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No, I’m not rich, and I do work, just possibly not the same way you do.
Spurred on by my good friend Emma Reed, who recently wrote a piece about how she can afford to be at home, I thought I’d add mine too.
Not Your Average Mum
If I got a pound for everyone that told me how “lucky I was” that I could afford to stay at home, then I’d be rich.
Luck has nothing at all to do with it.
I don’t stay at home. I look after the girls during the day and work every single evening when they go to bed, even if my husband is at home. That includes weekends and days when my wonderful mother in law takes them for me.
My husband works long shifts, often 50-60 hour weeks, and me being home is a priority we set ourselves when we had the girls. Yes, it’s not for everyone, but to us, we thought it was important that one of us was at home, while the other worked.
Yes, my husband does make good money, but like most people, not enough to pay all our bills and cover all the activities that the kids love doing.
The issue I find is that everyone conveniently forgets that you’re employed. So even though I do get to pick my hours within reason, I still DO have to do them. So if I feel like crap or the kids are throwing up at night, I still have to get my work done.
I can’t just drop everything to come to the park or visit a Grandparent who can only see us on Tuesday evenings. Many people, my family included, just don’t understand why I can’t drop everything to go out.
I still work! I just don’t drive there, wear a uniform or work conventional hours.
Why should I? The times are changing, and with the internet growing at such a fast pace, more and more women are turning to the online world to make money. The world of 9am-5pm is slowly crumbling, and to me, that can only be a good thing.
So How can I Survive?
Well, with a lot of careful money planning.
First, I look at what I can do to save money over the month. This could be on things like:
If I know that work is slow, then I plan a £18-week shop. It’s not easy to do, but you can feed the family for under £20 a week. It may not be the most adventurous of foods, but you certainly won’t starve.
Picking meats, you can use over a couple of meals will bring the food bill down massively, while bulking up meals like spaghetti bolognese with grated vegetables means you can freeze them for lunch the next day.
At the start of spring, me and the kids pick two annual passes. This year, we’ve done with Paultons Park and Hillier Gardens.
I use these passes as much as I possibly can. Every spare afternoon we have, we go to either one for a play or run around, making sure that we do a different part, so no one gets bored.
Ice creams or other treats are kept to a minimum, with me normally having to say that we will have a lolly/squash/snack at home, to save a few quid.
If I can get away with it, I won’t use the car at all for a few days a week. We would walk to a local park, to the shops, library, go on treasure hunts, anything to keep us amused but stop me from spending money.
The kids generally don’t care, (obviously this is harder if a friend has an ice cream etc) all they want is to get out and run about.
I check all our bills every month and run them through a site like Money Supermarket to make sure we’re getting the best deals.
Loyalty never pays! So I make sure that I change my car insurer at least every 10-12 months, shop around for my electrical and gas and keep transferring my credit card bill to a 0% one when the term runs out. You should never have to pay interest.
I hate food waste. It makes me sick when I throw food away, but having two young kids, it can’t be helped.
I try my hardest to only give them very small meals, and give them more if they want it, and use up as much as I can, watching for those pesky best before dates.
Buying as much frozen as possible helps, and many supermarkets, including Aldi and Lidl, sell frozen fruit and pre-chopped frozen peppers, onions and mushrooms.
Not so easy if you already have a full-time job, but if you suddenly are left without an income, then there are some really easy ways to make some cash.
I worked out long ago that just writing was not going to pay my bills. I’ve been self-employed for three years now and realised very quickly how up and down the creative industry is.
Now, I do everything and anything to make money each month. Some of this includes:
I love doing surveys just because you can sit in front of the TV and do them on your phone. There are so many apps these days that can help you make money.
You won’t make a fortune, but you can make a good £100 a month in cash or in gift cards that can go towards anything.
My favourites are Receipt Hog and Opinion Outpost.
I hate using them, but if I’m having a bad month money wise, then I look at People Per Hour and Up Work for help. They charge very large fees and it’s a race to the bottom, but, I have found many ongoing clients from them that are happy to chuck me work when they have it.
You don’t have to be a writer; people are looking for everything. Home receptionists, assistants, transcriptions; pretty much whatever you have done in a past job can be used as a transferable skill and can be used online.
The thing I like about this is, I don’t even have to get out of bed to do it.
I use a site called WhatUsersDo and it’s as easy as answering questions about certain websites and your thoughts on them.
Each test takes around 20 minutes and you earn money after each one. I use my phone or a tablet, and that seems to boost my earning a little too.
There are loads of other things you could do, including match betting (which I don’t wholeheartedly agree with) and phone lines etc but these are the ways I top up my money each month.
Hopefully, this has helped you see what being a stay at home mum isn’t all puppies and pancakes, but that it is assessable to anyone that needs to earn.
It’s not ideal if you need a fixed sum every month, as, like most businesses, you can’t guarantee the workload or money, but I tend to try and give myself a few months’ buffer, in case I’m having a really bad month.
Has this helped you? Do you think you could work from home and make a decent living? Please tells us below.