What's a housewife worth?

The life of a “housewife” or “stay at home mum” (or house husband or “stay at home dad”, of course) is one that includes an endless amount of demands and to-dos.

Depending on the size of the home and family, the position of housewife can go well beyond the usual nine to five. We examined some of the tasks they might do to find out how much his or her services would net as individual professional careers.

We only take into consideration tasks which have monetary values, and will use the term housewife in this piece, understanding that in 2012, this phrase should more likely be “house person”.

Private chef

Meal preparation is one of the major tasks of most housewives. From breakfast to dinner, there is plenty of meal planning and cooking to be done. Personal chefs can earn around £170 to £340 a day.

Food shopping is another task that needs to be factored in. A housewife must get to the supermarket, purchase the food and deliver it to the home. Supermarket delivery services charge a fee of between £5 and £10.

Total cost for services: £1,250 per five day work week x 52 weeks = £65,000

House cleaner

For many, a clean and tidy home is the foundation of an efficient household. Typical cleaning duties include vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, scrubbing sinks as well as loading the dishwasher and making beds. Professional cleaners will charge by the hour, number of rooms or size of the home.

For example, weekly cleaning of two-bedroom flat with four rooms costs around £160 a month. A large detached home with seven rooms costs around £200 or so. Additional tasks such as oven or fridge cleaning can cost an extra £50.

Total cost for services: £45 per week X 52 Weeks = £2,340 per year.

Child Care


Stay-at-home parents provide full-time, live-in child care. This type of service from a professional provider or nanny would come with a huge cost of around £250- £400 per week and can change depending on location. This does not include the added costs of food and utilities which can account for a fair amount over the span of a year.

Total cost for services: £325 a week plus meals and benefits for the nanny, x 52 Weeks = £19,600 per year.

Laundry service

Clean clothes come at a cost when you have to pay for the service that most housewives do for free. Professional laundry services charge either by the item or by the kilo. To wash, dry and fold 10 kilos will cost you around £7.

If you want items ironed, it often costs around £1 per item. If you imagine an average small family would have the washer on three to four times a week as a minimum, you can see how this would soon mount up.

Total cost for services: £7 per wash x 3 times a week x 52 weeks = £1,092 total per year – and that’s for creased un-ironed clothes. You can add another £520 a year if you want 10 items ironed per week.

Home maintenance

Basic maintenance of the exterior property is a less common, but possible task of a housewife. This could include things such as mowing the lawn or painting fences etc. These services cost about £30 a week on average.

Total cost for services: £30 per week x 52 weeks = £1,560 total per year.

The bottom line

Total for a year of all services is: £89,072 per year.

The daily work of a housewife or househusband can sometimes be taken for granted by his or her family members. However, these services could earn that person a considerable wage if he or she took those skills to the marketplace.

Housewives generally contribute a lot more to the home in addition to these tasks, and no amount of money can fill those needs.

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