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Women Still Do More Housework Than Men, Contributing $10K+ in Value Annually

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When you finally get home after work, the last thing you want to do is clean last night’s dirty dishes. But the reality is that many Americans spend their evenings, and even weekends, doing chores. While you may consider hiring a professional to help around the house, doing your own chores can save you thousands of dollars every year.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on occupational earnings and how much time Americans spend on different chores, we were able to estimate how much it would cost to pay a professional to do those chores instead. We also found that, compared with men, women contribute over $3,000 more in value each year when it comes to unpaid labor at home.

Key findings

  • The average American saves about $9,022 annually by doing their housework themselves instead of choosing to pay a professional to do the same tasks.
  • There is an enormous difference in annual savings between men and women. The average woman’s time spent on chores is worth $10,755, compared to $7,420 for men.
  • Americans spend an average of 107 minutes per day on household activities, including cleaning, food preparation and minor home repairs. When broken down by gender, men spend roughly 82 minutes per day on household activities, and women spend 130 minutes per day on average.
  • We can then multiply these numbers across every woman and man over the age of 15 to calculate the replacement value of household chores in the United States: $1.5 trillion for women and $964.4 billion for men.
  • The largest chunk (and value) of Americans’ time is spent cooking. If we assumed your time spent on cooking was replaced with that of a professional chef, the average American’s time spent cooking is worth $2,856 per year.
    • Again, there is a large disparity between annual savings for men versus women. For women, the average savings on cooking is $3,872, while for men, it’s $1,791.
  • The second-biggest time sink of household chores is general cleaning, such as laundry and tidying up. The average woman spends 50 minutes per day cleaning, while men spend just 14 minutes daily. Replacing that labor with professional cleaners costs about $13.26 per hour.
    • Over a year, the replacement value of that labor is just over $1,037 for men but $3,746 for women.

Women contribute much more value, time to housework than men

Each year, women contribute $10,755 worth of housework. Men contribute $7,420 annually, a difference of more than $3,000. This is an interesting component of the gender wage gap, because unpaid housework can affect a woman’s earning power, as noted in a recent study published by the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research. Put simply, women doing more of the free labor at home means that they have less time for paid labor outside the home (or at least less downtime).

Most activities aren’t daily, but the minutes add up

BLS data indicates that women spend an average of more than two hours each day doing housework — men spend just under an hour and a half doing these types of chores. See how many minutes per day men and women spend doing typical household chores:

Men add value through contributing labor to high-value tasks

Although men spend much less time than women doing housework on average, they handle many of the highest-paying tasks, such as car repairs and handyman work.

The three highest-paying chores — car repairs, interior and exterior maintenance and home appliance repairs — are in male-dominated verticals. Were a professional to handle these tasks instead, they would make the following hourly rates:

  1. Automotive service technicians and mechanics: $21.02
  2. Painters, construction and maintenance: $20.70
  3. Home appliance repairers: $19.72

On the other hand, women commit more time to the three lowest-paying jobs, including interior cleaning, animal and pet care and food preparation and cleanup. Professionals in these industries earn the following hourly wages:

  1. Maids and housekeeping cleaners: $11.84
  2. Non-farm animal caretakers: $12.45
  3. Restaurant cooks: $13.26

Cooking accounts for the most time spent and value earned

Americans spend 35 minutes per day on average preparing meals. Women spend more time cooking than men, at 48 minutes and 22 minutes, respectively; this time includes food preparation, as well as cleanup. According to the BLS, restaurant cooks may order supplies, plan the menu and prepare the food, making this the most comparable occupation, with an average wage of $13.26 per hour.

This means that, on average, Americans save $2,856 annually by cooking their own food, rather than paying a professional for this task.

Americans as a whole save trillions by doing their own chores

Unpaid housework isn’t included in our country’s GDP, but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. Americans save thousands each year by taking housework into their own hands. Annually, the completion of household chores translates to trillions of dollars in value that’s not accounted for.

American women aged 15 and older save an estimated $1.5 trillion each year by doing housework themselves rather than outsourcing the same tasks. Comparatively, American men who are 15 and older save a total of $964.4 billion. That’s a total of $2.4 trillion in value between men and women.

When housework becomes too much, budget for a professional

While doing household work yourself can translate to serious savings, chores shouldn’t get in the way of your personal or professional development. If you’re one of many Americans spending hours each day toiling away on housework, it may be time to bring in professional help.

Here are some ways to make the cost of outsourcing household chores better fit into your budget:

  • Try the 50/30/20 budget: Under this budgeting rule, you’ll put 50% of your income toward “needs” (this includes mortgage, groceries, utilities), 30% toward “wants” (cellphone bill, gym membership, dining out) and 20% toward savings and debt repayment. If you can, allocate a housekeeper or landscaper into your wants budget.
  • Refinance your car or house: You may be able to secure a lower interest rate on your auto loan or mortgage by refinancing. Lower monthly payments would allow you to make room in your monthly budget to afford help at home. Borrowers with excellent credit will get the best interest rates, while subprime borrowers will see higher interest rates. Refinancing is generally a great option when you can secure a lower interest rate than what you’re already paying.
  • Consolidate your debt: If you’re making significant payments toward multiple debts, it can freeze up a lot of your income. You could consider consolidating debt at a lower interest rate with a personal loan so you can develop a set budget and free up cash each month.


To estimate the value of American’s household chores we first looked at how much time they spent doing each activity. The BLS compiles this data through the American Time Use Survey.

We then estimated how much it would cost to replace this labor with that of a professional. For example, we replaced cleaning with occupation maids and housekeeping cleaners, food preparation with chefs and animal and pet care with nonfarm animal caretakers.

Next, we multiplied the daily hours spent on each activity by the hourly earnings for people who do that work professionally. That gave us the daily replacement value of household chores. We then multiplied that number by 365 to get the annual value. To find the total country value, we multiplied the annual value by the population over the age of 15.

Data for time spent on activities and hourly earnings of professionals comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of men and women over the age of 15 comes from the Census Bureau. All data is from 2018.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Elastic Line of Credit Review

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How does the Elastic line of credit work?

A personal line of credit is neither a credit card nor a personal loan, but it functions a little bit like both. Like a credit card, Elastic’s line of credit lets you borrow any amount of money, up to your credit limit, at any time. You can pay that money back at your own pace, as long as you make the minimum payment required each month.

However, unlike a credit card, you must request a cash advance online to withdraw the money you need; your funds will then be deposited into your checking account or sent to you as a check by mail. Other lines of credit like Elastic, such as Mobiloans, operate similarly.

Fees depend on your billing cycle, and they’re higher for customers who elect to pay monthly rather than bi-weekly or semi-monthly. Elastic’s cash advance fee is charged as a percentage of any funds you request. If you don’t pay your balance off in full before your billing cycle ends, you’ll also be charged a carried balance fee according to the balance remaining on your statement.

Here are those fees in action:

  • Cash advance fee: If you request $1,000, a cash advance fee of $50 (bi-weekly and semi-monthly) or $100 (monthly customers) will be deducted. You’ll receive either $950 or $900, respectively.
  • Carried balance fee: If you carry a balance of $1,000, you’ll be charged a fee of $35 (if you pay twice per month) or $70 (if you pay once per month) for that billing cycle. If you carry a balance of $3,500, you’ll be charged a fee of $135 (if you pay twice per month) or $270 (if you pay once per month) for that billing cycle.

Because of the fee structure on Elastic’s line of credit, it can be expensive for customers who don’t pay off their balance in full each billing cycle.

Elastic eligibility requirements

To be eligible for an Elastic line of credit, you must be at least 18 years old (19 years old if you live in Alabama or Nebraska), have an active checking account, have a regular source of income or benefits and reside in a state where Elastic is offered. The lender website, however, does not explicitly outline in which states it operates.

Is Elastic a good option for you?

The ability to draw on the Elastic line of credit whenever you need extra cash makes it a great option for people who can’t save up an emergency fund. It’s recommended that you have at least six months of basic living expenses in a savings account to cover emergencies and unexpected events.

When deciding whether a personal line of credit or a credit card is best for you, consider that low-interest credit cards are reserved for borrowers with strong credit. You could open a secured credit card if you have bad credit, but they do come with low credit limits.

Elastic’s line of credit is good for short-term needs, as carrying a balance from month-to-month will result in hefty fees; people looking to finance something long-term might consider a bad credit personal loan. The best way to use Elastic’s line of credit is to pay your balance in full every month.

Elastic reviews from consumers

Many Elastic reviews on LendingTree (which owns MagnifyMoney) speak positively about how fast and easy it is to borrow money while admitting that the fees are incredibly high, while a number of customers also mentioned how convenient Elastic could be in times of emergency.

Hector, a resident of Pompano Beach, Fla., found it “quick and easy” to get funds for an emergency situation: “Like they said, the next day you will have the money and that’s exactly what happened.”

However, several Elastic complaints have mentioned confusion over finance charges and problems paying off a balance early.

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How to apply for an Elastic line of credit

You can apply for Elastic quickly and easily. From, you can enter your name, email address and state of residence to get started. If eligible, you’ll then be prompted to create an Elastic account from which you can complete the application.

As you move through the process, Elastic will require identifying information such as your Social Security number, and they’ll also check your credit to determine whether you qualify for a line of credit, and for how much.

If your Elastic loan application is approved, the cash advances you request are usually deposited in your bank account the following business day, if you elect for direct deposit.

FAQ: Elastic line of credit

No. Loans involve a one-time, fixed deposit in your account and are paid off in regular installments, whereas Elastic’s line of credit is there for you to withdraw the amount you need when you need it.

No. Elastic does charge higher fees than many lenders, but those fees are clearly stated on their website.

Yes. In order to complete the application process, you will have to undergo a credit check.

It depends. If you miss payments or carry a high balance relative to your credit limit, you could experience a drop in your credit score. However, if you pay off the money you borrow on time, a line of credit can help you build credit.

If you miss your required payment for even one month, you won’t be able to request new cash advances and you may face defaulting on your line of credit. Once you’re in default, you may be required to pay off your balance in full immediately, and you could see a negative impact on your credit.

If you request a cash advance before 5:00 p.m. EST, your funds will be sent by direct deposit the next business day or by check in the mail within two business days.

Applicants who are listed as Covered Borrowers in the Military Lending Act database are ineligible to apply for an Elastic line of credit.

You can select to pay monthly, bi-weekly or semi-monthly. Monthly means your payments are due once per month, bi-weekly means your payments are due every two weeks and semi-monthly means your payments are due twice per month.

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Low-Income Loans: What to Know and Where to Find Them

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Low-income borrowers have loan options, but they may struggle to qualify for the most competitive interest rates and terms. That may be particularly true with unsecured personal loans, where lenders rely on your credit and financial information to determine your ability to repay funds.

Keep reading to learn about low-income loan options, and how you can improve your odds of qualifying.

Why you may qualify for a loan even with low income

Lenders want to know that you can repay your debt. But while they typically ask about your annual income and may ask for proof, it’s not the only piece of your financial picture they’re interested in when deciding whether to extend a loan.

Common factors they’ll consider when reviewing your loan application include:

  • Your credit health: How you’ve handled loans and credit in the past tells lenders how risky a borrower you are. If you have a high credit score, lenders know you’re a diligent borrower likely to pay on time and keep the account in good standing. Those with low credit scores, delinquent accounts, past bankruptcies or lots of outstanding debt will have a much harder time getting approved.
  • Money in the bank: A healthy savings account balance shows lenders you have the funds to meet the repayment terms, thereby making you appear a less risky borrower than someone with both low income and little to no savings.
  • Collateral (if applicable): Potentially your best bet for qualifying for a low-income loan with competitive terms is seeking one that requires collateral. When you provide collateral, you lower the lender’s risk when they provide you with a loan. Your collateral may be funds in a savings account or the value of your home minus your mortgage balance. Default on your loan, though, and the lender can seize your collateral.
  • Cosigner (if applicable): If your credit score or income is too low to meet lender requirements, you can ask a family member or friend with a good credit score and higher income to cosign the loan. This means if you fail to repay, the cosigner then becomes responsible for the debt. In a way, you’re borrowing someone else’s best financial attributes to shore up your own and secure the loan.

3 types of loans for low-income borrowers

1. Personal loans

Personal loans can be used to finance nearly any expense, from a major purchase to medical bills. But the most common use for a personal loan is debt consolidation or refinancing. Traditional personal loans are unsecured, meaning you don’t need to put any assets, like your car or home equity, on the line. You’ll make monthly payments over 12 to 144 months with a fixed interest rate.

As a low-income earner, you may struggle to qualify for a personal loan, unless you have a stellar credit score and strong repayment history. Even if you qualify, you’re liable to face low loan amounts and steeper interest rates than a high earner would. Those with credit scores of 760+ can expect an average 9.96% APR,  scores 720 to 759 can expect an average 12.45% APR, according to our January personal loan offers report.

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Some personal loans may come with an origination fee, or a one-time cost equal to 1%-8% of the loan balance depending on your credit score, the loan amount and repayment term. Most lenders will deduct this fee from the loan proceeds. This fee can shrink the amount you ultimately borrow.

More forgiving lenders, who may be more likely to approve low-income earners, include:

2. Secured personal loans

If you’re unable to qualify for a traditional personal loan based on your income, credit history or other factors, a secured personal loan could be a good backup option for you. This type of personal loan requires that you offer up something of value to act as collateral if you default, such as a savings account balance, vehicle or home.

Because the lender can take possession of the asset used as collateral if you fail to repay, lenders view these loans as less risky than unsecured traditional personal loans and therefore, are more likely to offer you favorable terms and lower interest rates than you might qualify for otherwise. 

But you need to think carefully before agreeing as these loans can be riskier to you. If you have trouble paying your bills, it’s not just your credit rating and debt balance that will suffer. You could lose ownership of your car or home, perhaps putting you in a worse financial situation than what originally led you to borrow the money.

3. Payday alternative loan

Members of federal credit unions may have access to these kinds of loans, which typically offer smaller borrowing amounts, longer repayment cycles and lower cost terms than a traditional payday loan.

Regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), payday alternative loans, or PALs, can range from $200 to $1,000, must be repaid within one to six months, have a maximum annual interest rate of 28% and do not require borrowers to undergo a credit check.

Only three PALs can be granted to the same borrower in a six-month timespan, though no loan repayment periods can overlap. And credit unions are limited to charging $20 at most in application fees.

A PAL II offers a larger borrowing limit

At the end of 2019, the NCUA authorized a second kind of payday alternative loan, known as a PAL II. It follows the same rules as PALs, except loans can be taken out for up to $2,000, the repayment period can stretch to 12 months and you do not have to belong to a credit union for a month or more to qualify. Instead, new members are immediately eligible for PAL IIs.

Can you get a loan without a job?

If you have a strong credit history and other forms of income, say from government benefits, alimony, child support, Social Security or retirement savings account withdrawals, you may still be able to qualify for the loans mentioned above.

If you are unemployed and have no current source of income, it will be difficult to find options that you’ll qualify for, unless you’re willing to accept less-than-ideal borrowing terms, such as extremely high interest rates and short repayment terms.

Those stuck with both poor credit and low income or no income face the most limited borrowing choices, as lenders will see you as extremely high risk, meaning you’ll pay the highest premium in terms of interest rates for access to credit.

Consider these 5 loan options if you’re unemployed

  1. Borrowing from a friend or family member: If a loved one can afford to help cover your shortfall in return for later repayment at a lower interest rate than a lender would offer, that’s the smartest and least expensive option available.
  2. Leaning on a credit card: Depending on the card’s interest rate and credit limit, you may be able to either finance the emergency expense directly on it or move all spending onto your card to free up cash for whatever crisis has you looking to take out a loan. If you have good credit and a relatively low APR, say below 20%, this could be a more cost-effective borrowing strategy than other loan options.
  3. Payday alternative loan: This one’s worth mentioning again. If you need to borrow up to $2,000, check out PALs offered by local credit unions. Interest rates are capped at 28% and repayment periods can stretch up to 12 months, making them a far less expensive option than payday loans.
  4. Payday loan: These are a popular (and very expensive) form of debt among people with poor credit and who need emergency funds. Lenders don’t check credit scores and loans have fast funding. Payday loans typically must be repaid in a single lump sum within a very short timespan, from 14 days to six months. Lenders typically charge a flat financing fee of about $10 to $30 per $100 borrowed, equalling an APR of almost 400% for a two-week loan.
  5. Car title loan: This kind of loan uses the title of your vehicle as collateral and, like a payday loan, is a very expensive form of credit. Typically loans amounts equal between 25% and 50% of the value of the car, so roughly between $100 and $5,500, and must be repaid within 15 or 30 days, leasing to APRs in the triple digits. And if you fail to repay what you owe, the lender can repossess your car, meaning you lose your transportation.

Borrowing when you have a low income is always a risky move as you likely find making ends meet on a limited wage challenging without an additional monthly bill, so be careful when agreeing to any lender’s terms. You don’t want to end up paying a 400% APR, losing your possessions or tanking your credit score.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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