I never had plans to be a stay at home mom. In fact, even up to my last day of pregnancy, I planned to come back to work. I took one look in that little baby’s eyes and my entire life literally changed. My perspective changed. I’ve never wanted anything as much as I wanted to stay home with him.
It was hard for me to even attempt to mentally get back into my career. We had just started our frugal journey at that point and cutting our income in half was just not an option. I was determined though.
I made myself a promise that I would figure out a way to stay home with him by his first birthday if I still wanted to (part of me was wondering if this intense desire was leftover pregnancy hormones). We really worked our butts off that first year budgeting and figuring out how to cut our spending. Then I found legitimate side jobs to make money at home.
We started using free money back apps like Ibotta and Ebates, and we started using these freezer meal plans to reduce our grocery budget. It wasn’t easy. But it was worth it.
We did it. My last day at work was our sons first birthday. I’m now going into my third year being at home with him (though technically I should say “them” since we just gave him a sister). I went from thinking that it would be impossible, to actually doing it in just one year. If this is what you want to do, if you want to stay at home, then don’t take no for an answer. Find a way.
The four side jobs that make me over $3,000 a month as a stay-at-home mom:
- Mystery Shopping:
Mystery shopping is something that you hear about often being associated with scams. I go through Trend Source, and can tell you that they are a legitimate company. But do your research on any others. This is something you can easily do with the kids since you’re shopping under cover.
Gigs are sporadic (about 6 a month is what I average) but easy. They pay about $10 and take about 30 minutes to complete.
Total: $60/month. (You could make much more than that if you’re willing to do inspections when you have your husband at home to watch the kids).
- User Testing:
I love Usertesting.com! User testing tests the user experience of websites from small to huge. They need real people to log on, perform given tasks and think out loud as the screen recorder captures your voice about how difficult the task is to complete. They pay $10 for a 15 minute test and most of these are really fun.
You get to learn about things you would have never stumbled upon, use features that brands are still working on (you’ll sign a lot of NDA’s here) and get to voice your frustrations over common website issues. The key to getting tests is to keep your computer running in the background all day with the sound up high, the computer will ping with an alert if you have a test. You have 15 minutes after you accept to begin the test.
You’ll need to keep the kids quiet during the test, but they have a pause button so if there is a disruption, you can pause, deal with the issue, and come back to it. I let my oldest (3) play with the iPad and nurse my infant during tests (the screen recorder just captures screen shots, it doesn’t record you). I make about $100/month although I’ve done much better other months.
If you love to write, this is absolutely something you should look into. You likely won’t see money from this immediately. I went almost 3 years making less than $200/month (and I got extremely lucky with an early viral post, many people blog for years without earning a dime).
However, if you love to write and like to help people, have fairly thick skin, and are willing to put in many hours for free (MANY, MANY hours!), then this job is for you. It’s absolutely possible to make a full-time income from home from this and it’s not just for major huge celebrity bloggers. I’m still “new” in the world of blogging, but this month I’ve made just under $700, and I’ve been drastically increasing every month since I started treating the blog more seriously. (Update 2/8/16… I’m up to over $9,000/month in blog earnings… so you should totally learn how to start a blog!)
You don’t have to be spammy or offer things to readers that they don’t need/want. You get paid from ads on your site, affiliate programs of things that you already use and love, products that you create to sell, and sponsored posts from brands you believe in.
A great (and cheap!) resource if you’re interested in blogging as an income source is Ruth Soukup’s How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul. If you can invest more, she has a class called Elite Blog Academy that I credit all of my success to. You can find out more about the class here.
*Update: 11/1/15: I’ve tripled this income in the few short months since this posted and put together a Quick Growth Blogger Resource guide to give you the resources that I used to grow quickly. If you’re looking for a simple guide of what resources worked well for me, like schedulers, graphic design programs, plug ins. apps, and organizers… This list is for you!
The Quick Growth Resource Guide is free to subscribers of my blogger newsletter. I’ll send you updates of my growth and income and tell you what seems to be working for me (and not working!) as I grow.
Sign up here:
- Child Care:
Child care is a fantastic way to make money as a stay-at-home mom and it doesn’t have to be nearly as complicated as you’re thinking. I make between $189- $204/week per child depending on age (keep in mind I live in Northern Virginia where rates are high). While it does add some restrictions to your day (vacations are difficult, it’s more difficult to run errands, and you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to keep your floors clean with four toddlers).
Check your local regulations about licensing, it’s not difficult to get a license and insurance if it’s needed. If you don’t want to spend your whole day watching kids, or if your kids are school age, you should also consider doing before/after school care. Parents would drop kids off at your house, the bus would pick them up and drop them off at your house and then the parents would pick them up from you when they get done with work. I can tell you from experience that after a while, the kids you care for become your kids and you don’t see them any differently from your own kids.
Total: $2,438/month (to watch 3 kids in addition to my son)
I used the guide Start and Run Your Own Home Daycare to create the business step by step. It was the best $10 I’ve ever spent. It even came with a CD filled with all of the forms that you’ll need.
* Update: I’ve been having readers tell me that the Start and Run Your Home Daycare is hard to find since it’s out of print. I checked around and How to Start a Home Based Day Care Business is now the best resource. I went through it and I wish I had known about that back in the day!
Keep in mind, you’ll have to pay taxes on this income, but thankfully the child care tax deductions are INSANELY good so the amount due for taxes isn’t too bad. Just keep really good records and save every receipt. (Don’t let this discourage you! It’s not nearly as hard as it sounds!)
And a Bonus Side Job…
- Ebay Business:
I was actually really successful at this, but it took a lot of time and I didn’t enjoy the work so I abandoned it. You may like it more than I did, so I’ll mention it. While my husband was in training for 9 weeks, I started an Ebay business where I would buy jeans from the thrift store on 50% off days and resell them on Ebay for 2-3x the price I paid for them.
I bought most of the jeans for $2-$5 and only purchased jeans that I knew would sell (basically the ones that I wore and liked- American Eagle and Gap). I have an iPhone so uploading the photos and listing them were pretty easy. You can schedule USPS to drop off free packing materials and then come back to pick up your packages that are ready to ship. Plenty of people have turned this into full-time gigs, it’s just not for me. I made over $1,500 in 9 weeks, so about $170 a week or $731/month.
You can grab an eBay account here and take a tutorial on how to sell.
If you STILL haven’t found a side job that interests you, here are a few more ways:
- Voice over actor– I have two friends, one of whom does voice over work for a full-time job and one who does it on the side to make a little extra money. Another friend has a pre-teen daughter that does voiceover work for her college fund. Two of them took this voice over course to get started and highly recommend it.
- Freelance Writer: You can refer to the Daily Finance article about places that will pay you to write quality articles for them.
- Update: I took the program “30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success” earlier this year and was blown away! I wish more than anything I had known about this earlier. I had no idea that people could freelance full time from home. I highly recommend the online course to anyone that loves writing. You can get more info here.
- Tutor/Online Teacher: Check this article from The Penny Hoarder for more information about earning money as an online tutor.
- Newspaper Delivery: Call your local paper to find out more about earnings from a paper route and job details.
- Holidays at a Retail Location: Work evenings and weekends at a store that you love (mine would be Ralph Lauren), during the holiday season. You pick up extra cash and you’ll have the employee discount (up to 50% off at Ralph Lauren- you can clearly see that I’ve thought this through) to help with holiday shopping.
- Dog Walker or Pet Sitting: Take advantage of being home while others are at work and start a dog walking or pet sitting business. It can grow quickly by word of mouth, and you (and your kids!) will get the added benefit of sunshine and exercise. Use this book to explain step-by-step how to get started.
- Etsy Shop: If you’re lucky enough to have a hobby that you can market, look into opening an Etsy shop to supplement your income.
- Stock Photography: If you have a fancy camera, you can make a pretty penny by selling your photos to stock photography sites. You can find out more here. Keep in mind, they aren’t looking for once in a lifetime Hawaiian sunset shots, but anything and everything from photos of irons, receipts, cash, grocery carts or anything else you have around.
- Couponing: Consider extreme couponing and selling your surplus on facebook yardsale sites. We have a neighbor that does this and it’s genius! She makes over $1,000 a month and it benefits everyone. She’s paid for the time it takes to coupon, and local moms that don’t have the time to coupon benefit with crazy good deals from her. She uses Krazy Coupon Lady’s free coupon database to go and snatch the deals. Genius.
Well, that’s my list of side jobs! Did I miss any? Have you tried any of these or do you want to try any of them?
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