Itching to get out of the 9-5 workforce and spend more time with your kids? I share why you cannot risk quitting your career, especially since economists believe a U.S. recession is around the corner.
In a recession, prices go up and spending goes down. Businesses make cuts to stay afloat or increase revenue. You can also expect companies to slow hiring and tighten spending on things like raises and bonuses.
And while it’s too early to pinpoint exactly when a recession will occur, now is not a good time to be out of work.
According to data from The White House, between July and September 2022, job growth averaged 372,000 new jobs per month, with more employers embracing remote and hybrid schedules (a mix of remote and in-person work).
What does that mean for you? If you’re looking for a new job you can do from home, now is a prime time to find one — or to ask your current employer if you can do some or all of your work from home.
In this post, I’ll show you:
- How you can afford to be a stay-at-home mom
- Why you can’t afford to be a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t work
- Ways to make money for stay-at-home moms
How can I afford to be a stay at home mom?
1. Start a flexible career you can work at home
Ask yourself: How can you keep a foot – toe, knuckle, nail – in your industry while still giving your children the time you feel they deserve? Brainstorm, ask colleagues and mentors for advice, and get creative to make sure you remain relevant. You can’t afford not to.
These posts outline popular, easily accessible careers that many people can start from home, without special degrees or training, including:
- Virtual assistant
- Social media manager
- Grant writer
- Graphic designer
- Coder / programmer
- Travel consultant
- Event planner
Do not aim just to pay the bills and get by, but focus on a longer-term career, advancement and the education and skills you need to get there. There are countless ways moms can earn a high income, from home, with legitimate, flexible careers — many of which earn $100,000 or more.
Our Top 2, highly paid work at home careers, without degrees are:
Proofreader. If you’re great with words, detail and grammar, you may also be interested in a proofreading career, which can pay $15-$30 hour from home, on your schedule.
Bookkeepers. Bookkeepers can earn a salary, or build a business earning $75+/ hour, which can be more than $100,000 per year. Entry-level bookkeeper jobs can pay $20/hour. Bookkeeper Launch is the top-rated online video course to help you start and run a successful, 6-figure bookkeeping business.
2. Budget — track spending (and cut expenses)
Take a close look at your monthly income and expenses so you can plan a budget that limits how much you spend in fluctuating categories like food and entertainment. Look for ways to save each month, such as cooking at home instead of dining out and limiting your girls nights out to just once a month. (Read: How to set up a budget you will stick to).
You Need a Budget is a spreadsheet-based app that helps you pay off debt, create a budget and set and reach all your money goals. Try YNAB's 34-day free trial now >>
3. Ask for a raise – and then bank it
The fastest, surest way to make more money is to ask for a raise and/or promotion. But make sure you have a plan for that extra money ahead of time. More money often leads to more spending if you’re not committed to a strict budget.
One easy way to save is to open a savings account and set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking to your savings. Once you calculate your after-tax raise, send that amount directly to a savings account and don’t touch it. You can also invest it and build wealth.
You might be surprised how fast it adds up. You can use the money for an emergency fund if you don’t already have one.
4. Cancel subscriptions to save money
Speaking of cutting your expenses, you may also want to cut the proverbial cord — as in, cancel your cable television subscription! Doing so could easily free up $100 or more in cash for you to save, and you’ll have more free time to earn money, too. Learn more about the awesome services that will negotiate your utilities and cancel unused subscriptions on your behalf.
5. Shop around for insurance rates
Compare rates among different companies for auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and other insurance products you buy.
6. Transfer your debt to 0% credit card
Be sure to keep an eye on your credit score. If you carry a credit card balance, see if you qualify for a 0% balance transfer credit card, and save thousands of dollars in interest each year.
7. Meal plan
One easy way to overspend is to avoid meal planning — and rely on take-out, restaurants and prepared meals at the grocery store. These are less healthy, and more expensive than cooking from scratch. Get some ideas for meal kits, meal planning and other ways to save on food for your family.
“I want to be a stay at home mom but we can’t afford it”
The argument is over: You absolutely, positively cannot afford to be a full-time stay-at-home mom.
No need to delve into arguments about personal choice or what is good for children or families. That’s all been hashed out in the mommy wars. It’s not about those issues. This is about money.
You. Cannot. Afford. To. Be. A. Fulltime. Stay-at-home-mom. You just can’t.
What’s that you say? Your husband is a banker? And your family is rich? Your spouse adores you? Doesn’t matter. It makes zero financial sense for any of those 5.1 million women in the United States who are stay-at-home moms (per Census data). That is about one-in-five married-couple families who have decided to put their family’s futures in jeopardy.
Don’t just take it from me. I recently interviewed Joanne Cleaver, a career consultant and author of The Career Lattice.
“Stepping off the career track completely is career suicide,” Cleaver told me. “Don’t do it.”
Her reason? You will no doubt lose the momentum you’ve built, the network you accumulated, the credibility you’ve earned. But these longtime truths are accelerated in today’s tech-driven world – no matter what industry you’re in. “If you completely leave the workforce, when you return you’ll have to completely reinvent yourself with new skills, new credentials and a new portfolio,” Cleaver said. “You might as well start in a new career.”
These challenges translate into a tougher time getting a new gig when you want one. And once you do, you’ll earn less than had you kept a foot in the workforce while caring for your kids. Researchers at Harvard and the University of Chicago found that when professional women leave the workforce for three or more years, they suffer a compensation hit of 37 percent. For female MBAs who take time off to be with children, pay drop 41 percent relative to male MBA earnings.
However, if you plan ahead and keep a hand in the game, things might turn out differently. Of course, things don’t always happen as planned.
What happens if your husband leaves or asks for a divorce? You’ll have no income. In this post, I talk about what happens if you want to get divorced as a stay-at-home mom.
How to make money as a stay at home mom
No matter how much income you bring in every month, most moms feel they could use a little more cash. Or, a LOT more cash. Most of us could use more spending money, and there’s always debt to pay off or college tuition to save for. If you don’t have any other uses for more money, then hell, might as well splurge for something you want, amiright?
One of the best things about being alive today, is there are more ways to make money than ever these days. The internet is a treasure trove when it comes to making money.
Here are ways stay at home moms make money:
How to make money selling products
You can absolutely make money selling products, although you’ll want to be careful you don’t get sucked into a multi-level marketing company, or MLM. Research shows that most who join MLMs never earn real money anyway, and they even wind up spending their money on products and marketing by the time they quit.
But you can sell products and make more money. If you’re crafty, for example, you could earn money selling homemade goods on Etsy.com.
You can also sell items you already have (think old clothes from your closet, electronics, and more) online through craigslist.com, eBay.com, or local Facebook groups.
Online resale sites like Mercari and Poshmark make it easy to turn this concept into a business. You’ve heard of eBay, right? If you have a knack for sniffing out great deals, posting an item for sale online is easy with your smartphone.
If you’d rather not deal with the hassle of keeping track of physical products, dropshipping might be a good fit. By partnering with a dropship wholesaler, you can sell products online without keeping up with inventory yourself.
With dropshipping, a customer orders from your site and the wholesaler packages and ships it directly to them. The best part? You get to keep the profit.
How to make money selling services
You can also earn money selling your talents and abilities in the form of a service. You could mow lawns, clean houses, help people with bookkeeping, or teach piano lessons, for example. Other ways to earn money selling your services include:
How to make money selling services online
Selling your skills is one of the most sustainable ways to make money online, and can grow into a full-time career, or even a scalable business. This is how Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson started — by freelance writing, and then by starting a blog.
One of the best ways to start growing an online service-based business is with freelancing gigs.
The benefits of freelancing, opposed to having a j-o-b, is that rather than following someone else’s rules as an employee, you have control over your schedule and the work you do.
Most types of freelancing don’t require any formal education. You don’t need an English degree to be a successful freelance writer. And if you can answer emails, manage social media, or do other administrative tasks, the role of virtual assistant could be perfect for you.
There are also excellent online courses that can help you learn the basic skills to launch your new career, plus support for finding clients. Bookkeeper Business Launch is a popular first step for many successful freelance, work-at-home bookkeepers who can earn multiple six-figures.
Coding, or programming, is a high-demand, highly paid industry that is especially short of female workers. This work can be done remotely, online.
Don’t panic if you can’t write code. There are many online resources for how to get started, as well as online communities of other coders from whom you can learn.
How to make money fast
If your goal is making money in a hurry, you need to find ways that don’t require long waiting periods or a bunch of hoops to jump through. Here are some of the best ways to earn money in a hurry:
- Rent out your car through ZipCar
- Use GetAround to rent out your car for the day
- Rent out your home or a room in your home on Airbnb, VRBO.com, or HomeAway.com
- Sell jewelry you no longer wear
- CashforGoldUSA was found by Fox News to pay 3x its competitors for gold and diamond jewelry valued at $1,000 or less. A+ BBB rated, pays within 24 hours.
- Sell your gently used clothing on ThredUp.com
If you need to earn more money than you’re making now, you may face an even bigger challenge than many working moms: How can you possibly increase your earnings when you have so little free time already?
Fortunately, the Internet makes it easy to learn how to make more money and also make money online in your spare time, affording you the flexibility to control your time, and build your work around the rest of your life. Keep reading to learn some of the best ways to earn cash online without putting yourself out.
Start a side hustle today to make more money
Finally, don’t forget the prospect of starting a side hustle — or a temporary job you can take on in addition to your full-time work. Side hustles look different for everyone, but they can include concepts like driving for Uber or Lyft, babysitting kids, painting houses, mowing lawns, and more. Read: Our list of side hustles for moms
Online side hustles include some of the ideas we’ve mentioned already — jobs like tutoring or finding online freelance bookkeeping work.
Some side hustles you can do from home also overlap; for example, you can work as a virtual assistant or freelance writer online and from your couch, just like you can write freelance articles anywhere with an internet connection.
Maybe you need a little extra cash (or a lot – hello, savings account!), maybe you’re bored with your current career, or you want to safeguard yourself against a recession or an industry crash by having a fall-back plan. Or maybe you’re interested in pursuing your passion project, but you’re not quite ready to make the leap into full-time business ownership. Whatever your reason is, you NEED a side hustle.
The good news is there are many jobs you can do from home. Many of them can be done with just a laptop and an internet connection. If you need job training, you can find free and affordable courses online through sites like Udemy and Coursera.
- Postpartum care
- Graphic design
- Freelance writing
- Project management
- Reselling items online
- Virtual support
To learn more about these jobs, check out 10 business ideas for moms
How do I know if I can afford to be a stay at home mom?
The first step, says Doug Carey, is to create a budget. Carey is a Chartered Financial Analyst and president and owner of WealthTrace, a consumer retirement and financial planning software company in Zionsville, In.
Carey offers the following tips:
- Use a budgeting app to track your spending. It’ll help you gauge the impact of a salary loss. It will also give you concrete data on how much money you need versus how much you want.
- Figure out how much you'll save by staying at home. Expenses like gas money, babysitting, and clothing are likely to decrease. However, there could be new expenses such as health insurance.
- Cut back on luxury items and dining out.
- Think about downsizing your home or moving to an area with a lower cost of living.
- Think about starting a home garden to save money on groceries. Even if you live in an apartment, you can have a container garden on your balcony.
“In addition to having a budget, it could be a very good idea to hire a financial coaching or planning service to keep you on track,” Carey advises. “By seeing how your finances look in the future, it will help you get your arms around the situation better.”
In short, create a tight budget, crunch the numbers, and be realistic about what you can afford. If the numbers don’t support your decision to be a stay-at-home mom, make a plan to get there by exploring new opportunities to earn extra income.
After all, spending quality time with your children is worth the fight to make this happen.
How do I prepare financially as a stay-at-home mom?
Start by taking a detailed look at your finances, and identify your short-term and long-term financial goals.
“Create a budget to make sure you can cover your current expenses and save for future financial goals,” advises Rachael Burns, Certified Financial Planner with True Worth Financial Planning in Northern California.
In her work as a CFP and Certified Divotrce Financial Analyst, Burns regularly helps newly single women get ahold of their finances after divorce or the death of a spouse.
Burns offers the following tips to prepare for these scenarios:
- Establish an emergency savings account. Ideally, you’ll want three to six month’s worth of income to take care of your expenses.
- Don’t create new debt — it’s a sign that you’re spending more than you’re making.
- Get and stay involved with family finances. It’s important to understand the details of your family’s financial situation: what you own, owe, earn, and spend.
Burns says that preparing now will help you feel in control if you have to to take over the financial well-being of your household.
How do stay-at-home moms survive?
While some stay-at-home moms can survive off of their spouse’s earnings, it’s important for stay-at-home moms to retain some financial independence in the event of:
- Death of their spouse
- Spouse losing their job
Many stay-at-home moms take on a part-time job or side gig to keep cash flowing and to keep a foot in the professional world.
Bottom line: Being a stay at home mom will require you to work
The fact that the majority of moms today will be an unpartnered mother, and divorce rates still stand at around 50% only underscores why all women must prioritize their careers, earnings and future investments.
If you have no income (or not enough income), apply for recession-proof jobs to establish financial stability initially. Long-term, it’s important to keep your eyes open for jobs that align with your interests so you can build a fulfilling career on your own terms.
If you already have a full-time job, be open to working outside of your home until you can establish financial stability, but give thought to lucrative side hustles that could turn into a full-time business — giving you the necessary cash flow to stay at home.
One of the best things about being alive today, is there are more ways to make money than ever these days. The internet is a treasure trove when it comes to finding side hustles or new ways to sell your product or service, and there are money-making apps you can use as well.
The first step, says Doug Carey, a Chartered Financial Analyst, is to create a budget.
Start by taking a detailed look at your finances, and identify your short-term and long-term financial goals.
While some stay-at-home moms can survive off of their spouse’s earnings, it’s important for stay-at-home moms to retain some financial independence in the event of: death, divorce, or spousal job loss. That's why many stay-at-home moms take on a part-time job or side gig to keep cash flowing and to keep a foot in the professional world.