Money-Saving for a Single, Working Mom
Surviving as a Single Mom
My Story: Single Parenthood
I am divorced with one child. How can I work and stay home to take care of my child?
Take a good look at your skills. I became a single mom eight years ago, and have been able to be home with my children. I was able to take care of a friend's baby for awhile, until I was able to get my own business going. I teach piano and violin in my home, and now give 25 lessons a week. I'm so thankful for the sacrifices my parents made to give me lessons for so many years! I never dreamed that I would be teaching someday! Take a good look at your skills and hobbies and then work on finding where you can fill a need. Also, I have had a daycare business over the years and know that there is always a need for loving homes. You can contact your local agency to see how to get licensed. Your child will benefit so much from having you home, and having playmates would be a bonus.
Start your own daycare business. I ran a Montessori based daycare out of my home for years while my children were growing up. It was wonderful! You will need to check out state licensing requirements, but it's a pretty easy and inexpensive process. In Michigan, we have 4-C to help get you started. There are government food programs that will reimburse you for most of the money spent on groceries for the daycare. Since you already have one child, it's likely you have all the equipment you'd need to get started.
There are some legitimate stay-at-home opportunities, but you have to do your research. The one that comes to mind is Medical Transcription. You may need to go to a community college to get some training, but it would allow you to be home while you work. Some colleges offer day care, grants and on campus job opportunities. You can always get a student loan, which would pay for your tuition, books, and other college-related expenses.
Community colleges in my area are starting to offer housing for single moms. You may find the same thing in your community. You could always get together with another single mom, live together to share expenses, and if you were both working different shifts, you would have no child care expenses.
Read everything on The Dollar Stretcher site for information on other ways to reduce your expenses. Go to the library and check out books on the subject of money saving and working at home.
Perhaps you can look into jobs that allow you to have your child with you, even if you don't necessarily stay at home.
My friend's mom drove our school bus for several years, and brought along her toddler-aged daughter. The car seat was simply strapped into the first row of the bus, and the riders loved to help out with her. This was for a private school. I don't know if it would work in a public school.
If you have a college degree, you could also look into tutoring students out of your home. However, this type of work is sometimes unreliable. But, it might work well in combination with other jobs for extra cash.
Sarah in PA
I'm a divorced work-at-home mom. First, I'm assuming you want to work at home so you don't have to send your child to daycare. But what about swapping childcare with another single mom (whom you know and trust) while you work outside the home part-time? I did that for several months when my daughter was three, and that worked very well for us.
However, if you really want to work at home, first find something you would be good at. This may seem like a no-brainer, but some people try a work-at-home career for which they simply do not have a knack. Take a look at your skills. Can you give any type of lessons, such as music, sewing, cooking, or dance?
What about providing childcare? You may not have to offer full-time daycare. Sometimes just before- and after-school care generates enough income to live on. What about providing childcare for a Friday or Saturday night parent's night out? If the parents have to feed the supper to the kids, then just provide a snack, movie, and games.
If you want to take advantage of home-study classes, do not get caught up in advertising hype. Before you take classes for anything, be sure you do a lot of research to make sure there are actually good jobs available in your area once you complete the courses. For example, I am a work-at-home medical transcriptionist. Despite the fact that correspondence school advertisements suggest that their medical transcription graduates can "Work at home and earn $45K a year," I know for a fact that most people cannot find a work-at-home medical transcription job without two to three years of solid experience.
Finally, keep your ears open about possibilities. Maybe someone in your church, singles or single parents group, or other organization has a great work-at-home job that would be perfect for you! It may take time to find a really great job, but hang in there, because there are many possibilities! You just have to find the one that's right for you.
Christine in Ohio
I sympathize with you on this dilemma. The first thing I would caution you is not to get involved with websites or classified ads that charge you money of any sort. These are generally scams and take advantage of people who are desperately trying to find a work-from-home job to make a living.
A friend of mine got a great job by sharing both the childcare responsibilities and the part-time position with another woman! They shared the job, taking care of each other's child, and the benefits of having a part-time job. She was thrilled with the arrangement and it worked well for both of the women. This may not be an option for you if you don't have "enlightened" employers in your vicinity.
A few years back, after getting the genealogy bug, I happened to find a business via the Internet that would pay me to transcribe books that had genealogical importance, but very few people would ever read. I had to find and get approval on the book, and I was paid a cents-per-record amount. Though it took quite some time, I was able to earn enough money to purchase new living room furniture.
I would also check with local private schools with daycare programs for part-time assistant positions in which your child could participate. If you could barter part of your time for bringing your own child to the school, that might be equally worthwhile.
If you have accounting in your background, you could do the bookkeeping for businesses that can't afford a CPA (like non-profits that still need bookkeeping done but don't have a large budget for it). This can be done in your timeframe as long as the deadline of the business is met. Often, businesses would be happy to work with you if you do an accurate job.
I would also contact local employment agencies. They may be aware of other opportunities for you that are not apparent. Asking questions and being open to ideas is very important.
I run a small business out of my home on weekends. I work as a children's clown. I'm usually only there one hour. I make a good wage, no less than $50 an hour and have the flexibility of working when I want to. I started out working for an agency, so I knew things were on the up and up. It also takes little overhead and it's perfect if you love children.
The idea is to find something that you can reasonably do that will fit into your schedule. When I started, I was working and going to college. I needed something that was not so regimented, so I could rest or take more time for my studies if I needed it.
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