Most parents-to-be struggle with the thought of living on a lowered income or some put off having a baby altogether for fear they can’t afford a child. I survived two pregnancies and two maternity leaves and made it through the after baby financial changes to our net income. I also have to mention that my marriage survived as well. You are laughing??
Just imagine, in a matter of seconds, you have more expenses and a lower-income. I am not going to lie, this is probably going to be the hardest thing you have done in your life. Lack of sleep, no time to eat or take a shower, not to mention the financial worries but I am proud to add, an enormous sense of accomplishment.
I like to think that the worst is now behind me. There are so many things I wish I knew before I had kids but here I am now and I will share with you some of my precious findings. Here are some tips on how to enjoy parenthood instead of worrying about your finances and your sanity.
What are EI parental benefits?
EI parental benefits are offered to parents who are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child. A maximum of 35 weeks of parental benefits is available to biological, adoptive, or legally recognized parents. The two parents can share these 35 weeks of benefits. A person recognized as the child’s legal parent on the provincial or territorial birth certificate may be eligible to receive parental benefits.
How much money will you get on Maternity Leave?
While on maternity leave and parental leave, the basic benefit rate is 55 percent of your average insured earnings which currently as of January 1, 2012 the maximum is $45,900 yearly. This means you can receive up to a maximum of $485 per week. Some parents work for companies that top up their salaries paying the difference between the maternity benefit and their normal salary.
As of January 1, 2017, the maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $51,300. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $543 per week.
If you are employed in insurable employment, your employer will deduct the applicable EI premiums from your wages or salary. There is no minimum or maximum age for paying EI premiums.
You need to pay EI premiums on all your earnings up to a maximum amount. In 2017, for every $100 you earn, your employer will deduct $1.63, until your annual earnings reach the maximum yearly insurable amount of $51,300. The maximum amount of premiums to be paid in 2017 is therefore $836.19.
Since Quebec has its own program that offers maternity, paternity, and parental benefits, the Government of Canada has adjusted the premiums accordingly for that province. In 2017, the premium rate for workers in Quebec is set at $1.27 for every $100 of earnings, up to a maximum amount of $651.51 for the year.
Please Note: Policies and financial figures above can change often.- Source
Can I make money while on maternity leave?
Yes you can also make money while on maternity leave by selling items, working part-time, starting a blog or website, babysitting etc.
Start Saving Money
Couponing is for everyone-Just like for everything else, when you want to save money there are many things you can do. The obvious one for my fans is couponing. You cannot imagine how much money you can save until you try it. It is just plain ridiculous!
I still come from shopping shaking my head. If I only knew about couponing BEFORE I had my children. So, a word of advice, get started now! There is a huge community of money-saving Canadians who use coupons and who will welcome you anywhere you go. Everybody can do it!
Related: Where to find coupons in Canada
Cut back on Extras and Start Budgeting
Another very helpful way to save money is to cut back on the extras and know where your money is going. Have a good look at your expenses and determine what you can live without for now and for the long-term. Perhaps you could cut down on your pit stops to the coffee shop, cafeteria or remove your premium cable.
Related: Maternity Leave Part 2: Budgeting
You should decide between what you “need” and what you “want” to stick to the budget. Have you ever done the math to see how much you spend in the budget by eating out and buying coffee? You will be amazed at how much you can save in one simple step-eliminate or decrease this expense.
Get Energy and water smart
Now I am not saying not to flush your toilet anymore, but to stop watering your driveway and to turn off lights when you don’t need them. My favourite way to save electricity is to use my appliances off-peak. Most electricity providers offer lower rates during off-peak electricity times especially with the new smart meters. Off peak electricity is provided during set times and is typically between 19h00 and 07h00. I save around $60 dollars every month that way.
A very nice way to put some money aside to survive on your lower-income is to make room for your baby. Yes, it is time to sell everything you have kept for no reason. The bigger the house the more useless stuff we keep. Make room for the mountain of baby clothes and toys that are coming your way.
Maternity leave doesn’t have to be a scary time as long as you plan and think about where you want to be financially in your life. Take away all the “wants” and fill them with “needs” and surviving maternity leave will become less of a burden on your finances and your well-being.
Discussion Question: What are some other ways mother’s can survive maternity leave on a lower-income?
Contribution Post: Very special thanks to Mr. Canadian Budget Binder who gave me the opportunity to share with you what I have learned and how I survived a lower-income while on maternity leave. Flying Couponer.
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