Q&A with Kids’ Money

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Kids, parents, whoever - feel free to submit your questions below! We may post some questions (with our answers of course) that we get frequently. Any responses posted on Kids' Money will remain anonymous.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Kid: I'm 14 and lately I have been trying to save up for a car and for college. Are there any ways that I can make money on a steady basis?

Kids' Money: Federal law allows you to work at a number of different types of jobs:

  • Newspaper delivery.
  • Acting.
  • Non-hazardous farm work.
  • Office/clerical.
  • Sales.
  • Retail.

During the school year, you can not work:

  • During school hours.
  • Before 7 AM or after 7 PM (except for newspaper delivery).
  • More than 3 hours a day.
  • More than 18 hours a week.

During the summer, you can not work:

  • After 9 PM.
  • More than 8 hours a day.
  • More than 40 hours a week.

Before you start making plans, you need to:

  • Talk this over with your parents.
  • Check State laws (they vary from state to state and many times they are more restrictive than Federal laws).

Besides an outside job, you may want to consider other good steady money makers for kids:

  • Babysitting.
  • Yard work.
  • Helping with parent's work

How about other Kids' Money parents and kids? Now's the chance to share your knowledge and experience in this area. E-mail your views now!

Kids' Money receives numerous e-mails from kids who want to know how they can money. Some kids need to make a lot and money and need to make it fast. Others are too young to work at hourly jobs and are looking for alternatives. Or, they simply want to know how old they have to be to work. Many times, Kids' Money gets the same question in a number of different e-mails. In that instance, we select one question that is representative and answer it. In fairness and appreciation to all those that have written and in an effort to better understand their concerns and frustrations, we are providing other questions that address the topics discussed above. We hope each of you finds this approach helpful. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

  • I'm a girl and I'm 12 and I want to make money.
  • Are there any jobs a 14/15 year old can work?
  • I am 15 and need a summer job. Any suggestions?
  • What age do you have to be for a paper route?
  • I want to make money for a computer. How can I get the money? (Age 10)
  • I am 13 and I need to know how to make some money.
  • I am 13 years old (going to be 14 on August22). By the time I get a job to make money in the summer, summer will be over. Are ther any jobs that will let me work in an ordinary place instead of having to do little things like baby-sit?
  • How can a kid make money?

Kid: I'm 16. Next summer I will travel to Europe with my Science Club. It cost $1,400 plus I need some spending money. My mom is going with me but I don't want to bug her for money all the time. My parents will not let me get a job, so I was wondering if you have any advice for me!?! I baby-sit and sell candy, but I need other jobs also.

Kids' Money: Baby-sitting is probably the best money making opportunity you have. If you want to make more money, promote your service:

  • Let the people you now baby-sit for know that you are looking for more baby-sitting jobs.
  • Parents are always asking each other for the names of good baby-sitters.
  • Let other parents you know or meet know that you're available to baby-sit.
  • Volunteer to help at the church nursery. It's a great way to meet parents with kids and you'll feel good about your contribution.
  • If your neighborhood has a directory, be sure your name is included in the list of baby-sitters.
  • When you're giving people your name, it's always helpful to have a business card. Print one up on the PC. You can get blank cards at your local office supply store.

If you do well at school, you may want to do some private tutoring. Talk with the schools and teachers about opportunities that may be available. Once again, a business card may help.

If you are talented in sports, you may want to give one-on-one lessons to younger kids. Let the local recreation center or league directors of the sports you're interested in know you are available.

And finally, since you like to sell stuff, you may also want to think about other things you could sell or make and sell. Check out Kids' Money Store, Books For Kids for a great selection of books with hundreds of ideas.

How about other Kids' Money parents and kids? Now's the chance to share your knowledge and experience in this area. E-mail your views now!

Kid: I want to make some money to buy myself some new clothes. I just can't think of a way. I get an allowance but my family can't afford to buy me clothes because they are paying for my private school. I want to get some clothes. What should I do?

Kids' Money: There's lot of ways to get money. Here's a short list:

  • Ask for cash gifts.
  • Have a yard sale.
  • Do jobs around the house for extra money.
  • Do jobs for friends and neighbors.

The most popular jobs are baby-sitting and yard work. Washing cars and pet sitting are also good ways to make money.

Besides working, you may want to check with your parents and see if they will:

  • Give you a clothing allowance (monthly or twice a year).
  • Match the money you earn for clothes.

Don't forget, you can make your money go further if you watch for sales. Check out the newspaper for local bargains and good luck!

How about other Kids' Money parents and kids? Now's the chance to share your knowledge and experience in this area. E-mail your views now!

Kid: My Dad won't give me an allowance and I'm 12-years old. I want to earn some money during the summer time. What can I do?

Kids' Money: Here's some ideas from our resident 11-year old:

  • Mow lawns.
  • Take care of pets when neighbors go on vacation.
  • Do extra jobs around the house.
  • Have a garage sale.
  • Make something and sell it to your neighbors.
  • Baby-sit.

Kids' Money Kid: I have the same problem, only I am 7.

Kids' Money Parent: So you're only 7 and you want to make some cash? I have some suggestions. A lot of mothers have their hands full with new babies in the summer because they have a lot to do. So I recommend asking an aunt or a neighbor you know if they need any help with chores or the baby while she does other things. Your too young to babysit, but if you feed the baby while she mends some socks or does the dishes or gets some time off, it would be a big help. Start by charging $1.00 or .50 cents an hour. You're really young so you have to prove you're reliable before you raise your rates.

How about other Kids' Money parents and kids? Now's the chance to share your knowledge and experience in this area. E-mail your views now!

Parent: What are some ways my kids can acquire money without me giving them an allowance?

Kids' Money: There are really only two legitimate ways that come to mind...well, three if you count finding it on the ground. Besides that, your kids can suggest that cash would be appreciated from those asking about what kind of gifts to give. Some children have put together significant sums by saving cash gifts.

Of course, the only way to consistently accumulate money is to work for it. The type of work depends on the age of the child. Young kids love to help. Their jobs generally come from helping mom or dad or a close relative, friend or neighbor. Older kids have many more opportunities. Bonnie and Noel Drew have put together a lengthy list of enterprising ideas in their book Kid Biz - Year Round Money Making Projects for Junior Entrepreneurs. Just the Table of Contents, with it's 101 money-making projects, includes 25 activities for spring; 27, for summer; 25 for fall; and 24, for winter.

Here's a progressive list of ways kids can make money starting at the youngest ages:

  • Extra jobs around the house. These go beyond chores or normal household responsibilities. Typically, they are jobs you would do yourself or pay someone else to do. Extra jobs can include such things as matching socks, washing cars, cutting grass or painting fences.
  • Help neighbors and relatives. They have the same needs as parents when it comes to needing help around the house. Often, starting at a young age with small tasks such as pulling weeds and pet sitting can lead to bigger jobs like lawn care and baby-sitting.
  • Help with parent's work. From time to time, most parents' jobs involve some small task that their kids can do. Kids are anxious to get involved and generally work hard and do a good job. If it frees you up to do more challenging work or if it's something you would pay someone else to do - both you and your child are money ahead.
  • Help with kid's work. Parents can get temporary jobs with the idea that the kids will help with most of the work and earn most of the money. One such job is delivering phone directories.
  • Start your own business. Kids can both make money and gain valuable business experience by starting their own businesses. They can provide a service, make their own product or sell someone else's goods. Capitalism For Kids - Growing Up To Be Your Own Boss by Karl Hess has gotten some great reviews. It includes encouragement and guidance for both parents and kids. Most parents are probably also familiar with the Sales Leadership Club and Olympia Sales Club. Both catalogs include a wide variety of products which kids can sell for cash and prizes.
  • Part-time and summer jobs. States and common sense dictate limits to kids working. Check the law and then consider any added restrictions you may want to establish. Jobs can be a great source of money, provide valuable work experience and become an important part of growing up. However, it's not uncommon for jobs to also interfere with school work and family life. Taking time with your child to establish and maintain a balance between the three is essential.

Well, that's the Kids' Money idea list. How about other Kids' Money parents and kids? Now's the chance to share your knowledge and experience in this area. E-mail your views now!

Parent: My 7 year old recently accepted an invitation to a friends birthday party. Should he be responsible in spending his allowance on a gift for his friend?

KM: When determining an allowance amount, the gift-buying needs of a child are difficult (if not impossible) to estimate. Who knows how many birthday parties he will be invited to? If you don't take those expenses into account when setting the amount, the allowance will not begin to be adequate to cover the cost of gifts.

Our solution is a separate Gift Allowance. You can set a dollar amount or a percentage of the gift cost or a percentage up to a certain dollar amount. You may want to have different amounts for family than for friends. For instance, you may provide half the cost of the gift for a maximum parental contribution of $5 for friends and $10 for family. Or, you may just want to provide the $5 or $10 and let the child make up the difference if he wants to spend more.

Either way, you've given your child an amount of money they can count on for buying gifts and also given them the opportunity to budget that amount, combined with whatever they may choose to add to it, in planning those purchases. Such a Gift Allowance can be both a convenience for parents and a valuable learning experience for children.