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September 27, 2017

Ditch the pre-baby habits, work less?

Hello Leveraged Mamas! Today we're talking about a surprising source of “income” – your pre-baby habits! Will quitting them mean you can work less and spend more time with your family?

Um, what? Has Peti gone mad? Don't worry, it will make absolute sense soon, and you'll be zipping off to give your own lifestyle a dressing down (or er, your partner's), once you know how to turn your pre-baby habits into income – which I'll show you, means you can work less.

When you find yourself with no income

For most mums, having a baby means taking time off work and living for a time with reduced or non-existent income.

Many of us must then return to work when our babies are not yet even walking, which can be really hard to come to terms with emotionally.

Why do we return to work when they are so young, and we don’t really want to leave them?

Because we need the income to pay our outgoings (all money out – expenses, savings, spending).

Living expenses are also much higher these days for many reasons: higher rents and mortgage repayments; consumer debt; higher costs of living…

But there's the hours for dollars trap

When we’re paid by the hour or working for a salary, we’re trading hours for dollars.

If you return to work because there is a shortfall of income, you’ll need earn at least the shortfall, to help keep your family afloat and not slide into debt.

Whether you can work full time or part time depends on two things:

  1. The amount of shortfall you need to cover
  2. Your salary.

And here is the trap.

I don’t need to tell you how HARD hard hard it is to be both a parent and an employee.

  • You may be severely sleep deprived
  • You may have PND (post natal depression)
  • Your children may need special care.

When you’re not at your best, it’s difficult to swallow having to work more just to stay above water.

But even if things are peachy, how many of us really want to work 40 hours a week away from our young kids?

So if you need to work less for any reason, the only option (apart from sliding into debt), seems to be reducing your outgoings.

It’s as simple as this: the less you spend, the less you need to earn.

How much do your pre-baby habits cost you?

Back before we had kids, when we had disposable incomes, we built up habits over the years. Partly because we could afford it, and partly because they make life easier, and more enjoyable.

I like to call these “pre-baby habits”.

But we get so attached to these types of habits (well, they are habits aren’t they!) that we don’t immediately think about how they are impacting us long term, nor do we stop to question their place in our lives post-baby.

If you have a bunch of costly pre-baby habits, they increase the shortfall you need to cover, BUT they are also an easily identifiable source of income… if you quit (or reduce) them, that is!

Here are some random examples:

👉 The lunch-break shopping. You pick up random items of clothing, books, stationery or jewellery on your lunchbreak. I was shocking for this! Books, cheap tops and stationery were my bored browser hauls.

👉 The parking. Because we're busy and we need to get to work ASAP right?

👉 The daily coffee. 'nuff said.

👉 The cable TV (plus sport and movies and the Art channel with HD, ahem…). And because it's so bloody expensive you then feel like you have to watch heaps of TV to get your money’s worth so you are bleeding time and money! Lol. I did this.

If you add all these things up, they can be a significant source of waste.

If you eliminate this waste, you end up with more money – like a little pay-rise, extra income!

The big question is – how many hours a week do you spend working just to pay for habits like these?

How much do these habits really enrich your life?

The way I look at it, you can either choose to work more to support these habits, ditch them so that you can work less.

The choice is always yours.

Breaking up is hard to do

I know that I talk about it like it’s easy to break habits like these – I know it’s not.

But know that you can if you choose to, and that over time you’ll forget you ever missed them at all.

Just have a really good think about the types of daily habits you have, and if they are truly enriching your life.

A good test is to run it through 5 whys (this is semi tongue in cheek).

  1. Why do I buy coffee every day? Because I’m tired.
  2. Why am I tired every day? Because I watch TV until midnight.
  3. Why do I watch TV until midnight? Because I pay $140 a month for it and I have to get my money’s worth!
  4. Why do I have to get my money’s worth? Because I need to prove to myself that it’s worth the $140 bloody bucks a month.
  5. Why do I need to prove this to myself? Because I know it’s a terrible waste of money. Heck I’m kidding myself, I’m cancelling that damn cable TV.


These pre-baby habits… might also be your partner's… now I don’t want to be responsible for any strife in your marriage but you might now have a way of demonstrating the cost of your collective habits!

The question really is, do your current lifestyle habits still serve you, and do they have a place in your new financial landscape?

Ditch your pre-baby habits, work less?

Could reducing the cost of these habits mean that you can work less, and spend more time with your family?

Having a lower shortfall to cover will also make it easier down the line, to transition from salaried work to running your own business.

So any work you do now to reduce that shortfall, will pay off in dividends when it comes to that time.

How much could you save a month if you tackled a few costly pre-baby habits? Share with us in the comments!

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