Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Planning to live on less

With my approaching mat leave the idea of reducing of my salary to less then 50% of what I'm currently receiving is enough to give anyone pause. In Canada we have the opportunity to draw maternity (15 weeks) and parental (35 weeks) leave from employment insurance, which is wonderful, but the max benefit is 55% of $45,000 annual salary and as the Director of Finance for my company my compensation surpasses that by a good percentage. Working well on mat leave isn't worth it as your benefit is clawed back by the amount you are compensated so you don't come out ahead and you have less time to spend with your baby. There are companies that offer a 'Top Up' to the employment insurance benefits but there are usually strings attached to these benefits. My company hasn't confirmed if they will be providing any form of top up during my leave and currently I'm budgeting with the assumption that I will get nothing, this way if they chose to do anything it will be a bonus.

Luckily, we are in the financial position to live on 'less' for a year and not have to take out loans or feel a huge impact to our daily spending. Mainly my RRSPs are what are going to take a huge hit but with that said I really don't want to dip into my savings to cover my social life so I need to start doing some rethinking to my monthly spending.

Not quite sure how women that make less then the max benefit manage to live on 55% of that for a year! I am definitely happy that I don't have to worry about going back to work before my 50 weeks are up. With that said I don't think I could do this with out a budget because it will definitely be a huge change for us.

Things I will miss....
  1. My morning Starbuck or Tim's 'coffee' run
  2. Lunch at the mall food court or other take out restaurants around my office
  3. My MANY Kobo purchases a month...the library will become my new best friend
  4. Adding seasonally to my wardrobe
  5. Not having to think before I whip out my VISA card
Actually that isn't really a lot and I probably shouldn't be wasting my money right now on these things.

Things I plan to do...
  1. Monthly meal plan - this is necessary if I want us eating on a strict monthly budget - lots of home cooked meals and probably a lot of premade and frozen ones at that to make it more convenient. My husband is a vegetarian which means for convenience sake I don't eat a lot of meat at home either...why prepare two different meals every time?...which also helps cut costs on the grocery budget. Consider going meatless a few times a week to save. (Great blog for family meal planning inspiration is Good Cheap Eats)
  2. Cloth diapers - my sister has already purchased the gDiapers so I don't have too much more to invest in now except adding a few based on wear and tear. Did you know that it takes 30 months on average before your baby is potty trained and during that time you will have approximately 7354 diapers to change? This can cost around $1912.04 ($0.26/diaper) if you are using disposables (not including the cost of garbage removal if your municipality charges for extra bags) where as Cloth diapers will cost you around $774.75 (diapers and laundry...assuming this is the first time you are using cloth and have to purchase them, splitting the cost with a friend or using them for multiple babies with increase savings. Not to mention that you can sell your used cloth diapers on eBay or a local Buy&Sell, which is where my sister picked up the majority of hers, and make almost 50% of your investment back). (To read a great article on the costs of disposables verses cloth diapers, as well as others on building a cloth diaper stash, read SquawkFox)
  3. Breast Feeding - I say this is my 'plan' but having so many friends and family that have recent had babies I am completely aware of all of the issues that can arise to prevent breast feeding from happening. I will make every effort to do this until my baby moves to solids but I realize that it might be out of my control. Apparently formula can cost $100-$150/month depending on the brand, to feed your baby so I will attempt to go as long as possible on the breast.
If I manage to organize my time while I'm on maternity leave, I also hope to finally plant my vegetable garden and use coupons while grocery shopping but those are two things I've been saying I want to do for a few years now so we'll see if I'm adventurous come spring!

Am I forgetting any major cost savings I should take into consideration?


  1. You won't be driving to work everyday so you'll save on gas. As the weather gets nicer, walking with baby to get groceries etc will be good for you (gets you out of the house!) and doesn't use any gas.

  2. Good point! With the increasing gas prices though I'm not sure what to put on that budget line so I guess any savings will just be a perk!