It’s spring in Michigan which means all of the moms and their kids have joyfully come out of hiding after being cooped up inside with mini people all winter long (and I stress the LONG). Being a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom I’ve been able to meet other moms who are in my position as well as moms who work the evening or night shift. I worked in a hospital setting as a dietitian before kids came into the picture and sadly, that salary would only be enough to let me bring home 15% of my hard-earned income after you consider just tithe, tax, and paying for childcare.
How to Contribute Financially as a Stay-at-Home Parent
I recently read a Huffington Post article about how Motherhood looks very different for every mother and I know everyone’s reasons for working or staying home are different. I’ve already shared why I consider the cost of being a stay-at-home mom to be worth it so for today, let me offer 5-ish ways you as the stay-at-home parent can help contribute financially to your home, whether saving or earning:
You’re probably known for something you do that’s unique to you. A friend of mine removes the pages from hardcover novels and re-purposes them into journals with blank pages inside. Another friend makes scarves out of patterned fabric and another makes greeting cards with designs done with watercolor.
All of them use Etsy and social media to promote their business. As a dietitian I started my own business running online nutrition and fitness accountability groups which allows me to work when I want (of course, this is during the kiddos’ nap time!). I don’t need a sitter since I don’t have to run off to meet a client or pay for office space. There are many creative niche markets you can get into to bring in some extra cash which can help you reach financial goals (You are setting goals, right?). This allows me to be fully present as a mom but still have a fun outlet where I can pursue a passion and contribute financially to the family income.
2. Consider if your saving tactics are worth it
If you are spending hours taking online surveys to earn the equivalent of $0.03 per survey, you are wasting precious time. Sure you save a lot by using coupons, but how much time does it take you to clip them, sort them, and find the deals or drive to various stores to get those deals?
Here’s another example: If you get a latte at Starbucks twice a week at $2 a cup, you’re spending around $400 per year. You could make your own coffee at home for much less and use that saved money to invest in a home workout or something that would benefit you more than a caffeine kick.
One big money saver is hitting up mom-to-mom sales or swapping clothes with a mom who has a child in the next size up from yours. There’s no need to buy brand new at the rate kids grow!
This seems like an added financial cost but I’d consider it an investment that will pay off over time. If you are washing that load of laundry for the 3rd time because you keep forgetting to move it to the dryer then consider this: hire a middle school or high school kid to do the work for you. A friend of mine has a daughter who is 13 and she spends a few hours each week at a family friend’s house entertaining their kids and doing the laundry & dishes for $5/hour while the mom gets work done that only she can do (possibly for $25 an hour or more).
You’re providing great practice for the teenager by making them a good candidate for babysitting without an adult around when they’re older, you’re equipping them with life skills, and they are making money. If you want to contribute financially for the family, don’t be afraid to spend a little money on a helper to do it!
4. Meal plan
Duh, of course a dietitian’s going to talk about meal planning! You don’t need anything extraordinary, you just need a plan. We have breakfast for dinner twice a week (eggs & homemade hashbrowns) because it’s really easy, everyone loves it, and it’s a really cheap meal. Having “Taco Tuesday” or some other theme set aside for a specific day takes away the mental burden of staring in the fridge and hoping dinner appears.
I also make a whole chicken in the crockpot once a month because the meat from that stretches into meals for the whole week – like a big batch of chicken & veggie soup and mock Chipotle burrito bowls. When I make rice I make a giant batch so I can use what I need at dinner and freeze the rest in quart-size ziploc bags to keep in the freezer so I can thaw it quickly for a future dinner. Find a few meal planning strategies that work for you and make them a routine for 2-3 days of your week.
5. Sell drugs…??
Just kidding, don’t do that. I just wanted a 5th example to entertain those who stayed with me to the end of this article.
In a nutshell, there are many ways you can earn more money or save more money to contribute financially as a stay-at-home parent. Keep in mind that you can’t put a price on raising children since you don’t get those memories back but you can at least work smarter instead of harder when it comes to the finance side of parenting.
How do you contribute financially to your family as a stay-at-home parent?
This post was written by our talented staff writer Jessica from Budget For Health.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.