KMNs diary - curbing spending and maximising saving with a new baby

kiss_me_now9
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So maybe a bit random to have a diary when I'm not in debt, but I am about to start my maternity leave (at the end of the month) as we prepared to welcome our first child in early March. We are incredibly lucky to be quite comfortable, own our home (mortgaged) and both able to put some money in savings at the end of each month but I'll be going from a band 6 NHS salary to a year of a far reduced income. 

I have a credit card (American Express) which I probably rely on too much - again, I am lucky enough to be able to pay this off monthly without needing to worry but I definitely need to stop this habit as I won't have the income I'm used to come the end of February! 

I have opted to take a full year of mat leave, with a month of annual leave each side (again, incredibly lucky that my annual leave allows this!). I've spread my payments over the year so I think my monthly pay will be £750 ish - compared to £1600 post tax that I'm used to, that's quite a drop. I am very keen to try and still save a little every month, even if it's just £50. 

At the moment I have an ISA with £6k in it, ideally I'd like to get this over £7k by the end of the next tax year. (Requires £100 or so a month). 

I'd also like to be able to put a little into my Christmas 2023 savings pot every month - again not much, maybe £25 - £50 depending on how much income I have.

I have just started a premium bond account, only £500 in it and I don't expect much return if any, but it's something I've wanted to try for a while and the interest I get in my current savings account is less than 20p a month so it felt like a good move. 

My biggest vices are definitely food shopping without thinking, Vinted, stationery shopping and 'it's just £xx' purchases. I am the queen of going to 5 different places and spending £20 - £30 in each and feeling accomplished even though I've just wasted £120 on nothing! 

In order to boost my income a little I'd love to try and get my etsy shop up and running, selling stickers which is a dream I've had for a while but never had time to enact! I don't imagine I'll have much time when the baby arrives but in the few weeks before I might be able to get some stock uploaded and hopefully once that ball is rolling, it won't be too hard to keep going with it just dipping in occasionally. 
£2023 in 2023 challenge - £17.79 January

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  • kiss_me_now9
    kiss_me_now9 Forumite Posts: 1,302
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    Not the best day here unfortunately personally but money wise it’s been stellar! 

    I was due to go into town for an eye appointment but got a call this morning to say it’d have to be cancelled as the optometrist is sick. Saved myself some cash on parking and the inevitable Greggs trip after the appointment itself! Then popped round to Tesco for a veg top up shop and OH gave me a gift card to use so no spends there. Popped into the local charity shop on the way back and was tempted by a rack of baby clothes until I saw they want £3 for a used sleep suit/baby grow or top :open_mouth: So I didn’t buy any of those either, despite being tempted by some of them.

    Unfortunately I woke up half way through the night with terrible back ache which just won’t go away. I’ve tried heat, paracetamol, my yoga ball, a warm shower and a massage… it just won’t go. So I’ve crawled back into bed with a hot water bottle. Probably should have let OH wander round to the shop rather than insisting I did it myself :neutral: 

    I’ve got a few stickers ready for cutting and printing now this afternoon if my back cooperates; I can only use my cricut machine on the floor as we don’t have any desks high enough for it to rest on. So I’ll either have a go later or see if OH will get on his knees and load the machine for me! :D 
    £2023 in 2023 challenge - £17.79 January

  • beanielou
    beanielou Forumite, Ambassador Posts: 87,964
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    Happy shiny new diary.
    Hope your back improves really soon.
    I am a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on Mortgage Free Wannabe & Local Money Saving Scotland & Disability Money Matters. If you need any help on those boards, do let me know.Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any post you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button , or by emailing [email protected]. All views are my own & not the official line of Money Saving Expert.Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.**Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** MFW. Finally mortgage free February 2021**** "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.*** ***Keep plodding*** Out of debt, out of danger. ***Be the difference.***Weight loss. ** 2 stone 7 lbs.***
  • kiss_me_now9
    kiss_me_now9 Forumite Posts: 1,302
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    edited 21 January at 9:12PM
    Thanks Beanie! 

    Back was much better yesterday, just in time for my work shift. It's been good today as well so I guess it was just tweaked in the night and because I can't take ibuprofen was taking some time to resolve. I got a plain jacket potato at work and took in my own cheese/topping - the jacket potato was thankfully half price, due to a staff offer running until the end of the financial year (guessing the Trust is trying to run the budget down...) It would have been £4.50 if I hadn't brought in my own filling and the offer wasn't on! :scream:

    Yesterday evening after work we considered having freezer food for tea... then decided to go out for a spontaneous date night and went to Pizza Express after some (non alcoholic for me) cocktails. Spent £15.65 on two drinks :open_mouth: - half the reason we don't (or didn't!) go out often even before I got pregnant! But the meal was nearly 'free' as we used £10 worth of Tesco vouchers that tripled up to £30. 

    Today I wandered round to the library and picked up some books I had on reserve, one is a book on baby sign language I'll been thinking about buying but now that I've got it out I don't think I'll bother as it's not what I wanted. After that I went to Tesco and got bits for a fry up whilst OH was on his long run (he's due to run a marathon in early April - might be cutting it fine as my due date is mid March :neutral: but we're currently committed to him going on his own as long as baby is over a week or 10 days old). £10 spent there. Spent the afternoon cleaning and then napped whilst OH watched a film. My kitchen is currently a bit of a state as I've decided I must sort out EVERY single cupboard and get rid of most of the bits in it before the baby arrives :blush: some say nesting, I say being practical as I'll not have time to do it again until the baby is at least 8 years old I reckon! 

    So far a bit of a mixed weekend. Tomorrow we're off to an all you can eat Chinese with our friends which should be nice. 

    I did some Swagbucking again this morning and managed to get a couple of good surveys so I'm only 100 SB from my next £5 Amazon gift care. I try and get up to £10 before I cash out though as it makes it feel easier. 
    £2023 in 2023 challenge - £17.79 January

  • enthusiasticsaver
    enthusiasticsaver Forumite, Ambassador Posts: 14,882
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    Exciting to have a new baby soon. Presumably your first? 

    Will you qualify for child benefit after its born? 

    Excellent that you don’t have debt. I would say don’t get sucked into paying out for lots of expensive stuff that babies don’t use for long. That is often a trap many people fall into. Be selective and you can pick loads of good stuff up second hand which has hardly been used. 

    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Debt free Wannabe, Budgeting and Banking and Savings and Investment boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected]. All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
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  • kiss_me_now9
    kiss_me_now9 Forumite Posts: 1,302
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    It is our first yes @enthusiasticsaver :) Not sure about child benefit - we need to look into it! 

    We are super lucky again in that we have two friends who've just had multiple babies (twins and a single) plus two family members who've had a baby each within the last 8 months... the only thing so far we've had to outlay any money on has been the bedside cot and the travel system! We've got enough clothes to clothe a nurseries worth of 0 - 3 months olds and toys, a play mat, books, memory keeping bits etc. Nice to have but very little space to store it all and if I'm honest it's driving me a bit nuts getting a reusable shopping bag full of baby clothes every weekend  :# 

    Definitely feeling the burn of January atm. I'm down to my last £75 which is sad - best thing to do is to keep myself occupied in other ways I think. I last got paid on the 22nd December and don't get paid until the 31st. I do appreciate that people struggle with finances in December but trying to stretch out my pay to 6 weeks rather than 4 is really difficult and is especially galling when you make an effort to save throughout the year for Christmas! Today's spend was £1.60 on parking, £2.75 at work on food and hopefully nothing else. I've got an Asda online shop ready to check out but we don't need it and I can't justify clicking check out atm, I'd rather wait until the weekend I think and then at least it's only a few more days until I get paid. 

    I finish work for my maternity leave next week and I'm starting to get a bit anxious about it :neutral: feels like a very big change!
    £2023 in 2023 challenge - £17.79 January

  • CL21
    CL21 Forumite Posts: 253
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    Ooh I hear you on the pay thing. I got paid on 16th and don’t get paid until 25th. Hoping to have saved enough for Christmas this year so that I just ignore my wages until the proper pay day. Congratulations on the baby 😊 
    Credit Card 1 - £6249.99 £4,900
    Credit Card 2 - £13,481.47 £12,985

    Total debt - £19,731.46 £17,885

    Emergency fund £930
  • kiss_me_now9
    kiss_me_now9 Forumite Posts: 1,302
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    edited 30 January at 1:53PM
    We've just got back from a lovely weekend away at the coast which was nice. Great to spend time together and explore a bit. All expenses went on our joint account, which had some money left over from our wedding/honeymoon in 2021 and 2022. Back now and looking forward to getting paid tomorrow! February is going to be an interesting month - I'm going to try and do 16/28 no spend days if I can as it's my last two months of full pay before I move onto mat. pay and I really want to try and keep hold of as much of these next two paycheques as I can. It'll either be really easy as I'm not going to be doing much outside the house orrrrr it'll be really hard as I'll be online shopping every five minutes! 

    Now only 200 SB away from a £10 voucher. I'm not sure whether to push on and try and get to £15 before I cash out; I really want a larger water bottle for when the baby is here (2+ litres so if I'm nap trapped or feeding I don't need to worry too much about getting up for a drink) which I think is around £20 on Amazon. I'm hoping with my free time I'll be able to get a few more vouchers before baby arrives. 

    I finish officially on Wednesday afternoon so I think Thursday is going to be a day of relaxing, Friday a day of tidying and then next week I'll really jump into trying to start a routine of housework, going for a walk, doing some design work/stickers to start my etsy shop going. I thrive on routine and if I'm brutally honest the idea of sitting at home all day waiting for my baby to arrive fills me with dread :neutral: but I am very physically ready to finish work! 
    £2023 in 2023 challenge - £17.79 January

  • kiss_me_now9
    kiss_me_now9 Forumite Posts: 1,302
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    Exciting to have a new baby soon. Presumably your first? 

    Will you qualify for child benefit after its born? 

    Excellent that you don’t have debt. I would say don’t get sucked into paying out for lots of expensive stuff that babies don’t use for long. That is often a trap many people fall into. Be selective and you can pick loads of good stuff up second hand which has hardly been used. 

    OH looked into child benefit and I think we'd end up getting about £3 from it a week so it doesn't seem worth it. 
    £2023 in 2023 challenge - £17.79 January

  • CL21
    CL21 Forumite Posts: 253
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    edited 31 January at 7:41AM
    Hello,  just jumping to say that even if you don’t think it’s worth claiming, still register for child benefit. Apologies if you already knew this (I didn’t until a few months ago) 

    https://arthurboyd.co.uk/why-you-should-still-register-for-child-benefit-even-if-you-are-a-high-earner/
    Credit Card 1 - £6249.99 £4,900
    Credit Card 2 - £13,481.47 £12,985

    Total debt - £19,731.46 £17,885

    Emergency fund £930
  • kiss_me_now9
    kiss_me_now9 Forumite Posts: 1,302
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    CL21 said:
    Hello,  just jumping in to say congratulations on the baby and also that even if you don’t think it’s worth claiming, still register for child benefit. Apologies if you already knew this (I didn’t until a few months ago) 

    https://arthurboyd.co.uk/why-you-should-still-register-for-child-benefit-even-if-you-are-a-high-earner/
    Thank you, that's really useful - will show it to my OH!
    £2023 in 2023 challenge - £17.79 January

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