Speaking from experience, being a stay-at-home parent is the most underpaid job in the world.
We work the longest hours, don’t get an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan and definitely don’t receive paid vacation. The perks are great — getting to spend all this time with our kids, and our uniform is much more comfortable — but boy, would it be nice to see a few dollars for the work we put in.
Unfortunately, it feels like social media is telling stay-at-home parents the only way we can make extra money these days is through a buy-in-required, set-your-own-hours, be-your-own-boss type of job. Yep. We’ve all gotten those DMs from long-lost friends asking us to join their multi-level marketing company.
I’m not falling for it. You shouldn’t, either. Spending money to make money only works in the stock market — and real ways to make extra cash exist, with little to no risk involved.
Here are some of the easiest ways for stay-at-home parents to make a little extra money — without joining an MLM.
1. Take Advantage of Nap Time and Earn $225 Watching Videos
If we told you that you could get free money just for watching videos on your computer while your kid soonzed, you’d probably laugh. It’s too good to be true, right? But we’re serious.
A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute, you might watch someone bake brownies and the next, you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.
All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward. Brands pay InboxDollars to get these videos in front of viewers, and it passes a cut onto you.
InboxDollars won’t make you rich, but it’s possible to get up to $225 per month watching these videos. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately earn a $5 bonus to get you started.
2. Let This App Pay You up to $83 When You Win Solitaire Games
Lots of us already play Solitaire on our phones for fun or just to pass the time. Want to see if you can win money at it?
There’s a free iPhone app called Solitaire Cash that lets you play for real money. You could get paid up to $83 per win.
You might be thinking: There’s got to be a catch. This is definitely one of those spammy apps, right?
Wrong. There really isn’t a catch. Sure, you can pay to play in some higher-stakes tournaments, but there’s no pressure. And, in fact, there aren’t even any annoying ads.
With each game, you’ll battle it out against at least five other players. Everyone gets the same deck, so winning is totally a matter of skill. The top three players who solve the deck fastest can win real money — anywhere from $1 to $83.
Over on the App Store, it has over a million downloads and more than 15,000 ratings, averaging 4.7 stars (out of 5).
To get started, just download the free app and start playing your first game immediately.
3. Is Your Kid Still in Diapers? Get Rewarded For Your Loyalty
Diapers are expensive. If you added up all the dirty nappies your kid went through this year… well, don’t. It’s a lot. Better not to think about it.
Thankfully, some of the brands you use most offer loyalty programs to help offset the cost (and keep you coming back). For example, the Pampers Club app gives you cash back and points for each diaper or wipes code you scan.
Points can be redeemed for discounts and coupons, and the cash gets transferred right to your PayPal account. I’ve already made $40 for filling up my diaper pail!
4. Find Extra Money That’s Already in Your Budget
Money doesn’t just fall out of the sky — which is too bad. But it can fall out of your budget, if you know where to look.
When was the last time you looked at your car insurance payment? You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money.
Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.
EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.
Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance. In just a few minutes, you could save up to $610 a year.
5. Embrace the Minimalist Movement and Clean Out Your Closet
You know the closet I’m talking about. The one with clothes and toys your kids outgrew last year, mystery boxes from the last time you moved and didn’t unpack, and other miscellaneous junk you obviously don’t use.
It’s time to let go. Sell it! Whether it’s through a garage sale, Facebook Marketplace, or an app like Letgo, get rid of it all and get some of your money back.
It’ll feel like a breath of fresh air to unload so much stuff, and you could be a few hundred bucks richer. Win-win.
6. If You Have the Time, Get a Side Gig
Side-gigging is a hard juggling act for stay-at-home parents, which is why those multi-level marketing companies can be so tempting — but don’t feel pressured to do it. They can be a dangerous investment, if you’re not high enough on the corporate food chain.
So, what kind of side gig can parents have? Driving or food shopping apps aren’t always feasible with little ones at home. It has to be something you can do from home and that works around your family’s schedule.
If you have skills and experience from before parenthood, you can look for online and remote freelance gigs at some of the top freelancing websites.
You could also take a free online contact-tracing course from John Hopkins University, then find contact-tracing jobs. These types of jobs are flexible and can earn you upwards of $30/hour. Plus, you’d be playing a meaningful role in the reopening of our economy.