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Dealing with debt during maternity leave

Although a baby is a welcome arrival, it can put a financial strain on your family. From decorating a room in preparation for a baby's arrival to budgeting for food, clothes, toys and other necessities, there are many new costs that will need to be factored into your budget.

Going on maternity leave from work can be a joyful time of bonding with your baby. Unfortunately, it's also an event that can lead to debt problems, whether it's because your income is reduced or because of the cost of another mouth to feed.

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Ways to increase your income if you're on maternity

If you're going on, or have just started maternity leave and you're struggling to make payments to your debts you may be wondering what support is available to you. We can offer you free and confidential debt advice, but we also know that improving your situation goes beyond looking at available debt solutions.

Reviewing your budget and understanding where your money is going each month is often the first step towards keeping better track of your finances. You might also find some of the following tips useful if you’re struggling with the cost of a new arrival.

Benefit entitlement

Use our online benefits checker to make sure you’re claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to. You’ll be able to claim child benefit when your baby is born and you may also be able to claim additional tax credits. 

You can also find out about maternity pay and what you’re entitled to by speaking to your employer.

Sure start maternity grant

If you have a low income or receive certain benefits you might be entitled to a Sure Start Maternity Grant. This pays a lump sum of £500 towards the cost of having a baby. You need to apply for the grant between 11 weeks before the baby is due and up to the baby being 3 months old. Because it’s a grant, you don’t need to pay anything back.

If you have any questions on how maternity might affect your situation please contact us and one of our expert advisors will be able to help you.

Look at ways to reduce your outgoings

Even if you're on a tight budget at the moment, there may still be some things that you can cut back on or find a cheaper alternative. These range from doing regular price comparisons on your utilities to shopping around for better deals online.

You can find plenty of ideas to help you make more money on our blog MoneyAware.

Join online parent communities

There are many supportive online communities for parents that pride themselves on creative money-saving tips and ideas. The NetMums forum and dedicated MoneySaving Mums thread on MoneySavingExpert.com are both fantastic meeting places for motherhood-related support and advice.

Help and advice if you're struggling with money

If you’re struggling to pay your household bills or debts use our online Debt Remedy tool, which will provide you with free, impartial debt advice and a debt solution tailored to your individual situation. Alternatively, you can talk through your debts over the telephone with one of our friendly advisors.

Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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© StepChange Debt Charity 2018