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
Pet (cat or medium-sized dog) – $680 (ish)/year
Cell phone – $600/year
Internet – $50/month = $600/year (read the fine print)
Vacation – $396/year
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
And then add one-time costs:
TV – $400
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.
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.”