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Maternity leave is one of the most beautiful periods in a mother's life, but the added financial pressure can be daunting. We chatted to Loyiso Kula, a working mum who's expecting her second child. She learnt a few lessons during her first pregnancy and now she's shared tips on planning to make the most of your maternity leave, and think like a Wealthsmith™ while you're at it.

“My husband and I approached the savings conundrum together and decided to make smart decisions, collecting as much information as we could.” - Loyiso


Photos by: Lauren Pretorius Photography

Think big while the bump is small

  • • Pay off debts while still earning a full salary
  • • Cut back on luxury lifestyle expenses
  • • Get started on the UIF process soon

As second-time mum, she's learnt to be wiser about saving. Loyiso made the smart move of paying off all her debts (including store credit cards) to alleviate financial pressure when on leave. Dining out (and a good bottle of wine or two) was an obvious luxury to cut back on, so Loyiso and her husband reduced their favourite pastime from twice a week to twice a month. Small lifestyle changes like this alone saw her save up to R1500 per month. This time round, she also closed her gym membership, bought workout DVDs and a treadmill and tackled her maternity UIF application early, knowing it can take a couple of weeks to process.

Hospitals, health and wealth

  • • Find a gynae you can afford and a hospital close by
  • • Plan ahead for gap cover and medical aid maternity benefits
  • • Research projected expenses and chat to your financial adviser

With an obstetrician/gynaecologist that suited her pocket at the closest hospital, Loyiso collected as much info as possible in terms of medical costs of a normal birth vs a caesarean, as well as pain management options. She's got fully comprehensive medical aid but suggests looking into maternity benefits and applying for gap cover (which has a waiting period and requires payments for 6-12 months before benefits kick in). You can also talk to your adviser about the total financial impact of a new baby to discuss things like covering the medical costs and how your financial plans in the long-term will change.

A new baby, doesn't mean new clothes

Find deals and compare baby goodies online so you don't make emotional spending decisions

  • • Don't be afraid of pre-loved deals or creating a functional list of things you'll need
  • • Don't overspend on clothes that your little one will grow out of quickly.

During her first pregnancy, Loyiso bought brand new clothes, prams, cots and car seats. This time round, she took more time to find deals and compare prices on sites like Takealot and Baby Group. With the experience from her first pregnancy, she was able to be more practical, make fewer emotional decisions when spending, and rely on previous baby items she'd stored. If you're a bit more limited with budget, you can find “pre-loved” goodies online on sites like Baby Exchange and Baby2Baby. Loyiso also suggests you're clear about what you really need, by sharing a list with family and friends before your babyshower. This will help to ensure you get more of what you need, and less of what you don't.

Signed, healed, delivered

  • • Ask for help from family, friends or professionals
  • • Take the time to rest and take care of your own health and well-being
  • • Connect with, and learn from, other mums' experiences

With baby number one, Loyiso was lucky enough to have her mum help her settle into motherhood. She says it's also worth factoring in the costs of a nanny or a night-nurse, which can be anything between R200/R400+ per night. You'll want to return to work feeling ready, so don't underestimate the value of getting a break and taking care of yourself as much as the little one. Connect with other mums to chat about your shared experiences and get advice from those who've already faced the financial challenges that you may come across.

The bottom line

Maternity leave has the potential to be one of the most special times in a mother's life. Use Loyiso's tips to make sure you prepare for what's ahead so you can enjoy this time without feeling unnecessary financial pressure when the little one arrives.

Wealthsmith™ tip

“Plan ahead to make smart decisions and don't get caught up in frivolous spending. Rely on medical aid, gap cover, UIF and your financial adviser to ensure you understand your financial obligations.”

If you need help creating your own budget, contact a Sanlam adviser on 0860 726 526, or visit to find an adviser near you.



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