Money and I have a love/hate relationship. We have for quite sometime now. Luckily, I've learned how to handle it much better in the past few years and things may be looking up for us.
With Peanut set to be here in 5 months or so (that's scary just saying that), I have been pouring over my budget on an almost daily basis.
Although I've not been at my job a full year yet, nor will I be when Peanut is born, they have been extremely gracious and are allowing me to exercise FMLA. If you're not familiar with FMLA, it allows you to take unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks, while keeping your job in tact for when you return. While it would be great, there is obviously no way I can take 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Therefore I will be taking my vacation time (3 weeks of PTO) and then will be receiving Short Term Disability for 4 more weeks; putting me at 7 paid weeks off. At first I considered taking the 7 paid weeks and also taking 5 unpaid weeks in order to stay at home with baby girl for the total 12, but after having spent hours and hours going over my budget, I've decided I will take 8 weeks; making one week unpaid. It's not totally ideal as far as spending time with her, but money wise it is the smartest thing to do. It will allow me several advantages including a good chunk in savings and paying forward on several of my bills so that I'm actually ahead of the game. Also, as soon as I resume work full-time, I will be starting my 401k contributions up again.
For the long term, I have a savings plan that will include my yearly bonuses going into a savings account for Peanut. I plan to keep a household savings account for thing like emergencies and also for vacations. That will be funded with my tax refunds and the account for Peanut, by my yearly bonus. I find it much easier to save when you have a lump sum rather than trying to find money throughout the year to set aside.
I've also been finding ways to cut back in my monthly expenses. I cut out cable a while back and am strictly operating on Hulu now. If it's absolutely a necessity that I watch something (such as Chopped or Downton Abbey), I go to my mom's. Other than that, most things are on Hulu or the network sites. I've also started cooking rather than eating out all the time. I had my first success over the weekend with pinto beans and sausage. I shocked myself, actually. Mom assisted via text, but other than that I was totally solo. It gives me hope that I can actually do it. Obviously it will be awhile before Peanut is eating that type of food, so by the time she is I may be halfway decent! Ha!
All in all, I'm feeling calm about the money situation. I know emergencies happen (like $1000 vet bills), but with my savings account being padded, I will be much more prepared for them!