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Your leave timeline

First things first – how long do you plan to take as parental leave after the stork delivers your little bundle of joy? By this, we mean how long will the primary care-giver be taking leave for? Getting this locked down straight-up will help, as you’ll know exactly how long your finances may be impacted, and how long you’ll have to adjust your budget.

Depending on where you work, this could differ greatly from person to person. For example, if your employer only lets you take unpaid leave but reserves your position for you, you may decide to return to work earlier than someone whose employer offers 18 weeks at half-pay.

1. Know your living costs

If you haven’t done so in a while, get a clearer picture of your overall budget as it stands on full pay – knowing where your money goes now may help you identify some areas you can cut back easily if required.

Cut my living costs guide

2. Brush up on budgeting

Maybe you havent revisited your budget in a while, or like many Australians, perhaps you've just never been taught how to accurately track where your money is going. 

Set up a budget

Your entitlements

Once you know the level of support your employer will provide, you can check your eligibility for financial support from the Federal Government. Having this information may impact your decision on how long you’ll take before you return to work. Check the Department of Human Services website to see whether you (and/or your partner) may be entitled to.

  1. Parental leave pay (up to 18 weeks) and Parenting payments.
  2. Family tax benefits, Child care benefits or Rent assistance.
  3. Dad and partner pay (up to 2 weeks).

Child-care costs

If your baby hasn’t even been born yet, returning to work is probably low on your list of things to be thinking about, but it’s worthwhile considering your plan of action sooner rather than later.

This is because, as crazy as this may seem, returning to work may not prove to be as financially beneficial to a family as first envisioned, especially if your newborn will be placed into child-care. It’s well known how expensive child-care is in this country, so if you won’t be able to rely on family or friends for a bit of free baby-sitting when you head back to work, do some investigating and find out how much you may be up for each week in child-care costs.

If you’re shocked at just how much your potential child-care costs may run, be sure to explore all your options – will it be cheaper for you to hire a private baby-sitter or find a home-day care operator? Does your work-place offer some sort of subsidised care for children of employees? At the very least, contact your local council to get a list of all local providers, so you can do a cost analysis before making your decision.

Budgeting with baby

Once start planning for baby’s arrival, you’re likely to place more scrutiny on how you allocate resources. This is true of your time, your energy, and most of all, your money. This is only natural – another little person is now wholly reliant on you to help them make it through each day – that’s quite a responsibility. Here are some ways you can use this laser-focus to help you stick to your post-baby budget.

1. Save smarter

If you’re reading this, your baby probably hasn’t arrived yet. This means you’re probably still reaching your full earning potential as a family. Use the time you have remaining before baby comes along to scrimp and save every spare penny, and make it work as hard as it can. Opening a high interest saving account means your good savings habits are rewarded with bonus interest.

View Bonus Saver

2. Consider accommodation

Many families use the time before baby arrives to take stock of their living situation. Maybe you’re quickly starting to realise you’re going to need more space, or perhaps you’ve just been checking your rate and are wondering if you could lock in a better deal on your home loan. Either way, it never hurts to compare your home loan against what’s out there or speak to a lending expert.

Use our home loan comparison tool