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Friday, 27 April 2018 16:00

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you can afford IVF, a new baby and a car upgrade

Big changes in our lives often mean adjustments across our entire way of life, including how we spend or save our pennies.

I’ve tracked down some interesting real-life stories from Aussies who have either had something big to save up for, or experienced a big change in their circumstances which has impacted their cash flow. Today Jessie* shares her experience of having to save up for IVF, then once that was successful, having to save up to pay for all the baby related items, including a new car and adjust her lifestyle for reduced income once the baby arrives. Jessie has some really simple tips on how she has managed to cover all of her new expenses in our interview below:

Q: When did you start to change your spending habits to begin saving for your big lifestyle changes ahead?

A: I’ve never been a saver historically, and read that you should aim to put 20% of your income into savings. I figured I should give it a go so I opened a savings account with no account keeping fees, and started shifting 20% per pay. This only started the few months before I fell pregnant and I wish I had started sooner (like 10-20 years ago!)

Q: What were some of the easiest ways to reduce your spending? 

A: Moving the money before I even saw it helped a lot. I also shifted money into linked accounts for certain expenses, e,g my grocery budget. My mind shift changed once I become pregnant. I automatically saw money differently, so I stopped spending money on myself, unless it related to the well being of my future child. This didn’t feel like a sacrifice at all. 

Q: What have been some of your biggest expenses since falling pregnant? 

A: I have managed to find most things second hand and items have been passed down or gifted. The only new purchases so far have been a pram (on sale for $870 instead of $1099) and a new cot and bassinet mattress (which I shopped around online to get the best price). We will also fork out for a new car seat but may for help this expense. My cot was $69 on eBay and my bassinet was $75 on gumtree. I got a nursing recliner in really good condition for $75 on gumtree and a box of newborn to 3 month clothes (many in new condition or with tags on) for less than $1 per item. Because I’m having the baby privately, scans have been a big expense at around $300-$400 a pop. I also chose to pay around $400 for the NIPT, which stands for Non Invasive Pregnancy Test. This can alert you to chromosomal disorders from week 10. You also get to find out the gender!   I was able to afford the private scans and NIPT due to having some savings set aside. My savings have definitely taken a massive hit but it was great to be able to pay for these things outright and it was wonderful that these extras were an option for us to give peace of mind. 

Q: How did you save for them? 

A: I was really fortunate that IVF happened to work on our second cycle. My first cycle was cancelled due to a poor response to the medication so it was much less expensive than a full cycle. All up I paid around $6500 for both cycles including drugs and appointments. I had some savings (thanks to my 20% savings plan) plus I allocated my full tax return to IVF.   I needed to upgrade my car and I knew I didn’t want a car loan whilst on maternity leave. We initially wanted an SUV but ran the numbers on a $20000 loan and it didn’t seem worth it. We were really lucky to get a Mazda 3 in great condition from a private seller and once I sold my existing Suzuki swift, we could pay the balance from savings. 

Q: How have you saved with purchasing baby things? 

A: I haven’t paid full price for a single item. Gumtree, eBay, hand me downs and sale items have cut costs down greatly. I plan to sell my baby furniture on gumtree when I’m finished with it so that will reduce costs further still. I wasn’t prepared for the offers of baby gear from friends. If I hadn’t been so organised we could have received a cot and a few other items for free from well meaning friends. Overall I’m really happy with my savings. The cot I purchased converts into a toddler bed so that item will last longer than a traditional cot. My partner’s family have offered to help us with a big ticket item so we hope they will contribute to the car seat that we want. 

Q: How do you plan on keeping costs down while you work/earn less?

A: .I think I’ll need to plan meals well in advance and make enough to freeze. I’ll meet up with friends in the park rather than a cafe, and I’ll just have to budget really carefully. People keep telling me that I can make it work. I survived as a uni student on a pittance so I know it’s possible to cut down on non-essentials when it’s truly necessary. 

Q: What are some govt. rebates/payments you've been able to take advantage of? 

A: As a government employee I am entitled to 14 weeks maternity leave which I will take at half pay. Following that leave I can access the government maternity leave package. Once I add holiday pay on top, I’ll be covered for almost 12 months before I return to work part time. 

*name changed for privacy reasons

 

Do you have a story or situation you would like to share with our community?  If you have some savvy savings tips you'd like to share in an interview (name will be changed) get in touch at info@endeavour.bank

 

Alison Gallagher is a freelance writer, resourcefulness expert and entrepreneur. She has been featured in various publications including Stellar Magazine, Australian Health and Fitness Magazine, and Cleo Magazine. Alison is particularly passionate about sharing practical tips on how to live simply, sustainably and seasonally.