Money Diary: A Childcare Worker On Statutory Maternity Pay
Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we’re tracking every last penny.
This week: “I’m a 27-year-old first time mum on maternity leave from my job in childcare receiving statutory maternity pay. I have an undergraduate and postgraduate degree and always wanted to be a family support worker, but worked part-time in childcare throughout my degree and carried on afterwards. I worked my way up to become a room leader and third in charge of the nursery. In two months’ time, I’ll marry my fiancé. We have a four month old little boy so life is very full right now.”
Occupation: Room Leader Industry: Childcare Age: 27 Location: Warwickshire Salary: I am currently on £156.66 p/w statutory maternity pay (previously £11.20 p/h before maternity). My partner and I now merge finances and his salary is£21,000. Paycheque Amount: Currently around £650 per month and my partner’s paycheque is £382.75 p/w. We also receive child benefit which is £87.20 per month (previously it was roughly £1,700 per month after tax, NI and pension). Number of housemates: Two. My fiancé D and four month old son, R. Pronouns: She/her
Housing costs: £450 rent for a three bed house. Loan payments: I don’t reach the threshold to pay my undergraduate loan yet, but my postgraduate loan is around £7 (depending on earnings). Savings?: £750. We transfer a family member £150 per week for savings, but costs for our upcoming wedding has impacted this. Pension?: I pay into it each month, but can’t remember the percentage I pay or what my employer pays in! Utilities: £181 gas and electric, £117 council tax, £75.71 per year for water (we only pay for drainage). All other monthly payments: £70.41 for my phone (ridiculously high), £10 sim only, £13.25 TV licence, £15.75 car tax, £33.69 broadband. Subscriptions: £6.99 Playstation Network, £10.99 Netflix, £7.99 Disney +, £10.60 National Trust Membership, £0.79 iCloud storage (too many cute baby pictures).
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? I studied for an undergraduate degree in Working with Children, Young People and Families and a Master’s Degree in Youth and Community Work. I received the maximum student finance loan due to coming from a single parent household so my rent and fees were covered by this. I also had part-time jobs throughout university in retail and bar work to cover living expenses.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? I don’t ever remember us having conversations about money growing up. I felt lucky as a child as we’d go on holidays every year, days out and had all the latest gadgets etc. It wasn’t until I was older that I realised that we struggled financially, particularly when my parents split up.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents/guardians house? I moved out of my mum’s house at 18 to live at university. During the holidays I would stay at either of my parents’ houses or my sister’s. I moved in with my dad when I was 23 after a relationship breakdown but only stayed there a few months before I moved into a house share.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life? I wouldn’t say I am financially responsible for myself. If it wasn’t for my partner I wouldn’t have any income left after paying my half of the bills on maternity leave. I know both of my parents would help out when needed but I don’t like asking and hate accepting when they do offer. After getting to a good stage financially after struggling with debt it’s hit me hard that I now have to rely on my partner for help being on maternity leave.
What was your first job and why did you get it? My first job was a paper round at 14. I got it for some independence and to earn my own money and I have worked either part or full time ever since.
Do you worry about money now? Definitely. I managed to get myself out of debt two years ago after leaving a controlling relationship where I believe my partner racked up debt in my name by regularly take out payday loans to pay the bills. I now have a rubbish credit score which affects more than you think and the thought of getting back into debt is always in the back of my mind. Since being on maternity leave I worry more about money as I’ve lost over a £1,000 a month of income and having a baby isn’t cheap. We saved throughout my pregnancy for the big expenses and now live more frugally than we did. I’m a massive spender (after being in debt I have the mindset of ‘treat yourself’) and my partner is more a saver so we clash quite often about this.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? On my 18th birthday I received money from my dad that he had been putting into a savings account since I was a baby, I can’t remember the exact amount but think it was around £1500. My great uncle died when I was 22 and we were very close, so he left me £2,500 in his will which I paid for an intense driving course with and the rest got wasted (see controlling ex above). I’m not sure if this counts but I was also awarded £7,500 in an employment tribunal when I was 17 which was used for a big holiday to Thailand and alcohol when I went to university. Looking back I wish I would have done a lot more with the money but my parents didn’t teach me anything about finances so I was pretty clueless. My dad is also paying £8,000 towards my wedding and my mum around £3,000.
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