How to make a little extra money when on parental leave

By Jenn Taft

Maternity leave is a new experience for your finances. So how do you make a little extra ££ whilst on parental leave?

You can go from having a good monthly income to living through a period where you’re bringing in the equivalent of a quarter of your pay.

It was this drop down in pay that made me look to making some extra money elsewhere while away from work to help top up my income. I was keen not to take away from the precious time I had with my babies, but instead monetise the things I was already good at and that I already practised in the little spare time I had to myself.

What are you good at?

Write down all the hobbies you have, or activities, that you really enjoy doing.

For me this was writing, proofreading, making handmade items and teaching others.

I spent time researching each of these areas, followed key figures in each area on social media for constant information, and made a conscious effort to improve my skills.

Writing is my main hobby and I took the bold step to email some websites about possible blog writing work. I had a good response and with that writing behind me I set up my own website, helping me gain further writing work. I now write mostly about family finance and have been given many opportunities to do so.

Interested in becoming a freelance writer? Someone I look to for help and advice is Elna Cain. Her advice is to the point and useful, and she will help you pitch to companies for writing work, and for decent pay. You can also sign up to sites like Fiverr and Upwork, where you will find a good amount of writing work. The only problem with these sites is that they don't always pay you that well, but the work is constant

Can you sell it?

If you can make something to a decent standard, chances are you will be able to sell it on Etsy.

Etsy is a fantastic place to showcase what you’ve made, and if you want to take it more seriously then there are strategies to follow that will help your Etsy shop grow swiftly.

I enjoyed using Etsy as a place to sell handmade jewellery, homeware and typographical prints. I could make all of these things at home and could get the supplies easily from places like Hobbycraft. With a profit margin of about £5 an item it was good pocket money. If you can make an item that is hard to make or requires really specific skills then you can of course make far more money than this.

Need some inspiration? Have a look at how the millionaires do it – you can always learn from another’s success.

Can you teach it to someone else?

If you can make something, and you’re selling it online, then you can also teach others to make it. It takes a bit of bravery, but online teaching has become a great way to earn money and there are people who make their living doing so.

Personal tip: Once I had my jewellery on Etsy I made some short how-to style videos and uploaded them to Skillshare. As a new teacher I entered Skillshare’ monthly Teacher Challenge, which rewarded you well at the end of the month simply for giving teaching a good go. I also got a year’s free premium membership so have enjoyed learning lots more for myself. The prizes change monthly but it really is worth the effort.

If you aren’t into making things but have good knowledge of something like a computer program, or motivational speaking, or how to write a good story, or any other skill in fact, then find some courage and make a tutorial video. I made my lessons over a year ago and I still receive monthly payments for the number of people who view them.

Once you’ve made those videos there is no reason why you couldn’t upload them to Youtube with some simple advertising and make more money off of them for very little effort. Can you make the lessons longer? If you can make an hour long lesson of your skill then you can start charging more for people to watch them on platforms like Udemy.

Can you answer a few questions?

If making, selling and teaching are just not your cup of tea then there are plenty of other opportunities to make some extra money.

Answering surveys and questionnaires is a favourite and can bring in anything from pocket money to a couple of hundred pounds a month. I do this myself on sites like Toluna, and YouGov, answering questions about my likes and dislikes, spending habits and thoughts on current affairs and politics.

You can also use sites like AppNana, where you install and play various apps to gain points. These are then exchanged for money or gift vouchers on their website. This isn’t big money but 5 minutes here or there will quickly build you the points necessary for a pay out on PayPal, so it’s worth looking into.

All of these sites can be used on your mobile phone, so instead of browsing social media endlessly, why not put those 5 minutes you have spare to good use and make some money with very little effort.

Don’t just bin it, sell it!

Everyone has clutter that they need to get rid of. Even after decluttering I still have clutter! But one person’s clutter could be someone else’s ideal item.

My husband and I have managed to get into the habit of checking eBay for an item’s value before throwing it out. Once we know what it’s worth, we can sell it. This is for anything – clothes, electrical items, homeware, shoes, games, books, children’s toys. You will be pleasantly surprised to find that there is almost always a buyer for whatever you are selling.

So if you have a few minutes to list an item for sale, and are willing to start at a low price to attract attention, then get selling!

Anything else?

Other work you can do to gain extra money includes becoming a rep for companies such as Avon or the Body Shop. You could also take on tasks to help other people such as dog walking or dog sitting.


What about a second job?

Got a vehicle and can be free at some point in the day? Then deliveries for places such as Deliveroo, Amazon or Yodel might be for you. Deliveries are more like a second job rather rather than a side project, so make sure you have the time to offer.
Considering jobs like these may lead you to a new career that better accommodates your family, so it's worth looking into. Just make sure you enjoy your maternity leave while you can!

Top Takeaway

With so many ways to make money from home you might find it necessary to start up a small business. That way if you earn any money you are covered for tax purposes. I’ve done it and it doesn’t take long to do, and with it all online it’s straightforward too.

Have you started a side project whilst on maternity leave? 

Author bio: Jenn is a freelance writer and physics teacher from the West Midlands. She has a love of writing about personal finances, especially how they change when you become a parent, and enjoys the honesty that such writing brings. When not writing, teaching or being a mum, Jenn loves nothing more than indulging her love of hospital and police based documentaries, and cake.

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