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6 Stay-at-Home Jobs I’ve Done as a Stay-at-Home Parent

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Being a stay-at-home parent is inarguably one of the most fulfilling and frustrating jobs on the planet. For one, you get to see your children grow and change — but to do this, you must sacrifice the perks of the working world, including the camaraderie of co-workers. Fortunately, staying at home doesn’t mean surrendering the most useful aspect of having a job: additional income.

Even after just a few weeks of doting on my first baby boy, I was itching to get back to work. Instead of abandoning him to daycare, I sought job solutions that would allow me to stay at home while completing projects and earning pay. Today, I am still satisfied as a stay-at-home mom, and I receive extra satisfaction from my stay-at-home job. For other stay-at-home parents interested in having your kids and working, too, here are seven easy, flexible jobs I’ve tried that helped me be both a proud parent and an excellent earner.

Daycare Provider

New parents have plenty of opportunities to connect with fellow new parents. During pregnancy classes, in doctor’s offices, and at baby classes (like music and swimming) I was able to cultivate a network of moms and dads who were going through the same situations I was. The difference was that most of them were planning on returning to work; fortunately for them and me, I wasn’t. Thus, I was able to start a small daycare among friends and earn a healthy income doing what I wanted to do as a new mother: take care of babies.

If you didn’t gain such a close-knit group during your pregnancy, you can still become a daycare provider. You can post fliers in your neighborhood to build awareness of your business, and you can even take in pets if you aren’t yet comfortable around others’ kids.

Crafter

Whenever I didn’t need to directly interact with my children, I usually had some sort of craft in hand. At first, crafting was simply a hobby I used as a creative time-waster, but eventually, I recognized that I could spin my diversion into another money-making scheme. With a few online stores and a spot in most of my city’s craft fairs, I was able to earn a sizeable chunk of change — and rid my house of all the crafting clutter.

Hundreds of hobbies translate well into small income generators: baking, sewing, woodworking, knitting, and more. However, before you can safely sell your goods, you should consider filing as a limited liability corporation, so you can protect you assets fully.

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Secret Shopper

As soon as my kids could walk, I knew I had to get out of the house. It didn’t matter where we went — as long as we were breathing fresh air. Fortunately, I was able to use my need for movement to bring in some cash. A handful of stores will pay shoppers to rate their in-store experiences. Now, secret shoppers can turn to apps containing lists of “missions” that make finding convenient, paying tasks a snap.

Tutor

When my kids started going to school, I quickly realized how much basic information I had forgotten. In order to be a better mom, I quickly enrolled in a handful of simple courses and bought textbooks to relearn all my lost knowledge.

Not only did that help me encourage my kids to succeed in class, but it allowed me to earn some side money as a tutor for other parents’ kids. Advertising with fliers at my kids’ schools — and eventually online on various tutoring websites — I accumulated a gaggle of well-paying tutees.

Salesperson

Eventually, my kids became teenagers, and the benefits of being a stay-at-home parent were fewer. Still, having been out of the regular work force for so long, I was reluctant to commit to a set schedule outside my home. Instead, I turned to sales. In the past, companies like Mary Kay Cosmetics and Tupperware allowed enterprising individuals to get a business up and running fast. Today, companies like this still exist, and with Web connections, the jobs are more flexible and fun than ever.

Freelancer or Consultant

I only recently turned to freelancing, and it is undoubtedly the most rewarding job I have ever had (besides being a mom, of course). It is as fulfilling as real work, as you work with clients and complete projects just like salaried positions — but you get the flexibility and authority of working for yourself. If you were successful in your field before your child or you have a wealth of specialized knowledge you are itching to put to use, freelancing or consulting is likely the best option.


How I’m Saving Extra Cash with My Car This Year

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When it comes to saving money, I’ve found that the best policy is to find little leaks that can be easily plugged, but the savings derived from them adds up over time. Recently I took a look at my car, and I took five steps that will save me hundreds of dollars this year. This is far from comprehensive from what you can do to save money on your car, but it can show that just thinking about how you might save in one area can help you come up with creative ways to do so.

Take off the Ski Rack

I haven’t been skiing for about 2 months, but I still had my ski rack on top of my car. It took five minutes to remove it and store it in the garage until next year, but doing so will improve the gas mileage my car gets because there won’t be the resistance and drag the ski rack caused. I have a bike rack too, but I won’t put it on until I need to use it, and I’m determined to take it off between uses this summer.

Regularly Rotate My Tires

I buy my tires at Costco. What a lot of people don’t know is that they will rotate your tires for free (Les Schwab, Big O, and some other tire outlets offer this service for free as well). I do this regularly because I didn’t do it with my last set fo tires and due to uneven tire wear, I ended up losing about 10,000 miles of life on them according to the tire guy. That ends up being enough miles that I would have to buy an extra set of tires for me car during its lifetime if I didn’t get the rotated every 5000 miles. With a set of tires costing hundreds of dollars, that’s a big saving for something that’s simple to do if you make the time for it.

Don’t Use My Car (as Much)

It’s such an obvious way to save money, but among my friends, I’m the only one who consistently does this. If I don’t need to drive the car, I choose an alternative method of transportation. I don’t drive to the grocery store that’s about 2 miles away. I ride my bike instead. Not only does it save gas plus wear and tear on my car, I get the exercise I wouldn’t otherwise get which has let me cancel my gym membership. It’s reached the point where I only use my car about 50% of the time when I leave my house. Most people I know use theirs 90% – 100% of the time.

Compare Insurance

You know all those commercials that say you can save hundreds of dollars switching insurance companies? A lot of them are correct and the Internet makes it easy to do. I actually love my insurance agent, that that hasn’t stopped me from getting better deals. Each year I do a search to see what the lowest rate Ic ould get from another company would be and take it to him. He hasn’t always been able to match it, but he gets as close as he can. I’m willing to pay a bit more to stay with my agent since I know I can count on him when there is an issue, but that doesn’t mean I can’t save money in the process as well.

Insurance Tracking

I let my car insurance company track my driving. I know a lot of people don’t like this, but I drive like an old lady anyway so it doesn’t bother me. My insurance company calls theirs SmartRide, but almost all companies have them now such as Snapshot. Basically, these devices track your driving and miles, and if you don’t drive a lot (like me since I take my bike on a lot of the shorter trips), you get a discount. I lowered my costs by about $100 a year by using it.

None of the above takes a lot of time or effort to do. It’s just a matter of doing it. And this is just one area of my life. I’m planning on doing the same thing to many other areas of my life to cut out excess spending fat that can be trimmed without much effort.