Making enough money to live comfortably can be a challenge for many people—but earning money while not having a job is a completely different story. That’s what I do.
I’m a full-time student, a mom, and ‘family resources manager’ in a one-income household. My advice for earning money while staying at home won’t include hosting parties to sell products or applying for an obscure ‘work from home’ dream Internet job.
Our family made the decision to become a one-income household about five years ago. Here’s how I think about ‘earning’ while staying home:
- Be resourceful: Thrifty, frugal, tightwad—saving money by any other name is still like earning money. When you spend $25 instead of $50 because you shopped around, that’s money you get to keep—you earned it.In my house, we do coupons and sales and reusing and repairing. Take for example, couponing: Now that I have gotten the hang of it, we spend half of what we used to spend on groceries every month; and we eat healthier too.Fix, instead of replace—don’t fall victim to the disposable mentality that fuels consumerism. Recently our washer ‘broke,’ and after much tinkering (I took it apart, looked at the wiring, and thought to myself “I have no idea what I’m looking at”), I was able to figure out what was wrong with it. After much Googling and manual-reading, I found a simple fix (less than $10) for my washer, which would have cost me at least $400 to replace had I not taken the initiative to fix it first.
- Consider the value of not working: In our house, we ‘earn’ more with me staying home than if I had a job. First, there are no daycare expenses—with two children that would be upward of $500 a month. There are no added transportation expenses and there is no added stress. And most importantly, I get to raise our children myself—spending the most important years of their early childhood at home. This, for us, was far more valuable than the extra $200 take-home pay I would earn if I was working too.
- Find the side jobs that are worth your time: If you’re in the military and live on base as a single-income family, becoming a care provider is always an option. Child care providers make a pretty penny with a full schedule, all while being able to stay at home and be with their own children. Usually there is a department on base that provides the training and certifications necessary.If child care is not for you, you can find other jobs in your community that are worth your time and effort. For example, delivering newspapers might be something you could do and still be able to spend the rest of your day either at home or taking care of your other responsibilities. Newspaper delivery requires early hours (anywhere from midnight to 7 a.m.), but you’re normally finished by early morning. These are definitely not your only options, but they are examples of things you can do if you’re ever in a pinch and need to make some extra money but still stay at home.
There are ways to earn money as a stay-at-home spouse or parent.
Are you a stay-at-home spouse? How do you contribute to your family’s income?