Sweet, sweet parental leave. $4 lattés with other new moms and dads. Parent and baby yoga classes at $20 a session. Wandering through the mall with your stroller—trying to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter—and somehow leaving with $300 of new clothes. Lots of fun at the start, but in the long run it can be hard on the wallet.
If you choose a nine-month leave you’ll still earn 75% of your salary in the final stretch, which isn't that bad. But watch out if you elect to take an entire year off with baby; for the last 25 weeks you’ll have to get by on 55% of your normal paycheck. And that’s not much. At all.
No need to hyperventilate. With a few small changes to your routine—and we’re talking changes here, not deprivation—you’ll get through it.
No one blames you for not wanting to start cutting coupons. There are other ways to save on your grocery bill. First tip: buy bulk. Second tip: get together with your friends and make 40 cans of spaghetti sauce, 22 chicken pot pies, and 11 litres of vegetable soup. It's a blast, and it's cheap. The best part is that when you're too exhausted to cook, just open the freezer and… bon appétit.
Try to find a Facebook group entitled “(Insert your city) Parents” or “(Insert your neighbourhood) Flea-Market.” These groups can be gold mines for second-hand treasures. Everything imaginable for baby is up for grabs: clothes, toys, change tables, sippy-cups, you name it. Things sell for peanuts, if not free, and as an added bonus, used objects are just as good for the environment as they are for your wallet.
Why pay for baby aquafitness classes when you can take your mini-me swimming for free at the local pool? Why buy maternity books when you can borrow them from the library? Your gym membership can be replaced by a jog in the park in summer and YouTube aerobic work-out classes in winter (guaranteed hilarity for the latter). More of an artsy type? Lots of cities offer free cultural activities which are specifically designated as baby-friendly. So the next time you receive the neighbourhood newsletter, try reading it instead of dropping it right in the recycling bin.
Does the sight of a bottle induce panic attacks? Do you get the impression that everyone else's baby sleeps 12 hours straight and farts like roses? You need a break. Spoil yourself, it doesn't take much. Leave the baby with your parents or a friend and recharge your batteries. Go for a nice meal at a reasonably-priced local restaurant, take a long walk in the park, spend an entire night binge-watching movies, or just sleep. SLEEP. Sleeping is free, and it works wonders.