How do you pay bills while on maternity leave? — The Bump
January 2011 Moms

How do you pay bills while on maternity leave?

Ok, so I will be a FTM and I was just wondering how everyone plans on taking care of their bills while on maternity leave?  Any advice or suggestions are welcome. Mothers who already have children, what did you do? Do you save and save to have enough for the two months or do you just play catch up like crazy afterwards?
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Re: How do you pay bills while on maternity leave?

  • We are VERY fortunate that DH has the opportunity to work unlimited overtime.  He has been very busy working OT so that we don't have to play catch up after I return to work.
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  • I guess you need to clairify - you will be taking unpaid leave?

    Set up an ING savings account and have a few hundred from yours and DH's paycheck sent there every pay period and don't touch it! if you save $500/month from now till Jan, you'll have $2000.00 extra.

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  • I never had this issue, as we're lucky enough to be able to afford everything on DH's income alone. We did save a lot during my pregnancy, since we knew I'd be quitting my full-time job once baby came.

    If I were you, I'd save as much money now. Could DH get a part time job temporarily? With the Christmas season coming, he could always pick up some hours in retail as they always need help, and he'd be home before your EDD. If that's not an option, I'd cut out every extra you have in your budget and save every penny. I don't think it's worth going into debt to stay at home during maternity leave. If neither is something you'd consider, you should probably take a short maternity leave.

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  • I will get short-term disability at 80% pay for 5 weeks and 60% for 6 weeks, PTO for the rest. I figured out what I'll be missing in pay and already have that in savings.

    With DS we didn't plan or save at all. So stupid! We made it by on DH's pay and my ST disability, but I'll never do that again. We ended up using a credit card to take care of some things. We have it paid off now, but it was just all so stressful. Try to save something if you can, anything helps!

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  • With my first I took off 6 months.  The first 3 were paid but then I worked from home part-time the other 3.  We had built up a savings in case we needed it. 

    With my second I took off only 3 months-- all paid.

    This one I get 4 months paid and I will take it.  I will more than likely take an additional month but using my vacation time to cover.

    If you have never lived on one income you should try now.. Cut down on all unncessary expenses. Put all your income now in a seperate account. 

    Are you not returning to work?

  • I will have only been at my current job for about 10 months when I go out on maternity leave so I will only have about 2 weeks vacation time to use, then we will depend on just my H's salary and our savings for the 3 months I'm planning on taking off.
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  • I'm very fortunate that my firm has decided to pay me for 12 weeks leave. Otherwise I would have used 4 weeks of vacation time (I get a lot) and 6 weeks STD at 60% and returned to work after 10 weeks.  That would have been really stressful.  As it is, even with full pay for 12 weeks, we'll have a lot less since I usually work a lot of overtime.  As of now I'm much more worried about how the heck we're going to pay for childcare for when I return to work.
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  • I have short term disabilty that will be covering up to 80% of my paycheck while on maternity leave plus 2 weeks of PTO (paid time off)

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  • Speaking as someone who successfully rode out a period of DH and I both being unemployed and also as someone who will soon be a certified financial counselor....

    Please do everything you can NOW to avoid playing catch-up later.  When you do the latter, you always end up paying more in the long run (in late fees, interest, etc.) and it is just not worth it and should be avoided at all cost.  Planning on playing catch-up can really screw you over if you continue to have unexpected costs, which I assume is almost inevitable with a baby.  People had good suggestions with DH trying to pick up extra hours and definitely with suggesting a closer look at your budget.  People of all income levels can almost always cut back on things in their budget with some prioritizing and self control.

    Someone suggested an ING account.  Another banking option I personally use that is FDIC insured is  You currently earn 2.15% and can remove your money at any time if you just adjust your savings goals to how much you have in the account (or a lesser amount).  When you remove it, you can put it on gift cards for all kinds of places and you can earn an extra percentage on your money (i.e. we put some on and got an extra 4% on top of the interest we had already earned).  You can also put it on a debit card or have it sent back to your regular banking institution. It might sound a little complicated, but it's really user friendly.

     Good luck!!! 

  • I have short term disabilty that will be covering up to 80% of my paycheck while on maternity leave plus 2 weeks of PTO (paid time off).

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  • I plan to stay home for 6 months (until the beginning of school year 2011-2012).  Two months will be paid out of my sick time, and the rest I'm saving for - aggressively.  To be fair, I always have to save for July and August income, so I only REALLY have to save 3 months more, but it's a lot.  Still, I feel really lucky to be able to stay home for so long.

    Do what you can to save now.  Pick up extra hours or have hubby do so.  Watch your utility bills and downgrade your cable.  Don't go out to eat.  Do whatever you have to so that you can be comfortable for your time home with LO.  You'll have enough stress without worrying about money. 

  • I'm self employed, so I get paid as much as I want to work, but that also means no paid maternity leave.  I'm working crazy hours right now to pay all our bills myself, so we can essentially bank FI's check each week so we'll hopefully have a lot saved for when I do take some time off.  I think I'll only be able to afford about 6 weeks of not working, and after that will just ease back in to a busy schedule.  Luckily, I can work at home a lot so I plan to do that. We're also trying VERY hard to find free things to do.  We're cooking at home as much as we can, having friends over instead of going out to dinner with people, etc. FI even has me playing video games with him!  LOL.... hey it's free!
  • I have Aflac insurance which will pay me $5000 after my c/s. I currently pay $85 a month for that. BUT that will only cover my deductable, which kinda stinks, but at least we'll be prepared for it. This is one downfall to having a January baby, there won't be much towards that deductable yet. 

    Other than that we save a little from ever paycheck or wedding I get paid for Normally having an extra $4,000-$5,000 for bills. But it is still rough since I'm a small business owner and technically don't get "maternity leave", so because of that I only take off 4 weeks of work. 

  • We've been throwing money in savings when we can, and I have Aflac for STD.  Luckily, the military has a great option for deployed members where they can open a savings account while deployed at 10% interest.  We're putting half his paychecks while deployed in here from now til the end of deployment to cover expenses for the 5 weeks I don't get paid for on maternity leave.  I'm using vacation/sick/comp time to cover the first 5weeks. (I'm taking 7 weeks when Ella is born, plus another 3 once DH gets back from deployment for us to 'bond' as a family).
  • My ST disability will only pay $171/week (before tax), so we've been saving towards this. We're not sure if I'm going back to work yet or not so we've got close to $25k saved to use during our "trial period" when we're just down to 1 income to see if we can do it.

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  • All awesome answers! We've been saving and have plenty already to cover what won't be covered with my paid time off and short-term disability. I think we'll be OK, but just curious of what others are doing! :) Thanks for sharing.
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  • i am only taking paid leave; there is no way we'd be able to afford to live where we do on just 1 income.
  • Yes, we budgeted and were able to have the $$ when we needed it.

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