4 Ways to Make Money (for Teenagers)

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  • Anonymous

Jan 3, 2017

    Anonymous Jan 3, 2017

    “I want this cool necklace that i found at a store near my house, but it is $25 without tax. I spent most of my money on gifts for others during the holidays, and I didn’t get any cash this year. I didn’t know what I should to to earn some money, so this gave me some ideas. Thanks!” …” more

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26. Design Your Own Clothes

Are you clever and good at graphic design? You can create custom designs and put them on shirts, socks, posters, hats, accessories etc.. If you use a service like Printful (there are other companies but Printful is by far the most trusted and largest), you don't have to worry about shipping because they will ship your orders for you directly to your customers once you've made a sale.

So if you're the creative type and designing your own clothing line sounds exciting to you, you can go ahead and set up your own store on Shopify, upload your prints to Printful, and have your own clothes being shipped to customers within a week!

7. Tutor Friends

Are you really good at math? Did you score really well on the PSAT? You could be a tutor and get paid $20 or more per hour!

Not only does it help the person you're tutoring and let you earn money, but it also gives you a refresher on an old subject so that you can do better in your current classes. If you tutor a subject that you love, it doesn't even need to feel like work!

To find someone to tutor, just ask your parents or friends' parents if they know anyone who needs help. Often, students are embarrassed and won't admit they need a tutor, and that's why it's important to talk to parents.

When should a teen get a job?

Teens should consider getting a job if they're ready to make money and can handle the responsibilities of being employed. Starting a side hustle is also a great option for teens who don't want a set work schedule.

4. Take Surveys

Some, but not all, online survey websites and apps are open to teens. The following sites are among the best options.

  • Swagbucks (must be at least 13): Earn points by taking online surveys, watching videos, playing games, installing apps and more. Convert your points into gift cards or cash (paid out by PayPal). Swagbucks provides the best income potential among online survey sites.
  • Survey Junkie (must be at least 16): You won’t find other making-making options here aside from taking surveys, but Survey Junkie is one of the best options for getting paid to answer questions about your interests and preferences.
  • Lifepoints (must be at least 14): Another site that offers paid surveys. It’s similar to Survey Junkie, but the payout is typically a little lower.

When it comes to surveys, it’s important to have realistic expectations. This could be a good side hustle if you want to make some extra spending money, but you’re not going to earn a significant amount. If you were to calculate your hourly rate, it would be pretty low (possibly below minimum wage).

But what surveys lack in income potential, they make up for in terms of flexibility. You can take surveys whenever you have a few minutes to spare. It’s extremely convenient since you can use your phone to take surveys wherever you are.

Many of the other opportunities covered in this article involve building an online business. That’s an excellent option if you have a long-term approach or if you want to maximize your income potential. But if you simply want to make a little extra cash and you want to start earning right away, online surveys could be a good option. 

Related: The best survey sites for making money.

15. Make and Sell Crafts on Etsy

If you have a talent for making crafts, you can start making some extra money selling them on Etsy.

It’s a site dedicated to those who create and sell handmade crafts.

37. Assisting the Elderly

Many elderly people prefer to live in their own homes, rather than going to a senior facility. But there are many aspects of home maintenance and basic living that they have difficulty managing.

You may be able to help elderly people in your community with basic jobs like housecleaning, shopping, or organizing personal effects. In many cases, the person may just want camaraderie.

8. Sell Lessons About Your Hobbies on Teachable

Teachable is a platform for selling online courses. If you’re between the ages of 13 and 17 years old, you can use Teachable with your parent or guardian’s permission. 

Teachable makes it easy to create your own course or lesson (video or text) on any topic of your choice. They process payments from customers and then pay you what you’ve earned, minus some small fees.

Your course at Teachable can be priced as low as 99 cents, so it’s not necessary to create an in-depth, high-end course. You could create a low-priced course that teaches something very specific.

The key to success with an online course is to think about what you know really well that you could teach to others. Consider hobbies that you’re really good at. Many people are willing to spend money on their hobbies, so your skills or expertise could be very valuable.

Examples of lessons or courses you could offer include: 

  1. How to play a specific song on guitar or drums.
  2. How to master a game or video game.
  3. How to build a following on social media.
  4. Martial arts.
  5. Drawing or painting.

Creating an online course is a good option for teens because you can tailor your course to your own interests and your unique knowledge or expertise. It’s also highly flexible.

Another benefit that may be appealing is the ability to start building a long-term business. You could start with a simple course now, and you may ultimately decide to add more courses and continue to grow the business in the future. 

Plus, since you create the course once and keep selling the same materials over and over, it’s a great passive income business.

Get Hired for Part-Time Jobs

Food delivery

Food delivery

You can also make some extra cash for delivering food. For example, Instacart is an app that provides its customers with same-day delivery on groceries (they too do pick-up services) from their local store. The user does all of their shopping directly through the app and checks out. Once that’s complete, the order is sent to a personal shopper (this is where you come in) to do the shopping and deliver the order that same day.

What’s cool about Instacart, though, is that they offer both a full-service and in-store only option. A full-service shopper goes to the designated store, does the shopping, packs it up, and delivers it directly to the customer (you leave the food on their doorstep in nearly all cases).

But if that sounds like too much, you can also be an in-store shopper, where you do the shopping and get the order ready for the customer to pick up. The in-store option is excellent for people who don’t want to bounce around from store to store all day or make deliveries. Note that you have to be 18 years old to sign up for Instacart.

Another option is Postmates. Postmates hires “couriers” to deliver not only groceries but also food from restaurants as well as other personal items directly to the customer’s home. As a courier, you’ll get compensated based on how many orders you complete in an hour, your waiting time for orders, and how many miles you drive.

On top of that, you get to keep all of your tips. So if you do an excellent job, you can make some good money. You can also pick and choose which delivery requests you want to take – otherwise, you’ll be automatically assigned deliveries. Like Instacart, you do have to be 18 to deliver for Postmates.

Golf caddy

If you live near an upscale golf course, make sure to apply as a golf caddy this summer. According to The New York Times, caddies can earn more than $100 for 18 holes. Not bad, considering that your primary responsibility is holding clubs for someone.

A golf caddy plays a crucial role in a golfer’s success. They serve as a confidant and an advisor when it comes to club selection. If you’re really good at your job, you can be the difference between an excellent round and a mediocre one. The same goes for the size of your post-round tip.

Lifeguard

You need to know how to swim and be at least 15, but if you check both boxes, you have an inside track to becoming a lifeguard. All lifeguards must take a course before they start earning a paycheck. The certification process ensures that the hire is a strong swimmer who understands how to perform first aid.

While you can garner a steady paycheck as well as a tan, make sure you’re up for the responsibilities. Lifeguards have to handle emergencies that can be matters of life or death. If you don’t want the pressure that comes with donning the whistle and rescue tube, consider one of the other options on the list.

Retail worker

Many teens in this country work retail, making it one of the most popular ways to make some extra money as a teenager. The position can be flexible and rewarding, especially if the company you pursue has values that align with your own. For instance, if you’re an aspiring fashion designer, apply for a job with a clothing store.

Many retail stores pay minimum wage, or close to it, and hire people starting at age 16. The average hourly salary for retail workers is $14.12, with many high school students using the job to make discretionary income.

Camp counselor

Sign up to be a camp counselor and make money as a teenager in the great outdoors. You get to work throughout the summer, teaching adolescents valuable skills. Pick something that mirrors your interests, whether that’s Girl Scouts, basketball, or just a general summer camp.

Camp counseling is a job, but it’s also a rare opportunity to get paid to play. You make money while going on a hike or teaching campers how to start a fire. You can also leave knowing you helped people build their confidence, independence, and skills.

Fast food server

Next to retail, fast food is one of the largest employers of teenagersWhile you probably don’t want to work in fast food for your entire life, it can be a great way to earn your first paycheck. Restaurants have a lot of open positions and hire people without industry experience.

Fast food experience can bolster your resume in several ways. Working in a fast-paced environment teaches people how to adapt on the fly and meet tight deadlines. You may even parlay the job into one day working in a gourmet restaurant.

Golf course worker

Many of the jobs on this list, like camp counselors, retail workers, and fast-food employees, require customer service skills. If you’re not a social butterfly, making money as a golf course worker may appeal to you. You work with a small group of groundskeepers who ensure that a course remains in top shape. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know anything about playing golf to work there.

Golf courses see an uptick in golfers during the summer, so clubs hire in late spring and early summer. Some of the core responsibilities include cutting grass, refilling water tanks, raking bunkers, and moving pins. 

Car wash attendant

If you have a passion for cars, get paid to clean them in your free time. Car wash attendants are responsible for taking orders, wiping the frame, and cleaning the glass. It’s a simple way to make money as a teenager, whether you work for a local car wash or start a one-person-crew.

If you decide to go the entrepreneurial route, ask your friends and family if they need a wash. Once you help everyone you know, start knocking on doors in your neighborhood and offering your services.

Video game tester

Yes, video game testing is a real job. Testers work with the video game quality-assurance team to find bugs in the game. Instead of completing missions, their responsibility is to find ways a game glitches or fails.

Video game testers should have outstanding attention to detail, focus, communication, and creativity. You have to articulate to developers how you found a bug so they can recreate your steps and correct the problem. Entry-level testers make about $10 per hour.

Grocery store worker

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to reassess how “essential” their jobs are. Grocery store workers are among the few jobs that remain in demand, even in the face of a recession. Whether you work stocking groceries or slicing meats at the deli, there’s always a way to make money as a teenager at a grocery store.

Many stores, including Kroger, Safeway, and Publix, hire kids as young as 14. You have a good chance of landing a position, even if you don’t have previous experience. You’ll likely start with entry-level tasks, like bagging groceries and collecting shopping carts, before graduating to more responsibility, like butcher or cashier.

Mystery shopper

Companies want unbiased feedback to figure out what they’re doing well and where they can make improvements. Some places hire mystery shoppers to review their customer service, inventory, and cleanliness. It’s free to sign up, as companies pay you to eat and shop at your favorite restaurants and stores.

Mystery shoppers play a vital role in their local communities. They help make upgrades so that future shoppers can enjoy better customer experience. 

Movie theater attendant

If you’re a movie buff, apply to a movie theater. Attendants have a hand in keeping a theater operational year-round. That includes handling tickets, serving food and beverages, running the movies, and cleaning up after the shows.

Movie theater jobs can provide valuable insight into the film industry if you aspire to make films. You’ll also work with people your age and get free movie passes as a perk. The average attendant can expect to earn as much as $16.84 per hour.

Barista

Making a fantastic latte is about more than making money as a teenager – it’s an art form. Baristas learn valuable customer service skills while working in a team-oriented environment. They can even flex their creativity when adorning coffee cups with frothy milk.

Starbucks employs the most baristas in the world, with more than 200,000 employees. You need to be at least 16 to apply for a job unless you live in Montana, where the minimum age is 14. The average barista will make $10.57 per hour.

Ice cream scooper

In the summer, the sale of ice cream tends to skyrocket. Experts estimate there are more than 14,000 ice cream shops nationwide with thousands of open roles.

Scooping ice cream provides a great way to learn practical skills. You can gain real-world business and entrepreneurial knowledge while serving customers and members of your team. You’ll also have access to discounted (or even free) ice cream all summer long.

Music teacher

If you are proficient in at least one instrument, you can turn that knowledge into a music teaching career. You can start by teaching your friends, and move on from there. 

Music teaching work may appeal to you enjoy educating others. According to ZipRecruiter, the average music teachers make $20.64 to $28.14 per hour – but that’s with a lot of experience, so know that you’ll have to start out on a smaller scale. 

What To Do With The Money You Make As A Teenager

Set Up An Emergency Fund

You never know what expenses may come up when you’re headed to college or even supporting yourself as a teen. It’s important to have an emergency fund to help give you peace of mind when emergencies arise.

Now, an emergency in this situation is not that you found a pair of jeans you love. No! An example of an emergency is when your tire just went out and you have to have it replaced today. If you have money saved for it, it’s easy to cover and you’re not struggling afterward or going into debt to cover the cost.

Whether you’re a teenager or not, it’s SO important to have an emergency fund.

Save For Something You Want

There may be something you’re needing or wanting to buy, and you have to save for it yourself. Maybe it’s a new car, a new laptop, or even a new pair of shoes you’ve been wanting for months.

It’s so rewarding to have money, build the discipline to save for it, and then purchase it yourself. You will appreciate the item more when you buy it with your own money. Plus, you’re building confidence in yourself that you’re able to have the discipline and self-control to save for something worth your money and time. You will thank yourself later!

Save For School

Maybe you’re going to college, trade school, or just wanting to dip your toes in some college courses without committing yet. Having the money saved up to pay for ahead of time will save you SO. MUCH. MONEY.

It’ll save you money in student loans, student loan interest, and spending your student loan money and having to pay it back later. Leaving college or trade school without more debt is worth EVERY penny paying it ahead of time. 

Knowing Your Rights 

It’s important to know that there are special protections for teens with jobs. In the United States, minors are not allowed to work under the age of 14 (with a few exceptions) and have limited hours they can work when they’re under 16. Federal law also bars anyone under 18 from working in jobs considered dangerous. Many child labor laws in the US were established by the Fair Labor Standards Act, and you can use this tool on the Department of Labor website to see whether the Act covers your job.

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Bottom Line

This list just scratches the surface of ways for teens to make money. There are many awesome money-making gigs for teens who are looking for summer work.

If you’re creative and willing to put in the effort, there are plenty of opportunities to earn good cash.

What are you doing to make money this summer? 

*Actual earnings may differ and depend on factors like the number of deliveries completed, time of day, location, and expenses. Hourly pay is calculated using average Dasher payouts while on a delivery (from the time you accept an order until the time you drop it off) over a 90 day period and includes compensation from peak pay, tips, and other incentives.

Tips for Teenagers with Online Jobs

Here are some pointers to help you find success with your online job:

Keep Your Parents Posted

Remember to keep your parents or legal guardians in the loop—they’ll appreciate it. Plus, if you suddenly become richer than them—and they didn’t know where the money came from—they would be worried!

Your parents already know that you’ll learn the value of money when you earn extra cash as a teenager.

Learn on the Job

As you’ll learn, the road to financial independence is paved with patience and hard work. Earning extra money now, as a teenager, will teach you how to succeed when you start making more money later in life.

And these online jobs can teach you a lot about working in the professional world. The same is true for old-fashioned jobs for teens like becoming a babysitter, pet sitter, camp counselor, or grocery bagger. Nothing replaces work experience.

Watch Out for Scams

Unfortunately, the online world is full of scams. When you’re hopeful about starting a new online job, you could fall victim to one of these schemes.

To avoid this, stick to the ideas on my list or vet your job opportunities with these questions:

  • Is the job asking me for money? Whether you’re being asked to buy software or invest in a product, you shouldn’t be parting with money in order to get a job. This is a huge warning sign.
  • Does the employer want me to meet in person? You shouldn’t need to meet an employer in person to become a virtual assistant or a graphic design freelancer. If you do need to meet someone in person, make sure you’re meeting in a safe, public place. And make sure your parents or guardians know what you’re up to.
  • Does it seem too good to be true? You won’t make a hundred grand a year as a proofreader. You won’t become a millionaire by working the survey sites. Over-the-top promises may be strong signals that the job isn’t for real.
  • Are there too many personal questions? Your mother’s maiden name, your middle name, your Social Security number, your bank account numbers… all this info shouldn’t be required for you to get a part-time job or a side hustle gig. Be careful sharing personal data. Identity thieves love to steal credit profiles from young people.

One of the best ways to avoid scams is to source your side hustles from vetted sites. The Steady app compiles legitimate local and national gig economy jobs to help you start earning extra money. It’s 100% free and worth a try if you’re not sure where to start looking.

Get a PayPal Account and a Bank Account for Teens

You may have noticed a lot of jobs on this list pay through a PayPal account, which can link to your bank account.

But PayPal won’t verify an account unless you’re an 18-year-old. So to make this legit, you’ll need help from your parent or legal guardian to set up your accounts.

It’ll take some legwork upfront—and up to 30 minutes of your parent or guardian’s time. But it’ll be worthwhile when you have your own bank and PayPal account set up so you can make money and control where it goes. We recommend starting a checking account to store your money and start building savings for the future.

Learn more:

5 Ways for Teens To Make Money

Teens have many opportunities for earning their own income. Here, we've used five categories to detail the best ways to make money as a teen: traditional jobs, online hustles, side hustles, business ideas, and passive income ideas.

Traditional Ways To Make Money as a Teenager

Common ways teens have traditionally earned money for decades include:

  • Part-time jobs
  • After-school jobs
  • Summer jobs
  • Weekend jobs

Typical part-time job options for teens include working at fast-food restaurants, car washes, retail stores, grocery stores, and movie theaters. Some employers may require teens younger than 16 to have a valid work permit.

Teens may also be able to find weekend or summer jobs working at golf courses, amusement parks, and summer camps. The median weekly earnings for people ages 16 and older working a part-time job was $317 in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Online Side Hustles for Teens

As more employers hire for remote positions, teens may find opportunities in this trend. Online side hustles and side jobs can be great options for making money as a teen because they don't require transportation and they can allow for a flexible schedule, Stafford said.

At-home opportunities for teens include:

  • Getting paid to take surveys
  • Starting a blog or podcast
  • Monetizing social media, like a TikTok channel or YouTube channel
  • Freelancing on Fiverr
  • Managing social media accounts
  • Flipping clothing or other items
  • Watching videos or playing games with a site like Swagbucks

Some of these online side hustles have more earning potential than others, and how much you earn will also depend on how much time you put in.

Keep in mind that you will have to pay income tax on your earnings, even if they are from a side hustle. Teens with income should talk with an adult about how to handle their taxes.

Offline Side Hustles for Teens

Offline side hustles are another way to make money as a teen. Some of these opportunities include:

  • Walking dogs
  • Babysitting
  • Washing cars
  • Cleaning houses
  • Working as a youth-sports referee or lifeguard
  • Delivering groceries via Instacart
  • Delivering food via DoorDash
  • Teaching music lessons
  • Tutoring

The amount of money teens can earn with offline side hustles will depend on the job. Tutoring jobs for teens, for instance, pay $20 an hour on average as of May 2022, according to ZipRecruiter. Offline side hustles are usually flexible, so teens can make money while still keeping up with schoolwork, socializing with friends, and fulfilling responsibilities at home.

Business Ideas for Teenagers

Starting a business as a teenager can also be considered an investment that could lead to long-term financial success. Teens can develop many products and services that could lead to potential profits. Some business ideas for teenagers include:

  • Selling homemade crafts or products on Etsy
  • Developing an app
  • Dog walking or pet sitting 
  • Lawn care
  • House cleaning or house sitting
  • Freelancing

Starting a business might require an initial investment of time or money, but this money-making opportunity could pay off in the long-term.

Passive Income Ideas for Teenagers

Passive income is money generated from activities in which you don't materially participate, according to the IRS. Rental real estate income, for example, is a form of passive income that adult investors can earn.

Passive income strategies might appeal to a teen looking for low-stress ways to make money, but they typically require an initial significant investment of your time. Some ways to make passive income as a teen might include:

  • Starting a blog or niche website
  • Creating a YouTube channel
  • Selling digital products
  • Selling photos
  • Creating an online course

You may need help from an adult if you're under age 18. YouTube, for example, doesn't allow teens under 18 to monetize their channels unless they're linked to an approved Adsense account owned by a parent.

Also, remember that "passive income" streams still require work. If you want to start a blog, for example, to make money from ads or affiliate marketing, you'll first have to spend some time creating content for it. You'll also have to spend time promoting that content to build steady traffic to generate income.

Tips for Finding Babysitting and Other Gigs

No matter what, people are always going to need help with childcare, house work, yard work, and other chores in their lives. The key to finding these gigs is getting the word out that you are the person to call to perform them. You can print out simple fliers advertising the jobs you are willing to perform (like lawn mowing) and your email or phone number, and post them on community bulletins in coffee shops and grocery stores. Talk to your classmates about how much they charge for these types of gigs—that way you’ll be charging a rate that is fair to your clients and yourself. 

Of course, it’s always best to work smarter, not harder—so get people you know to spread the word for you! You can tell your guardians, family friends, and relatives that you are looking to pick up some work, tell them when you are free, and have them ask around. Remember to thank someone if they hook you up with a gig!

Tips for the Teenage Hustlers

  • Start NOW – When I was younger there were a lot of things I thought I couldn’t do because I was too young. I was wrong and I wish I would have just started.
  • Have fun – You don’t need to get rich off your first side hustle. Have some fun with it and find out what you enjoy doing. You’ll learn a lot.
  • Experiment – As a teen, time is on your side. Experiment with the different opportunities above and once you find something you enjoy doing, don’t give up right away if you’re not making money with it.
  • Consistency and perseverance is key!
  • Learn from your mistakes – When you start something new, you’re bound to make mistakes. Instead of getting discouraged, figure out what went wrong and learn from it.
  • Do the best work possible – If you want your business to grow, you can’t do crappy work. When you do good work, people notice, and your business grows.
  • Be creative – Use the ideas above as a starting point and put your own spin and creativity on them. The more unique you are and the more you stand out, the better your chances of success.

What to do with money as a teenager

So you’re a teen who’s figured out how to make some money – which is great!

Now it’s a question of figuring out what to do with money as a teenager.

Here are some ways we’d suggest splitting your earnings.

Keep some for fun things

Having your eye on a financial goal is fantastic. In fact, if this is you, you’re literally already in a better position than many adults who are struggling to manage their money.

But it’s fine to also save some of your money for fun things. That way, you’ll stay motivated to keep making money and also have the chance to live your life a bit.

Save most of it

It’s good to keep a financial goal in mind during all your hard work. As once you get there, the fact you’ve worked so hard to achieve that goal will make it all the more sweeter.

This is why it’s a good idea to save most of your money. If you’re earning cash in hand, keeping it somewhere safe should be fine, but consider opening a bank account instead to store it there.

Generally, you can open a bank account from 14 years old, but until you’re 18, you have to have a legal guardian as a co-owner of the account.

Invest part of it

As mentioned earlier, starting to invest as a teenager is seriously one of the best things you can do for your financial future.

One of the most important features of any investment is time – that is, having the time for your investment to compound (i.e. grow) in value.

So starting as a teenager definitely gives you enough time to do this.

And if you’re wondering what should a teenager invest in, look into low-cost, reliable options like an index fund.

This is what many adults – including me – base their entire investment portfolio on. So do some research into what that is and how to get started and start setting yourself up for future financial success.

Why you should start building passive income side hustles as a teen

Passive income allows you to make an income, maybe even as much as a full-time job, but without needing to work all the time. The sooner you start building passive income sources, the better.

It will help you save and prepare for the future. It’s beneficial to do this as a teenager because much of your time right now should be focused on your education.

3. It Prepares You For The Real World

When I moved out of my parents’ house, it was shocking to me to learn how much money it costs to live when your parents aren’t supporting you anymore.

You’ll be out on your own one day too, so making money as a teen will provide good experience for you about what it is like to earn and manage your own money.

You might actually be surprised at how you handle the money you earn yourself.

You may handle it differently than you handle the money that your parents give you with no strings attached.

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