If you think kids have to wait until they turn 16 to get their first job and start earning money, think again! It’s never too soon to start having money conversations with your kids. And one of the best ways to make these teachings real is to help your children find ways to make money by themselves.
But I’m not talking about giving them an allowance. Nope! We don’t do allowances or hand out crisp dollar bills just for being cute. Our kids work on commission. They’re young, but they can still find ways to earn money by pitching in with responsibilities around the house and the neighborhood. And if they choose not to help, they won’t get paid. It’s as simple as that!
If your kids are looking for odd jobs and projects to do to make money, I want to encourage you to support them. Earning cash on their own is a big step—and one of the first steps on the path to managing money well. That’s why I’ve put together a list of 15 ways to make money as a kid that you can read through together.
How to Make Money From Home as a Kid
All right, I’m so excited to look at ways your kids can earn money. No matter their age or what grade they’re in, there are tons of opportunities for your kids to start bringing home some bacon. Here are 15 ways kids can start making money by themselves:
1. Babysit or be a nanny.
Check out babysitting certification courses through your local hospital or community center. There are also vetted websites like UrbanSitter that can help teens find flexible, well-paid work with trusted families.
2. Help with chores and odd jobs at home.
Housework never ends, am I right? But with a little planning, you can set your kids up for success with a chore schedule that fits their age and abilities. From feeding the dog to helping fold laundry, the options are endless.
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Odd jobs like cleaning gutters, painting walls, and putting up Christmas lights are just a few of the ways your kids can help with basic home projects. Now, I’m not suggesting your kids tackle more advanced plumbing or electric jobs, but basic home projects they can do safely are all good options to make some extra money and learn handy life skills.
3. Do yard work in the neighborhood.
Pulling weeds, cleaning up after pets, planting gardens, raking leaves—no matter what season it is, there’s yard work to do. And, man, yards are a lot of work. A lot of people would rather pay someone else to do the work for them, so don’t forget to ask the neighbors if they need help too. If you live in a colder place, shoveling snowy driveways and sidewalks in the winter can be helpful to your elderly neighbors and a good way for your kid to make a few bucks.
4. Tutor other kids.
Whether your child is a math whiz or the next great American novelist, there are always other students who could use some help with math, English and other subjects. Why not develop their teaching skills while making some money?
5. Wash and vacuum cars.
If you live in a family-friendly neighborhood, I guarantee plenty of cars on your block have more than a few stray Cheerios hiding under the seats. This could be an easy side job for your kid to work into their routine. And good news! Vacuums are super portable now, and you can put together an affordable car wash starter kit with some dollar store buckets, sponges and soap.
6. Walk dogs or pet sit.
Is your child an animal lover? Dog walking and pet sitting (with supervision, if needed) have tons of benefits, like making money, getting free cuddles, spending time in fresh air and sunshine—all without the commitment of permanent pet ownership. It’s a win-win!
7. Host a garage sale.
If you’ve been meaning to clean out some clutter in your house (ugh—not how I want spend a Saturday), get your kiddos to help. They’ll have fun making a few bucks digging out old holiday decorations and long-forgotten toys that can be sold to other families who have a use for them. And on the plus side, you’ll have some extra space in your house!
8. Have a bake sale.
Who doesn’t love a homemade cupcake? Throwing a bake sale is a great way to make three things: delicious baked goods, money and memories with your kids. What are you waiting for? Find some fun recipes online and get to baking.
9. Sell arts and crafts.
If you get creative, there’s plenty of arts and crafts your kids can make for cheap and sell. Think homemade Christmas ornaments, personalized key chains, decorative picture frames, customized placemats, handmade potholders, decorative flowerpots . . . the list goes on. To get started, take a walk through your local craft store for ideas.
10. Teach music lessons or perform at events.
If your child has a talent for music, why not encourage them to share their gift with others? They can teach lessons to other students after school or perform at local events with community groups.
11. Share creative talents on online freelance sites.
Online marketplace and freelance sites like Fiverr, Etsy and UpWork are awesome platforms for older teens to start building a client base for creative work. If your child is a talented illustrator, writer, photographer, audio tech or has any other marketable professional skills, there’s nothing stopping them from working on paid projects. (Also consider helping local businesses with social media and contributing to neighborhood magazines.)
12. Sell homemade jewelry.
All right, your kids can have tons of fun creating unique, handmade accessories, like earrings, friendship bracelets and custom necklaces. Craft stores sell jewelry making tools and pretty beads and charms. Let your kids express their inner artist and entrepreneur by selling jewelry to friends, family and neighbors!
13. Resell furniture and clothes.
As your children outgrow their clothes and bedroom furniture, help them resell these items. You can list gently worn clothes on apps like Mercari, Poshmark and thredUP, or even take them to a local consignment store for cash.
For larger items like furniture, try Facebook Marketplace, where you and your teen can vet buyers and agree on a public place to meet for the sale. (It should go without saying: If you’re using online selling, be sure to supervise for safety reasons.)
14. Get a part-time job.
If they’re old enough, teenagers can find part-time jobs that work around their school schedule. Look for weekend or evening shifts and seasonal schedules during summer break. Check out local libraries, movie theaters, the YMCA, frozen yogurt shops and other retail and service industry jobs for a steady paycheck.
15. Recycle cans and bottles.
I know, recycling cans for cash sounds super old-school. But hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Do a quick Google search to see if your city offers paid recycling. Bonus: The more recycling you bring in, the cleaner the planet will be. Every little bit counts!
What to Teach Kids About Making Money
As you and your kids are brainstorming ways to make money, I want to talk a little bit about the importance of contentment. While you’re teaching them about earning money, it’s important to explain that money doesn’t buy happiness. And keeping up with the Joneses (even if the Joneses are their friends at school) isn’t the path to peace.
As you teach them about the value of hard work, helping others, and being paid for a job well done, you’ll naturally start explaining what your kids can do with that money. This includes giving, spending and saving. Ultimately, peace comes from managing money well—even as a young person. And this understanding can help set them up for healthy money tendencies early on.
You guys, it is so important to talk about money as a family, and it all starts with how you handle money in your own home. As I like to say, more is caught than taught. Having direct conversations and setting a good example will help kids be good stewards of their money as teens and adults. And the good news is, they can get started on this journey today.
Ready to Get Started? Take the Next Step in Teen Entrepreneurship
Looking for more ideas on how kids can make money? Check out the Teen Entrepreneur Toolbox. This small-business guide walks teens through eight easy, practical steps for starting their own business using our entrepreneurial plan. Plus, this toolbox includes business ideas, activities and authentic, real-life stories from teenagers and successful entrepreneurs. What are you waiting for? Help your kids start making and taking control of their money today!