Homemakers Are Fairly Compensated, Safe to Say

In a recent Yahoo! article, Porsche Moran asks, “How Much Is a Homemaker Worth?” and arrives at $96,261 per year. (This assumes that the jobs SAHPs – stay at home parents – do are done at the professional level [“chef?” well, Applebees line cook, maybe – and a million bucks says SAHPs don’t dust the blinds or clean the inside of the stove and refrigerator more than once every half a year…I mean, who does]?)

Rather than speculate about what SAHPs might make if they held the highest paying position in any one of their at-home occupations, I thought it would be interesting to look at what they, perhaps, actually DO make for their work at home. Each of the following figures accounts for a single person’s expenditures.

Groceries – $37/week = $1,924/year

Rent/Mortgage – $700/month = $8,400/year

Gas$2,208/year (linked article averages the cost for the American family, or 2 adults and one child, so gas price is divided in half, here, for one adult)

Doctor’s visits – As of 2008, the average American makes 4 doctor visits per year. If you have insurance,the average copay is $25 = $100/year

Health insurance – $183/month = $2,196/year

Pet (cat or medium-sized dog) – $680 (ish)/year

Cell phone$600/year

Internet – $50/month = $600/year (read the fine print)


Electricity – $64.41/month = $772.92/year

Natural Gas/Heat – $119.68/month = $1,436.16/year

= $19,313.08 just for the individual SAHP and what s/he spends on him- or herself. These are just basic costs. Now add

Cost of raising a child$11,000/year

Cost of college tuition for one child (divided by 18 to break it down to an annual cost) – $36,000 / 18 = $2,000/year

= $32,313.08

And then add one-time costs:

Car -$28,470

TV – $400

iPod -$199

Couch -$500

Dining room set -$700

Bedroom set -$1,500

Area rug -$500

Kindle Fire – $199

Computer – $430

= $32,898, which divided by the average length of a first marriage in the US or average furniture replacement schedule – 8 years – is $4,112/year.

Total per year so far:


Add personal student loan repayment – 340/month = $4,080/year

And other miscellaneous items, including clothing, personal maintenance (hair), purchased throughout the year at, say, $800/year.

The average homemaker is making approximately $41,305 (not including retirement savings, etc.) which is a far more realistic number than the $90,000+ salary estimated in the article.

It’s also more than twice what I make as a graduate-degree holding, 40-hour-a-week working, decade-of-experience-in-my-professional-field person who also cooks half-time (I’m married), cleans most of the time, runs animals to the vet, paints the house, is half of the furniture-lifting moving force every time we move (once every few years), 1/2 lawn-carer, etc.

Moran writes,

The daily work of a homemaker can sometimes be taken for granted by his or her family members. However, these services could earn a homemaker a considerable wage if he or she took those skills to the marketplace. Homemakers in general contribute a lot more to the home in addition to these tasks, and no amount of money can fill those needs.

I don’t doubt the daily work of a homemaker is taken for granted. However, each of their duties, if one were chosen as full-time work, would make closer to the following:

Average maid salary: $24,000

Average daycare provider salary: $18,720


I think it’s safe to say homemakers are adequately paid for their time. They just don’t receive their money in the form of a paycheck–issued by their spouse.

~ ~ ~

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by Sylvia D. Lucas

“A weird combo of really funny and really insightful.”


12 thoughts on “Homemakers Are Fairly Compensated, Safe to Say

  1. T. Williams

    This is seriously ignorant. Your point of view is lacking insight and most of your information is incorrect. Unless this was meant as a parody or farce I think you are in for a big surprise later in life.

  2. Thanks for stopping by!
    I love a good discussion, but without knowing…

    1. What’s ignorant about it
    2. Which POV is lacking insight (that homemakers get those things paid for them?)
    3. Which information is incorrect, and
    4. How much later in life (what’s going to happen!?)

    …it’s hard to respond.

  3. Susan

    T. Williams wrote:
    “This is seriously ignorant. Your point of view is lacking insight and most of your information is incorrect. Unless this was meant as a parody or farce I think you are in for a big surprise later in life.”

    Funny how you don’t mention SPECIFICS in your criticism. What was “seriously ignorant” in Sylvia’s post, exactly? What was “incorrect?” Personally, I found it very accurate, which is why many women these days choose to remain single or married, childfree WORKING women rather than SAH wives and mothers. Is THAT what you may have serious issues with?

    I also believe that these articles promoting women as “homemakers only” are mostly written by conservatives who would like to see ALL women return to the home, as they were in the “good old days” (not really) of the 1950’s and 1960’s. But that’s probably just me.

  4. Susan

    NS, can you say specifically HOW Sylvia’s “assessment of the article is a little off?” T. Williams didn’t seem to have any specific details either.

  5. I’m curious about the intent of the vacuous criticisms. An inability to articulate one’s position does not persuade someone else to refine or alter her/his beliefs.

    On a different note, I thought I would chime in on the topic of housecleaning. We hire someone to clean every other week for a total annual expenditure of $1248 ($48 per visit x 26 visits). In between those visits, the house barely gets cleaned — even our house-cleaner does not tackle the inside of the refrigerator — and, really, does not need that much more cleaning, despite a husband who engages in what has been described as “full-contact cooking” and our multiple animals. In light of that, Yahoo’s estimate of $6000+/yr for cleaning seems high, though I acknowledge that children would probably create more filth than our animals do.

    Further, depending on the level of education and training of the homemaker, the household may actually be losing money when s/he does the housework. I have a friend who would probably be earning about $60/hr in her field if she were not a SAHM. Assuming she paid someone $25/hr to clean her home, every hour that she spends doing housework, her household loses $35 (60 – 25 = 35). I realize this oversimplifies things because it does not account for taxes and other factors, but that still leaves room for a net loss to the family income.


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