Coming up on Maternity Leave/Paternity Leave?

Maternity leaveIf so, you might as well know that  like with all things parenting, there is sacrifice involved. Unless you are fortunate enough to work for a company that tops up your income while you are off, you can expect to have to do more with less, while your income is temporarily scaled back.

If you or your spouse are planning on taking a maternity/paternity leave, here are some tips to help you make the most of your time off.

Plan Ahead

If possible, try to put some money aside to use as a buffer during your leave. The tricky situation is that your expenses are going to go up, while your income is going to go down.

If this is your first foray into parenthood, you may not anticipate how much things like diapers and formula will cost you- and how quickly you may go through these items!

The Cost of Convenience

You will get very close to your local pizza delivery guy. Uncomfortably so, especially in those early, sleep-deprived, days, when you are alternatively feeding, sleeping in small spurts or doing laundry. It is so very tempting to pick up the phone and have someone bring you dinner instead of shopping and cooking.

Before baby is born, be proactive and fill your freezer with healthy, quick and budget-friendly meals.

Clothing Consignment Queen

Children, especially babies, rent clothes essentially, considering how long they actually wear them for. Buy as much as you can used, and then trade up to the next size as you need them.

You can also save a lot of money for yourself buying maternity clothes on consignment as well.

Free (Almost Free) Activities

At some point, once you are settled into the routine after the birth, you are going to want to get out of the house- and hook up with other parents. Being at home with a new baby can be isolating, so don’t underestimate the value of that social time.

That said, many of the organized “Mommy & Me” activities are super expensive. There are things that you can do, that accomplish the same social goal, but are less costly.

Organize your own playdates. Try to network with some other new parents, and swap days at each other’s houses.

Hit your local park. Even though your little one is still ensconced in the stroller, there will be other parents to chat with at the playground.

Check out your local community centre, library or church. These places often offer classes or organized groups for less or no cost for parents and young children.