Economic Value of Housewife

Since my wife and I got married, my wife stopped working and became a housewife. We often argue as I ask her to get back to the work force to make our life easier, but then I stopped for a second and decide to give a deeper thought on this matter. The purpose of this article is to assess the economic value of my wife’s work as a housewife.

Assumptions:

  • Breakfast

Our usual breakfast menu are smoothies, toasted bread, fried eggs, tomatoes, avocado, cheese and bunch of fresh fruits. The closest meal I could think of was the Power breakfast ($10) and Smoothies ($6) offered by Aroma. It’s difficult to measure cost of the ingredients but let’s assume $3 per meal as an estimate. The incremental saving per meal is $10 + $6 - $3 = $13

Economic Value Added (Annual): $13 per meal x 2 people x 365 days = $9,490

  • Lunch

Lunch menu has a large variation. For simplicity, I assume the average value of lunch at $15 and costs of ingredients at $3 per meal. The incremental saving per meal is $15 - $3 = $12

Economic Value Added (Annual): $ 12 per meal x 2 people x 365 days = $8,760

  • Dinner

Lunch menu has a large variation as well. For simplicity, I assume the average value of dinner at $25 and costs of ingredients at $10 per meal. The incremental saving per meal is $25 - $10 = $15

Economic Value Added (Annual): $ 15 per meal x 2 people x 365 days = $10,950

  • Cleaning

According to my wife, she cleans our room twice a day, an hour each. I assume the value of the work to be $15/hour, current minimum wage in Ontario.

Economic Value Added (Annual): $15/hour x 2 hours x 365 days = $10,950

  • Laundry

Laundry machine and dryer do most of the work, however, my wife folds, store and organize clothes. I assume the time spent on laundry to be 1 hour each time. We do laundry every 2 weeks, which translates to 26 times per year. Same as the cleaning, I assume the value of the work to be $15/hour.

Economic Value Added (Annual): $15/hour x 1 hour x 26 times = $390

Result

Based on the calculations above, the total economic value added of my wife’s work as a housewife adds up to…$40,540 annually!! If we had children, the value would be even a lot higher. Since my wife would most likely not find a job which pays over $40,000 per year, I suppose it makes economic sense for her to stay home and keep being a housewife. I should buy something nice for her this Christmas thanking her…