If you’re self employed or freelance although the news of pregnancy is brilliant, there is that moment when you think ‘what am I going to do about work?’! I will have had my business four years when baby is born and I’ve worked so hard to grow it and get it to the point it is now that I can’t afford (both financially and business) to just stop working for 6 months or a year!
Yes I’m a little envious of my friends who will be taking a year off work with maternity pay and safe in the knowledge that their job will more than likely be there when they go back (or another option). Would I change my work position with my friends? Not in a million years so I’ll just deal with the issues that self employment and maternity brings.
As I mentioned in my other post, I’ve started the process of being prepared and planning for the business to survive without me for a little break. However, I still need the business to be profitable even if I’m not earning so the biggest step I’ve taken is employed some contract tutors who have started to do some of my classes. I’ll admit it’s scary handing over your classes and the results of your business to someone else but I’ve found some brilliant tutors who I can really trust and who are brilliant at their jobs. By starting the process of handing over and introducing new tutors and classes with them, it’s making the transition much easier.
In terms of finances and being prepared when you’re not earning a salary here are my top tips:
- Get a separate account early on in the pregnancy and start putting money in there every month. Put as much or as little as you want but remember it’s 9 months so even if you just put aside £50 a month that’s £450 and if you can save some more even better
- Apply for statutory maternity pay. Unlike self employed men who don’t get any paid paternity leave we get 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay. Log on to the website and download the forms. In a nutshell as long as you’ve been paying your NI contributions continually for 26 weeks within the test period (you can find this on the website and the downloadable form) and won’t be getting maternity pay for anyone else
- If you’re eligible for the full amount you’ll get just over £500 a month for 39 weeks (£139.58 per week). During this time you can’t work with the exception of few ‘keeping in touch days’
- Don’t go crazy with buying lots of unnecessary bits and pieces for the baby. Speak to friends (if they have babies) for advice on what they bought and what they think is a waste of time
- Borrow as much as you can, if your friends have had babies they’ll probably be happy to offload some of their baby stuff like moses baskets, bouncers, play mats for you to borrow
- Try and cut out unnecessary purchases to save a bit of extra cash. You won’t be drinking alcohol so nights out will be cheaper and you’ll probably be swapping some of your daily coffees and teas for other drinks so all that extra money all helps in your baby account
- Revise all your household suppliers e.g. internet, sky, gas etc. Call them up and find out if they can do a better deal or threaten to leave and see if you can get any deals or money off
Have you got any other tips for preparing for baby? Share them below!