Last Updated on October 22, 2022 by Rebecca Lake
There’s a lot of planning that goes into having a new baby. And an important question you might need to ask is how to make money on maternity leave.
The United States is one of a very small minority of countries that don’t offer paid maternity leave or parental leave for new moms and families. While the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows new parents to take up to 12 weeks of leave to care for a newborn, the Act doesn’t require your employer to pay you for it.
According to a study from Breeze, 74% of women say they wouldn’t have any cash savings left after eight weeks of unpaid maternity leave. If you need to maintain a steady flow of income while on maternity leave, your options might be limited.
Different companies offer parental benefits, including a certain number of weeks of paid maternity leave. Amazon, Netflix and Facebook are a few examples of companies that offer paid family leave, including maternity and paternity leave. But they’re more the exception than the rule.
A handful of states mandate paid maternity leave benefits. For example, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington and the District of Columbia have state laws covering maternity pay.
But what do you do if paid leave isn’t available through your employer or at the state level?
The good news is that there are lots of different ways to make extra money on mat leave. Whether you’re expecting your first baby or adding a new family member to your existing brood, you’ll want to read through this list of ideas for how to make money on maternity leave and earn a little extra cash (or a lot).
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How to Make Money on Maternity Leave Online
One of the best ways to make money on maternity leave is doing remote work or side hustle jobs that you can do online. There are plenty of work at home jobs and side hustles for women that you can do in your spare time to make extra income using your laptop or cellphone.
Here are some flexible options for how to make money on maternity leave while still having plenty of time to care for a new baby.
1. Freelance writer
Freelance writing is one of the best at home jobs for moms (and dads) to make money while on maternity leave. I actually started freelance writing as a side gig after my second son was born while I was deciding whether to go back to my sales job after my two months of maternity leave ended.
The great thing about freelance writing is that you don’t need a lot of experience to get started. And it’s possible to earn a full-time income writing from home.
If you’re interested in freelance writing, take a look at this list of sites that pay you to write.
2. Virtual assistant
Virtual assistants get paid to help small business owners and bloggers run their businesses. The type of work you do can depend on the client but it might include:
- Scheduling social media posts
- Managing emails
- Writing blog content
- Keeping track of your client’s schedule
Virtual assistants can make a part time or full time income. Depending on how much free time you have, this could be a great option for how to money on maternity leave using the high income skills you already have.
If you’re interested in how to become a VA, I recommend checking out Gina Horkey’s Jumpstart Your VA Biz course.
Gina is an expert at building a successful virtual assistant business and some of her students are making $10,000 a month or more!
3. Online tutor
Tutoring is another great option for stay at home parents and new moms to make an income on the side.
There are lots of people who are willing to pay for tutoring services and being able to tutor online means you can make money on a flexible schedule. If you’re interested in becoming an online tutor, here are some of the best tutoring sites to check out:
Keep in mind that each site may have specific eligibility requirements you’ll need to meet to qualify as a tutor. But otherwise, this could be an ideal choice for how to make money on maternity leave if you have tutoring or teaching experience.
4. Become an Outschool teacher
Outschool is an online learning platform for kids K-12. Classes are taught live via Zoom and meet according to the schedule set by the teacher.
Teaching on Outschool could be an easy way to make money on maternity leave if you have some spare time to lead classes and you have a subject that you’re passionate about.
Anyone can sign up to teach at Outschool–you don’t need a teaching degree. You do, however, need to be able to pass a background check.
In terms of earning potential, some Outschool teachers are making $10k a month or more working a few hours a week. That’s much more than a typical full-time employee earns so it’s worth considering if you think you might leave your full-time job once your baby arrives.
5. Create an online course
If you don’t have much time to teach live classes while you’re busy caring for a newborn or infant on maternity leave, you could create an evergreen course to sell instead.
Online courses can be an excellent way to earn passive income while on mat leave. You can create the course, upload it to an online course platform and earn money each time someone purchases it.
Some of the best places to sell courses online include:
Courses can be highly profitable since you can sell them over and over. It’s possible that you could even replace your full-time income from your job selling courses on maternity leave.
6. Open an Etsy shop
Making and selling crafts on Etsy is another great option for how to make money on maternity leave if you enjoy being creative.
With an Etsy online store, you can sell handmade items, including:
- Knitted items
But that’s just a short list and you can sell virtually anything you enjoy making on Etsy. For instance, I set up an Etsy shop for my teen daughter where she sells kpop-related items.
If you’re interested in making money with Etsy, check out this list of 20+ highly popular things to make and sell.
7. Sell digital printables
Printables are one of my favorite ideas for how to make money on maternity leave and earn a passive income because they’re fun to make and you can earn a LOT of money this way.
You can sell printables on Etsy or set up an online store with Shopify or Payhip. You’ll need a basic design tool like Canva to make your printables. But once you make them, you can sell them again and again.
For example, you could make money selling:
- Planning printables
- Budgeting printables
- Home management printables
- Habit trackers
- Weight loss printables
- Educational printables
In terms of how much money you can make selling printables, you could easily make an extra $1000 a month this way if you’re able to nail down your niche and design.
8. Start a mom blog
Maternity leave could be a great time to consider starting a blog to make money.
Bloggers can make money in lots of different ways, including:
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored posts
- Digital products
- Offering services
It’s relatively inexpensive to start a blog. You’ll need a domain name and hosting but that’s about it.
If you’d like to start a blog while on unpaid maternity leave, here’s a detailed guide on how to become a blogger.
9. Sell low content books
Low content books are just what they sound like–books with very little content on the inside.
Low content book examples include:
Selling low content books on Amazon KDP is an ideal choice for how to make money on maternity leave because it doesn’t require a huge investment of time or cash.
You’ll need a design tool like Canva but otherwise, you can publish books on Amazon for free. When your book sells, Amazon will print and ship it for you then pay you a royalty.
10. Make and sell stickers
Designing digital or printed stickers can be another moneymaker for a new mum on maternity leave.
If you’d like to make and sell physical stickers, you can use a Cricut to print them out on vinyl. But you can also design digital stickers that don’t require any printing at all.
You can sell either type of sticker through an Etsy shop. And you can use Canva to make all of your stickers to sell.
11. Start a print-on-demand (POD) shop
Print on demand is one of the best small businesses for new moms and women who want to make money while having enough time to take care of their little ones.
With print on demand, you upload your designs to a POD platform like Redbubble. When someone purchases your design, the POD shop prints that design on their purchased item and ships it.
It’s a perfect solution for how to make money on maternity leave if you like being creative and want to earn extra income from home. If you’ve ever dreamed of selling t-shirts, coffee mugs or tote bags featuring your own designs, this can be a great way to do it with minimal cost.
12. Join an online focus group
When you join an online focus group, you’re essentially taking part in a targeted research study. You can make extra money by answering questions or sharing your insight.
Here are two of the best online focus groups to join, based on the pay range:
You can join both of these sites to participate in online focus groups and make money on maternity leave. Keep in mind that each focus group opportunity may have specific eligibility requirements to join or a waiting period before you can get paid.
13. Become an online proofreader
Online proofreaders get paid to correct errors in written documents. Some online proofreaders are making $50,000 a year or more working a part-time schedule.
If you have an eye for detail and a good grasp of grammar and spelling, you already have the basic skills required to start a proofreading side hustle on maternity leave. There are plenty of online proofreading jobs for beginners that pay $20 an hour or more.
Want to learn how to get paid to proofread? Sign up for this FREE webinar to learn how to make money proofreading online!
14. Become an online transcriptionist
Transcriptionists are paid to turn digital files into typed documents. For example, you may transcribe podcast notes or conference calls for clients.
Starting a transcription side gig on maternity leave could be an option if you’d like to get paid to type and have good typing skills.
You’ll need a good pair of headphones and some transcription software to get started. But this could be a low-cost side hustle or business idea and there are lots of online transcription jobs for beginners to choose from.
15. Become a social media manager or Pinterest manager
Small business owners (and big business owners), as well as bloggers, often rely on their online presence to drive traffic and generate revenue.
Becoming a social media manager or Pinterest virtual assistant is another great idea for how to make money on maternity leave if you’re social media or Pinterest savvy.
As a social media manager, you might get paid to write posts, schedule them or moderate comments. Pinterest virtual assistants make money managing their clients’ Pinterest accounts.
This could be one of the best work from home job options for new moms who are comfortable using social media and want to be able to make money in-between feedings, changing diapers and washing baby clothes.
16. Sell photos online
If you have good photography skills, you could make a part-time or even full-time income selling photos online during maternity leave.
And you could specialize in just one type of photography to make money. For example, plenty of people make good money selling feet pics. If that’s something you’re interested in, here’s a guide on how to sell feet pics online without getting scammed.
17. Become an online juror
Being a mock juror is something you might consider for how to make money on maternity leave if you have an interest in the legal system.
Online jurors get paid to weigh the facts of cases and decide on the outcomes. There are several sites that will pay you to participate in an online jury, including:
You can check the eligibility requirements for each one and decide which ones to apply to.
18. Take online surveys
Taking surveys online is not a way to get rich fast. But it can be a good way to make a little extra cash while on maternity leave.
Online survey sites can pay you real cash or gift cards for doing things like taking surveys, watching videos, playing games or reading emails. This is a simple way to make money on maternity leave in your spare time.
Some of the most popular survey sites include:
- Survey Junkie (make up to $50 per survey!)
- Opinion Outpost
The great thing about taking surveys for money is that you can sign up for multiple survey sites to earn cash and gift cards any time you have a few minutes to spare. And you can take surveys from virtually anywhere using your cellphone.
So whether you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or nursing your newborn, you’ve got a go-to option for how to make money on maternity leave.
19. Sell digital planners
Using a planner is a great way to stay organized, especially if you’re a busy new mom.
If you’ve got graphic design skills, you could start a maternity leave side hustle designing digital planners or notebooks.
You can use a tool like Canva or Keynote to design your planners. Once they’re ready to sell, you can offer them through Etsy or another online store.
20. Get paid to test websites
User testers get paid to visit websites and use mobile apps, then offer positive or negative feedback on them. That can be a fun (and easy) possibility for how to make money on maternity leave.
If you’re looking for user testing jobs you can do from home on maternity leave, here are a few sites to explore:
Looking for a remote gig or work-from-home job? Virtual Vocations features remote jobs and at-home jobs in over 50 categories so you can find a role that fits your skills. Create a Virtual Vocations account and start browsing listings to find your next remote job!
Other Ideas for How to Make Money on Maternity Leave
Making money online from home might be ideal if you want to be able to devote as much of your time as possible to your newborn while on maternity leave.
But there are also ways to make extra income on mat leave offline. Here are a few more ideas for how to make money on maternity leave and replace partial or full pay while you’re taking a break from your job.
21. Sell your stuff
Selling things you no longer need is one of the easier ways to make money on maternity leave. If you have unwanted items, you could make extra cash selling them on Facebook or hosting a garage sale.
Some of the best things to sell for money include:
- Maternity clothes
- Baby items that you have duplicates of (or that your baby quickly outgrows)
- Games and gaming systems
- Small household appliances
- Jewelry and watches
- Power tools
If you need to make some fast cash on maternity leave but don’t necessarily want to sell your stuff you could use them as collateral for a loan at a pawn shop near you instead.
22. Try flea market flipping
If you’d rather not sell your own things you could make money flipping someone else’s unwanted items. Flea market flipping involves turning someone else’s trash into treasure.
The key to making money as a flipper is knowing which items are to flip and how to price them to make the most profit.
If you’re interested in flipping items for cash as a part-time side hustle or even a full-time job while on maternity leave, be sure to check out Flipper University. This free course offers an insider look at how to make money flipping items from two flea market flipping pros.
23. Get paid to grocery shop
If you’re already spending time in the grocery store while on mat leave, getting paid to do it could be a good idea.
You could offer grocery shopping services locally on Facebook or through word of mouth. Or you could sign up with a grocery shopping service like Instacart or Shipt.
This could be a great side hustle for new moms if you want to be able to work flexible hours and take your newborn along with you if necessary.
24. Get paid to run errands
Running errands is another easy idea for how to make money on maternity leave in your spare time.
For example, you might do things like picking up dry cleaning or taking an elderly neighbor to their doctor’s appointment.
You can run errands and make money on a flexible schedule and take your baby along with you.
25. Earn cash back while you shop
Planning for a new baby likely means spending money on baby items, like clothes, diapers or baby furniture. And once the baby arrives, you’ll still need to spend money replacing baby clothes as they outgrow them and buying other baby gear, like a car seat or stroller.
Using cash back apps to shop is an easy way to earn back some of what you spend and make money on maternity leave.
Some of the best cash back apps include:
- Rakuten – Rakuten pays cash back when you shop online or in stores at participating retailers. You can earn a $10 welcome bonus when you sign up and you can earn more cash bonuses when you refer others to Rakuten.
- Ibotta – Ibotta pays you cash back on shopping and groceries, which is perfect if you’re eating at home more often while on maternity leave. When you sign up for a new Ibotta account, you can get up to $20 in cash bonuses.
- Dosh – Dosh is another app that pays cash back on dining, travel and shopping. Earning cash back with Dosh is as easy as downloading the app and connecting your debit card or credit card.
- Drop – The Drop app pays cash back and gift cards on just about everything you buy. You can download Drop, then start shopping to earn cash back and free gift card rewards.
26. Look for unclaimed money
It’s possible that you could have money waiting around for you to collect it. This is an idea for how to make money on maternity leave that you might not otherwise think of but it could put free money in your hands fast.
There are billions of dollars in unclaimed money and property in the U.S. just waiting to be found by the rightful owners.
Not everyone has unclaimed money but it could be worth checking to see if you have any extra cash out there that you don’t know about. For example, if you’ve changed jobs then you might have an old 401(k) you forgot about or tax refunds you never claimed.
If you’re looking for unclaimed funds, here are some websites you can try:
You can also check with the IRS, your state tax office or your state’s unclaimed money fund to see if you have any cash floating around.
27. Sell gift cards for cash
Gift cards are great unless you never end up using them. If you have unused gifts that you got for your baby shower, birthday or any other occasion you could sell them for cash.
This is a low-stress idea for how to make money on maternity leave that doesn’t require any special skills or job training.
An easy way to do that is to find a gift card exchange kiosk. Gift card exchange kiosks allow you to turn gift cards into cash. You can sell your gift cards virtually or at a local gift card exchange kiosk near you.
28. Rent out a spare room (or other space)
If you’re comfortable with the idea of having someone else in your home, you could rent out a spare room for extra money on maternity leave.
You can advertise your listing on Airbnb or locally through word of mouth. And if you don’t have a room to rent, you could also rent out other spaces like a parking spot, storage shed or even vacant land you own.
29. Offer child care in your home
Since you’ll already be home with a new baby, you might consider offering child care services during maternity leave.
You could offer to take care of other infants, toddlers or older children in your spare time as a way to make extra money. Just be sure to check your state laws regarding how many children you can care for in your home without a daycare license.
30. Invest your spare change
Investing can be a good way to make passive income since you can earn interest and dividends on the money you put into the market. And the great thing is that you don’t need a lot of money to start investing if you want to explore this option for how to make money on maternity leave.
With Acorns, for example, you can invest using your spare change. Acorns links to your debit card and tracks spending, rounds up your purchases, then invests the difference into a portfolio of low-cost exchange-traded funds.
And if you have a little more money to invest, you can open an account with $100 at M1 Finance. At M1 Finance, you can invest in ETFs, mutual funds, stocks and even cryptocurrency.
How to Save Money on Maternity Leave
So far, we’ve covered how to make money on maternity leave. To wrap things up, here are a few tips on how to save money on mat leave and make the most of the income you have.
Check your benefits
If you know you’ll be going on maternity leave, the first thing you’ll want to do is check whether you have any paid leave benefits through your employer and if so, how those benefits kick in when parental leave starts.
For example, when my son was born I was able to get short-term disability insurance benefits for the last month of my pregnancy because my doctor recommended I pause working for health reasons. Thanks to those disability benefits, I was able to collect a portion of my regular salary up until my due date, then for a few weeks after my son was born.
It’s possible that your employer may offer a temporary disability program or other paid maternity leave benefits, which is great news if you need financial help getting through the leave period.
Also, check what government benefits cover maternity leave. For example, if you live in Canada you’re entitled to EI maternity benefits, which provide a generous leave period for new parents.
Lower your bills
Reducing monthly bills is another way to save money on maternity leave and it can be a good idea if you’re going to be dealing with new expenses, like hospital bills.
Some of the easiest ways to reduce bills while on maternity leave include:
- Cutting out subscription services you’re not using
- Planning meals and cooking cheap dinners at home
- Driving less to save on gas (or use Get Upside to earn cash back on gas)
- Adjusting the thermostat to save on energy bills
- Cutting dry cleaning services from your budget
You can also shop around for savings on things like insurance, internet service and phone service. Switching from a contract phone to a prepaid phone, for example, could save you $600 or more each year.
If you’re having trouble figuring out which expenses to cut, you can use a personal finance tool like Trim. Trim reviews your expenses to help you find unwanted subscription services, gray charges and other costs you can cut.
Open a high-yield savings account
If you’re saving money while on maternity leave, it makes sense to keep it in a savings account that earns a great interest rate.
Opening a high yield savings account at an online bank is an easy way to earn a competitive APY with low monthly fees. Online banks tend to have lower overhead costs so they can pay higher rates to savers.
CIT Bank’s Savings Connect Account is a solid pick if you have at least $100 to open an account and you want to earn one of the highest rates around. This account has no monthly fees either.
Looking for the best high yield savings option? Compare savings account rates online at top banks and credit unions now!
Final thoughts on how to make money on maternity leave
Maternity leave is meant to be a time where you can relax and enjoy your time at home with your newborn. But if you don’t have paid maternity leave benefits that you can take advantage of, you might need to explore different ideas for how to make money on mat leave.
You might even find that you’re able to earn a full-time income while on maternity leave by starting one or more side hustles!
Need more money tips? Read these posts next:
- 40 Best Jobs for Pregnant Women (Real Ways to Make Money While Pregnant)
- Passive Income Ideas for Moms: 10 Legitimate Ways to Make Money Passively
- Financial Help for Single Moms Ultimate Guide
- 50+ Flexible Side Hustles for Moms Who Want to Make Extra Money
- 100+ Extra Income Ideas for Moms (Best Ways for Moms to Make Money)