Tuesday 19 April 2011

Balancing work and your family finances

Philips Avent has just released the results of a survey they comissioned about mums returning to work post baby.

Their research shows that:

  • eight out of ten new mums headed back to the office because they were ‘in desperate need of money’, while only one in five returned to work because they loved their job.
  • 43 per cent of mums said they cannot afford to pay for childcare despite being back at work.  This is why nearly half of them, 46 per cent, rely on their mum to care for their child, while friends and grandparents are also called upon regularly.
  • One in six mothers will not return to work, with two thirds saying they want to stay with their child and be more involved with their upbringing. Four in ten said it is not financially worth it because it ends up more expensive hiring a nanny or forking out on childcare costs averaging £4,280 a year. 
So, if like me you decide not to return to work, but become a full-time stay-at-home mum, how do you manage the drop in income?

Becky Goddard-Hill has some great tips in her book "How to afford time off with your baby".  She also features in this video sharing some of her money-saving tips:

Do you have any other great money-saving tips you'd like to share?


  1. I also left my job (not hugely well paid - publishing) to stay at home with my children full time, and I find the hardest thing has not been the inevitable drop in income, but the reactions of people who made different choices. I do find it hard when people go on about their brain atrophying and "thank God they're around adults again, have a status, aren't *just* a mum etc", inevitably followed by them asking do I think I'll ever work again, as though I'm the laziest person they know!

    The other thing that's slightly irritating is when people claim they HAVE to go back to work for monetary reasons. Now I am well aware that many genuinely do, but equally some people chose the house in the more expensive area, because that's what they wanted - now I'm supposed to feel sorry for them when I moved out of town to somewhere cheaper so we could have a family? Same people often insist they need to work to fund their lifestyle - I don't buy new clothes, take loads of holidays, run 2 cars etc etc. Sorry, that's turned into a bit of a rant! Please don't think I have any problem with WOHM - I don't, and I DO intend to go back to work when I can. I just get peeved when people assume I'm either braindead or loaded!

    As you know, up until now I've been 'comping' to provide luxuries for myself and the family (meaning I have less urge to buy new), and what we don't need gets gifted for Christmas and Birthdays or sold on Ebay. I've always enjoyed buying secondhand and vintage type things, which is also cheaper than buying new, but can be another income stream if you research the resale value, and is something I'm beginning to do more of.

    Finally, I have several 'mum' friends who have Phoenix cards and similar franchises, which can be great for working around your family commiments, as you can do as much or as little as you have time for.

  2. Hi Lovely,

    Thanks for your comment. I know EXACTLY what you mean. It almost seems as though when you meet people its: What's your name / what do you do for a living. I get treated like some kind of sponger when people find out I stay at home with my daughter, even though I don't get a penny from the state. Well apart from Child benefit which everyone gets, but even that will stop for me soon.

    Great tips on money-saving. I think you're right, a lot boils down to life-style and what your priorities are. I know not everyone's situation is like that, but a lot of my peer group fit into the category you describe!


  3. I decided to quit my job when I got pregnant with DS 3 whilst still on maternity leave with DS 2. Having worked as a nanny and in a creche I knew it wasn't what I wanted for my boys. Financially, we don't manage. One week in four we have NOTHING in the bank, and quite often leave our parents' houses loaded up with bags of potatoes and tins of beans they've kindly donated! All our clothes are second hand, I cook everything from scratch, holiday wise we're lucky-my parents own a static caravan.
    My brain is more stimulated than ever, work used to dull my senses rather than inspire me. My boys are happy, healthy, secure and don't go without anything. When you don't work you have time to look for bargains, I also swap toys and books with other mums like me. I don't envy any of my working mum friends, but I doubt think they envy me either.
    I worked part-time when my eldest was 3 months old, full time when he was a year. I was always stressed, ill and rushing. I just thought I was inadequate, didn't realise that I was simply missing my boy.
    And working mums who are reading this, I don't think you shouldn't work, but please don't assume stay home mums are some sort of brain-dead bore either.

  4. I am an older person and when my children were young it was not the done thing to go to work. times were hard but all my friends were in the same boat. We used public transport or walked, cooked from scratch, made the children's clothes ourselves etc. On the plus side was that all the mums were at home so we had a good social life----and so did our children.