Manage the family finances by cutting expenses AND increasing income
Photo by Brittney Bush
Reader Melissa asks, “How do you cut back more when you have cut back to the bare minimum? I have a family of five to feed, and it seems to be getting more and more expensive. Any suggestions?”
I hear you, Melissa. With the crazy economy, it’s pretty hard to budget, even if you budget one month at a time, like we do. And if you stay at home full-time, a main part of your job as home manager is getting creative with managing the family’s money, stretching it as far as it can possibly go.
There are two sides to the money management equation – income and expenses. And if you’re doing all you can to manage your expenses – and by that, I mean possibly living on beans and rice for a season – then you might need to look at the income side of the equation.
In other words, you might need to increase your income in addition to cutting your expenses.
I know, easier said than done.
What’s a full-time home manager to do? We all know you can’t just cut back working hours at home in order to work elsewhere. I personally think that if you feel called to stay at home with your kids, you can do it – God will provide for your needs. But He might be asking you to earn money from home, while you also manage the home.
It’s a tough job, yes, and there are very few professions that log as many hours as a parent and home manager. But if money manager is one of the hats you wear, then earning income from home is part of home management.
Options for Earning Income from Home
There is plenty written in the blogosphere about the myriad of ways you can work from home – and there’s no need for me to reinvent the wheel. So here are just a few of the most popular ideas:
Let me put it bluntly – blogging is not passive income. Blogging is a lot of work, and most people blog as a hobby rather than a profession. But if you can find the right niche, you just may find ways to earn some money while writing.
Craft and sell on Etsy
If you’ve got a knack for knitting, a penchant for photography, or mad sewing skills, you can make and sell your wares on Etsy. And that’s just the start of it. It’s admittedly difficult to rake in tons of dough, but if you’ve got the right know-how for your particular skill, you can do well. I personally love the Etsy community, and I love supporting the shops there.
Buy and sell on eBay
This is nothing new, of course, but there are plenty of people who do very well buying items at places such as garage sales, then selling them for a profit on eBay. I have no personal experience with this, so if you have, please share your thoughts in the comment section.
Selling your stuff on Craigslist, Amazon, Half.com, or in a garage sale
There are multiple benefits to this, one of the most obvious being a more decluttered home. I’m all about a decluttered home, as you might guess. If you have a hard time parting with your stuff, justifying it with the thought that you might need it sometime in the future, think of your items as renting space in your home. Is the space that they take up worth having less space and more clutter?
Recommended Resources: A Seller’s Guide to Craigslist on Lifehacker, How to Really Make Money With an Amazon Affiliate Site, and well, I’d be crazy not to recommend my e-book, Spring Cleaning for Normal People
Take calls through sources like LiveOps
Again, I have no personal experience here. What you do is dedicate some time to your landline to taking calls for a particular company, usually a place where people order items from TV. I hear this is a popular option among stay-at-home moms, and it’s fairly easy.
Recommended Resources: Work From Home Idea: LiveOps on Money Saving Mom
Work as a virtual assistant, online tutor, freelancer, transcriptionist, and who knows what else
You get the idea. There are tons of jobs you can do from home, thanks to the internet. Depending on your skills, experience, and interest, there’s a decent chance you can find something up your alley.
Thanks to the internet, we have so many more options than ever before to bring in income while staying at home with our kids. We have opportunities our parents and grandparents never had.
So to answer your question in short, Melissa – if you’ve done all you can to make the expenses side of the equation as small as possible, then perhaps you can find ways to make the income side a bit larger.
Do you bring in additional income from home? What works for you? Please share your ideas with us.
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