While to some it might seem like a dream come true, being a stay-at-home parent can be tough. Coming from someone who has been in the at-home role for over six years now, I can say that while rewarding, the position can pose many challenges – financial and otherwise – even to someone who likes being around the house.
However, since I’m not getting a paycheck for my caregiver efforts, it can add additional stress to my role. This is why I’ve tried to come up with several ways over the years to make it through the day as a stay-at-home parent by reminding myself of some of the financial rewards.
Determining intangible worth
While I know I’m helping our family by staying home with the kids, sometimes it’s hard to validate my efforts since they don’t come with something tangible like a regular paycheck.
According to Babycenter.com, “Topping the charts with costs over $10,000 a year for baby and toddler daycare are the following states, beginning with the most expensive: Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, Colorado, California, Illinois, Washington, and Wisconsin.”
And from the inquiries that I’ve made in our area of Chicagoland, toddler costs for full-time daycare seem to range around $250 a week – about $13,000 a year – at a quality daycare.
Knowing that I’m not only saving us this much money on child care, but that by being around the house I’m also finding ways to reduce our costs on things like clothing through resale shopping and food by creative and efficient meal planning, it makes me feel better about my at-home role.
Working to learn and learning to earn
It’s amazing – especially with the internet as a tool – just how many ways there are to earn an extra buck these days. While sometimes it’s tough to find the time to get productive, with naps for the kids typically consuming at least several hours of the day, I often find a little time to buckle down and get some work done.
With sites like eBay, Craigslist, Yahoo! Contributor Network, Etsy, Elance, and many more, there are a variety of ways to earn money through resale, writing, and other freelance work. While I don’t earn a full-time income from such work, it at least supplements my intangible worth and makes me feel more productive.
And even when I’m not earning, I can put the television on in the background – whether it’s CNBC, PBS, Discovery Channel, History Channel, or whatever – and watch a variety of shows that can teach numerous income earning techniques from investing and saving, to antiquing and resale.
Using our home as a money-maker
You wouldn’t think that being around the house more would lead to making money; however, in some instances this can be the case. Having the time and opportunity to go through the house and sort through old stuff can be the perfect way to downsize and earn some extra cash in the process.
Over the years of my being in the at-home role, I’ve organized garage sales, learned how to sell stuff online, and made use of local and area consignment and resale shops where I could resell stuff that we no longer wanted. From vintage toys and baby clothing, to books, video games, movies, home goods, and more, there were a variety of ways and items with which I’ve made hundreds of extra dollars with each year. Not only this, but being around the house also gives me the chance to get those return items – holiday, birthday, or baby gifts that we never used or already had – organized with their receipts and returned. In this way, we get full store credit rather than just reselling such items for pennies on the dollar.
Therefore, when it comes to being at home, there are numerous ways in which I make it through the day while making myself feel a productive and contributing member of the family.
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The author is not a licensed financial or parenting professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.