8 tips to manage money (and a baby) during the COVID pandemic

Having my first baby just prior to the coronavirus pandemic hitting Australian shores has been nothing short of challenging.

As well as dealing with the myriad struggles synonymous with parenting a newborn, my partner and I faced the added pressure (like so many Australians) of our finances taking a swift and very aggressive hit to the jugular.

But after the initial panic subsided (and cheap wine had been drunk), we lay out a plan for how this period could work for us without having to take a second mortgage on our apartment or dip into our superannuation prematurely.

Here are eight tips for new mums to manage their cash:

1. Make a budget!

Before the baby, my partner and I regularly mused about setting a budget before swiftly neglecting the idea. Even though we could see the benefit, it wasn’t exactly necessary.

But when your regular income is disrupted by parental leave and then, a pandemic, the need to put pen to paper and work out a plan forward becomes immediately pressing.

Working out our monthly earnings and outgoing costs put us in control and quickly alleviated the pressure. It also proved that there are always ways to navigate new circumstances.

2. Cancel subscriptions that you’re not using

At the beginning of the pandemic, we had subscriptions to all the content. Stan, Apple TV, Hayu, Foxtel, Netflix, Audible and various digital newspapers.

I know we’re spending a lot of time at home, but no one needs that many options. I cancelled 4 or 5 subscriptions (even if just temporarily) and saved about $100 a month. Not inconsequential!

3. Talk to your bank about what they can offer you right now

The good thing about maternity leave and life in isolation is that I now have time to make sure my family’s not being shafted by the bank.

Interest rates are low right now and it’s a good time to explore options with your provider or else others. My bank offered me a lower interest rate and flexible mortgage repayment options.

4. Plan big meals that keep as leftovers (and are vegetarian)

This one’s undeniably been helped by the government’s ban on restaurants and pubs, but honestly, preparing affordable, bulk meals that will see you through the week is key when sticking to a rigid budget.

I’ve surprised myself at the variety of meals I can pull together that will keep as leftovers for next-day lunches.

Another tip? Go vego! Things like lasagnes, quiches, pies, stews, soups, curries and stir-fries are easy to make, cheap, provide good nutrition and are sometimes even better the next day.

5. Make coffee at home

It sounds trivial, but during a regular week, my partner and I spend upwards of $140 on coffees out. During isolation, the thought of a walk outside and a takeaway flat white become more attractive than ever, given that’s all we can really do.

But try to resist the urge of having more than one of these a day. It’s surprising how much you can save.

6. Refrain from buying expensive baby clothes

Seriously. They’ll grow out of them in two minutes flat.

7. Avoid late-night impulse shopping

Feeding your baby in the middle of the night may enable ample time to scroll through The Iconic’s latest sale, but don’t buy shoes at 3 am.

If nothing else, you’ll likely end up selecting the wrong size or tapping in the wrong shipping address in your sleep-deprived state. Wait till lunchtime the next day before deciding whether you want/need them right now.

8. Remember: This won’t be forever

This has been a truly unsettling period for many of us, and that’s ever amplified by a new baby screaming in our ears, vomiting on our laps and demanding all our attention.

It might feel a bit hopeless right now but try not to lose heart. We’re all in this together—and no one understands that more than new mums.

Tarla Lambert is the publisher and part-owner of Women’s Agenda.

Article from: au.finance.yahoo.com