Earning money as a teenager can seem like an uphill battle. You have more things to pay for, such as clothes, entertainment, food out with your friends, and let's not forget gas or transportation.
As life gets more expensive, you are probably looking for ways to fund these expenses. Luckily, there are many ways for teens to earn money.
Why you should start earning an income as a teenager
Although you may not need to bring in a paycheck, it is still a good idea. Even if you spend most of your money on fun experiences or cute clothes, there is an opportunity to save.
When you make the effort to save a part of your paychecks, it will add up over time. The years will allow compounding interest to grow your money to new heights. It may seem like a small amount of money is not worth saving, however, every little bit counts.
You might be able to turn these earnings into the beginning of your retirement nest egg or even fund your college expenses in a few years! By starting your savings early, you could have a couple of million dollars by the time you get to retirement age from just saving small amounts. Now wouldn't that be nice?
The best jobs for 14 and 15-year-olds
We have taken the time out to create this awesome list of how to make money as a teenager. Take a few minutes to check out our list of ideas. Choose something that interests you and get started today.
1. Start a blog
A blog can be a fun way to earn extra money. You can blog about any topic that interests you. Blogging is not an easy way to earn an income, but it can be enjoyable.
It may take several months before your blog earns a single dime, but it can be a lucrative income once you get the ball rolling. Be prepared to create regular content for a growing audience.
If you are interested in learning more about running a blog, then check out our post about building a blog here.
2. Tutor younger kids
If you have excelled in a certain subject, then it is time to put those book smarts to the test. Many parents search high and low for a tutor that can help their kid make it through a class. If you have expertise in a particular area, then market that to the neighborhood.
Simply check with parents in the area if they need a tutor for their children. You can also hang up posters around town if you want to generate wider interest. As you start to hear from potential clients, make sure to talk to your parents before meeting up.
3. Work at a restaurant
Fast food establishments and sit down restaurants are always in need of extra help. Many are looking for teenagers to take over the cash register or hostess table. Other potential openings might include cook, busboy, waitress, and more.
Depending on the setup, you could make minimum wage or have the opportunity to earn tips. Either way, you will build your resume while taking home a paycheck. Plus, most have a policy of free or discounted food for employees.
4. Provide lawn and landscaping services
Many people are too busy or simply don’t want to take care of their lawns. It is a labor-intensive job that you can turn into a booming business.
Mowing the lawn is one simple service to provide. However, you could also plant garden beds, weed flower gardens, rake leaves, clean up after their dog, or water any landscaping in their yard. Be creative based on the lawns in your local area.
5. Provide snow services
If you live in a cold area, then snow can be a big business. People typically avoid cleaning the snow out of their driveways at any cost. You can take advantage of that need and offer to shovel driveways. Set up a regular rotation of clients so that you never run out of snow to shovel.
Babysitting is a fairly common way for teenagers to earn money. A good place to start your babysitting activities is through family friends. If you do a good job, then they can spread the word around the community. You might be surprised how much you can earn as a reliable babysitter.
A typical rate is at least $10/hour plus an extra $3 for each additional child. Plus, most parents provide a meal to the babysitter.
Another opportunity similar to babysitting is a parent helper. The parent would be home while you are helping out around the house. That might include anything from entertaining the kids to folding laundry. It can be a good first step if you aren’t quite ready to watch a houseful of kids on your own. Some great places to start include care.com and sittercity.com.
7. Start a photography or video editing business
Are you amazing at photography or video editing? Many people are constantly on the search for your services. You can offer to take pictures of an event or edit photos taken by the client. Video editing would be very similar.
This is a great opportunity to polish your skillset and earn an income.
8. Be a DJ
Although this may require some start-up capital to buy the equipment, becoming a DJ is fairly easy to do. Think of all the parties that are in desperate need of a DJ. Like the ones your friends are having! If you are able to keep a party flowing smoothly, then this might be the perfect opportunity. Get the word out through flyers and friends to start your new gig.
9. Coach little league sports
Coaching little league sports can be a fun way to earn extra money. Many leagues are in need of experienced players to coach the next generation.
Not only will you earn some cash, but also become a role model to an entire team of little leaguers. You might have more fun than you think. Plus, the schedule is usually pretty flexible.
10. Golf caddy
If you are a golfer, then becoming a golf caddy is a great option. While you tote around someone else’s bag, you can learn more about the game. It can be a fun way to network with people in your community. Start by looking up golf clubs in your neighborhood and reach out about applying for a job.
11. Pick up retail work
Although retail work is not alway glamourous, it is a solid way to earn an income. Many retail jobs involve manning the cash register, stocking shelves, and talking to customers. When I worked in retail in my teens, my least favorite part was the customers. However, it was a good learning experience to understand what I did not like about the working world.
Most retail jobs start around minimum wage with the potential for growth. Some companies offer tuition assistance for long-term employees. Consider researching larger companies to find one that offers that benefit. You might be able to transfer to a different store when you leave for college.
12. Work at the gym
If you already spend most of your time at the gym, then you might as well work there. Most gyms will allow you to work out for free as an employee. Not only can you save on your gym membership, but also take home a paycheck.
Don’t limit yourself to traditional gyms. Also, check out other sports centers. In high school, I worked at the tennis center that I had played for years. It was a fun job with people I already knew and enjoyed spending time with. Most jobs in these centers are relatively laid back, so it can be a soft entrance into the demands of the working world.
13. Pet sit
Many people need pet sitting services for a variety of reasons. Whether they need someone to take their dog for a walk in the afternoon or someone to watch their cat all week, pet sitting can be fun. If you love animals, then this is a great way to meet new furry friends and get paid.
You can find clients by asking your neighbors, through word of mouth and local vet clinics.
14. House sit
Similarly to pet sitting, people need someone to watch their house when they leave town. This might include picking up the mail and watering plants. Some clients prefer that you stay in their home while they are out of town. Others just want you to stop by every couple of days.
The best place to start this business is through family friends. As you get more comfortable, spread the word through flyers and referrals.
15. Clean out garages
If you have a knack for organizing, then many people are in need of your services. With overflowing garages across America, you can help clean out their junk in exchange for cash.
Decide on a flat fee for your service. You may want to charge based on the square foot or the number of boxes you will need to go through.
16. Wash cars
Cars can be a big investment. Many people don’t have time to keep their cars clean. A great idea could be to start up a neighborhood car washing service especially during the summer. You will be able to charge more if you bring your services to the customer. As long as the customer has a water spigot, then you should be able to take your services anywhere. Make sure to bring soap, rags, and any other cleaning products with you!
17. Summer camp counselor
If you only have time to work in the summers, then a camp counselor is a good option. You’ll need to work with a wide range of kids all summer. It can be fun if you get a nice group of kids.
Becoming a lifeguard will require specialized training. After you pass the certification, it can be a lucrative income for a teenager. Most lifeguards are paid above minimum wage because they carry a lot of responsibility.
19. Work at a theme park
Theme parks can be a lot of fun, even as an employee. Although it will definitely be work, it might be more enjoyable in a theme park environment. Plus, many theme parks offer perks to their employee such as free tickets.
20. Teach kids how to code
Coding is a valuable skill. If you already know how to code, then you can earn a significant amount of money teaching younger kids to code. Many parents are willing to pay top dollar for their children to learn this skill.
21. Sell food at the farmers market
Are you an amazing baker? Consider setting up a stand at the farmers market. You can perfect your craft and share your baking skills with the community. Plus, you’ll be more in charge of your earning. Instead of a regular income, you’ll learn how to run a business centered around your baking skills.
What to do with the money you make in your teens
Earning money in your teens is exciting. However, it is important not to spend it all in one place. Yes, it's ok to spend some of it on fun things while you enjoy high school. But a small amount of savings can go a long way. Your future self will thank you if you make an effort to save a piece of every paycheck.
Save for school
If you are planning to go to college, then student loans are an option. However, student loans can tremendously affect your financial future in a negative way. It can take decades to pay off those loans.
Instead, save your teenage earning to at least partially fund your college education. If you can avoid student loans altogether, that is amazing. Even if you are only able to reduce your total student loans, it is still worthwhile.
Buy a car in cash
A car payment can be a big commitment, especially in your teens. You aren’t sure where life will take you but a car payment will only hold you back. Consider saving up to purchase a car completely in cash.
Shop around for cars to ensure you are getting a solid deal. You don’t need the latest model, just four wheels and a reliable engine.
Once you find the perfect car, research ways to cut down on your other car expenses such as insurance and repairs.
Create an emergency fund
An emergency fund can get you through difficult times. Unfortunately, we never know when these hard times will come but the reality is that they will come at some point. Build your emergency fund now so that you always have something to fall back on if times get hard.
Invest for the long term
If you start investing in your teens, then your money has decades to grow. You may be able to grow your investment portfolio to millionaire status sooner than you think. If you aren’t sure where to get started investing, then check out our course.
The bottom line
It's a great idea to start earning money as a teenager. When you take home your first paycheck, you’ll likely have a big smile on your face. If you choose to make smart money moves with your teenage paycheck, then you’ll enjoy greater financial stability later in life.