If you’ve followed me in recent months (if any longer then you deserve a medal you poor thing), you’ll know that we’ve been trying hard to save up a target sum for me to have a longer maternity leave this time around.
Conveniently enough for me, I was recently contacted by the Aviva team, as they wanted to let me know about the new savings tool that they have launched. And, with a target like mine, I was happy to give anything a go to see if it could help.
The Aviva Financial Personality Tool asks you a series of questions and analyses your results to give you a financial personality, which will outline your spending and savings habits.
Apparently I am The Super-Stretcher, and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so spot-on. I’m a good planner and budgeter, but I have a bit of a thing about making special occasions extra special. Which is me completely. I always want to make things special and this is always the area that I fail at a little bit, as I’m always just buying one more gift, or getting another bottle of wine in for a party. And in the end, that means money can be much tighter for me.
It’s probably also why I’ve put so much pressure on myself to save in the first place though, as I wanted things to be just right!
As well as the personality result, which is actually helpful if you need a few home truths, the tool provides links to the Aviva budget planner, as well as hints and tips on saving money, whether you’re saving for home improvements, or a new baby, just like me.
I promised myself, if I were ever to have another baby, I wouldn’t go through what I went through last time. I don’t want to hand over my daughter to my mum to care for at eight weeks old, so I can go back to work. God knows I never wanted to do that with my son.
But last time around, a surprise baby and a house in a very bad state of repair (I used to live in an 1840’s terraced cottage that needed some serious work), and being just 23 years-old, meant that I didn’t have the opportunity to save the way I wanted to. I spent every spare penny I had buying things my little baby would need. And everything else was eaten up by bills and dodgy plasterers.
This time around my life is extremely different. I’ve just turned 28, I’m in a new relationship, I’ve spent most of my 20s as a mother, or trying to slowly do up houses, and now I’m finally in a good place. So I’ve been able to save. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not been easy.
I’ve budgeted like crazy. And I’ve put any of my needs and hobbies last. And we’ve also seen our life savings poured into renovating our house. But I have worked really hard during this pregnancy. I’ve put in a lot of late hours, and extra work, to be able to save up more money. And this wasn’t a small figure to save to begin with.
Statutory maternity pay doesn’t, and will never match a full-time wage. Especially when both partners earn equally. We’re incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to save and to still manage. And it makes me sad that many people aren’t in that position, and are offered very little support, just like I was as a first-time mother.
I’m really proud to say that, as of today, being that it’s the last proper pay day before I start maternity leave, that we have finally hit our savings target! Finally. And it feels amazing. I know that I can have nine months off with my daughter and my son. I just hope this little girl arrives on time so we’re not wasting a day of it.
I’ll be back in a future post, with tips on how I managed to save too, if that helps anyone!