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How to Make Money as a Kid: 16 Great Ideas

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 16 ways to make money as a kid that you can read through together.

How to Make Money as a Young Kid

All right, I’m so excited to look at ways your kid can earn money. Remember: When kids do chores for pay, they’re learning life skills and money skills. So worth it. Let’s start with work younger kids can handle.

1. Clean.

From scrubbing toilets to wiping down baseboards to mopping the floor: Kids of all ages can do some housework. Will they get everything as clean and shiny as you? Probably not—at first. But they’ll learn!

2. Do yard work.

In the fall, kids can help you rake and bag up leaves. During the summer, they can weed the gardens or flowerbeds. After a storm, they can pick up the sticks that fell in your lawn. Work together on different projects while you’re outside and soak in some vitamin D as a family.

3. Wash and clean out the car.

The littles can collect all the trash that’s piled up in your car. Or scrub lower parts of your vehicle, like the rims. Again, this is a great family chore because the older kids (and parents) can knock out the harder parts while the younger kids still have an important job to do.

4. Work together on your side hustle.

If you’ve got a side hustle your kid can jump in on, in any way, let them! I have a friend who makes earrings, and her kids cut out the earring cards, stamp her logo, and help her box up orders. They get a cut of sales and learn about money while everyone gets quality time together.

5. Host a bake sale.

Of course, no one should let a toddler loose in the kitchen with oven privileges. But some of you have preteens who love baking, and with a little help from mom and dad, they could easily bake some goods, package them and learn a little marketing to sell them.

I love how this one opens doors for you to talk to your kids about money. Plus, it helps you build basic business skills as you figure out how to set prices that cover all your costs and still make a profit!

6. Set up a lemonade stand.

What a classic way to make money as a kid, right? Again, remember to teach your kids how to factor in the cost of ingredients (and cups!) so they learn small business know-how and earn a profit. No sour deals here. Just sweet rewards.

7. Have a garage sale.

Okay, yes—this one requires a lot of work on the parents’ end too. But having a garage sale as a family is a great way for everyone to make some extra cash and declutter the house.

8. 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!


Here's A Tip

Grab a Smart Saver Bank to help kids learn to manage their money as they divvy it up into giving, saving or spending. And since the Smart Saver Bank is see-through, they can literally watch their earnings grow!

How to Make Money as a Teen

I know it’s hard for teens to balance school, homework, extracurriculars, sports, fun and a job too, but you shouldn’t just hand them money for everything they want! Teens need to learn how to make—and manage—money as a real-world skill.

With these options, I know you can find something that will fit into their busy lives and help them get ahead.

9. Mow lawns.

If your kid is old enough to responsibly handle a lawnmower, pay them to keep up with your yard. And encourage them to pick up a few other yards as well! If they’re working with neighbors, you won’t even have to worry about travel. They can just ride (or push) their way next door!

10. Pet sit or dog walk.

Teens can get the word out that they’re ready, willing and able to feed cats, scoop litter, and walk dogs for pet owners in need of those services. Animal-loving kids will absolutely love this job.

11. Tutor.

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?

12. Give lessons.

From music to sports (or dance), talented teens can offer lessons to younger kids. Teaching will help your teen grow their own abilities while helping others do the same.

13. Babysit.

My husband Winston and I have prioritized date nights this year. But we’ve got three small kids, so that means I need to line up a babysitter before I make dinner reservations. And there are plenty of parents out there doing the same!

Let people at work and church know you’ve got a responsible teen who would love to hang with their kids while they enjoy a night out.

14. Grab a summer job.

Teens with a lifeguard certification can get a summer job at the local rec center or YMCA. Some camp counselor or summer league referee positions are paid too! This is a great option for kids who get super busy during the school year. Just make sure to save plenty of that summer cash to cover year-long expenses when summer ends!

15. Start a small business.

I love this idea. So much. You can help your teen get a small business off the ground. From selling their art or jewelry on Etsy to photographing families or senior pictures—whatever talents your kid has, help them see how they can turn their passion into a paycheck!

They’ll learn so much about how money works as they explore how to find a career they’ll love. Yes, it takes some extra effort, but it offers so many extra rewards.

16. Get a part-time job (with an actual W2).

In some states, teenagers can get a part-time job at age 14 (with several limitations on hours and the kinds of work involved).1 Plenty of these options will work around their school schedule. Look for weekend and evening shifts or seasonal jobs during longer school breaks.

Check out grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, or retail for a steadier paycheck. Also, places like Target, Home Depot, Chipotle and Chick-fil-A (and plenty more!) offer college scholarships if you stick with them for a couple years. Even better.


Here's A Tip

Check out the Foundations in Personal Finance homeschool curriculum. This course contains activities, lesson plans, case studies, assessments and more to help students learn life-changing financial skills that will help them win with money now—and for the rest of their lives.

Making Money as a Kid: Parent Tips

Okay, parents, this section is totally for you. Here’s a quick rundown on helping your kids through the moneymaking (and spending) process! (P.S. I’ve got even more info and fun printables in my new guide. Check it out.)

Talk about contentment.

When kids are working, it’s the perfect time to talk about how even though earning money and hard work are necessary, money doesn’t buy happiness. Have conversations about the value of contentment.

Teach them how to give, save and spend.

As they’re making money, they need guidance on what to do with it. Help them see how to use money as a tool to help others, save for the future, and enjoy purchases and experiences now (giving, saving, spending).

Have cash on hand to pay out.

When your kids are doing jobs for you, make sure they know how much each chore is worth, and keep cash on hand so you can pay out on a regular basis. Just like how a real job works!

Have conversations and set a good example.

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.

When you have direct conversations about money with your kids and set a good example, you’ll show your kids how to be good stewards of their money as teens and adults.

And honestly, having a monthly budget (and monthly budget meetings as a family) is key to making this happen! Check out EveryDollar: It’s the app my own family uses to make—and stick to—our budgets. You can get started today for free!

So, download EveryDollar, pick a job (or several) from this list, and let the moneymaking begin!

Save more. Spend better. Budget confidently.

Get EveryDollar: the free app that makes creating—and keeping—a budget simple. (Yes, please.)

Start EveryDollar for Free

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Rachel Cruze

About the author

Rachel Cruze

Rachel Cruze is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, financial expert, host of The Rachel Cruze Show, and co-host of Smart Money Happy Hour. Rachel writes and speaks on personal finance, budgeting, investing and money trends. As a co-host of The Ramsey Show, America’s second-largest talk radio show, Rachel reaches millions of weekly listeners with her personal finance advice. She’s appeared on Good Morning America and Fox News and been featured in TIME, REAL SIMPLE and Women’s Health, among others. Through her shows, books, syndicated columns and speaking events, Rachel shares fun, practical ways to take control of your money and create a life you love. Learn More.

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