Those of you who follow my blog or social media accounts regularly will know that I am currently in my second year of a midwifery degree. I have wanted to be a midwife for over 10 years now, and in 2016 I took the plunge, started an access course and applied to university. 2 years ago I received the email I had hardly dared to hope for, offering me a place on the midwifery course, and I started my journey in September 2017. I am now almost halfway through my second year. It’s been a whirlwind of tears, laughter, learning experiences and meeting some incredible women, and all being well I should be a qualified midwife in 18 months time.
Making the decision to go back to university as a mature student with 4 children to support wasn’t an easy one. There was a huge amount to consider – jobs, finances, childcare and shift work to name a few. After exploring several options, and taking advice from others in a similar situation, Kevin gave up his full time job in the summer of 2017, in order to become the stay at home parent while I pursued my dream. He’s a keeper 😉
Before Kevin gave up full time employment, we knew we needed to save hard. As a full time student I receive a maintenance loan, designed to cover living costs, but it doesn’t stretch far when you have a mortgage to pay and 4 children to feed. So we made some lifestyle changes, cut back on the luxuries and put every penny we could into a savings account. This allowed us to have an ’emergency fund’ that we could dip in to in order to cover those unforeseen expenses such as car repairs and boiler breakdowns, and allow us to continue paying for things like school trips for the children.
We also took some advice from the citizens advice bureau about what, if anything, we could claim to help us along. We already received standard child benefit, but we were also entitled to some child tax credits and a reduction on our council tax while I am a full time student. Every little helps!
I think we can all be guilty of not being very savvy with our finances on a daily basis. It’s all too easy to just let things ‘tick along’, when making some small changes can really save you some money. We cut out things that just weren’t essential. such as Sky TV packages and subscriptions to magazines, and it was amazing how these little changes made a real financial difference over the space of a few months – and we really don’t miss them! We also took a little refresher course on money matters to find out just how savvy we really were when it comes to financial matters. The results were reassuring – we weren’t too bad at all, but there is still room for improvement. I could definitely do with learning more about our mortgage, and how the interest rates really work, to make sure we are always on the best deal for us.
So, although going to full time studying after being a 2 income family for so long hasn’t been easy. But, preparing well in advance, looking carefully at our childcare options and making some small financial and lifestyle changes before we took the leap definitely made it easier, and made us feel more secure about the decision.
Roll on 2020, when I qualify and start to earn a wage again!