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Earning Money for Teens

Ready to earn some money? Here’s how to get started on the right foot and build smart money-making habits.

teenage-boy-working-at-cash-register

Let’s get in the mindset of learning, shall we?

No, this isn’t some finance course for whiz kids. Nor is it an “Earning Money for Dummies” book recommendation.

But I thought you’d like to know the secret to earning money as a teenager.

So make sure you get your textbook out, take notes and prepare for a quiz at the end (Okay, I knew you wouldn’t fall for that bogus claim, but keep reading).

I’m sure by now, if you’re still reading, you want to know how you can earn money as a teenager. This means that you consider yourself to be ready for financial independence. A really big move.

But good news – big moves don’t always require big action. It’s actually quite simple to get started with a pocket full of know-how. Here is where you will find out some of the benefits of making money as a teenager, ideas for you to start earning your own, and how to ask parents for help with earning it. We will also provide a tidbit on filing taxes as a working teen, definitions for you to know and use, and resources to value along your path to financial freedom. Let’s go!

Benefits of Earning Your Own Money As A Teen

Freedom and Independence

Every teen wants to do things on their own terms, but earning your parents’ trust is: the key to being free.

In order to grow up, the opportunities to experience things in life must be presented to you – positioning you for soaring when it’s time to flee from the bird’s nest. Even If that means learning from mistakes along the way, which is actually a crucial part of the freedom process. When a teen proves themselves, showing clear signs of readiness to earn their own money, a certain level of freedom and independence will be handed to them. Other opportunities, such as owning a credit card will follow suit. Credit cards can teach you about credit scores, paying bills on time, and staying free from debt.

*Very important: You should know about debt before accepting your first credit card offer.

Achieving Financial Goals

If you are on a track and field team, you probably could imagine how satisfying it is whenever you make the finish line. You achieved the goal, from start to finish. Setting financial goals allows you to see your progress to know whether or not you are on the right track.

Financial goals can be short or long-term focused and should align with your personal objectives and values. Take for instance a teen that is adventurous and ready to take on challenges whose short-term goal is to prepare for a trip to visit colleges abroad that they’ve been interested in applying to. Other short-term goals could be starting a small business, building an emergency fund, or just wanting to feel financially secure enough.

A long-term goal is more like saving for retirement and a family house. Pace yourself in setting these goals and make sure to prioritize them from your “needs” to your “wants”.

Financial Security

Money can buy a lot of things. It can also get us out of a lot of unfavorable situations and into more favorable ones. It becomes the solution to most of our problems, and therefore intentionally kept around as much as possible. Picture yourself throwing up wads of cash in the air, watching it rain down from over your head and fall all around. Feeling secure enough?

We often use money as a security blanket that provides us with a sense of ‘psychological’ comfort. Our emotions play a huge role in the relationship that we develop with money. The feelings we get when we have or obtain it differ from the feelings we have when we spend or lose it. For example, the days when your parents give you that extra set of cash apart from your allowance suddenly becomes the best day ever.

And since money requires us to constantly be in a cyclical influx mode where we gain and lose, adopting a healthy, money-conscious mindset helps to tame the rollercoaster of emotions and take back control.

Helping Others

An important lesson is this: Nothing is constant. Therefore, having money isn’t either. You may at times find that you have no control over your money, and this may come at a time you need it the most. Well, what can you do? Ask someone for help. And in some cases, you won’t have to ask.

To understand this topic further, read Sharing for Teens and find big lessons on giving to others and how paying it forward and sharing your wealth is a stepping stone to financial growth.

Ideas to Earn Money As A Teenager

The earning possibilities for teens are endless. But before you hop out of your seat and sign your life away for a dead-end job, write down some conditions to follow that your prospective jobs will have no choice but to follow. (If they hire you, of course.)

Are you only willing to work part-time?

Is it flexible hours you’re looking for?

Would the job benefit you most if it were home-based or virtual?

Remember, when it comes to earning money, there are many ways to do it. Don’t settle if it means you have to compromise important stuff in your life. Here are some ways to earn money for you to choose from:

Tutoring Younger Kids. Get paid to tutor kids that are younger than you, while also helping them to excel. You can post flyers in your neighborhood as a 1-to-1 peer tutor, or get your name out on your social media channels. You can also find online tutoring platforms that allow teens to tutor. It might also pique your interest to tutor some children voluntarily who may lack the resources to pay for the extra help.

Babysitting Services. A very popular way to get extra cash. You can commit to a weekly schedule or lend help to parents when needed. If you already have a passion for caring for smaller children, this could be a great first job!

Offering Lawn, Landscaping, Snow Removal Services. This is an all-weather, all-year-round type of job so the pay can be ongoing. Ask your parents to help you find families that could use the extra hands on the exterior of their homes. You can also promote your own business around town, creating flyers and leaving them on doorsteps.

Become a Certified Lifeguard. If you enjoy swimming, take on this job as a lifeguard at your community pool in the summer. You can also do this during the colder months at indoor facilities.

If you are that tech-savvy teen that prefers a job online, these are for you!:

Gaming. which teenager who loves playing video games wouldn’t want to get paid to play? It’s a no-brainer. If you’re that kid, look online. There are several gaming sites where you can make passive income just by playing.

Sell stock photos. if you are into photography, get paid to take pictures and submit them for commission payments. Submit your photos to a stock photo agency.

Tutoring. Being studious pays off in more ways than just one. Work peer-to-peer with students that are younger who need the extra help.

Call Reviewer. Companies like Humanatic pay teenagers to review customer service calls and rate them as a way of providing feedback based on friendliness, professionalism, etc. All you need is a PayPal account to receive payment.

Survey Taker. Lending a few minutes of your time to complete a survey or two rather than browsing out of boredom could be worth your while. Check out Swagbucks and get paid to take surveys if you are at least 13 years of age.

How to Ask Your Parents to Help You Earn Money

Do your part for a start. Exhibiting readiness is the first step to getting help with earning money. Show them you’re responsible by choosing to spend/save/invest your allowance money wisely, being eager to do extra work around the house, and volunteering your services to neighbors or people in need.

Once you’ve completed that first step, now is the time to increase your chances of earning money by getting your parents involved. Your parents can assist with anything from preparing you for job interviews, giving you advice on how to build and maintain your work ethic, to possibly getting you your first employment hookup. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help. As adults, they have built up extensive knowledge on money-making, and also have formed work-related and nonwork-related relationships and connections with people. Think about your parents’ connections with others as a huge web of a network that you can get tangled in, finding what can turn out to be just the right job fit for you.

Reminder About Taxes

Taxes are one of those things that you can’t escape. (Not saying you should think of trying. That would be very wrong). To keep it in most simple terms, everyone pays money to the government to pay for different services. There are various types of taxes, but for the purpose of this writing, we will explore income tax.

Anyone that is employed with a job pays income tax. The income and profits you earn must be taxed, which means a percentage of the money you earn from work is taken from your pay. When it comes to filing your taxes, first speak with your parents. If you are a dependent, which you most probably are, but earn employment money, you must file your own taxes. Of course there are some stipulations on how a teenager should go about filing their taxes, so be sure to consult with a tax professional.

Earning Definitions

  • Employment – the state of having a paid job
  • Income – money that someone gets for business activity
  • Expenses – money needed to buy or do something
  • Savings – money that has been collected over a period of time
  • Budget – a plan for how much money will be spent and earned during a certain period
  • Debt – what someone owes to someone else 
  • Credit/Credit Card – a certain amount that the bank or a lender is willing to let a user borrow; a credit card is a plastic card you use to pay at stores and online
  • Tax – Money you pay the government
  • Entrepreneur – a person who creates and manages a business

Books to Read About Earning Money for Teens

Here are a few must-reads for any teenager looking to break into the working world with flying colors and without limits. Check out our entire library of money books for teens for even more recommendations!

Shark Tanks’ own – Mark Cuban, wrote this book to inspire budding entrepreneurs of all ages. Check it out here.

This inspiring book is a must read! The international bestseller, Rich Dad Poor Dad, shares the author’s personal life story on how to make smart choices with money.

A great guide teenage entrepreneurs can use to help them start and run their own businesses: The Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting and Running a Business.

This step-by-step guide to starting your first business as a budding entrepreneur: 10 Steps to Your First Small Business (For Teens).

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About the Author

Christina Ezeagwuna

Christina is a professional writer with 7+ years in entrepreneurship, opening a rental baby furniture business in 2016 that she still runs today. Christina is a mom of three budding, financially savvy kids and works as a content manager for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement.

Last updated on: July 25, 2022