily make bundles of cash, but for just 20 minutes or so work, you could make a few pounds.
These are the one’s we’ve used before but there are plenty floating about that payout in either vouchers or cold hard cash:
- Prolific Academic*
- Valued Opinions*
Matched betting is a completely legal, tried and tested way to make money online while you’re at home. It basically turns the tables on the bookmakers, to give you their free bet offers, so you can’t loose.
If you’re doing it correctly, you will never loose any money, but you do need to take your time and be really careful to avoid any mistakes.
Make sure you understand fully before you deposit any money.
This matched betting guide is for beginners who want to place their first bet safely, but have no idea how matched betting even works.
We use Profit Accumulator* who offers you free use in till you make £45. This gives you enough time to work out if matched betting is really for you.
Affiliate marketing is when you sell something on behalf of someone else and get a commission. You advertise someone else’s products and services and when someone buys, you receive a small percentage.
There’s a lot of affiliate programs out there, so whatever you’re interested in, you’ll be able to find a scheme for it. It does take a while to build but affiliate marketing is a great passive income earner meaning you only have to set it up once and you’ll keep receiving income.
Remember to research the rules on declaring the links.
Our top five affiliates who are great to work with and we trust are:
- Profit Accumulator*: A oddmatcher and tracker
- Mailerlite*: A email campaign provider
- Switch Craft*: They automatically switch you when there’s a better deal
- Go Henry*: A pre-paid pocket money card and app for kids
- Emma Drew’s Turn Your Dream into Money*: A blogging course to get you up and running
Signing up to free daily draws means that if you lucky you could win money without doing anything! It does takes up to an hour to register for them all but only takes about 2 minutes to check if you’ve won daily. We normally check on our phones while the kettle is boiling.
Our top five are:
- The Free Postcode Lottery*
- Ashleigh Money Saver’s £50 daily draw
- Free Birthdate Lottery
- Number Plate Lotto
- The Street Lottery
- Date of Birth Lotto
I don’ t think any of the above is particularly ground-breaking but they have made a big difference to us and our lifestyle hasn’t changed dramatically. Hopefully there might be a few tips in there that will help you if you’re faced with a significant drop in income.
If you enjoyed this post and would like some more family friendly money managing ideas, then head over to the managing money section here on Savings 4 Savvy Mums where you’ll find over 30 blog posts dedicated to helping you manage your family’s finance. There’s enough tips to help you save over £300 a month! You could also pop over and follow my managing money Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on how to keep more of your money in your pocket: Managing Money Printables, Managing Money for Families and Family Finance.
Love this post? Then why not save it to Pinterest so you can easily find it later.
What the * means
If a link has an * by it, then this means it is an affiliate link and helps S4SM stay free for all. If you use the link, it may mean that we receive a very small payment. It will not cost you anymore that it would normally.
You shouldn’t notice any difference and the link will never negatively impact the product. The items we write about are NEVER dictated by these links. We aim to look at all products on the market. If it isn’t possible to get an affiliate link, then the link, or product is still included in the same way, just with a non-paying link.