Money Diary: A New Mum On Maternity Leave In Portsmouth

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 newly qualified child protection social worker living by the sea in sunny Portsmouth, although I am originally from Reading. I live with my American husband, our two indoor cats and our 3-month-old baby, L. We bought our house two years ago and I've recently overhauled our finances, including a remortgage and changing energy providers, to help make maternity leave a little less painful. I've been getting paid 90% of my salary the last few months but next month is when it all goes down the shitter and we will be relying on our savings to pay myself a salary and keep afloat. Currently trying to balance enjoying maternity leave with being mindful that Yank is working two jobs to keep our savings at a reasonable level.
Our long-term plan is that I will return to work after nine months of maternity leave and he will become a stay-at-home father, dropping his 9-5 job and keeping some weekend and evening shifts at a restaurant. I love my job and have scope to progress relatively quickly so the decision for me to become the main earner was an easy(ish) one to make, although I'm already looking at my little boy and wondering if I've made the right choice...leg rolls for days, I'm so in love!"
Industry: Local government social services
Age: 29 (nearly 30!)
Location: Portsmouth
Salary: £29,808
Paycheque amount: £1,750 after student loan, pension contributions and tax. Currently I am getting around £1,400 a month on maternity and this will now drop to statutory maternity pay of £595 plus £80 a month child benefit.
Number of housemates: Husband, 3-month-old baby and two cats.
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: Mortgage is just about to drop from £968 to £720. Council tax £110. All split between two. House insurance £22.
Loan payments: Student loan deducted at source.
Utilities: Gas and electric £66, pet insurance £16, internet £25 – all split between the two of us.
Transportation: Car tax and insurance £70. Less than £40 petrol a month.
Phone bill: £60 for the two of us.
Savings? We usually put away between £400-£800 a month. This is the last month we will be able to save anything properly and we will now start dipping into savings to make up for my maternity pay. We have £7,000 in savings and L has £3,500...not bad for 3 months old! I have an account called Mummy and L where I put any extra earnings and use the funds to spend on him and I doing stuff together. This has £124 in it at the moment.
Other: Spotify family £14.99, Netflix £5.99, life insurance x2 £20, gym £35.

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