Everyone could use some extra money, especially Stay At Home Moms!
Living on one income in a two income society is difficult. Yes we can save money with coupons and being thrifty, cutting utility costs and reducing your bills, and living on a cash budget, but that only gets you so far. I am starting to think that with 4 kids and all the extracurricular needs/wants that go with each one or just the fact that this family would like a little money for an entertainment budget, we may need to start supplementing my husband's income. I must be crazy to think this with how busy my days are and how exhausted I am at the end of the day, but crazy never stopped me. :P
The question is: What can I do from home to make a little extra cash every month, without disrupting my family's lives. Bonus points for incorporating my kids in this as to teach them real life money making skills and the value of money.
I know there are all kinds of businesses out there geared towards Stay At Home Moms where you sell a company's merchandise, which is regularly overpriced and you have to sell to your friends and try to get your friends to start up their own "business" to form some type of pyramid scheme. I know all too well. I've been approached about these by friends and strangers. I've watched my friends get sucked into these, spending more on the "parties" then the profits from the party. The time and effort seems unjustified. Plus do I really want to open my home up to strangers and have them around my children?
Another common job that is suggested to me on a regular basis is a home daycare. I know I could do this and do well with this (look at my experience! haha), but is this really what is best for my children? We already have 4 small children, so I could really only take in one child because if there was an emergency or I needed drive somewhere that is all the car seats my minivan will carry. My children would have to divide the attention I have for them with another person. The parents and I may not view parenting the same or they may send their child over while sick and if someone in our house gets sick it turns into a 3 week cycle until everyone has been sick and I have to sanitize the house like crazy after every bout, which I'm sure many of you can sympathize with. How good of a caregiver would I be to all these children if I'm sick and I have 5 (or more) little ones to care for? Plus, I'm certain my marriage would suffer as a result to my exhaustion. No thanks. I think I have enough little monkeys on my plate for now. ;)
I can't do telemarketing or any phone related job, because...well let's face it, little kids in a completely tiled home makes for a very distracting background. I'd be continually putting someone on hold and this also takes away from my children's wants/needs, so that's out.
Mystery shopping...can you imagine shopping at a store with all these kids and trying to complete an actual task, besides keeping the kids all in one spot without breaking something while dealing with the inevitable temper tantrum over a toy, boredom, or the sibling who won't stop touching them...NO THANKS! This is why grocery shopping either takes two people or requires my husband or I to make a run out by ourselves.
Baking. My mom's main side job as a single mom was gourmet baker. She made desserts for restaurants and made good money, but the thought of it is very daunting. The marketing for it and the licensing now required for it would probably not happen. Needless to say, I have a hard enough time making 3 full meals and 2 snacks daily for my family. I feel accomplished if I can fit in a brownie or muffin mix occasionally. I don't think I'm cut out for it like my mom was.
The one thing I seem to be somehow talented at, to the point that I have family members and friends seeking out my "expertise" on regular basis, is reselling old things. Somehow I seem to have an eye for picking up things at garage sales or family's homes for cheap or free and selling them to make a much larger profit. After moving into our new home I took one week selling unwanted/unneeded items we had in storage and made $1100, which went to buying a minivan 2 weeks before my fourth child made his appearance into the world (Thank God!). When in a bind I can usually come up with a couple hundred dollars in a couple of days. I've never really looked into bettering myself on this and I use Craigslist exclusively to make this money, but now I'm curious. Can I make more by buying things from garage sales and selling them on Ebay? I've read some people buy off Craigslist, things like collectibles, and resell on Ebay as well. Maybe I should start thinking about Estate Sales or Storage Units and making profits on them, but I wouldn't feel comfortable doing these things without really researching what to do and look for. I'll have to find my niche.
It's hard not to think this may be my solution. It doesn't affect the kids negatively, although space would be a concern. The pros seem to greatly outweigh that though. The children would learn real life skills with the ability to make their own money and also they could learn the value of money in a more hands on way. Just think, we are making a transition in this society from an Industrialized Economy to an Information Based Economy. Maybe it is time I hop on the bandwagon and introduce these skills to my children while they're still young, so that it is second nature to them. Added bonus: this is probably the greenest career I could take part in, so my children can learn simple ways to protect the environment and do it without giving it much thought when they're older because they've always been around it. I think this is something I could actually enjoy, once I learn more about the ins and outs of Ebay, auctions, and storage unit sales.
What supplemental income tactics have worked for you best?