Staying at home with her kids was always Mallory Hortin’s plan. That’s why she figured out how to make money as a stay-at-home mom long before she had children.
Now, Hortin generates hundreds of dollars a month in income without compromising her goal of being present with her kids.
And Hortin isn’t alone. Stay-at-home moms and dads around the country can find ways — both traditional and ingenious — to make money while taking care of their kids.
If you’re a stay-at-home parent looking to make extra cash, check out these helpful tips from three stay-at-home moms who shared their experiences.
How to make money as a stay-at-home mom
How can a stay-at-home mom make money? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, so it’s important to take the time to figure out what works best for you. Here’s how to get started.
1. Play to your strengths
Hortin typically spends between three and 10 hours per week cutting and styling hair.
“I went to hair school knowing that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom in the future,” she said. “I try to be flexible with my clients’ schedules and am happy to have them bring their kids with them to my house while I do their hair.”
This setup turns many hair appointments into playdates for her kids. Hortin usually makes $200 to $300 a month doing hair. During busy times — which she describes as holidays, the start of summer break, and before kids head back to school — she can make up to $500 per month.
The Hortins don’t need this money, so they don’t include it in their monthly budget. “We use my profits from doing hair for play money like going out to dinner, going to a movie, date night, shopping, or whatever else,” Hortin said.
Additionally, she earns $320 per month thanks to her babysitting gig. The couple uses that money to pay for groceries.
“I watch two little girls on Thursdays and Fridays,” Hortin said. “It’s not a great money-maker as far as hourly pay is concerned, but I feel that I am getting paid fairly.” Plus, her kids get some friends to play with.
“I was motivated to earn money on the side because we are paying off student loans as well as a low credit card balance,” she explained. “I am able to contribute monthly to making our lives better in the future.”
If you have an accreditation, degree, or professional certification you aren’t using, figure out how you can incorporate it into a side hustle and start making money.
2. Learn a new skill and capitalize on it
When Jessica Schooley was 18, a co-worker taught her how to crochet. As her friends began having children, she used her skill to make hats and dolls for them as gifts.
Then, when she had her second child and her husband’s employer started moving the family to different locations, Schooley decided to stay home with the kids.
“I’m not really a housewife at heart,” she admitted. “I love to work.”
As she thought about how to make money being a stay-at-home mom, Schooley decided to expand her crocheting hobby by blending it with her passions: pop culture and geekdom.
Her Etsy shop, Adventures in Yarnia, features crocheted characters from Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Star Wars, and The Avengers, among others.
“My favorite thing is being able to crochet a character for someone that they’re unable to find anywhere else,” Schooley said.
She also designs and sells patterns to people who want to learn how to crochet themselves. Unlike her made-to-order creations, these patterns generate passive income.
Schooley’s Etsy business generates $400 to $500 per month. Although she estimates she spends five hours a day on the business, she fits it in between running errands and spending time with her kids.
“I’m a worker bee at heart and really needed something of my own,” Schooley explained. “The fact that it brought in a little bit of money was a bonus.”
Schooley also works evenings as a receptionist at a veterinary emergency hospital. She earns about $1,000 a month there.
“This works with my husband’s schedule, and it helps alleviate financial stress,” Schooley said. “I’m grateful that I’m able to help a little with the finances and also stay home with my kids.”
3. Keep searching until you find something that works
Summer Jensen’s husband was in college when she had her first baby. While her husband finished school, she put her education to good use, teaching math at a private boarding school. Jensen also did private tutoring on the side.
“I chose to teach at this school and tutor in the evenings because the school allowed me to teach in the evenings,” Jensen said. “This allowed me to be with our son during the day while my husband was at college, and then he would come home and be with our son while I worked.”
When her husband started an internship, though, Jensen decided to quit her job at the school and stay at home full time. She set up an Etsy shop and sold custom hand-knit hats. But she soon realized it required too much of her time.
“Multiple orders would come in at the same time, and I would have to work during my time with my son or really late into the night to fill them,” Jensen recalled. “It was detracting from me being a mom, so I closed the shop after only a month.”
Later, she tried nannying for a while. But she gave up that job as well.
“I thought it would be better … because I could keep my son with me while I was there,” Jensen said. “But I quickly learned that even though he was with me, I wasn’t giving him quality time.”
Over the years, she babysat in her home, briefly joined a multilevel marketing company, and continued to tutor in the evenings.
“[The tutoring] was probably the best job option for me,” explained Jensen. “I’m able to have people come to my house for me to tutor them in the evenings while my kids are asleep and my husband isn’t home from work yet.”
She charges between $15 and $25 per hour, depending on the level of math. With just a few hours per week, she could earn a couple of hundred dollars per month.
However, Jensen isn’t passionate about math. “I only chose it because I’m really good at it and I knew it would allow me to get a decent job,” she said.
In the future, she plans to spend time doing other things she’s passionate about, including charity work and competing in athletic events. But for now, Jensen is happy with what she’s doing.
“There is a time and a season for everything,” she added. “Right now is the season of life for me to be at home full time with our kids and to give them all I have.”
Take the time to develop the perfect side hustle for you
Although you might not have the skills to cut hair professionally, be a private math tutor, or crochet a miniature Yoda, think about your hobbies, skills, and passions and how you could use them to earn extra cash.
Although your first side hustle might be a dud, don’t give up. Over time, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t. As long as you’re taking the time to figure out how to make money as a stay-at-home mom, you’ll find a gig that’ll make the effort worth it.
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