It’s a pretty common thing for young adults to look for ways to make money as a teen. Chances are your parents provide the basics like food and clothing, but they may require you to use your own money to pay for extras like entertainment, electronics, and name brand items.
Even if your parents cover most or all your expenses, it’s helpful to make your own money so you can save up for larger purchases like your first car or college. You can even start investing as a teen! Plus, working early helps beef up your resume and gives you valuable experience.
A reminder before you get further into this post: Be sure to check with your parents before attempting any of these money-making ventures. They may have some input into what you can handle, and you’ll want to be sure you have their permission. They may have requirements for you to consider as you investigate these different opportunities (good grades, curfew, etc.).
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Ways to Make Money as a Teen
Whether you’re looking for a part-time job or you’d rather work for yourself; you want to make money online or polish your sales skills, there are lots of ways to make money as a teen. Here are some of the best and easiest options to get started:
Get a Part-Time Job
Yes, getting a part-time job is the most obvious way to make money as a teen. But there’s a reason for that: once you’re hired, you’ll get paid for the hours that you work. It’s very low-risk, and you’ll get a guaranteed rate per hour.
It’s not always fun to work for someone else, but you’ll learn a lot through the process. You’ll make connections for references – not to mention friends! – and gain valuable on-the-job experience that will help you later in life. Hey, we all must start somewhere!
To find a part-time job, ask friends and family for connections, check websites for job listings, or just ask for a job application. Keep in mind that many part-time jobs are not available to younger teens.
Here are some common and not-so-common part-time jobs to consider:
1. Work in a Restaurant
Whether it’s a fast-food joint or a sit-down restaurant, food service establishments are almost always looking for help. You could work in the front as a cashier or host, bring food to guests as a server, or clean up afterward as a busser or dishwasher.
Perks include tips for some positions and discounted or free meals, depending on where you work. Keep in mind that hours can be odd, but child labor laws mean that you won’t have to work too late if you’re under 18.
2. Get a Newspaper Route
Believe it or not, some people still read the newspaper! This tried-and-true position is still available for early birds looking to make some money.
You’ll most likely need to get up early to navigate your neighborhood and deliver newspapers, and access to a vehicle would certainly make the job easier. The local papers near me require a driver’s license, but smaller papers may not have that same restriction. It’s worth a look!
3. Deliver Food or Pizza
Another delivery job is for food, especially pizza. Delivery requirements vary by company, but you’ll for sure need a license and a reliable vehicle.
Think about when people order food – nights and weekends mostly, right? Chances are if you’re a teen, that’s when you’ll have availability in your schedule. With an hourly rate plus tips, this could be a good money-making venture.
4. Work in Retail
I’ve heard it said that everyone should work retail at some point in their lives. Retail offers a lot of flexibility in terms of schedule and hours, which is great for teens who need to go to school during the week.
Many large retailers like Target or Walmart require employees to be at least 16, and there are lots of different jobs available at these retailers. You can be a cashier and deal directly with customers, or work in the back of the store stocking shelves and cleaning up.
You could enjoy an employee discount on merchandise and sign up for seasonal work to earn a little extra cash around the holidays or in the summertime.
5. Work in a Grocery Store
Grocery stores typically hire teens starting at age 16, as well. And they’re always looking for help, it seems. As with retailer, you can deal directly with customers as a cashier or grocery bagger, or keep more to yourself by handling carts, restocking shelves, or cleaning up.
6. Work in a Movie Theater
A very popular job for teens who want to make money is working in a movie theater. First off, lots of teens already work there, so you’ll be working with your peers and can make some friends.
You can also enjoy the air conditioning on hot summer days and even watch free movies, depending on your position. Jobs in a movie theater include ticket seller, ticket taker, concession stand worker, janitor, and more.
7. Become a Referee/Umpire
Chances are you played a sport as a young child, right? Or maybe you’re still playing? Well, you probably have some extensive knowledge of the rules of that sport. Sports associations and parks and recreation programs need referees, umpires, and officials for games.
This is a job that can even be done when you’re younger if the association is desperate enough. For example, my 9-year-old son has been umpired by teens as young as 14 at some of his baseball games. (They’ve done a really good job, too!)
This can be good money for teens, too – typically it’s a flat rate per game that can add up quickly.
8. Work as a Golf Caddy
Working as a golf caddy is a great option for younger tees, as typically you can start at age 14 or even younger. Be prepared to haul around someone else’s golf clubs and spend the day outside. This is a great way to work on your interpersonal skills and make connections.
Golf caddies work for an hourly rate and may also receive tips and other perks like free tee time.
Work for Yourself
While it’s beneficial to earn a steady wage by working for someone else, it can be more lucrative – and fun! – to work for yourself. Plus, you’ll gain some good entrepreneurial experience starting your own business, however simple it may be.
You can set your hours and keep all the profits, but on the flip side, you’ll need to get out and look for work by asking friends and family, networking with others, and advertising. Don’t forget to get your parents’ input as you figure out ways to make money for yourself – they may have some good ideas that are a good fit for you.
Here are some different ways teens can make money by working for themselves:
9. Do Yardwork
Just about everyone needs yardwork, no matter the season. In the spring, you can plant seeds and scoop dog poop. In the summer, you can mow lawns and pull weeds. In the fall, you can rake leaves and paint fences. And in the winter, you can shovel snow and clear icicles.
To drum up work, ask your parents or neighbors and check out apps like NextDoor to see if anyone is looking for help with their yard. Lots of adults are busy and don’t have time to take care of their yard, so chances are good you can set your prices way under what a landscaping company charges and you’ll still make plenty of money.
Starting your own lawn care/yardwork business is a great opportunity for younger teens who may not be able to hold a part-time job yet. It also offers a lot of flexibility as you can juggle clients according to their and your unique schedules. Set up a schedule to stay on top of things and you’ll get plenty of repeat customers and referrals.
If you excel in a subject in school – especially math, science, English, or a foreign language – consider tutoring younger students. Some parents are looking for extra help for their children, and that’s where you come in to give extra guidance with homework and assistance with learning.
Tutoring is a valuable experience for teens who are thinking of becoming teachers, too. It’s a great skill that can be continued as a college student and beyond. You can set your hours and charge a decent hourly rate. Spread the word by providing flyers to local schools and talking with friends, family, or neighbors.
11. Pet Sit and Dog Walk
Love animals? Consider pet sitting and/or dog walking as a way to make money as a teen. Just be sure you’re comfortable with pets! You’ll get some exercise while having some fun with animals.
Lots of adults are looking for help with their pets while they’re away at work or on vacation. You may be able to just stop by their house to let the dog out or take it for a walk, or you can pet sit at your house (just be sure to ask your parents first!).
Cats and fish are super easy to pet sit as you usually just need to feed them and maybe clean out a litter box or fishbowl on occasion. Dogs, on the other hand, usually need some more attention as they need to be walked at least once a day. If you’re coordinated enough and the dogs get along, you can walk multiple dogs at once to streamline the work.
Young teens can ask their neighbors if they need some help with their pet, or you can visit a dog park and pass out flyers if you’re willing to travel a little farther for your business.
12. Become a Babysitter or Parent’s Helper
One of the first ways to make money as a teen is babysitting. This is primarily the way I made money when I was younger before I got a steady part-time job. I love children and babies, so it was a perfect fit!
Parents are always looking for good recommendations for babysitting, so start by watching kids of people you already know and encourage them to tell others about your services. Word of mouth is the best way to get babysitting jobs!
If you want to earn more per hour, take classes for extra certification – especially CPR. Parents like to know that their children are in safe, capable hands. Just be prepared to give up some of your social life as a babysitter, since parents typically need babysitters for nights and weekends.
You may also be interested in becoming a parent’s helper (typically called a “mother’s helper”…but hey, dads may need help, too). This is someone who typically helps the parent while they are at home, acting as an extra set of hands. This job may involve childcare, but you also could be asked to prepare meals, organize laundry, or do the dishes.
Make Money Online
With our ever-expanding technology, making money online is a great option for teens. There are some easy options out there which you can do while you’re waiting in line or riding in a car. And some online money-making opportunities lead to passive income…you’ll be making money in your sleep!
Here are some different ways to make money online as a teen:
13. Take Surveys
I’ll be honest…filling out surveys is not the most thrilling way to make money. And you may feel like these websites are a scam. But really, there are lots of legit survey companies out there. Some of my favorites include:
You won’t make a ton of cash, but it’s easy to do and can be done while you’re just sitting around. Plus, lots of these websites accept younger panelists (13+).
One more tip if you’re looking to go this route: sign up for a separate email address to use just for surveys. That way your normal email inbox won’t be clogged up with mail and you’ll be able to see your available surveys all in one spot.
14. Search with Swagbucks
One company I didn’t mention in the previous point is Swagbucks – yes, you can take surveys through Swagbucks, but there are lots of other things you can do with Swagbucks.
You’ll earn “Swagbucks” for performing activities like playing games, watching videos, searching the Internet, and even doing your online shopping through Swagbucks! You won’t make a ton of money, but it’s a nice little extra. Plus, you only need to be 13 to sign up for a Swagbucks account.
15. Start a YouTube Channel
Several teens – and even younger! – have successful YouTube channels. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of them and wondered how you can start one yourself.
Figure out your niche – what you’re interested in – and just try it out! As you create videos, you’ll find your style. Once you have enough subscribers, you can add ads to your channel and/or affiliate methods that give you a kickback when people purchase products through your links.
Need some ideas? How about how-to videos, movie reviews, or music reviews? Pick an area you excel in and start sharing your knowledge. While it can take a while to make money from your YouTube channel, it can eventually turn into passive income…earning money when you’re not even working on it!
RELATED: How to Make Money on YouTube
16. Learn a Skill and Freelance
There are so many skills that businesses and people need help with, especially online. And yes, you can even help if you’re a teen! Just be sure you know what you’re doing and present yourself professionally.
Here are some different skills you can develop:
- Social media management
- Digital marketing
- Graphic design
If you’re confident in your abilities, you can reach out to small local businesses to see if they need any help with any of the above. Social media management is an especially looked-for skill these days…and you’re already on Instagram anyway, right?
As with some of these other options, it takes some effort to get started making money this way, but once you start and have some happy clients, you may end up with more work than you ever dreamed of!
If you’re not quite ready to start your own business this way, consider signing up for a Fiverr account (you can start at age 13) to find opportunities that way. Fiverr is a marketplace for buying and selling freelance services for $5 and up.
17. Start a Blog
Yes, even teens can start a blog! If you have a passion about a topic, start writing! Teach people what you know and share your experiences. There’s a wealth of information out there about how to make money with a blog, but it starts with quality, consistent content.
Blogging can be a great way to earn passive income, but keep in mind that it may take a long time to get started earning money with a blog. That’s why it’s important to blog about something you’re passionate about and add content regularly. Eventually, you’ll be able to monetize your blog with ads, affiliate links, and sponsored posts.
18. Play Video Games
What teen doesn’t love video games?! Did you know that you may even be able to get paid for playing video games? If you’re good at video games, people may be interested in watching videos or a live stream of you playing.
Set up an account at one of these online platforms to get started:
- Twitch: Get paid with donations, or apply to become a Twitch partner and get paid for serving ads when you reach 500 regular viewer count
- Mixer: Ask for donations, or become a Mixer partner and make money from ads
- YouTube: See above!
Building an audience can take time, but hey, you’re having fun playing video games anyway, right?
Whether you’re selling your stuff or other people’s stuff (with permission!), selling items is a great way to make quick cash as a teen and, in some cases, declutter a space, too.
These methods allow you to sharpen your salesmanship skills and help the environment, too, especially as people move toward buying used rather than new both to save money and to “save the trees.”
19. Sell Your Old Stuff
Take inventory of what you have – do you need all those things? If your parents permit you, or if you bought things yourself, why not sell them? Here are some different ideas for what you could sell:
- Video games and gaming items
- Old technology and electronics
- Sporting goods
- Stuffed animals
There are so many places you can sell your excess. Facebook Marketplace is probably the easiest (if you use Facebook, that is), but there’s also Craigslist, eBay, and the good old-fashioned garage sale. Price your items to sell to get rid of them quickly. A general rule of thumb is to charge around 10% of the retail price. Larger-ticket items can be priced a little higher, especially if they’re in excellent condition.
I’ve said this already, but it’s worth repeating: check with your parents first to see if they’re OK with you selling these items. If they bought them for you, they may want them back and/or pass them on to someone else. If they’re hesitant, you can always offer to do the work of selling and then split the profit with them. Maybe they’ll even want you to sell their things!
20. Resell Items
Even if you don’t have a lot to sell, you can still make money reselling items. What this means is that you spot deals in thrift stores or garage sales and the like, then resell them online, like on eBay. Technically it’s called “online arbitrage.”
The name of the game is to buy low, sell high. This takes a bit of practice, but if you love the thrill of finding a good deal or a unique item, this could be a great way to make money as a teen.
21. Make and Sell Crafts and Homemade Items
If you’re especially crafty, selling your wares is a fun money-making option. Many people love the look of handmade crafted items but don’t have the talent to do it themselves.
One option is to create an Etsy or Amazon store (you’ll need a parent or garden to help you set it up). Then go nuts putting your items together and sharing them with the masses!
Selling fees on both stores are minimal, but you’ll still need to remember to price your items fairly so you’re not making pennies per hour.
22. Sell Stock Photos
Everyone has a camera on their phone, but not everyone has an eye for awesome shots. Businesses and blogs are always in need of high-quality photos for online content.
Upload your photos to stock photo websites and you’ll get paid for each download. Some of the best websites to use include:
A tip: don’t just use your phone for these images. Find a quality camera and learn how to use it to make your photos stand out. It can be a fun hobby that also brings in some extra cash!
23. Sell Stuff at School
My husband started making money this way when he was a freshman in high school at his boarding school. He would walk to the store down the street from the school and stock up on candy, gum, soda, snacks, and the like, then head back to his dorm and sell it for profit when fellow students needed a treat later on.
You may not go to boarding school, but you can no doubt do the same type of thing at your school. Think of yourself as a traveling vending machine. Hey, selling candy bars is a popular fundraising method, so why not just do it yourself? Just make sure it’s not against school rules.
Stock up at warehouse clubs (if your parents have a membership) and/or watch sales to get great deals. During the summer, you may be able to extend your business to sell at local parks and events.
Truth be told, this list just scratches the surfaces of the ways to make money as a teen. Take some time to think about your strengths and interests and see if there’s a money-making opportunity for you related to that. With a little bit of effort and action, you can be making money in no time!
What are some other ways to make money as a teen? Please comment below to share your thoughts!
Laura Wales is a personal finance writer who has written for over 14 years. She has written for The Coupon Project, Pocket Your Dollars, and more.