The Economics of Homemaking


Often times, homemakers are faced with the question “What do you do all day?” There is no doubt in my mind that such questions are fueled by the stereotypical portrayal of a homemaker sitting on a couch watching television while eating bon bons. That, my friend, is called being a coach potato and has absolutely nothing to do with homemaking.

Homemaking encompasses an almost endless array of tasks in areas such as cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, child care, pet care, budgeting, interior design, counseling, personal shopping, gardening, and elder care. By no means is this an exhaustive list. In her blog post, Adult Daughters at Home and The Homemaking Profession, Kelly Crawford notes that each of these tasks, if paid, would be called a job (Crawford, 2013, para. 2). In a blog post entitled What’s a Homemaker Really Worth? Chris Marlink writes that…”In a recent study by Investopedia researchers tallied the market value of the various services that a homemaker provides for the family. The list in itself is informative for those unfamiliar with a day in the life of a homemaker: cooking, cleaning, childcare, driver, laundry, home maintenance, etc. The market value of these combined tasks totals over $96,000″ (Marlink, 2012, para. 8).

Want to find out how much your homemaking services are worth? Write it down! Tally the hours you spend monthly performing various household tasks. Research the hourly wage someone would get paid to do each task by using websites such as Craigslist and Make sure to include estimates of the amount of money saved by not having to work outside the home (for instance, the cost of gas and parking, dry cleaning, expenditures for a work wardrobe, eating out).

Here are some of my numbers:

    Monthly Economic Value of Household Tasks:

  • House cleaning – $400
  • Dog walker/groomer – $250
  • Cooking – $100
  • Laundry – $100
    Money Saved Monthly by Not Working Outside the Home

  • Gas and parking – $150
  • Clothing/Dry Cleaning – $100
  • Eating out – $200
  • Couponing/Comparison Shopping – $200

As you can see, these are some substantial amounts, and I am only a part-time homemaker! If you have children and/or elderly parents to care for, your numbers will be a lot higher. As they say, the “proof is in the pudding.” It is hard to dismiss homemaking as not being work when one sees all the tasks it involves written down. Until next time, happy homemaking!

Crawford, K. (2013). Adult Daughters at Home and The Homemaking Profession. Retrieved on January 23, 2015 from

Marlink, C. (2012). What’s a Homemaker Really Worth? Retrieved on January 23, 2015 from

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