Maternity pay... How the hell am I gunna live!

So, this is me having a wee bit of a rant/ worry, please bare with me.

I started working for my employer on the 27th October last year... So still fresh in the job. I printed off the maternity policy yesterday to give it a good read through and I about had a panic attack at how little us new mummies actually get.

Granted I understand that companies have to protect themselves against people that decide to begin working for them, receive the maternity benefits and then bugger off, but for us people that struggled to actually conceive in the first place, and baby is a god send and you can't determine as to when you will become pregnant.... Arghhhh.

The company I work for will pay me statutory maternity pay... Lovely. Thank you very much. But that only equates to £139.18 BEFORE tax and national insurance and my pension goes out of it.... Meaning therefore... I would end up with only around £100 a week. Which would be £600 less than what I actually earn monthly now.

They do offer an enhanced maternity pay but you must have been with the company a year when you hit -15. Now I'm due on around the 27th November (if my calculations are correct.). Which means... I will not be eligible for the enhanced pay.

I just don't understand how you are expected to live.

I know one of the answers is to save... But when you own your own house (which keeps falling down around your ears) and you pay for everything yourselves and receive no hands out from the government or anything, you can't really afford to save, because you spend so much on attempting to live. We currently have no luxuries, the only thing which we have, which is not a necessity is our doggy woof. And she keeps me sane when I'm home alone.

I just don't know what to do girls (and boys)

Any ideas?

P.s. I did warn you. Rant over now. Thanks in advance.

55 Replies

  • It is hard hon, me and husband are in discussions at the moment on how soon I will have to return to work which is really rubbish! I'd wanted to go back part time to start with but it doesn't look like that will be an option. Our baby is due 7th November so we are planning a summer in the garden and saving as much as we can just to be able to cover the bills while I am off work. I guess the earlier you can save anything the better. Try a money makeover through the Martin Lewis site see if there is anything you can cut back on, either before or after baby arrives.

    Good luck x

  • Sounds like a plan 😊 jeez pregnancy and having baby should be a wonderful time, it's not until it happens that you actually properly sit down and think about everything thoroughly and doesn't half scare you.... Don't worry they say, don't stress.. Pah! LOL

    Oh dear, we spoke about me going back to work last night, and granted at the moment I don't have an issue with this. I just don't want to somebody to just hands their kids over every day, to not see them for 8 hours straight. Just feel a bit of a crap mum and baby isn't in anyway close to being here yet 😔

  • I'm pretty lucky as I work from home but I'm really busy on the phone all day so I guess a crying baby in the background wouldn't be good for the company I work for but Im hoping it will mean a bit more flexibility with regards to me being able to be the main care giver.

    There is so much to think about, but at the same time as I've not even had the scan yet I'm trying not to think too much but failing miserably at the moment! It doesn't help when you feel a bit rubbish in yourself either as it is easy to get overwhelmed.

    I think the best move is to just tackle things one at a time, and try not to get stressed about anything, although easier said than done!


  • Ah Mrs k... It's so nice to know that you're not the only one that feels the way you do. The hormones most definitely do not help currently. You think about one thing and then everything spirals and you end up in a puddle of your own tears and snot. But to keep things light now I've calmed down a bit... It will all be worth it in the end ☺️ Feeble attempt at staying positive lol

  • Our Pregnancy Money Timeline might be useful to you and the page also has links to other support available:

  • Thank you not, I shall take a look at this and attempt to get my head round things x

  • I'm in the same mindset as you at the moment. I will be getting SMP from my employer which means a 50% pay cut on my wage. Money is already tight due to being forced to move house thanks to a rubbish landlord so that has pretty much abliterated our savings. The cost of childcare is crazy so I feel like we couldn't afford that full time, it's all so confusing and stressful at a time you don't need it. Seems almost cruel to be thinking about who to hand over your child to before you've even pushed them out! I hope you get something sorted, I'm currently sat crunching numbers trying to make a decision.

  • Cruel is not the word lol the feelings I've got are not being helped by my mum's voice which I can hear in the back of my mind "I didn't Palm my kids off onto anybody, I stayed at home and looked after you 2. If prople can't afford to have kids then they shouldn't have them."

    Yes all very well mother. But things were different 26 years ago!

    (Yes I realise I'm having an argument with my mum and she isn't speaking to me... Making me officially crazy lol)

    It really all does just hit you like a tonne of bricks doesn't it.

  • Don't forget you could be eligible for child benefit, and apply for child tax credits if your earning under a certain amount. The hardest part is trying not to spend too much on Buying baby things, Not everything needs to be brand new & I think we end up getting conned into things we don't actually need. make the most of sales. Asda baby event can be great for stocking up on nappies & wipes, bottles, and amazon do some great deals if you check often enough on thinks like sterilisers and I'm pretty sure a manual breast pump has been as low as £10 before now.

    It's difficult, but we all manage somehow Hun xxx :)

  • Aw thanks. Child benefit I can have but the other half on his own earns too much for us to have any other tax credit or anything. (And this is where i hear some people say well if he is earning that much then surely you shouldn't be struggling... You live to your means.)

    I'm gunna be all over the Asda baby sales, he'll yes! I'll be in there like a crazy round beach ball with me calculator and staring at which product is going to be best priced. I saw a video the other day on how to make your own baby wipes, which may come in handy I feel. Can't remember where I saw it now.

    I suppose if I start now and slowly build up to Ms it won't seem so bad when it comes to it.

    Bring it on!

  • Yeah deffo save where you can. Obviously breast feeding is free if you want to, and cloth nappies could be an idea. I'm sure I've seen on other posts that some councils run some sort of scheme for this (worth looking into).

    Also with childcare, look into the vouchers. Roughly £243 can be taken out of your wages towards childcare before your taxed if your work place is registered. It's not a huge saving, but a saving non the less. But they are changing how they work soon- not too sure on the details just yet though xx

  • Just thought is let you know, asdas next baby event starts Monday ;) also, here's the link on childcare savings

  • Ah brilliant. Than you so much xxxx

  • Haha believe me I know all about frustrating mothers. It does, no one prepares you for this part. Look into child benefit and tax credits though. I hadn't realsed you could get tax credits for childcare costs even if you earned more than 26000 combined. Might not be much but every little helps.

  • Every little helps indeed... And now I feel like a traitor quoting that seeing as I work for sainsburys lol

    I will definitely look at the child care cost thingy, I've already tried the working tax and child tax credits etc. but not the child care one. I'm all over this.

    Thankyoooou x

  • It is nice to know that we are not alone in our struggles. We are planning on starting to get the odd bits and bobs as we can afford them in the next few months so we have hopefully got a bit of a head start. I agree though, it's so hard not to buy too much and I guess it will get harder as the time goes by. At the moment I can tell myself I'm not buying anything until after the first scan so just hoping I don't go crazy once I don't have that reasoning tool any more!

    Good luck ladies, I'm sure we will work it out.


  • It's when you get down the baby clothes isles and you see all the cuteness just hanging there on the racks. I am literally going to have to tie my hands behind my back I think. Yeh major good luck to you all. It's been lovely talking to you 😀 and thank you very muchlies xxxxx

  • Hi hun sorry your feeling so worried, please check out I found it very helpful when pregnant with my other 3 babes xx

  • Brilliant, I'll have a look thank you xxx

  • Let everyone know you're having a baby and that you've not bought anything yet and are willing to help clear their lofts!! I posted on fb and only had to buy a new pram just because I wanted to, not because I wasn't offered at least 3 for free. I haven't had to buy any clothes or toys either and we're stocked until Bobby's 18 months old. Babies grow so fast nearly every parent you know will have stuff they can give you or offer for pennies. And there'll be presents galore. As far as nappies go, all the shops are competing - aldi are favourites on grapevine at mo. I've found reusables at beginning to be more expensive to purchase and your washing machine and water bills will increase - besides they poo like crazy at beginning. All this means babe won't cost as much as you think if you're savvy. As far as work goes, have you spoken to hr and asked for a calculation?? Worth checking as the 1 year rule is internal policy - ie see if you can negotiate - they'll want to keep a good worker on, not risk upsetting you nor driving you needlessly into poverty. As you'll more or less have been there a year anyway before you go on maternity leave - it's worth a try to voice your fears and see if they will help - maybe offer to confirm how long you'd stay with the company after you return post maternity leave as a gesture of goodwill on your part.

    I spent fretful nights worrying about money while pregnant - your hormones won't be helping much - but once baby is here, you won't find you worry so much. There's a new world that you're about to enter which will break down everything you found important before and thrust you into another dimension. The money will come from somewhere and you'll find you can last longer on less - that first month I had no time to spend anything at all!! Breastfeeding will save you hundreds of pounds and suck all of the fat out of you too and there's no going out for more than a few hours at a time for a while and of course, still no booze. And contrary to popular belief, you will not starve and die - which is the worse that can happen....if mothers in war torn countries can feed and clothe their babies, we sure as hell can too here in UK. Good Luck and try not to worry - baby is coming anyway regardless - just tighten your belt and get rid of anything unnecessary. And keep the dog - you'll be grateful for the company during those long lonely nights and a reason to get out of the house with the buggy at least once a day ;) xxx

  • Oh and contact your local childrens centre. They can email you a list of local childminders and'll need to start looking after 6 weeks anyway just to get on waiting lists 6 months later and you'll be surprised how cheap childminding £2.50-£4.50 ph.

  • Completenewbie

    4 minutes agoCompletenewbie

    Miss Hopeful15, you are a star. You've given me plenty to think about, you all have. I suppose you just get so used to a regular routine of spending x amount and then something major comes along and somehow you manage to figure it out.... Somehow. It's amazing how resourceful we can be isn't it. To be fair our parents will help a lot, it's just telling them.... That's the scary part! I know I'm no teen mum or anything but the whole idea of tell my mum that she's going to be nanny is a wee bit terrifying 😝 (even though she is nanny to dog), and they literally treat her like a grandchild lol).

    So yeh once again guys, thank you all so much you have been bloody wonderful. I genuinely think that I would go insane without you lot 😊

    Much loves x


  • I know exactly how you feel. I have worked for my employer for 11 years and still only got basic maternity pay.

  • ouch! Sorry to hear that chick. No room for negotiation on that then?

  • Is your tax PAYE? If so, it falls below the tax threshold for how much you need to earn before you are taxed, so that should help you out a bit. And if it is paid via your employer, you might even get some tax paid back to even out how much you have paid so far to meet the tax free allowance.

  • You know what I didn't think about that! Yes I think it is PAYE. You genius! Can you tell I lost all sense of rationale yesterday?!?

  • It's something not a lot of people remember, even without hormones buzzing. It helps, especially if you overpaid your tax previously :)

  • Miss Hopeful15, you are a star. You've given me plenty to think about, you all have. I suppose you just get so used to a regular routine of spending x amount and then something major comes along and somehow you manage to figure it out.... Somehow. It's amazing how resourceful we can be isn't it. To be fair our parents will help a lot, it's just telling them.... That's the scary part! I know I'm no teen mum or anything but the whole idea of tell my mum that she's going to be nanny is a wee bit terrifying 😝 (even though she is nanny to dog), and they literally treat her like a grandchild lol).

    So yeh once again guys, thank you all so much you have been bloody wonderful. I genuinely think that I would go insane without you lot 😊

    Much loves x

  • It's ridiculous really when you think about it. But it's also a toss up on how much it would cost in childcare when you returned to work. My son is now 18months so we've been there done that, got the cheaper t-shirts just to survive... I got £105 per week on stat mat pay... Which was hard we live in an old house no central heating, single layered walls etc... So hearing a house like that is a mammoth task... But we now pay £845 a month for nursery (that's a 4week month so we were no better off if I went back early cause the drop in my wage would have been equal to the childcare costs anyway. We just had to look on it as struggle till he is in school cause I couldn't lose the job I had as its a good career. So we took the short fall and unfortunately it will only pay off wheny child is in school and my wage becomes mine again. It's difficult... Cause I think the only really options is to save... But this isn't possible for everyone when every penny is accounted for... Go back to work and spend a fortune on childcare... Or remarry a very wealth man. But sadly they are few and far between. Good luck

  • Crazy isn't it. Both set of parents work full time so asking them to lend a hand is pretty much out of the question. Your house sounds like ours, we have multi fuel burners, the big one having a back boiler which then supplies the house with warmth. It would just be nice to win the lottery lol. Fortunately the hubby has just received confirmation that he is being moved to a different job within the company and he's getting a wage rise so that is gunna help out loads. We've just gotta remember to save that extra money rather than spending it on things that we don't need. Eurghhhh money! why can't we go back to trading to get the things we would like.

    Good luck to you too huni x

  • Hi, I am in a similar position to you and did go through a 'oh crap, we cant afford a baby' phase too. 😊 I trawled ebay, facebook for sale pages and local charity shops, begged and borrowed off friends and have managed to get ALL the nursery furniture for around £100. Cot, wardbrobe, chest of drawers, Moses basket. I bought the mattress from Asda for £25, and a friend had a baby not long ago, so now I have a full wardrobe and chest of drawers ready for my little girls arrival in 6 weeks. I started buying cotton wool and wipe, just one or two packs a week with every food shop, and I've got reusable nappies, which I got a voucher if £30 towards from my local council. I'm going to use disposables as well, but it will half the cost. Depending on what reusable nappies you choose, ours was £60 less the voucher for one pack of 12, and I bought second hand ones off ebay to top up. My whole reusable nappy from birth to 2yrs has cost us, with my tight purse strings only £67. 😊 b&m bargains also sometimes have cheap baby stuff. I have literally bought what i know to need from being the last person in my group of friends to have a baba, and we are not (yet) bankrupt! You can do it, you just need to be clever, go to mamas and papas shop, see what you like, then buy it second hand off ebay or gumtree, or freecycle. 😊 hope that helps a bit. Let me know if you want to know anything else. Love charlotte. X

  • Oh yeah, childcare.. The more you work, the less benefits you receive so find a local childminder ask for prices, and start working it out. Our local minder charges around £5 per hour per child, nurseries are more usually. X

  • I think the thing I've gotta get my head round is... I've always wanted new stuff for my first baby, because it's all shiney new and you don't really want to be putting your shiney new baby into somebody else's cot. And I know that people really do look after their baby things but I dunno, it just doesn't seem right. Buuuuuut I am now coming to terms with the idea that that is what I'm going to have to do.


    I'll take a look at the places you suggested. Sounds like you're way more organised than me!

    Thank you so much Hun xxxxx

  • Some really good advice given here, thanks mummies!

    Cloth nappies have helped me save so much money! And they're better for the planet too :) maybe look into them? Some really good deals on Amazon.

    And Gumtree everything! Got loads of stuff for free or very little money xx

  • As soon as I've been for my first scan I'm going to go mental with all the freebies online. I've already been finding vouchers and offers. Can't wait to go and grab my Emma's diary goody bags to what's in them.

    It's amazing how thrifty you begin to become 😊

  • Absolutely, I actually really enjoy finding bargains now! And can you knit? If not it's definitely worth learning. I can pick up a ball of wool for less than £1 and make several items from it!

  • I've move to Denmark and I get nil.... Hope it makes you feel better? Daddy on the other hand could have up to 32week paid paternity because he is Danish. I'm surrounded by pregnant friends but we are all buying too much stuff, new mattresses are all you need, telling the grandparents is funny, like being a little girl again but they will throw money at you or want to buy key item like the pram. Just allow it. My parents in law are also volunteering for wallpapering, I'm 7months and like decorating usually but I'm just too busy being tired and clumsy and if I'm honest grumpy, its a real help!

  • Wow now that's just crazy and I feel really bad for moaning about the money we get over here in England....really sorry to hear that you don't get any help.

  • Think I may start posting on here when I find some freebies to help everybody out x

  • That's a good idea. I would offer to send you lots of things when I'm finished with them seen as I'm much further on than you, but I'm afraid there are about five of my friends which are all due this summer, as well as me. 😍 babies everywhere! Do you have your scan date yet? Its all so exciting. 😆 xxx

  • Nope not yet. I've just about managed to squeeze into the midwife when I hit 11weeks and I'm assuming she will give me one then. It's killing me!!! I need to see baby!!! Ahhhhhh majorly exciting. That's an absolutely wonderful thought. Thank you ever so much. Nawwww you're such a sweety 😊

  • I remember in my first pregnancy getting only Stat Mat Pay as I hadn't earned enough to qualify for Mat pay with my employer. I don't remember it being taxed though or having my pension taken out of it. It is about the only time you can put paying into your pension on hold. If in sought, check out the DWP website, Im sure it could explain things a bit more about Stat mat pay.

  • Thank you miss Curley cat :) I'll have a look at that xxxxxx

  • Hi,

    It is a struggle.

    Have you looked at a NCT new and nearly new sale? Last time I went to a local one there were prams/cots, bouncers and loads of toys for less than half the retail price. Many of them had not been used before. I found this really useful. If your property is mortgaged then maybe speak to your lender and see if you can take a "mortgage" break as some lenders do this.

    Personally, I spent alot of money on items that I didn't really need with the little lady. Make a list of items you would like and items that are essential for baby. Also, have a look on freecycle, they have lots of items available, not always baby items but items like wardrobes that may be of use.

    Keep going and enjoy every second when the little one arrives, they are precious!


  • Ooooo no I hadn't seen anything about the sales! They sound amazing. I will definitely have to look out for these :)

    Do you nit get penalised for taking a mortgage break though? We are planning a trip to our bank anyway so we shall have a word with our lovely account manager, she is wonderful and I'm sure she will give us some good advice :)

    Thank you for your advice. Some really good ideas :)

  • I too wanted to buy most things new as this is our first but my husband managed to find a brand new mamas and papas cot on ebay which he got for £80 instead of the £300 I was going to spend. I've been unable to look at it yet as its too early but he assures me it is perfect. I'm going to use pregnancy hormones as an excuse here, but he also found out this was for sale as grandparents had bought it then moved closer to their grandchild so it had never been used. (I'd suddenly freaked out that something had happened to baby and it would be bad luck or something) how insane do I sound?!

    But my point is that there are bargains out there, it's just a case of searching.

    Good luck x

  • We have already seen the cot and pushchair/ pram/ travel system we like... Which are all on sale at the moment....must hoping sales last long enough :) if not then eBay will be my port of call I think. Love eBay :)

    And I don't think you sound insane at all. I think I would be the same. Like you say, with it being early days, you don't want to do anything that may be bad luck... It's the same me as me not wanting to tell anybody, just in case. It's amazing just how emotional you are though. Jeez I cried at the talking dog on britains got talent this morning!!! Lol

  • I know how you feel. I'm from Germany where maternity pay is 100% for 6 months, and then 67% for another 6-12 months. Here in my job as a teacher (and I've been in my current school for years) I get something like 100% for 2 weeks, then 90% for something like 6 weeks, then it goes down dramatically. I think after 4 or 5 months it's basically 0%. It's depressing as so many mums have to go back to work far too early to make sure they can afford to pay the bills. Having said that, childcare here in London costs us £75 a day! So going back to work isn't necessarily easier either. I think I've seen a couple of comments about second hand things others mentioned. Have a look at the NCT Nearly New Sales, you can get great bargains there. And the children centres do great stay and play for £2.50 (in London anyways) a time. And yes, even breast-feeding for as long as possible helps as the milk formula isn't cheap! Unfortunately I had to stop a lot sooner than planned...

    I'm now expecting No2 and God knows how we'll work it out financially as in addition to the teeny maternity pay we also have No1's care/food/clothes etc to pay for. Ultimately I think you find a way, one way or another, but it's not easy. Good luck!

  • Wow! If they can do that in one country why can't england figure this out aswell??

    I wish you all the luck in the world with number 2 xxxxx

  • I know...

    Thank you and all the best for you too!

  • Don't buy too many clothes as they grow so quickly during the first year. Accept freebies from family and friends who have had babies even if they are the wrong gender, a sleepsuit is a sleep suit. People will buy you clothing as gifts also. Our friends who had babies gave us packets of nappies when our daughter was born. My mother in law buys during the sales, so that is a good option. I have sold clothing through the nct sales myself which my daughter never wore or only worn once.

    As for socialising church playgroups can be a cheap option £1 with drink and biscuit included. Library rhyme time is free. During you pregnancy take short walks around your local area and check out parks churches etc.

    Do you have any knitters in your family? Knitted cardigans and jumpers brighten up a cheaper item of clothing and also fit for longer.

    My friend saved her old sleepsuits and cut the toe seams so they fit for longer, then they can be used when you are staying in and as covers during messy items eg 6 months weaning.

    When you go shopping during the sales take a list of what you need to buy so you don't get too much. A bargain is not a bargain if its never worn.

    Don't be seduced by advertising your baby doesn't need half the stuff there is out there to by, also what works great for one baby doesn't work for another so the fantastic new item another mother has may not be so good for you.

    Local Childrens centres usually have toy libraries so you can try out toys before going to the shops to buy.

    Sorry about the long post I have so many ideas, my final tip is make a few new friends with babies as when baby is older you can exchange babysitting with each other allowing you to go out and avoid expensive evening childcare costs.

  • You are a genius. God I love mummies. You lot are so resourceful 😀 I'm going to try all these things. I really like the idea of a toy library....nth at sounds amazing 😊 thank you so much for your post xxxxxx

  • So I love saving money wherever I can. Most of my family think I'm nuts but then I'm always helping them out! I have a boots advantage card, tesco club card and sainsburys nectar card and signed up to all the baby clubs at tesco and boots. Then whenever there are the great offers I use my points and the bonus deals I get and generally pay about a third of the original price.

    I also love choice - I didn't know about it till a year ago but it's all clothes from next and typically less than half price.

    As for my daughters bedding and furniture I went for gender neutral. Was so quick to sell on too!

    then of course there is gumtree ebay and preloved, for secondhand.

    All in all I saved myself about £500 when it came to buying things whilst pregnant AND made up nearly all that I spent in reselling afterwards!

    I hope any of this may help!x

  • That's brilliant!! Wow. Once again so great ideas which i will be putting to good use. I've got all the loyalty cards and with me working at sainsburys it makes it very easy to collect nectar points 😊

  • my company is the same! i usually take home £300+ a week (before tax and NI) however, i will get 6 weeks at 90% pay then i go to SMP!!! We too have a mortgage and the baby is very wanted but we will struggle and receive no help as we are still together and in 'well paid' jobs!!

    I plan to take 4 months off (1 month of using holiday- if i dont use it before i go onto SMP i will lose my entitlement!?!) and 3 months on SMP!!

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