How pregnancy affects your finances

how pregnancy affects finances

Two weeks ago, we were on such a roll in getting our debt paid off. In the 5 weeks prior, we had paid off $8,293.87 of our debt ($4,183.96 had been our tax refund). We had gone from $14,777 at the beginning of the year down to $2,594.23 and even though our original goal had been to be debt free by the end of the year, we had hopes that we would be debt free by early June.

Then, one and a half weeks ago, we got the news that would rock our world. I was pregnant.

At first, we were elated! But then, reality set in. Even though we had been trying for 6 months, I suddenly felt not ready. (Apparently, this is pretty common but I’d love to hear how you felt!) We were close, but still not debt free. Time was ticking to save up the $14,051.52 that we would need to survive the one year of maternity leave without going back into debt, yet we couldn’t even get started until we finished paying off our debt. And that doesn’t even include the “start up” costs –  strollers, car seats, cribs, bassinets, baby monitors, rocking chairs… those don’t come cheap either!

On top of it all, I started feeling sick. Although I know my morning sickness has been nothing (so far) compared to plenty of other women, I wanted nothing more than to be at home curled up in bed. Alas, having a contract job means that doing so results in a financial hit since sick days are unpaid days. On the Friday I first tested positive, I ended up leaving work about an hour and a half early. I didn’t go in to work either on Monday. On Friday, I had an eye specialist appointment (unrelated to the pregnancy) which meant leaving work early another 2.5 hours. And tomorrow, we have our very first pre-natal appointment, which means I will be going into work 2.5 hours late.

And unlike the past, I no longer have the energy nor desire to work overtime. Every day I’m at work, I have to convince myself not to leave work early whenever the nausea hits. Making it to the end of the work day is an achievement like no other, and I definitely don’t have it in me to work overtime anymore. On top of the pregnancy exhaustion, I can no longer fall back on my medication for my Idiopathic Hypersomnia (Modafinil) so I’m literally feeling like a zombie. I’ve been working 8-4 and by the time my 11 o’clock lunch (aka nap time) rolls around, I’m usually fighting off sleep attacks. The afternoon post-nap isn’t as bad as the mornings, but I crash on the couch when I get back home and still end up sleeping early.

The exhaustion hasn’t helped in me keeping up with our finances either and it’s disappointing to report that last week, we were only able to pay off $430.34 of our debt, leaving us with $2,186.18 to go.

Heloc - May 17

At this point, our Debt Repayment Schedule shows that we won’t be debt free until June 24, and that’s with a $400 payment per week. At this rate, even that would be a stretch!

However, when I had first done the number crunching on how much we’d need to save up before taking a maternity leave for a year, I had mentioned that my husband contributes 10% of his paychecks towards his company’s employee share program, which is then matched 50%. At this point, he’s accumulated about $2,500 in cashable shares (the company’s contributions are locked in for a period of one year). I had calculated that in the “worst” case scenario where I got pregnant immediately (and thus had the least amount of time to save up), over the 9-month pregnancy plus 12-month maternity leave, we would accumulate $6,622.69 + $7,038.33 in shares for a total of $13,661.02, leaving us only $390.50 short. This is incredibly reassuring knowing that we will still have access to a pretty sizable “Emergency Fund” although, of course, the ideal scenario would be that we don’t have to touch it at all.

I’ve been super anxious about the pregnancy recently (“Are these cramps normal? Am I going to miscarry? Is the baby going to be born healthy? Am I going to feel even more sick? Am I going to have to take a medical leave of absence?”… I know. I’m such a worry wart!) so I’m really keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow morning’s pre-natal appointment. Wish us luck!!!

Mrs. Unchained 55

9 Comments

  1. I have also wondered how pregnancy would affect me physically as well as my finances. We are currently in the process of starting up our $5k baby starter fund in addition to our emergency savings. It’s not much at all but every bit helps I guess. I hope to get a lot of my hand me downs from my older sisters to reduce expenses. Looking forward to future posts on you and your family finances.

    • I suspect if you have a permanent position, it won’t affect you much. We’re taking a big hit because I’m paid hourly so I’m not working overtime anymore and I’m leaving work a lot more often (sick and appointments!) I have heard that things SHOULD start getting better after 1st trimester so I’m keeping my fingers crossed!!!

  2. I feel for you – morning sickness is horrible! But great you are so close on the goal amount.
    Btw unless you live in a huge house, you won’t need a baby monitor – their cry will wake you up 😉

    • So close, yet so far!! LOL
      Really?! I’ve never heard anyone say we don’t need a baby monitor! We do have 3 stories (plus a basement) though and a rambunctious Doberman so I could envision having difficulty hearing cries through the floors. Who knows, but maybe (hopefully) we’ll get a hand me down? 😀

  3. Part of sustaining the momentum is realizing it is not always going to work as planned. Better to pay $400 than stop paying all together. Even if it takes an extra 2 months it is ahead of schedule ( originally it was end of year) and try to focus on that achievement. Keep moving forward. Even small steps are steps in the right direction.

    I can’t speak to your morning sickness but I know my wife was miserable for both our children. I feel for you there.
    Pluggingandplaying recently posted…Downsizing continues … on scheduleMy Profile

    • That is a very valid point!!! Technically, yes, we are still ahead of schedule. And yes, even small steps are steps in the right direction. I guess it’s so easy to lose sight of that when it suddenly feels like we’re not going anywhere fast!
      And yes, morning sickness is pure misery… and is such a misnomer!

  4. I just had my first less than two weeks ago. As much stuff as you get to prepare for them, you find that different babies need different things and have to adjust and get more stuff. I haven’t paid more than the minimums on my student loans the last two months–partially to ensure I have some extra cash, and partially because I’ve been spending like crazy.

    Some people like ginger candies for nausea–I thought they were gross, but they did help, and I’ve recently heard that Starbursts are helpful. Personally I ate tons of saltines in my first trimester.

    • Oooh congratulations!!! Thanks for the advice about different babies needing different things. I hope to have a nice lump sum saved before starting mat leave to accommodate for those unforeseen expenses.
      I haven’t had much of an appetite for much (although I did have 2 Jr. Chickens at McDonald’s last night!!!) so we just got a box of saltine crackers. I also got some crackers with raisins in them and ate everything I packed this morning already! I don’t know if Starbursts would be helpful for nausea for me but I’d definitely eat them just because I like the taste so much lol!

  5. Hello, Mrs Unchained! I am sure that your pregnancy is going great now and I know from your later articles that you managed to pay off your debt! I just wanted to say that pregnancy does not only affect the finances, but your entire life. It’s perfect that you have managed to pay off your debt and get rid of that extra stress in your lives, because side hustles and babies aren’t a match made in heaven, no matter if you buy a great baby monitor to win a few minutes alone or you wake up early in the morning to do some extra work.

    PS: Love to read about your baby fund. This is something that we’re planning to do as well!
    Clara recently posted…Video Baby Monitor vs. Audio Baby Monitor: What to ChooseMy Profile

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