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 5 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. Get Cash Back With Every Grocery Haul
Grocery shopping when you have kids is an adventure. If you managed to get to checkout with everything you need — despite your toddler’s meltdown in the frozen aisle — you should have something to show for it.
A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for buying toilet paper and more than 250 other items at the grocery store (Hopefully something your picky eater will eat).
Here’s how it works: After you’ve downloaded the app, just take a picture of your receipt showing you purchased an item from one of the brands listed in Fetch. For your efforts, you’ll earn gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart.
You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards. Over a million people already have, so they must be onto something…
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.
A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.
Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of $540 a year.
Yup. That could be $500 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.
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.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.