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How to Plan a Stress-Free Parental Leave in 9 Months
How to Plan a Stress-Free Parental Leave in 9 Months
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How to Plan a Stress-Free Parental Leave in 9 Months

Money254
Sheila Brenda Andoi
April 8, 2022

Becoming a mother is a fantastic endeavour that is not only rewarding but also takes extensive planning. What most mothers think about is how the baby will fit perfectly into their life and what they’ll do when the baby arrives. 

As you draw closer to your due date, you may be doing everything from calculating figures for your budget to planning how the whole experience will be. You'll want everything to be perfect before your kid arrives!

The time spent with your child is one of the most memorable events in a parent's life and financial planning, like any other major life event, is critical to ensuring a stress-free experience. 

Saving for maternity leave needs careful financial preparation, particularly in Kenya, where paid leave for new parents is not guaranteed in most companies. 

Saving for maternity (or paternity) leave does not have to be tough if you plan ahead of time. Instead of focusing on new sources of income only, it's a good idea to begin by finding areas where you can save.

With so many uncontrollable occurrences affecting our daily lives, it is prudent to plan ahead of time as thoroughly as possible.

With a full plate and so much to think about, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with a step-by-step financial plan from the first month of your pregnancy up to the ninth and beyond to help you stay on track as you plan your parental leave.

#Month 1: Reduce Debt

According to Jean Chatzky, a financial editor at NBC Today, the first trimester is the time to get your financial house in order. If you have existing debt, work on reducing it as much as possible or clearing it to provide more room to save as much money as you can.

This is a good place to start because having an existing loan can make it more difficult for your growing family to obtain other loans for large-ticket things such as a bigger house or a car.

#Month 2: Create a New Budget

Once you’ve handled your debt or made a plan to reduce it, you will then need to create a new budget. 

Before you get started on it, you need to have a better sense of your monthly expenses and keep track of everything your family spends money on (both major and minor). Check receipts to ensure that you get a clear picture of how you have been spending your money and how you can adjust.

When the time comes to crunch the numbers ( third month), this diligent tracking will help you to determine your family's spending patterns, allowing you to target areas where you may need to make cuts before the baby arrives.

#Month 3: Crunch the Numbers to Maximise Your Budget

Compute the figures. It is now time to go to the final stage of budgeting. Put down all of the statistics from the costs you've been tracking over the last two months. This will provide you with a thorough picture of your current expenses before giving them a makeover in preparation for your child's delivery.

"Your aim is not only to break even but to save money on a regular basis," says Stephen Brobeck, the executive director of the Consumer Federation of America (CFA).

To figure out specifics when saving for maternity leave, too many families rely on estimates rather than doing the math themselves. It is better to make a budget that is personalised to you and your needs. 

Let’s get to this.

Consider any reimbursements from your company for any partially paid maternity leave, fully paid maternity leave, unused vacation days, and any other extra income you'll create either by freelancing or working part-time. 

Deduct your maternity leave earnings from your costs after that. If it's negative, that's the bare minimum you'll need to save for each month you won't be able to work once the baby is born.

You may prevent the stress and anxiety that comes with unexpected expenditure if you take the time to lay out your budget in detail. Don't forget to include any expenditure changes that occur after the baby is born. Baby supplies and equipment can rapidly add up. 

Furthermore, because you'll have less time on your hands with a demanding infant, you may end up ordering takeout or hiring someone to do your housekeeping or errands.

Make contact with the HR department in your workplace. HR can provide you with a comprehensive overview of maternity and paternity benefits. It is worth noting that Section 29 of the Employment Act of Kenya 2017 provides for employees' maternity and paternity leave entitlements.

#Month 4: Practice Austerity

You created a new budget in the third month; now you may be tempted to put it on hold and live life to the fullest until the baby arrives. Not too fast!

Chatzky advises parents to make sure that they are storing things in the second trimester.  Begin by putting money aside to compensate for any predicted income loss from unpaid maternity leave. "Determine what the deficit will be and try to make up for it ahead of time," she adds.

If you want to design a nursery from scratch or purchase pricey baby goods, set aside additional money. Put the money you'll need for the kid as quickly as possible into a short-term fixed deposits account or money-market fund. By the time your payment is due, you should have sizeable cash by your due date if you start today!

#Month 5: Adhere to and Supervise Your New Budget

Now is the time to actively adhere to and manage your budget after creating it above. For at least 30 days, track everything you and your family members spend to get a clear picture of where your money goes each month. Schedule a biweekly family finance meeting to keep your progress going.

The key to successful saving is to develop a realistic plan of action with all parties who spend and generate income in your household. Saving for maternity leave means predicting your income and spending while you're off work and caring for your child, at least as best as you can.

#Month 6: Start Your Daycare Research

Do the shuffle from daycare to daycare. Before your energy wanes and mobility becomes difficult, the second trimester is an excellent time to consider daycare choices.

Check nannies' references to get the most for your budget. Confirm that different daycare administrators are great at handling children, especially in their early childhood life. Research! Research! Research!

Read Also: Daycare Costs by Neighbourhood in Nairobi

#Month 7: Invest in Insurance

Purchase life insurance. 

Many people put off life insurance until they have children, but it's a good idea to start planning for the future by getting life insurance coverage while pregnant or even before you get pregnant. 

Expectant parents should insure themselves for at least six to eight times their gross annual pay, according to James H. Hunt, a retired life insurance professional.

Life insurance enables you to provide for your family in the event that you are not there or if you're injured and unable to work, - you'll still need money to support your child while you recover - and it is a vital aspect of financial planning as your family grows.

#Month 8: Baby Showers, Gifts From Friends and Family

You’re almost there mama, keep going!

In the eighth month, factor in the kindness of friends and family. If you have good friends, this is the month where most baby showers happen, so they are probably organising showers behind your back.

Several of your relatives are most likely getting you some baby blankets and other stuff right now in preparation for your baby's arrival. 

Most people are normally generous when a woman is pregnant and when a child is born. So you may want to also put that at the back of your mind although as an extra addition to your already laid plan. Don’t make so many purchases, wait and see what you get before purchasing anything more than the most essential baby items.

#Month 9 and After: Cover Your Baby. 

Most health insurance companies allow new parents to add their infants to their policy 30 days after the baby is born. 

In any case, it's a good idea to begin filling out the enrollment form as soon as possible, leaving the baby's name and birth date blank. As soon as you and your baby get home from the hospital, delegate responsibility for entering those details and submitting the paperwork to HR to your partner.

When your little bundle of joy arrives, make sure to enrol them in family coverage so that they are protected in the event of any health-care needs, as dependents are often covered until they become working adults, depending on the type of policy.

Aside from that, if you've been following this pregnancy and maternity plan, you'll know that the last month of your pregnancy is an excellent time to unwind, both financially and physically. 

Relax, make yourself a cup of tea, and congratulate yourself on making it this far and properly planning your family's finances in advance of your baby’s arrival.

WRAPPING UP

Planning for maternity leave, no matter how exciting your pregnancy is, may be stressful, especially if you are also fully dedicated to your job. With careful planning and good communication with your partner, you can create a maternity leave plan that satisfies your needs while also being thorough and well-thought enough for you, your baby and your family.

Happy Parenting!

Sheila Brenda Andoi is a communicator, journalist, editor, and writer passionate about human-interest stories. You can find her on Twitter @sheilaandoi

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