Money Tips for WAHM: Managing Finances When You’re Unable to Work

For lots of women, having the means to provide for their children while also remaining active in their lives is important. As modern technology creates new platforms, many of them have found a way to do both.

Starting a business and/or working remotely from home for another organization gives them the flexibility they wouldn’t be able to obtain from a traditional job. They can now be home where their families need them without sacrificing a paycheck. Yet, even with these perks to working from home, there are some setbacks moms need to be prepared for - especially when it comes to finances.

When Mom Gets Sick or Injured

A woman working a “traditional” job at a brick and mortar location has a bit more financial protection than a mother who works from home. For example, if an employee is injured, gets sick, or needs to deal with a major life experience like the birth of a new baby, they are awarded time off and financial protection in the form of disability checks to care for their families.

Women who work from home don’t have such luxuries. If they get injured, sick, have a baby, or need to care for an aging parent, they do not have job security, nor the financial backing of insurance to cover their expenses.

Dealing with money problems is stressful for anyone, yet when you’re responsible for raising children, the stress is compounded. Wondering where your next meal will come from, how you’re going to pay the bills, whether or not you’ll have gas to get them back and forth to school, and a host of other things is enough to send anyone over the edge.

What You Shouldn't Do

It’s frustrating when you’re not sure where your next paycheck is going to come from - particularly when you’re dealing with an illness or recovering from an injury. You’re in no condition to provide for your family and it’s eating you up. What you don’t want to do, however, is make things worse. If you’re self-employed and struggling financially due to injury or illness avoid the following:

Forcing Yourself to Work 

You want to get better fast so that you can get back to providing for your children. However, forcing yourself to work before you’re better can make things worse. Don’t start increasing your intake of Suboxone, Subutex, and Vivitrol to mask the pain, increasing your workload to compensate for lost time, or patching yourself up to try and get through the day. You can make your injuries worse, suffer significant side effects from your medication, or even suffer from addiction and have to go to a women’s sober living facility for treatment.

Going Into Deep Debt

Though it may be necessary for you to dip into your savings account or use a credit card to cover the grocery bill until you’re back on your feet again, you shouldn’t go overboard. Taking out large loans from banks or asking family members for a ton of cash only adds to your stress levels. Now, not only are you worried about how you and the kids will survive financially, but you’re now anxious about the non-stop calls from bill collectors and service providers.

Managing the Money

If you are sick, have been injured, or experienced some other life circumstance that will prevent you from working for a few weeks or months, there are things you can do to manage the finances so that you can afford to care for your family.

Adjust the Budget 

Though this setback may be temporary until you’re able to start working again it will be necessary for you to adjust the budget. If you have a spouse or other adults who contribute to the household, you’ll need to create a budget that is based on their income alone. If you have savings, you would budget to stretch the savings as far as possible.

Sign up for Assistance 

There are state and federal programs available to low-income families that you may be able to take advantage of. Look for such programs in your community which could help with your mortgage or rent payments, groceries, utilities, car insurance, and more until you’re back on your feet.

Money Tips for WAHM

Cut Costs Wherever You Can 

As much as you can until you’ve got a clean bill of health or your personal circumstances have changed you’ll need to save money wherever you can. Clip coupons, find ways to have fun indoors, research cheap but healthy recipes, cut television subscriptions or large smartphone data plans, reduce energy and water consumption, use public transportation or carpool to get around and cut old habits like eating out or grabbing a cup of coffee every day.

Working from home has allowed lots of women to find a better balance in their lives when it comes to earning a living and raising their children. That being said, when mom becomes injured, sick, or has some other life-altering event going on in her life that prevents her from working, it can take a toll on the finances. 

The key to managing finances is to not force yourself too soon or go too deep into debt as these both only create more problems. Instead, create a new budget, find ways to save, and utilize the many programs there are out there for families in need until you’re ready to start work again.


  1. Love this post and your site! As a 6 months pregnant sahm with a 1 year old it’s really hard to work a traditional work from home job (was offered a position with HSN -40 hour weeks scheduled breaks- just wasn’t practical for me) I’m putting my energy and focus into blogging and hopefully down the road I can monetize it !