How to survive maternity leave without going broke

It’s been 5 months since my baby was born, and about two months since returning back to the land of the working class. I received my first salary in February since my maternity leave ended and it was so nice to have a salary again after four months of none. It really made me appreciate having a job (even though I really didn’t want to go back) and being able to buy the things I needed and wanted. But it wasn’t like that when I was on maternity leave. I was on unpaid maternity leave and it sucked. I worried about how I was going to pay for certain monthly expenses like food, baby necessities and unforeseen medical bills, heck life was having none of it because we had a car service that included replacing the brakes added to the mix. We are lucky enough to have all these things but when something happens that can potentially cripple you financially, you do worry and stress. You might think I’m being dramatic but at times when you are already having a bit of a bad financial patch, things get a little bit worse before it gets better. Anyway, this is how we survived unpaid maternity leave and I’ve added some suggestions that I should’ve done that you should totally do:

1) Ensure that you have your UIF maternity benefits sorted – this really helped us over the four months that I was on maternity leave, this time around, I went with an agency that does everything for you and ensures that payments are made in a timely fashion. You can read all about my experience with a UIF maternity benefits agency here

2) Clear and declutter unnecessary financial expenses and debt – we cleared some of our debt over the period that I was pregnant, so that we didn’t have that burden when the maternity leave arrived. I know not everyone is able to do so, so I suggest contacting all the financial services that you have debt with and make arrangements for lesser payments during the four months of unpaid maternity leave.

3). Shop smarter – I would literally wait for Wednesdays for the weekly newspaper to arrive that always has promo newsletters with discounted goods or specials. Food Lovers Market was my go to store to buy fruit and vegetables. The store always has awesome specials.

4) Cut down on eating out and buying takeaway food – if I didn’t feel like cooking, we would buy a rotisserie chicken and salad at Woolworths but for the most part we didn’t buy any takeaways food or eat out at restaurants. It’s too expensive.

5) Garage sale – I had a mini ‘garage sale’ where I took all clothes, jewellery, decor and kitchen ware out that I didn’t want anymore and sold them. My nanny helped by selling them for me.

6) Plan what your baby will need and purchase – I bought most of the necessities while I was pregnant and still had a salary. I was lucky enough to have a couple of baby showers too, the gifts I received at my baby showers helped tremendously.

7) Eat at family especially on weekends – this might sound funny but I would call my sister or mom and let them know we coming for lunch, scored myself a couple of meals lol

8) Accept second hand goods – Zahir’s cousin was amazing and so generous by selling certain baby products at affordable prices and gifting us bags full of baby clothing and items. We are forever grateful.

9) Ensure you have gap cover – Gap cover is an extra cover over and above your medical aid in case there are any shortfall payments to be paid after your hospitalisation. This is vital, you don’t want to be burdened with extra medical bills after baby is born. You will thank me again.

10) Wing it – I say this loosely because you really can’t wing it in the bigger scheme of things, you must budget and work towards having some money available to you during your maternity leave but somehow we always had food on the table and our kids were happy and taken care of, kids bring their own blessings into your home.

I would love to find out how you survived your maternity leave without going broke, please let me know by commenting below.

Until next time

4 Comments
  1. I can so relate to this. I also had an unpaid maternity leave. You have great points here. It helped me a lot when the first month of giving birth, my church members cooked for us. Also, before the leave I bought some food items (perishables) and baby stuff ahead. I only got my UIF when baby was six months old, by then I had started working again. Anyway, congrats on the baby

    • Thanks for commenting hun, i also only got my UIF when i went back to work the first time, i did the UIF myself and i dont know the agency just knew all the tricks man, i literally got payments every single month that i was on maternity leave the second time around. i highly recommend going with a UIF maternity agency.

  2. I can so relate to this. I also had an unpaid maternity leave. You have great points here. It helped me a lot when the first month of giving birth, my church members cooked for us. Also, before the leave I bought some food items (perishables) and baby stuff ahead. I only got my UIF when baby was six months old, by then I had started working again. Anyway, congrats on the baby

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