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Need to make a little cash while you're on unpaid maternity leave? Here are some ideas.

Times are tough, and as much as we don't want to work while on maternity leave, some of us really could use the cash.

While on maternity leave with my first son, I contracted with my employer to do one of my regular projects, a newsletter layout and production project. It was easier for my boss to let me handle the project remotely than to train or burden the other employees who were already working harder in my absence.

I have to say it was nice to keep my hands in work and to have that small reason to stay in contact with the office while I was out. And the extra cash was nice too.

However, the tightly deadlined project did fall a little too soon after my son's birth (within days if I remember correctly), which was, of course, impossible to predict — and he was 10 days early! I might suggest contracting out on a project without a solid deadline, if possible, something more flexible. Also, make sure to test out any technical functions prior to your leave so you can do the work without any computer problems.

In this article "Making money on unpaid maternity leave," the author gives some other good ideas for earning cash while on maternity leave:

  • Check Craigslist, Guru, and Elance for job postings that meet your skill set and let you work from home for short-term engagements.  
  • Look at the services section of Craigslist: Services can range from making arts and crafts to providing convenience services. 
  • Reach out to small businesses and owners: Most small businesses employ a minimal staff to keep costs down, and this means they might be open to contracting out for small short-term projects.
  • Think outside the box: Click over to read the author's "ouside the box" ideas

A few CafeMoms share some other ideas in the Any quick ways to make money why on maternity leave? question in Answers.

Some ideas from CafeMoms:

  • nessy1980 suggests: "Babysit, sell stuff on eBay or Craigslist. Have a garage sale."
  • rkoloms asks: "Do you have a former employer you could work for remotely? If you have a computer with high-speed internet and Microsoft Office Pro and have at least intermediate MS Office skills, you should be able to find work as a virtual assistant (VA).
  • usbornebooksdh says: "Sell Avon. You can make money quickly and easily on maternity leave and after."

Don't forget to check with your employer benefits office and tax advisor before making any additional income during your maternity leave. The rules may be different state to state and depending on the additional income source.

And, of course, if you can save in advance or afford *NOT* to work when your maternity leave is unpaid, then by all means...enjoy it! It'll be over before you know it.