When my maternity leave ended, I decided not to go back to my old job. I loved it there, but J would have had to go into childcare full time and I just didn't earn enough of a wage to justify paying £38 a day for the nearest day nursery. I wouldn't have been bringing any money home at the end of the month!
It worked out better to leave, look after him myself all week and then get a part time job where I now work in retail on Sundays and a couple of evenings a week.
Money is definitely tight as my husbands full time wage covers all the bills etc, but with Christmas coming we have been running a bit low on cash.
It has been quite tricky to adjust to this as we had never struggled before when we were both working full time... going out for food was totally normal and we didn't really have to think about money - we were lucky!
It's definitely tricky to keep a baby happy all week on a limited budget - when he was smaller I would wander around the shops but now that he can walk he doesn't want to be stuck in the pram for too long! Days out can be expensive and it is so easy to call into Costa or buy a sandwich at a café... it's fun but the costs all add up!
I've been trying out some cheaper alternatives and luckily we have had some nice dry weather recently to get out and go on some walks. Today we went to a local park where there is plenty of room to stroll around and a huge duck pond.
J was not too interested in the ducks today as he was tired, but ten minutes later when we let him out of the pram to have a little walk in his first shoes he had a sudden burst of energy!
He just loved toddling along and was drawn to all the mud and crunchy leaves. I should definitely get him some wellies soon :)
We took snacks and drinks in the bag so that we wouldn't need to spend money. It was a lovely couple of hours out of the house!
I also have recently been to a soft play with a toddler area which he also enjoys. It's only £1 for a one year old to enter so a great place to keep him happy for a few hours with the costs staying nice and low. But while we have this last bit of nice weather I'm hoping to make the most of him being outdoors - more soft play when they nastier weather starts!
I'm also looking into a well priced baby gymnastics group - it's some little exercises and some free time to explore the gymnastic centre. They have trampolines too - I don't know what he would make of that but I'm interested to try!
The thought of showing up to a new group on your own can be a bit daunting but now that J has such a personality (age 13 months) I feel I could happily take him to something like that on my own - he's plenty of company!
I will keep you updated with another entertaining Baby J on a budget post soon as I try out more options :)
What is your favourite thing to do with your little ones?