Work Hard Now, Relax Later?

I’ve been putting the pedal to the metal thanks to a renewed drive to bankroll as much cash in our savings account as I can before my maternity leave. Often this means taking on freelance writing gigs that require a lot of my time — working nights after getting home from my FT job, and usually the weekends, too. I’ve been fortunate that the freelance work is fairly steady, because I want to do it now while¬† I feel good and have minimal distractions.

I’m a natural-born hustler. I’m not sure where I got it from — all I know is that I’ve always worked more than one job from an early age. After high school, I worked full-time for a group of local weekly newspapers and delivered pizza on the side. When the pizza gig ended, I found a PT job at a Polish-American newspaper working 10 hours a week. Then, I tacked on an occasional gig working as a data entry person at college track meets on the weekends. It was crazy, but I enjoyed myself.

I did things a bit unconventionally. After a few years, I attended college full time, worked full time AND had an occasional PT gig. Had a full scholarship the last two years at college. I was no slouch in high school, either. I surely didn’t reach my full potential, but I didn’t break my back with heavy course loads, either — and I still graduated 18th in a class of 238 with a 4.1 weighted GPA.

Now, I still like to hustle for extra cash, but I go about it differently. I don’t work off-site except for my full-time job; any freelance work is writing or editing from home. While I’m still putting in the extra hours, I don’t have to leave the comfort of my home, and I can get the work done at any time of the day or night, as long as I meet my deadlines.

So it’s no surprise I’m getting as much done as possible to ensure our child will be well taken care of once s/he arrives. Because by then, I’ll finally want to have less on my plate in order to fully focus on the baby.

I’m still trying to determine how we will go about putting money aside for our child — immediately, we’ll have new expenses, such as daycare, which will likely run us $1,000/month or more. Will there be anything left to save? Probably not much at first, which means we’ll be looking for ways to cut our current expenses, although we’re pretty frugal with everything except our cable TVpackage. After daycare is paid, we’ll try to divert extra to padding our savings accounts and starting an account for the baby for college and general expenses.

It’ll be tough, as naturally I’ll be dropping a good portion of my freelance gigs in order to focus on taking care of our baby. Perhaps Mr. NSF can find a way to bring in some extra cash, too.

Another thing I need to do is mock up a budget to estimate what our finances will be like from March onward. I don’t include freelance payments, as they are variable. I pretend that the extra cash flow is “found money” — and it goes straight into our savings account.

Writing this down has made me realize I have a lot of financial planning to do.

Any PF moms out there have tips for how they adjusted their spending/budgets once little ones came into the picture?