How to Make Money as a Stay-at-Home Mom
Being a stay-at-home parent is the most rewarding job of all...but it’s also hard as hell and woefully unlucrative (’cause warm hugs don’t pay the bills, sadly). Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make money as a stay-at-home mom, all without giving up time with the kiddos (or having to participate in medical trials).
Itching for some extra cash? Read on for 21 ideas that were basically designed for SAHMs. (In other words, it’s money you can earn from the comfort of your own couch, without turning it right over to a day care provider.)
1. BabysitIt might seem like high school students have cornered the babysitting market, but as a stay-at-home mom, you have a major advantage: After all, no 12th grader is more qualified than a person who already does this stuff all day, with her own children to boot. And about that tot you have in tow? For every precious parent who’s worried his child won’t get all the attention because yours is present, there are a dozen others who see the opportunity for peer interaction as a major bonus. Yup, your plus-one will just boost the kiddie fun...so feel free to sell it that way!
Depending on the specifics of the job and where you live, you can make as much as $25 per hour looking after other people’s children. (Just to be clear: This is part-time babysitting, not full-time nannying. As a stay-at-home mom you can certainly do the latter, but that’s a whole other ballgame that involves more duties.)
You probably already know plenty of people in your community in need of random acts of child care, but you can also rely on a professional platform like Sittercity to advertise your services.
2. Become an SAT Tutor
Yes, it’s been a while since you set foot in a classroom...but if you scored high on the SATs (or aced the ACTs) back in the day, pick up a study book for old times’ sake and see if you’ve still got it. Chances are, you do! (Once a good test taker, always a good test taker.) Parents will pay a pretty penny to secure their kid’s college admission, and in light of certain recent scandals, good old-fashioned tutoring should give everyone the feels. If your kids are older and you have the freedom to put in a couple hours at someone else’s home, you can apply for a position with a tutoring agency. But this work can be done remotely too. (On weekends during your toddler’s midday nap, perhaps?)
The best-paying jobs bring in as much as $40 to $60 per hour, but no need to go posting your phone number on lampposts around town. ZipRecruiter has plenty of opportunities for local agency-based jobs as well as remote work. And if you are interested in working from home exclusively, check out iTutor, a company dedicated to remote tutoring on a flexible part-time schedule.
3. Work as a Freelance Designer or Copywriter
If you’ve got some graphic design skills, start searching for small jobs on Fiverr and you can add a little padding to your budget. There’s a huge array of opportunities on this app, but the deal is that they are mostly low-paying one-off jobs (compensation starts at a modest $5 per project, but some pay more). Thus, it’s a good idea to look for the work you can churn out fast so your talent isn’t exploited. But if you know how to whip up a design for a logo or business card fast, then you can pick up as many of these projects as you can squeeze into your free time and see the $5 bills start to multiply into something...well, bigger.
4. Craft for CashIf you stay home with small children, you probably spend plenty of time crafting already. (They mix every color of paint into the same poo brown and destroy your thoughtful designs; you embrace their free spirit and independence.) But if you’re hankering for more ways to make something worth keeping, or worth selling, consider cashing in on your whittling, painting, refurbishing, sewing or collaging on Etsy.
Once you get your product ready for purchase and set up shop, be sure to research the basics of a successful Etsy business (marketing, search engine optimization, high-quality photos). Etsy is a crowded marketplace, so it’s sink or swim when it comes to making your shop show up front and center. Particularly entrepreneurial folks claim to have made a six-figure living off the platform, but with just a little effort, you’ll see some extra spending money at the very least.
5. Sell Your Clothes...
Got some old duds you’ll never wear again? (Damn you, pre-baby body!) Post them for sale on online consignment shops like Poshmark or The Real Real. These apps allow you to sell almost everything—vintage, designer, even children’s clothes—and most make shipping a breeze with easy-to-print labels. While you can certainly make a killing for upmarket items (hi, Chanel wallet), be careful to price your goodies competitively. After all, sold and out of your closet is the number one objective.
6. ...Or Your Furniture
Your Aunt Ethel’s mid-century buffet seemed like such a good idea when you accepted it. But now it’s collecting dust in your basement and totally impractical for your modest house and crazy lifestyle. (Not that it wouldn’t look stunning with crayon all over it.) Give it a new and better home—and earn some cash in the process—by selling it on a furniture resale site like 1stdibs or Chairish. (Yes, you can also go the Craigslist route, if you’re willing to deal some baseline flakiness.) These platforms take a cut of the proceeds, but they also arrange for pickup and delivery, and handle payments so you know everything’s secure. Aunt Ethel will forgive you…we promise.
7. Try your hand at data entry or transcription
There’s no shortage of administrative jobs out there, but as a stay-at-home mom, you might want to narrow your search to include only remote work that lets you make your own hours. FlexJobs deals exclusively with remote work, including freelance gigs, temp positions, and full-time, part-time and flexible jobs. The opportunities extend far beyond data entry and transcription, but if you’re still feeling a little mentally burned-out by the demands of parenthood, straightforward administrative tasks are a good way to make a buck without making your life more stressful. In the data entry category, most remote work pays between $16 and $20 per hour.
8. Become a Tinkergarten leader...Tinkergarten is a perfect job for a stay-at-home parent because it is enriching for your child and your pocketbook. Basically, this paid position consists of leading a Montessori-style outdoor class that your own child enjoys in the company of peers. To get started as a Tinkergarten leader, invite parents in the community to enroll their children in your class (scheduled at a time, day and location of your choosing). Once you get your students to show up, all you have to do is lead them around on their nature adventure and employ the teaching materials that Tinkergarten provides you with—so no extra time spent making lesson plans. You don’t need a special license before you can start work, there is no upfront fee and you can begin earning money as soon as you organize your first excursion. Tinkergarten leaders can make $300 to $800 per eight-week class, and many leaders run multiple classes per session.
9. ...Or a VipKid Teacher
VipKid is an innovative business that pairs teachers with students around the globe who wish to learn or improve their English. Create a VipKid account and follow a few basic steps to get started, then begin teaching as much or as little as you’d like; your schedule is entirely up to you. Each lesson you teach is only 25 minutes and really just requires conversing with nice people in your native language, making it easy to squeeze in during nap time or screen time (your secret is safe with us). And you can even book back-to-back sessions after the kids are in bed. Each lesson pays $7 to $9...but that works out to $22 per hour and the flexibility can’t be beat.
10. Try remote work in Engineering, Marketing or Human Resources
If you had a very adult job in a very adult field before motherhood but aren’t eager to return to the office, you’ll be happy to hear you don’t have to choose between being home with your littles and building your résumé (for when they’re not so little anymore). PowerToFly is a recruiting platform created by women for women and they want you to know you can do everything you did before, but at home and on your own schedule. You don’t have to sign up to see the huge amount of remote work available (including flexible and part-time) on their website—jobs listed by major companies including BuzzFeed, Dell and Facebook, to name a few. Check out the offerings and create an account to apply for the ones that call out to you, then start redecorating that home office, where you could start making as much as you did pre-children.
11. Take Surveys for CashYou bought a new lipstick at Sephora. Then you stopped at the pharmacy for toilet paper. Then you called your bank to request a new debit card (’cause your toddler was playing with your wallet and made it disappear). What do all these scenarios have in common? They end with someone asking you to participate in a survey. Feel free to decline—the folks at Vindale Research will pay to hear your opinion on just about anything, and instead of giving you free products to further clutter your home (uh, thanks…), they give you green. For each completed survey, you can earn anywhere from 25 cents to $50—the more complex the survey, the bigger the payout. You aren’t going to make enough to buy a new home, but you can get some cash with minimal effort. Think of it this way: These surveys take less time than you spend mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed, and you aren’t getting paid for that.
12. Start consulting
No matter what your skill, you have one, and we’d bet an arm and a leg there’s a consulting opportunity. After identifying your niche (branding? operations? financial advising?), your next step will be to pick your strategy. Networking in your community is a good place to start, and if you’re good at social media, self-promoting on those platforms can bring in work too. But you can also find more work by creating a profile on a consulting marketplace. (Freelancer is a great platform if you have a strong résumé related to your area of expertise; Fiverr is another option if you’re just getting started and need to build your résumé.) No matter how you find work, as a freelance consultant you’ll have the ability to set your own schedule, decline any jobs that don’t mesh with it and set your own rate. Depending on your area of focus, consulting work can pay anywhere between $20 and $100 per hour. Make sure you have a rough sense of your rate when you start out, though you don’t need to advertise it to potential clients and lock yourself in. Since each job is unique, it might benefit to negotiate your rate (within reason) every time a new client comes on board.
13. Create and sell an online course
This moneymaking opportunity is quite similar to consulting in that you identify a marketable skill (macramé? Photoshop?) and profit from sharing your expertise—for the masses and via your home computer. The work involved is frontloaded and initially unpaid. You can create and certify your online course using a popular platform with a built-in customer base, like Thinkific or Teachable, but it will take time and effort (on your own schedule) to make sure your subject matter is marketable and the course itself is engaging and fresh. Once that’s out of the way, you can start making money immediately by selling your course for no less than $50. Any ongoing effort you put into marketing and promoting will make a huge difference in just how much money you bring in, as evidenced by the enormous range in average earnings (from $1,000 to $5,000 a month, according to users).
14. Become a Dog WalkerIf you’re an animal lover and your child is too, it won’t interrupt your lifestyle to take a dog (or several) with you on your tot’s daily outing to the park. And if you’re up for multiple outings a day, you can even up your earnings. Sure, you will have to pick up poop, but after two or three years on diaper duty, you’re probably not that bothered by it. The time commitment is minimal, most owners want nothing more than a 30-minute bathroom break for their pups and the snuggle potential is through the roof. If you seek work through an app like Wag!, the reported average pay is $12 per half-hour walk. If you walk twice a day with two dogs, that’s roughly $350 a week, not including tips.
15. Sell your photos
If you have an Instagram or Facebook account, you likely already know a thing or two about making your fun times look enticing—hello, gorgeous tablescape or sand dune sunset—and companies may want to buy your snapshots to use as stock photos. (Needless to say, if you don’t want your baby’s image to be used as a stock photo for privacy reasons, definitely stick to girl’s night out and other lifestyle photos.) Platforms like Twenty20 will give you $2 for each photo purchased—so if you have a lot of gems, it’s a quick way to make a few hundred bucks.
16. Become an Instacart Shopper
You’re already at the grocery store every single day. Why not get paid to pick up somebody else’s bread and veggies while you’re at it? Through a platform like Instacart you can earn about $20 an hour, not including tips, and all you have to do is read from a shopping list, pick up items and then deliver them to the buyer. You can work on your own schedule (only accept jobs that make sense to you) and have the opportunity to meet new folks in the neighborhood. Plus, haven’t you always wondered what everybody else is eating for dinner?
17. Become an influencer
We know…eye roll. But trust when we say this can be a lucrative career, especially if you have an online niche, like making cookies or doing makeup tutorials. If you want to get in on the action, you need to build a social media following of at least 1,000 (that’s a “nano influencer”). Then brands might start approaching you for sponsored posts or ask you to create content for their own platforms. The more followers you have, the more you can get paid. On the low end, nano influencers can get $10 per post, but if you build a big audience, the sky is pretty much the limit. Influencers with a following of 100,000 or more can ask brands to pay them a whopping $2,700 per post...and that’s not to mention all the free swag they definitely rake in.
18. House-sitIt’s no secret that people will pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing their home isn’t vacant and begging for a break-in while they are away. But you don’t need to sit around twiddling your thumbs and waiting for your next-door neighbor to book a trip to Maui. Yup, you guessed it—there’s a platform (or several) that will deliver house-sitting gigs directly to your desktop. For a small membership fee you can join the network of TrustedHousesitters and start searching for paid jobs near and far (yes, you can even get a free vacation out of it). Just keep in mind the jobs available on TrustedHousesitters are geared specifically toward pet lovers, so you have to be comfortable with the fact that your baby won’t be the only one crawling around while you’re on the job. How much can you make? Owners will pay anywhere from $25 to $45 per day to have someone hang out in their home, but that’s just an average--some people pay more.
19. AirBnB Your Own Place
Let’s say you’re the one taking a long weekend trip to visit the in-laws. Why not make a pretty penny by renting your space via Airbnb while you’re away? Check out local listings to get a better sense of what you can charge, but the average home rents for about $160 a night, according to the site. Just be sure you’re clear on the short-term rental laws in your location and remember that hosting does mean you’ll have to get your pad in tip-top shape. (No juice stains on the furniture, you hear?)
20. Rent Out Your Parking Space
If you live in the burbs, this one might sound crazy, but if you reside in an urban center with limited parking, your coveted driveway or garage could garner you some serious cash. If you have room for more cars on your premises or are willing to street park yours (or even go car-free for a while), consider renting out your spot for upwards of $500 a month. And if you really don’t use your parking spot, you could even sell it to the tune of $200,000 in cities like New York and San Francisco. (Just be sure you’re up to speed on your co-op or condo rules, if it’s a spot in a shared garage.)
21. Write Online Dating Profiles
Who likes long walks on the beach, doing the Sunday crossword and earning extra Benjamins for her witty, charming voice? You, of course! It’s a little offbeat, to be sure, but online profile writing is definitely not boring. Go through a legit agency for a steady supply of freelance profile writing work and impressive pay (fees range from $70 to $120 per profile), but the folks at e-Cyrano want you to know that only the skilled succeed, so don’t think you can write any hokey schmoop just to make a buck. Still, if you speak, and write, the language of love, this might be the job for you.