Making money at home: income streams for SAHMs

By | January 11, 2014

Women make a lot of sacrifices when they leave the workforce to stay home with their children (I’m not saying working moms don’t make sacrifices – they do!). We give up adult company, intellectual stimulation, quiet time in our heads on the commute, an excuse to buy nice clothes…you know what I’m talking about. One of the biggest sacrifices – for the family, if not for the mom personally – is a second income. But there are a lot of ways you can make money at home. If you’re in the midst of little-kid delirium, you may be thinking, “No way!”. And you may be right – at least for now. I know I couldn’t have done it when I had three kids under 3. But things will calm down – I promise. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to do some of the legwork for you, so that when you’re ready to dive in, you’ll know what some of the opportunities are.

Online work: Micro jobs, surveys, etc.
These are quick hits that you can do when you have a few minutes. They won’t make you rich. In fact, the per-job compensation is usually really, really low. But here’s the thing – most of them take little time and less than complete mental focus. You can do them while you’re nursing the baby, sitting through your fifth episode of Barney, or watching TV with your hubby at night. They’re a good choice for the times when you’d otherwise be playing mindless games on your phone.

I don’t have personal experience with this site, but it looks like you can get paid small amounts to do the kind of things you probably do anyway, such as “liking” a particular Facebook page or following a brand on Twitter. There are also occasional writing jobs available.

Amazon Mechanical Turks
This site lets you grab HITs, or Human Intelligence Tasks. The idea is that, although the pay is low, you can do the tasks quickly enough to make it worth your while. Most tasks are things like researching keywords to assigning characteristics to products for sale on the web. I signed up for this one but never really did anything with it; since I have several unbroken hours each day when the kids are at school, I can make more writing. But I might have used it if I had known about it when they were all still home.

Paid surveys
There are a lot of sites that will pay you to take surveys. Some pay in cash; some pay in points that you can redeem for products or gift cards. As usual, the pay is low (usually less than a dollar), but it’s work you can knock out any time you have a few minutes. Some sites to check out:

This list was published in December and discusses a number of higher-paying survey sites.

Do your due diligence
Before you sign up for any online money-making opportunity, it’s a good idea to search for some user reviews. Try to find one that’s objective; most reviews are either from people who love something or people who hate it. For instance, the first review of a content site I researched blasted them because projects dried up without warning. Well, duh…that’s the nature of freelancing. That was a red flag for me, so I kept looking and found a thorough, objective review.

Know what you’re getting into here. You’re not going to earn a living on any of these sites. But, if you think of them as something to do during those short blocks of time when you’d be playing games on your phone, they don’t seem like such a bad idea. (Especially if you usually spend money on lives and power ups!)

Don’t forget to check back! I’ll be writing about another make-money-at-home topic soon.

Here are a couple of books on making money at home. I haven’t read them, so purchase at your own risk!

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