When it comes to planning for your new baby, one very important consideration is finances, especially when on maternity leave. Many of us have to cope with just the government payment for the six months, and if you want to extend leave beyond the six months, you might be living off your savings. So it’s fair to say that every cent counts during your maternity leave. With this in mind, we’ve come up with five ways to save money during your leave.
Embrace the free stuff
Once you’re through the fog of the first few weeks/months of parenthood, it’s time to get out and about with your new addition. Take advantage of your leave to discover all the free stuff you can do in your area. For instance, see what your local parks have to offer in terms of playgrounds and facilities (believe us, when your baby grows up a little, you’ll be spending a lot of time in parks and playgrounds!), check out your local library and their free events, or pay a visit to your local mother and baby group. Go further afield to discover where families go for days out – some groundwork now will pay off in spades in years to come with you have little ones who need to keep active!
Midweek = bargains
Everyone needs a break, even new parents, but if you’re looking to save some cash, then a night out at the weekend might be a bit out of your budget. Save cash by meeting a friend for an early bird dinner mid-week – there are some serious bargains out there. Even better, take advantage of having a small baby who is fairly portable (as opposed to a demanding toddler!) and meet a friend for a nice lunch. The lunch menu is an excellent way of experiencing a great restaurant on a budget.
Look for baby bargains
Babies need nappies, wipes, food and a myriad of other buys. Thankfully, Lidl recognises that parents want good value without sacrificing quality and they’ve got an extended range of everyday baby products in store. See www.lidl.ie for details of their full range and special offers. They also regularly run special offers on their vast baby range and promotional baby products. Don’t just look for the baby offers too; every week Lidl runs promotions to help you keep to a budget without feeling you’re scrimping by on less than the best.
Review your bills
Take advantage of the baby napping to review your bills. You may not be able to negotiate some bills until they’re up for renewal, such as car, health and house insurance, but there are plenty of others you could look at. Go onto a site like Bonkers.ie to compare rates for your electricity and gas bills – experts say you should be looking at your rates at least once a year to make sure you’re getting the best rates. Check your phone bills to see if you’re eligible for an upgrade or out of contract. TV and broadband can also be reviewed regularly.
Check your entitlements
Once you register your new baby, you automatically register for child benefit – if in doubt, take a look at the information on www.welfare.ie. You may also be in line for other benefits; information can be found on www.welfare.ie. You can also claim back a percentage of your medical bills from Revenue online; sign up to PAYE Anytime on www.revenue.ie – it only takes a few minutes to do and if eligible, the refund is placed into your bank account within days.
This editorial was brought to you in partnership with Lidl – see www.lidl.ie for details of their latest offers.