How To Prepare Financially For Maternity Leave In Five Steps

How to prepare financially for maternity leave has many of us overwhelmed. Use our five steps so you'll be on track for baby.

How to prepare financially for maternity leave is a question that leaves many families frustrated and puzzled. In the United States, we have sparse maternity coverage, This leaves many families both stressed for time and strapped financially. Luckily most pregnancies last nine months, which gives you time now. Start sorting out how to fill the gaps financially with our five steps.

How To Prepare Financially For Maternity Leave

Check If You Qualify For FMLA

Many families will receive 12 weeks of unpaid time off according to the Family Medical Leave Act in the US.  The law does vary if your state also has maternity laws, if your company has less than 50 employees or  how long you have been with the company can also affect FMLA time. Plan carefully for the amount of money you expect your household will be missing. Some employers also require that you use vacation time and sick time before you use FMLA time. Check your company policies carefully.

Investigate Disability Policies

Short-term disability policies can seem like a quick fix for how to prepare financially for maternity leave. Most premiums are through employers. Then you’re covered during your pregnancy right? Not exactly. Many short term disability policies such as Aflac, require enrollment ten to twelve months in advance. When I found out I was pregnant I already had a policy. I quickly found out that at the level I had enrolled the payout was not much. I would have been better putting the money into a saving account for baby.

Some companies have other options for short term disability. I recommend waiting until after the first trimester to announce to your boss and HR department.  Meanwhile, investigate your workplace short term disability policies through your company handbook and see how to opt in.

Related: Should I Return to Work After Maternity Leave?

Set A New Home Budget

In your budget, not only will you want to account for your missing income in your monthly budget, but also keep in mind the medical expenses you will have. If you have copays for each doctor visit or a yearly deductible, you want to know what those expenses will be. Now is the time to do a temporary overhaul of your finances, and to save aggressively for the short term. Babies can be unpredictable, so cutting back drastically will help you and every bit helps.

Budget For Gear

Many of the necessities for when the baby comes home can be purchased in advance. Start now looking for sales on baby gear or buying gently used items. Keep in mind what items you will actually need versus gear that is nice to have. Likely you will receive a few newborn items as gifts. You may want to consider purchasing clothes in bigger three and six-month size. You can also start stocking up on items like diapers and feeding supplies you may need. Don’t forget yourself! I picked up most of my maternity clothes from outlet shops and borrowing from friends. 🙂

Related: A Working Mom’s Guide to Surviving Maternity Leave

Look For Extra Income

There are several ways to pick up extra income that will help you prepare for maternity leave. Look into freelancing or other side jobs that will give you a little extra cash. Have a garage sale or sell items you do not need on local garage sale groups through Facebook to make room for baby.

What did you do to prepare financially for maternity leave? Tell me your tips in the comments.

Image Credit: Brad Brundage.

36 thoughts on “How To Prepare Financially For Maternity Leave In Five Steps”

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  6. Having a baby is such an amazing time of your life but also so stressful! these are great tips to keep in mind. also don’t be buying loads of maternity clothes in the beginning as you just might not need them. my bump was really small so all the maternity tops were too big, I only needed jeans the whole way through and I carried to term!

  7. Thank you! Hubby and I were just discussion how we were going to handle if I were to get pregnant and for maternity leave and if I am going to go back to work or stay home for the year. These are great tips to discuss with him.

  8. Such great tips. There so much prep that can be done ahead of time to relief some of the stress associated with taking time off so that you’re actually able to enjoy it!

  9. The one tip I wish I’d had is looking for secondary sources of income. If I would have known that when my children were born it would have been a big help. This is a really good, informative post.

  10. Preparing for a baby financially is sometimes tough, because you have to have extra money all the time in case something comes up. These are helpful tips!

  11. Janell @ Saving You Dinero

    We lived overseas when I had my babies so I wasn’t allowed to work. It would be so hard to have to plan all this around having a baby. These are great tips to get you started.

  12. This is great. I’m going to share because I know so many people about to prepare for Mat leave and I think this could be so helpful!

  13. When I had my first child, I was a stay at home mom. It was a different story though for my two other children. It was a difficult time, however, I am happy we pulled through. These are all great tips that moms and moms to be should read and take to heart.

  14. If you’re able to be planful about having a baby, these are super important things to include in your considerations! I haven’t had kids yet, but thanks for bringing this to mind for me. 🙂

  15. Jennifer Williams

    This was definitely the biggest concern for us. We were fortunate to figure it out so I could stay home. We used a lot of coupons and always shopped at thrift stores/garage sales to help save money. I never thought to freelance but in my field it would be a bit hard to do so.

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