Whether you breathe a sigh of relief when the first day of school arrives or find yourself wondering what to do with spare time, there are plenty of ways you can boost your income while your kids are in school — and still be at home when the bus drops them off. In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer and work-at-home mom Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how.
back to school can benefit your budget
Get paid for what you do anyway
I’ll be honest. My motivation to become a yoga instructor wasn’t driven solely by my passion for the practice itself. It was a way to stop spending money on my hobby and make some extra income doing what I would do, willingly, and for free, anyhow. While teaching yoga isn’t nearly as simple as I originally imagined, it has given me an invaluable opportunity to learn more about my passion, share it with others, access my own favorite instructors either free of charge or as a business expense, and get paid for what I’d do regardless. Consider the things that you do every day, mundane as they may seem. Do you love to cook, write, design, explore the latest technology tools, make jewelry or scents, garden, take the dogs for a walk, care for babies or pets, or even shop, clean or organize? Every skill and hobby has value to someone, somewhere. When you get serious about uncovering ways to monetize the things you do anyhow, you’ll maximize the value of your own time.
Head to the store
Any mom who has taken the kids to the grocery store knows that it leads to buying yourself time by buying them distractions! Despite your self-discipline, kids in the cart tend to drive your grocery bill higher, and retailers aren’t on your side. According to a study in the January 2011 issue of The Journal of Pediatrics, “children significantly preferred the taste of foods that had popular cartoon characters on the packaging, compared with the same foods without characters.” Further, multiple studies have proven that taking the time to put together, and adhere to, a shopping list significantly decreases impulse buying as does paying with cash instead of credit. Both seemingly simple tasks that kids make ultra-challenging.
Seize new opportunity
When kids are home, time is of the essence, and it may mean paying another person to handle tasks that you simply don’t have time to manage. If you currently pay someone to clean your house, mow your lawn or groom your pets (or you!), think about the savings you can realize by handling such activities on your own while the kids are in school. If you don’t outsource a thing, are there new skills you can learn that may lead to long-term income and career opportunities via online coursework, networking groups, community classes or even an intern or apprenticeship in an industry you have interest in, but have never had the time to pursue. Using the school day as your own self-improvement time may not generate income immediately, but it can be a turning point in building your work-at-home mom career, one day at a time.
Working Mom 3.0
The modern woman is redefining what it means to have a successful career. Rather than feeling torn between climbing the corporate ladder and having a happy family life, many women are choosing to merge the two and transition careers from a traditional role to a more flexible one. Working Mom 3.0 is reinventing the definition of “working mom,” as office hours are held at home and revolve around nap times.
This column begins by chronicling the experiences of Stephanie Taylor Christensen, a former marketing professional turned self-employed stay-at-home mom, writer and yoga instructor, as she strives to redefine “having it all” on her own time and terms.