Last Updated January 25th, 2019

What Can Stay At Home Moms Do When A Money Crunch Hits Their Family?

What Can Stay At Home Moms Do When A Money Crunch Hits Their Family?

Having one parent stay home with the kids is often seen as a benefit to the family. One parent is always there for the kids, you don’t have to spend money on daycare, it just sounds better.

The only problem is that when finances get tight, you have less flexibility. There’s a certain financial sacrifice already when you have one parent stay at home, and when the one income drops or disappears suddenly, your family may be in trouble. How can you, as a stay at home mom or dad, help when the money crunch hits?

I’m going to assume at this point that you’ve already cut back on spending in the usual areas. You probably aren’t getting a daily Starbucks if money’s tight. You’re probably watching what you spend on groceries. It’s the most obvious and simplest step to take, even if it’s not without discomfort.

When money’s tight, don’t spend on the things your family doesn’t need, and know the difference between needs and wants. There’s a lot of ground in there, but you can find what works for your family.

Here are some other ways to help out with a money crunch while still being a stay at home mom.

Find a Way to Earn Money From Home

Whatever you do, don’t be desperate about this one. It’s easy to get scammed when you’re trying to get a work at home job or start a home business. You have to pay attention to what you’re getting yourself into.

Don’t expect miracles. Most people earning money from home don’t earn millions, or even thousands per month. If you find some good work to do, it’s still something you can contribute financially to your family.

Read up on how to earn money from home if you’d like more ideas on how to get started.

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Increase the Income You’re Already Earning

You might be earning money from home already, in which case it’s time to step things up and bring in more money. That can mean increasing your rates if you’re a freelancer, working harder on getting more sales if you’re an affiliate or if you sell your own products, or asking your employer for more hours if you have a work at home job. Find a new affiliate product to offer that complements the products you’re already offering.

The thing to remember if you’re already earning money is that you can find ways to increase it. It may not be easy, and may add to the stress in your life, but that’s often what it takes to dig yourself out of a bad financial position.

You might also take on a side gig. There are many flexible ways to earn money at home that can be added on to what you already do.

Get a Job Outside the Home

This can still be compatible with one parent staying at home. If your spouse is still working, just with a decreased income, consider taking on a job at night, and being the at home parent during the day. Working opposite shifts from your spouse sucks big time, but if that’s what it takes to support your family, you may have to do it.

If your spouse is completely out of work, it may also pay for both of you to look for work. It might just be that you trade who’s the one at home, assuming the parent who had been working can stand the switch. Not all can.

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Sell Things You Don’t Need

Selling things you don’t need only takes care of the short term, but that can be important in the long run. When my two oldest kids were small, my old car broke down, we didn’t have the money to replace it. We also realized we didn’t really need it. We lived in a very walkable area, and I arranged my errands around my husband’s work schedule.

Selling that car for the little bit it was worth not only brought in a little money, it cut down on insurance and gas costs. I almost hated replacing it when the time came that my husband’s car was no longer enough.

Garage sales can be pretty easy to organize, although you have to be ready for the over enthusiastic bargain shoppers. Some areas require you get a permit in order to hold a garage sale. Check with your local City Hall to see what’s required in your area. The money is quick, and you get rid of things you truly no longer need.

The same goes for selling on Craigslist. It’s a fast way to get some money, but probably not a complete solution.

Try Not to Rely on the Credit Cards Too Much

While it may be necessary to put more than usual on the credit cards when times are tight, do what you can to minimize that. Credit card debt can take a very long time to pay off, and can keep the financial stress up even after your income improves.

If you don’t have a choice in the matter, of course, use those credit cards. It’s better than losing your home.

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Find Free Fun Things To Do Together

Going through a money crunch is stressful. You have a lot of legitimate worries when money is tight.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

There are tons of free and cheap things you can do with your kids. Getting out and having fun as a family is a great stress reliever.

Just think about all the fun things you can do that won’t cost much at all. Anything from taking the kids to the park to having a family game night to finding free community events is possible.

The most important thing you can do when your family has money troubles is to find a way to work through it together. These things don’t last forever; they just require some extra effort to find your way through.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated December 8th, 2010

Are Money Problems Effecting Your Ability to Work at Home?

The life of the work at home mom or dad is not always an easy one. Many jobs don’t pay all that well, some are inconsistent in the amount of work available, and you never know what’s going to happen with a home business. Are these problems making it harder for you to work at home because you’re so worried about having enough money to live on?

That’s a pretty normal feeling. Happens even to those who don’t work at home. It’s often more immediate to work at home parents because many have so little support from those who don’t believe they can earn a living from home. There’s that guilty feeling that you could be earning more outside the home and solving all your family’s financial problems.

Look at What You’re Earning

When financial stresses build, take a look at what you’re earning. Why isn’t it enough? What can you do to earn more?

Most important, could you really earn more working outside the home after expenses are considered.

Most forms of working at home are cheap. You don’t have to drive to work. You may not need childcare for the kids. You don’t have to dress up for work. There are fewer social pressures to eat meals out rather than eating something home cooked.

If your finances are making you think that it’s time for an outside the home job, use this information to consider whether you would really be bringing more money home by working outside the home. You might not be.

Are You Worrying Rather Than Working?

If your financial worries are distracting you from doing the work that might help you to bring in more money, focus on getting around that. You have money problems. Worrying is not profitable. Working is.

It’s not necessarily going to be that easy. Stress doesn’t go away just because you want it to. But you can use it more as a motivator and less as a distraction.

Do You Need to Make Cuts?

Sometimes you need to cut back on expenses. That’s the way things go. If you’ll do better by cutting back on cable television and other expenses you can control, you can ease the strain a little bit.

How’s Your Support Network?

Hopefully you have good support from your spouse, family and friends for what you’re doing from home. It’s much easier to work at home when you have that, even when money gets tight.

Talk to whoever you need to. Brainstorm solutions for your problems.

Avoid talking unnecessarily about your money problems to those who don’t support your work at home efforts. This is the kind of time when they’ll say “I told you so” and similar things. That’s not helpful and it’s certainly not going to make you feel less stressed.

Anyone who has been helpful in the past in brainstorming ideas to earn money or work more effectively is a great person to talk to. This is the time you need encouragement.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated July 6th, 2010

What If Your Spouse’s Income Vanishes When Your Family Relies on It?

We’re facing an interesting situation right now in my family. My income is down, and my husband works for the State of California. For those not familiar with the situation here, due to the annual battle over the budget not being settled on time (as usual), they’ve temporarily cut all state employee wages to the Federal minimum wage level.

That’s lower than California minimum wage, by the way.

We’ll get the usual pay back once the budget is settled, this is just a tool the Governor is using to push the State employee unions to accept new contracts. But that doesn’t make it any less painful to deal with while so little money comes in.

We’re trying to have a sense of humor about it all. He works for the Employment Development Department, which is a long way of saying he works for the Unemployment Office. In talking on the phone to unemployed people on Friday, he was getting asked how he’s coping financially. This pay cut means that he’s earning less than many people who are getting unemployment benefits.

Getting sympathy for what you’re earning from unemployed people is somewhat amusing.

But this all brings up a very good point. No one’s income is guaranteed secure, no matter how much you rely upon it.

Layoffs happen. People get fired. Injuries happen. Health problems happen. Divorce happens. Death happens. It’s not pretty, but that’s life. Sometimes it sucks.

These aren’t easy things to prepare for. You should have an emergency fund ready to deal with as much as you can manage, but what if that’s not enough or you haven’t had enough money to save up an emergency fund?

Is It Time to Go Back to Work?

One option is to go out and find a job for yourself. This isn’t a happy choice for most stay at home moms or dads. You’re there for a reason, and it’s hard to give it up.

It’s also not an easy thing to do right now when jobs are scarce in many areas. You may not be able to find an adequate jobs, although in some cases any job will do just because it helps matters.

Can You Create a Work at Home Income?

More fun for most is to bring in more money from home. It’s great when you can manage it.

The lucky ones are the at home parents who are already earning enough that even if their spouse loses their income, they can just keep working, and the family will be fine, just living on a somewhat tighter budget for a time. That’s a wonderful feeling to know you can do that much for your family and still be right there.

When you’re suddenly the main income for your family, you need to get to that level. And fast.

This is not an easy thing to accomplish for most people. If you haven’t already been earning an income from home, you have to start from scratch, whether you pick a work at home job or a home business. You may not know how to get started.

There’s a lot of work that can be done at home if that’s what you want to do.

There are a few simple ways to earn money from home, but they mostly don’t earn a lot. You can apply to write for Demand Studios, for example. You won’t earn great amounts from each article you write for them, and you’ll have to research for them, but you’ll know what you’re earning before you get started if you select an assignment.

You can write for Associated Content. You’ll generally earn less upfront, but if you’re good at picking topics you can get bonuses based on page views.

You can find freelance work at a variety of job boards. The kind of work you find will depend on your skills.

There’s  a lot of work that can be done at home if that’s what you want to do. Your challenge is to find it without falling for a scam. That means don’t be desperate. Think before you sign up for anything.

What If You Just Need to Earn More?

In many cases, you’re already doing some kind of work at home, and just need to earn more from it. Sometimes this is easy. Other times not so much.

If you have a work at home job and can ramp up your hours to earn more, don’t hesitate. Do what you have to do.

If you can’t get more hours from your current job, is a second job possible?

It may not be so easy to ramp up a home business income. Your earnings don’t necessarily relate directly to hours worked. They can, but that’s not always the case.

You’re going to have to find a way to make it happen, and fast. You don’t have time to build slowly.

Are there any possibilities for increasing your income that
you’ve been meaning to implement, but haven’t?

The first thing to look at is what you have going right now. Are there any possibilities for increasing your income that you’ve been meaning to implement, but haven’t? It’s time to get moving on them if that’s the case.

The next thing to look at is new sources of income. You want them to be pretty certain, and to come in fast. A sudden drop in income doesn’t give you the time to deal with something that you work on through all of July, but don’t get paid for until the end of August. You probably need that money sooner.

You have a few options. Selling a product of your own is a great idea, especially if you have some ideas for it already. Make it and get that product up for sale as soon as you can. This way the income comes directly to you if you sell through PayPal, or in just a couple of weeks if you go through a program such as Clickbank.

This should be something you can market to your existing target market. It might be a supplement to information you already offer. Think about the needs of your visitors and find something that they are likely to buy.

Remember that there are no guarantees that you’ll manage to sell any copies of your product. That’s business for you. A well targeted product for an audience you’re familiar with has a fair chance of doing well. It’s up to you to make it happen.

A sudden change in income is a hard time to live through. It’s also an opportunity to learn how much more you’re capable of. Make the most of it.

As for me, I’m mostly doing the working more hours thing right now. I’ve had odd luck every other time we’ve suddenly needed more income. Income goes up for the time we need it, then *poof* drops down when the problem goes away. I’m determined to make it stick around for once!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.