Yes it sucks that the US is the only industrialized country in the world that does not have paid maternity leave. Personally I can’t understand how that’s even possible. I mean, wasn’t the US supposed to be very progressive? Or is that era past already?
Whatever the reason may be, fortunately it’s not a complete disaster. You can survive the income hit that you’ll suffer. You just have to take some extra steps, that’s all. Preferably you’ll want to start taking these before you’ve turned into a waddling penguin. Even then, however, you can still manage to get some work done.
Start saving early
Yes, you’ll have to urge to splurge on tons of new things for your new baby. Try to resist that wherever you can. Bringing a new person into this world is not a cheap affair (apparently they cost 12,000 dollars in the first year alone). For that reason, you’ll want to start saving early – preferably before they’re born.
One great place to start is by taking all the money that you might have spent on things like alcohol and cigarettes and putting that in a saving jar. If you like the night life, then that can very quickly add up to a nice bit. Every time you would have gone out, work out how much you on average would have spent and put that aside.
Another good place is to finally quit those subscriptions you aren’t really using. Aren’t actually going to that yoga class or using that cable connection? Then why not take the steps to get rid of them. It might not be that much per month, but if you get rid of a whole bunch of them then it can add up to a whole lot in a few years.
Take out a short-term disability policy
If you’re not yet pregnant but are thinking about doing so, consider taking out a short-term disability policy. The reason this is a good idea is that pregnancy and the postpartum period are often covered as one of the ‘disabilities’ you might suffer. Yes, it is an ugly way to call it, but if they give you money, then who cares, right?
Of course, you do want to check the policy carefully to make sure that it’s actually covered by the policy. Otherwise you’ll be in for an ugly surprise. But I’m sure you already knew that. Normally you can expect anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks to be covered by this type of policy.
Start doing something online for extra money
One of the greatest things about the time we’re living in is that you don’t have to get off the couch to get out into the work place. Just start working online and you’ll be able to make quite a bit of dough in certain fields.
There are quite a few things you can do. You can write, work as a graphics designer, program, help a company do their social media marketing, help companies that need texts translated into a foreign language and a lot more. Find out what you think you might be good at and start building up a portfolio today. Then, you’ll have that to fall back on when you go on maternity leave.
You can even keep it going after you go back to work (especially if you only go back part time) as the job can be done even while you’re watching your little one.
And who knows, maybe you’ll find out that this is a much better job then you were doing before!
Save up those PTOs
Why take unpaid time off when you can take paid time off? So if you get pregnant, cancel whatever trips you had planned or events you were going to go to and instead focus on collecting as many of those days up as possible. Together with your short term disability policy that can give you a bit more time to be with your little one even you continue to make a bit more money.
Also, if you’re planning to have a baby, then you’ll want to check if there is any way that you can take days from this year into the next one. Not all companies allow this, but when they do this is a great way to make sure you have more time where you’re still getting paid.
Ask your friends
Maybe you don’t want to ask them for money (though it might not hurt) but you can certainly ask them for time. For example, they might be able to babysit a few hours here and there, which will give you time to work online, for example, or to allow you to back into work if you really have to.
Another thing to ask them for is any second hand gear they no longer need. Lots of people have perfectly good baby gear that’s just gathering dust. So why not ask them if you can use it? That can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
You can even try a bit of crowd funding. This can work. So why not give it a try? The best thing to do is be honest and forthcoming. Also, don’t ask for too much. Research has demonstrated that asking for whatever people can give will generally work a lot better than trying to get a few people to donate big.
Get creative get out there
While you still can, you have to get out there. Ask friends in person and on social media for advice. Often they’ll have really good ideas that you can try out yourself. Perhaps they know how you can approach your local government for help. Or perhaps they can organize some fund raising events to help you.
They can even help you with your online business if that’s the route you decide to go.
Whatever you do, don’t sit still when you don’t need to. Yes, you might want to focus inwards, but the truth is that this will make things more difficult later on. So instead, look to the future by rolling up your sleeves today. You’ll be surprised with what you can get done.