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Ways your teen can earn money

Updated on January 4, 2014

Where to begin:

Allowance is typically the first idea that comes to mind when parents think of how their child can make or earn money. For some people, finances may render this as a non-option. For other families there are ethics which deter them from moving forward with paying their children to participate in household and family care.

No matter if you already do, don't, or won't give your teen an allowance, it is good to know that there are more options and possibilities out there.

Finding ways to earn an income without having it come from a parent's pocket is a great way for your teen to gain self-esteem, self-respect, a sense of accomplishment and pride. What your child stands to gain from the experience is far more valuable than the amount of money they earn. Encourage your teen to seek out ways to fulfill their desire to earn their own money with understanding and support.

The Desire to Earn Money

Once your child reaches 12 or 13 years old he/she may want to start earning an income of their own. They will want to start spreading their wings of independence in the way of having the ability to buy something they want without always having to ask mom or dad for the money.

Trying to break into the job front with no skills, no resume, and often times being too young to apply at a "regular" job; young teens are faced with the dilemma of "just how am I going to get work?"

There are ways out there for teens to earn an income without having a boss. The types of work they can do depends upon a few different factors: location, community population, safety, level of maturity, personal skills, people skills, and parent participation. (among others)

Times have changed. In some areas lemonade stands require a license, even when it is being run by a minor. There are restrictions on the sales of food and beverages, laws on how many or few hours minors are allowed to work, and a myriad of other obstacles standing between your teens desire to work and the ability to do so.

Take heart, where there is a will there is a way. With the help of a loving, supportive parent your teen can find ways to accomplish this fantastic goal.

Let's take a look at a few of the different options there are for young teens to earn some money:


Garage Sales

When you have a yard sale, rummage sale, or garage sale allow your child to contribute some of his/her own belongings to the sale. Mark the items with initials or different colored sicker tabs to ensure that the money earned from those particular items can be marked down and given to your teen at the end of the selling day.

Yard Work

Your teen can mow lawns or shovel snow for surrounding neighbors.

In warmer weather your teen can offer services such as hedge trimming, weed pulling, planting gardens, raking leaves or any number of other lawn and yard care tasks.

During the colder weather they have the option of keeping those same clients interested in their services by offering to shovel walkways and/or driveways.

As a parent you may want to charge your teen a small fee for the rental of the lawnmower or snow thrower, along with having them pay for or pay you back for the gas required to use these items. This helps your teen understand the cost that goes into having a job.

Pet Care

Dog walking and pet sitting are fantastic jobs for teens. Dedicated pet owners take their furry family members very seriously. If your teen loves animals, this might be just the thing for them.

Car Wash

Your teen can run a driveway car wash. He/she can post signs up around the neighborhood leading customers right to your driveway. Suggest a price less than the standard car wash price found in your town to encourage more business.

If the touch-free car wash down the street charges $5 your teen can offer his/her services for $4. Keeping a garbage bin and a shop vac handy could drum up some extra cash for them as well if they offer a deluxe "inside and out" cleaning (for a little bit extra of course).

Consider setting up a few lawn chairs as a waiting area for the customers while your teen is busing making the vehicle sparkle and shine. The customers might be so impressed that they tell others about it!

Selling Produce

In the spring your teen can plan what vegetables he/she would like to sell at the end of the driveway; planting, weeding, and tending the garden in preparation of the payout to come.

Creating a stand can be a fun and time consuming task when school lets out. No need to build a fancy one, as long as the vegetables look presentable and inviting. Keep in mind there should be a counter for the exchange with room enough to have some type of scale if your teen is selling something by the pound rather than per piece.

When harvest times rolls around, your teen will reap the financial rewards for the months of planning and effort they put in.


We can't forget about the traditional babysitting gigs. Offering quality babysitting services can turn into a career that last for your teens entire high school experience. When someone finds a good sitter they tell all of their friends about it. By doing a high quality job, your teen will end up with more referrals than he/she might know what to do with.

Collecting Cans

Not only will your teen earn a few extra dollars, he/she will be helping the environment at the same time! Save cans at home, have your teen walk around parks or other areas where the public may discard their cans. Your teen may even be bold enough to ask family, friends, and/or neighbors to save their cans.

Offering a can pick-up where the people who agree can set them aside just like a garbage or professional recycling service would do. The teen would then go through the cans dumping out any liquids, crushing them, and bagging them before bringing them in for cold, hard cash.

Still looking for more ideas?

Your teen can offer cleaning services to friends and trusted neighbors.

He can ask family or friends who are having yard/garage sales if he can set up a "concession stand" to sell cans of soda and/or pre-packaged foods such as cereal bars, snack cakes, or trail mix.

She can make jewelry, bookmarks, key-chains, or buttons to sell.

Some online sites will accept teens as young as 13 to write articles for a small income with free registration.

He can tutor other students who need help.

The possibilities are only limited to your imagination!


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    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Great hub. It is good for preteens and young teens to have jobs in order to become independent and to have a high sense of self. Also, there are suggestions for jobs on the internet especially if the child has a computer and has good computer skills. There are always ways to earn money, especially with the internet.

    • olgakhumlo profile image

      olga khumlo 7 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

      Nice hub. thanks for sharing.

    • bane.hellister profile image

      bane.hellister 7 years ago from South Carolina

      Nice Hub. We are actively looking for ways to get our 14 year old to start earning some money. These are some great tips