How to Determine if you can Afford an Extended Maternity Leave

Having a baby is a life changing experience with many decisions. One of the decisions to make if you work out of the home is how long of a maternity leave to take. Some companies may give a certain amount such as a week or two paid leave, and you may have the option of taking a long leave without pay. There are some decisions to consider if you can afford to take an extended maternity leave.

Start saving before baby

It is important to start saving as soon as you can for the additional costs you will have once the baby comes. Besides baby supplies, daycare costs can be substantial. If you are able to, attempt to save money besides what you are budgeting for baby supplies. If you are able to build up a cushion, you may be able to stay home with your baby longer. By extending your maternity leave you will save some money on daycare costs. Some couples attempt to live off of one salary and put the other salary into savings.

If you currently live on a written budget you will need to add categories for additional baby expenses. 

Besides maternity leave, you may be able to use sick days and vacation days to extend your leave  Also, if you have supplemental insurance besides hospital insurance, the additional funds you will receive while in the hospital may help with some of your expenses allowing you to stay home longer with your new baby.

Be ready for emergencies

Besides a regular savings account, it is important to have money set aside for emergencies. Some experts suggest to have between six to nine months of expenses set aside in the case of an emergency such as unexpected medical expenses, car accident or job loss. With another person in your family, may increase the chances of needing an emergency fund. By having an emergency fund it will be less likely to need to put these charges onto a credit card.

Your own circumstances

Each pregnancy is different. Some will require more time off prior to the birth because of needed bed rest. Some will require more time off after delivery if you have caesarean section or other difficulties during delivery.

It may be difficult to go back to work after having a baby, but it is important to consider some things while deciding if you can afford to take an extended maternity leave.