I recently became a new mum myself, so I know how stressful it can be if you think you can’t afford maternity leave.
Maternity leave can really stretch the budget. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a really strong workplace package, you’re likely to be down to a fraction of your former salary.
And of course, you suddenly have loads of additional costs with all those nappies, baby clothes and doing up the nursery!
No wonder many of us look for ways to earn extra money on maternity leave.
But mat leave isn’t the time to take on anything too time consuming or strenuous. After all, you’re on leave for a reason: to look after your precious little one!
For me, the ideal way to make extra cash on maternity leave is something I can do online, from home, at any time of the day or night.
The key word is flexible! Babies are unpredictable little creatures, and you can’t always count on getting a solid block of time to work, which rules out many traditional work-from-home jobs.
I’ve also looked for easy things I can do to earn money from my laptop or my phone. That way I can work in bed or on the sofa, even pinned under a sleeping baby.
Here’s my pick of top ways to make money with a new baby:
By the way, this post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase or sign up for a service after clicking on one of my links, I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for supporting my site!
15 flexible ways to make money on maternity leave
Matched betting is my absolute favourite way to make money online (if you’re in the UK)!
Please don’t be put off by the name: done correctly, matched betting is not gambling at all, because you will make a profit every time. It’s a way of making money from betting sites by taking advantage of the free bets and special offers.
The reason you make profit every time is because you place two bets each time, for and against each result. That means the two bets cancel each other out.
Overall, you don’t lose money – and you get to pocket the money from the free bet offer.
It sounds complicated but there are websites with special software to tell you exactly which bets to place and where.
I personally do matched betting through Outplayed.com (previously known as Profit Accumulator) and I really recommend them for their software, training videos and support!
I made £1000 in my first 12 weeks of matched betting – read about my experience here.
The best thing is, it’s all tax free!
Even though matched betting isn’t gambling, it technically counts as ‘winnings’ in the eyes of HMRC so you don’t have to declare your earnings.
This video from Outplayed.com explains a bit more:
OhMyDosh! is one of my new favourite ways to earn extra money since discovering it a few months ago!
This site pays you to sign up for various free trials and offers. I made £20 in 30 minutes doing this – see all the trials I signed up to here! There are some great freebies on offer too.
This isn’t something you could do regularly in the long term, but it is an excellent way to make some fast cash and they pay quickly too.
A similar site is Cashback. The difference is that with OhMyDosh! you can cash out when your balance reached £10 (and you can hit this REALLY quickly), but with Cashback you have to complete 15 offers first. This can take a few weeks but you should net a nice little sum of around £150 when you’re done.
Task apps are a fun way to make money doing small mystery shopping-style tasks from your phone. You have to do things like check which special promotions are on display at the supermarket, or see if a certain product is in stock.
Some task apps to check out are:
- Field Agent
- Clic and Walk
You can do these tasks while out and about taking your baby for a walk.
And while you’re at it, I recommend downloading Job Spotter. This app pays you in Amazon vouchers to take pictures of hiring signs in shop windows. I’ve made loads doing this and it’s so easy!
Be warned that availability does depend on your area, and you can’t exactly rely on these apps for a regular income. But they can be a fantastic way to earn a little extra cash for very little effort.
Transcription is a kind of work from home typing job, where you listen to a recording or video and type out the content.
If you’re a fast typist and you have a computer and a little free time, this could be the job for you!
There are plenty of options for finding transcription work online – here’s a list of companies offering transcription jobs for beginners in the UK.
The pay isn’t the highest for a beginner, but it’s super flexible work and you don’t need experience. And once you get some experience under your belt, you can expect to make a decent hourly wage.
A great resource to learn more about transcription is this free 7 day email course that will set you up with the basics.
Paid survey sites are one of the best known ways to make some extra cash, and they are a great option for mums on maternity leave.
Surveys are probably one of the most flexible side hustles around. What I love about surveys is that you can do them from your phone, at any time of day or night. If you find yourself scrolling endlessly through Facebook or Instagram during night feeds, you may as well be doing something profitable with your time!
No, paid surveys are not the best paying thing out there, and they’re no substitute for a real salary. But it is realistic to make an extra £50-£100 a month if you check for new surveys regularly.
Also, many survey sites give you the option to cash out in gift cards for Amazon, M&S, Argos and similar shops. This can be a great way of paying towards those extra baby expenses (or a treat for yourself!) without eating into the family budget.
Here are some of my recommended survey sites:
- Prolific (the top paying!)
- Pinecone Research (£3 per survey)
- YouGov (interesting surveys, often quoted in the media)
LOTS more survey sites to join at this link.
Swagbucks is a site that pays you for all kinds of online tasks including surveys, watching videos, playing games and even searching the web.
As with survey sites, Swagbucks is not particularly high paying, and I would not recommend it if you are looking for ways to replace your former salary.
BUT here’s the thing – you can do it from your phone, and it requires approximately 0 brain cells.
So if you have hours to waste while stuck underneath a sleeping baby, this is one way to do something a little bit productive with that time.
I don’t recommend Swagbucks surveys as they are very bad for screening you out half way through. But the videos and games are a fun way to add up a few points to redeem for gift cards or cash.
You can even be sneaky like I am and let the videos run in the background while you’re doing other things (a little money making hack for you!). There’s a cap on how many points you can earn doing this, though.
Tutoring online is a great online job you can do from home. If you have any special knowledge or skills, you can get paid to help students with their queries and coursework.
Another bonus: chatting to students is a great way to feel less isolated and have more interesting non-baby conversations throughout the day!
And if you think you don’t have the specialist knowledge to tutor, you’re wrong: you speak English, so you’re in high demand to tutor English as a foreign language!
For this kind of work you do need a quiet room where you can give your full attention to your student for the duration of the lesson, so this works best if you have someone else who can look after your child for an hour or so. The good news is, there are many companies with online tutoring work in the evenings and weekends.
Here are two recommended companies currently hiring online tutors:
Course Hero is recruiting tutors in dozens of different academic subjects, from psychology to business studies and everything in between.
With Course Hero, there are no set hours – you simply log on whenever you can and see what student questions need answering.
You don’t need teaching qualifications, but you do need a degree to show expertise in the subject(s) you want to tutor.
According to Course Hero, their average tutor earns around $300 (£240) per week!
EF (Education First)
EF is recruiting native English speakers to teach English online to Chinese children.
EF actually has demand for classes on weekend mornings, so this could work well if you have a partner who’s off work at weekends and can take over baby duty.
EF require a TEFL certificate, but if you don’t have that, no worries. There are still plenty of opportunities to teach English online with no qualifications – see this post for more.
Qualified TEFL tutors can earn up to $20 per hour with EF.
RedWigWam is a job agency website that matches you with short term assignments in your area.
There are lots of one-off shifts doing things like product promotions in supermarkets. I’ve also seen work from home telephone jobs, delivery jobs, and best of all – online mystery shops! (Make money and get free groceries too – winner!)
Since most of the jobs on RedWigWam are one-off or short-term opportunities, these are perfect for busy parents when you can’t commit to a regular job but maybe want to pick up a couple of shifts every now and then to help contribute to the family budget.
A Virtual Assistant or VA provides online admin tasks for bloggers, small businesses and entrepreneurs.
The services you can offer as a VA are unlimited! Here are just some ideas:
- Answering emails
- Scheduling social media posts
- Designing social media or website graphics
- Answering blog comments
- Editing or proofreading blog posts
- Sending pitches/outreach emails
You can offer a combination of the above, or specialise in one area. If you love Pinterest you can even earn a full time living managing blog Pinterest accounts!
VA is a perfect part time job on maternity leave because you can set your own hours and work from your laptop in bed, on the sofa or anywhere you choose.
You can keep your VA clients on as a side hustle when you go back to work, or you can even scale it up to a full time job so you can stay at home!
Do you have any skills such as writing, graphic design, coding, editing, translating or voiceovers? An obvious way to make some extra money would be selling your services as a freelancer.
This can be a totally flexible job and you can sign up for as much or little work as you like.
There are loads of sites to find freelance work online. Here are a few:
- People Per Hour
And if you think you don’t have any marketable skills, have a browse on Fiverr for inspiration (especially the ‘lifestyle’ category). You will see people offering (and getting paid for!) all kinds of services.
Here are some easy Fiverr gigs that caught my eye:
- Reviewing Tinder profiles
- Giving relationship advice
- Online research
- Help people plan a trip
- Coaching video games
- Recording personalised messages from a unique location
- … and more.
Check out this video for ideas of gigs you can sell on Fiverr with no skills!
Selling on eBay
Bringing a new baby into the home is a great time to have a clear out.
Chances are, you will have loads of clothes that don’t fit you anymore, maternity/nursing clothes that you don’t use, not to mention all those baby clothes that your little one grew out of in a matter of weeks!
Sell all your unused items on eBay (or Facebook groups) and make some extra cash for the newest baby haul.
If you enjoy selling online, you can even turn it into an ongoing side hustle!
Don’t just stop at selling your own baby’s things. Visit jumble sales and car boot fairs to source bargains to sell on for a profit. Read this interview with a mum who made £8,000 in one year doing this.
This is not exactly a work at home job, but it is a no-brainer way to make a little extra cash if you do any online shopping.
And if you’re anything like me, your online shopping habit increased 10-fold after having a baby – so much easier than lumping the pram around the shops!
The way cashback sites work is that you click through them before shopping online, and you get either a fixed bonus or a percentage of your shopping back. You pay full price at the time but typically get your cash back a few weeks later.
Quidco currently has cashback with shops such as Mothercare, Mamas and Papas, Jojo Maman Bebe and Boots, so you can earn money while shopping for baby essentials.
Respondent.io is a website that recruits participants for online research studies.
The studies might not be very regular work, but they are very high paying – up to $140 per hour!! Just one or two of these each month could make a huge difference to your maternity leave budget.
Preparing ahead? How to start a home business for passive income on maternity leave
The absolute best way to make money on maternity leave is to have some form of passive income. That’s income that you earn on autopilot every month – whether you work or not.
Passive income is awesome, but it doesn’t come easily. It typically involves a lot of hard work upfront to build up your income streams to the point where they can make money without you.
So I wouldn’t recommend starting any of these if you’ve already had your baby – God knows you’re busy enough!
But if you’re thinking ahead and preparing financially for maternity leave, starting up a passive income business like this could be the best thing you ever do.
I’m a full time blogger now and I can tell you it’s the best job I’ve ever had!
I make money from displaying adverts on my site, and promoting affiliate products (where I get a commission for anything bought through my links). I sometimes write sponsored posts too.
I’ve been blogging for about two and a half years and the month my baby was born, I earned more than DOUBLE my previous office salary – without doing a single day’s work.
That’s because all my previous posts are still out there on Google and Pinterest, bringing in new readers on autopilot.
However, it took a lot of work to get to that point! It typically takes several months to see any income from a new blog, and one to two years to make a full time income.
(Read about my blogging income journey HERE.)
But if you enjoy writing and research, and you’re not afraid of a little technical learning curve, blogging can become a fun and profitable home business.
Print on Demand
Print on demand companies let you sell products such as T-shirts, hoodies, mugs and phone cases, without handling any physical inventory yourself.
You simply make a design on your computer and upload it to the Print on Demand (POD) site. The POD site prints and ships the item for you once it’s sold. You get a royalty per design sold.
I’ve been dabbling in this for a couple of years and I make around $100 most months for very little work, rising to over $1,000 at Christmas!!
Read my Print On Demand tutorial and experience here.
In theory you can start making money straight away with POD, but I’ve found that you need to upload a large number of designs because only a small fraction will sell. So start as early as possible if you want to establish a decent income stream before going on maternity leave.
This is a new side hustle idea that I’m actually experimenting with at the moment!
Printables are digital files that you sell for people to print out themselves at home. These can be anything from planner pages to wall art, wedding invitations to party decorations.
A popular marketplace to sell printables online is Etsy. You only need to create a design once, upload it to your Etsy shop, and then it can sell hundreds of times without any further input from you.
Am I allowed to work on maternity leave?
I just wanted to add a quick note here for anyone wondering if you can work a second job while on maternity leave or maternity allowance.
Firstly, I need to state the disclaimer that I am not an expert in employment law and this blog does not constitute legal or financial advice. If you’re in any doubt you should consult a professional! Also, I’m in the UK so if you’re reading this in another country things may be different.
If you are employed and taking maternity leave, the first thing to do is check your contract to see whether that mentions anything about working during maternity leave.
If it doesn’t, my understanding is that you are allowed to do self employed work on maternity leave without it affecting your maternity pay.
If you are self employed anyway or receiving Maternity Allowance from the government, you are only allowed to do 10 keeping in touch (KIT) days of work, and then you will have to let the JobCentre Plus know and they will terminate your allowance.
Yes, it’s crazy that employed people can do as much self-employed work as they want, while full-time self-employed people are limited to 10 days, but there you go!
If you expect to earn over £1,000 in extra income during one tax year, you will need to register for Self Assessment with HMRC and declare your earnings. It’s easy to do that here. (You get a £1,000 tax-free ‘trading allowance’, so you don’t need to worry about a few sales on eBay etc.)
The exception is matched betting, which you don’t have to declare because it technically counts as gambling winnings! Yet another reason why it’s my favourite online side hustle! Read more on matched betting here.
Inspired to make money on maternity leave?
I hope this post has given you some good ideas of legit ways to make money on maternity leave! Whether you want to earn a little extra cash from your phone, do some freelancing or even set up your own business on maternity leave, there are ideas out there for everyone.
If you have any more ways to make money on maternity leave, please share in the comments below!
You may also be interested in my free money making email course. Every day for 10 days, I’ll email you with a different suggestion for making money from home.
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