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Offbeat Ways to Make Money as a Stay at Home Parent

I quit my full-time job in June, 2011 because the cost of having an infant and toddler in day care was prohibitive and would eat up most of my salary.  However, we couldn’t financially survive on my husband’s salary alone, no matter how many corners I cut.  Instead, I set about finding a way to work from home around my children’s schedules to help supplement the family income.

More and more frequently, one parent chooses to stay home to care for children to avoid the high cost of daycare.  Luckily, there are plenty of ways to earn money that offer you a flexible schedule.

Of course, there are the traditional work at home jobs [3] that many people think of such as freelance writing and babysitting, but if you need to supplement a work at home job you already have or you don’t want to be committed to a job, these offbeat ideas might just work for you:

  1. Enter giveaways.  Entering giveaways seems to be an unlikely way to make money, but I have spoken to many parents who win giveaways and use the prizes to give as holiday gifts or to help feed their family (such as restaurant passes or free food product coupons).  In a recent interview of All You Magazine, a woman was interviewed who had to claim $20,000 on her tax return last year as the value for all of the prizes she won during the year.  She used most of the prizes, but the ones she didn’t, she sold on Craigslist to pocket cash.
  2. Advertise a job on FiverrFiverr [4] is a site where you can advertise a job you will do for $5.  The jobs range from practical, such as proofreading and writing as well as translation to the bizarre such as eating a raw onion or saying your message while break dancing.  To really benefit from this site, you need to get good reviews and make sure you don’t undervalue your time and talent (don’t write 500 word articles for $5!).  It also helps if you have a skill that people are looking for.  You can do as many of the $5 jobs as you can to make the money that you need.
  3. Sell plasma.  Need a break from the kids while doing a good deed?  Plasma centers around the country are looking for people to give their plasma [5].  In return, you will earn $20 to $30 (or more in some areas of the country) per approximately 90 minute donation session, and you can donate twice a week.  Donate twice a week for a month, and you can earn up to $300.  There are side effects, and getting poked with a needle twice a week isn’t pleasant, but if that doesn’t bother you, this is a good way to make supplemental money.
  4. Join a research study.  There are many types of research studies out there, some invasive and some non-invasive.  I am not suggesting that you join an invasive study where you will be testing medication (although it is your choice), but instead, consider the non-invasive studies.  I find these frequently on Craigslist under the [ETC] section.  One hospital near us is doing sleep studies.  You sleep at home for 5 nights, and then you sleep in the hospital for 2 nights.  You are monitored both at home and in the hospital, and you must do this for 2 weeks.  In return, you get $600 to $1,000.
  5. Join a marketing research study.  The [ETC] section of Craigslist also offers jobs from companies looking for subjects to market their product to.  You fill out a short form, and if you are their target demographic, you may be contacted to participate.  You will likely be in the research session for about 2 hours and can make $50 to $200.  Getting chosen is a matter of luck since you don’t know specifically what demographic they are looking for.
  6. Be a mystery shopper.  This is on my list of jobs, but many have told me it is better for those whose kids are in school because you have to observe carefully, and it is hard to do when you are also caring for small children.  If you build up a reputation as a good mystery shopper, you can be chosen for jobs such as mystery shopping at a movie theater or restaurant.  While you usually aren’t paid, you usually get whatever you have to purchase as part of the assignment for free.  One blogger will get free oil changes for life [6] thanks to her mystery shopping gig.  While she isn’t making any money, think of all the money she is saving!

If you don’t have time to commit to a regular job or you need to supplement your job, there are plenty of offbeat ways to do just that.

What is your favorite offbeat way to make money?