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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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of July 31, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 10, 2020.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective August 10, 2020.