Home Finances How to Make Money as a Teenager: Strategies for Earning, Saving, and Investing

How to Make Money as a Teenager: Strategies for Earning, Saving, and Investing

by Indiana Lee
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Teens looking for different ways to make money for a car, their hobbies, or for future savings have many options. While they may still need to attend school, there are various opportunities to work part-time or take on summer jobs. They can get an online job, work for a neighbor or local grocery store, or even start a business.

However, while there are many opportunities to make money as a teenager, as a parent, it’s essential that you teach them how to be responsible once they have it. That begins by discussing financial concepts, like credit, debt, and income, and what they all mean. 

Now let’s get to the good stuff. Here are some ways your teen can earn some extra money and a learn a few important lessons on financial independence along the way.

teenager working at grocery store | kali9 from Getty Images Signature via Canva.com
Photo credit: kali9 from Getty Images Signature via Canva.com

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Teach Them That Saving Money Is Just As Important

One key aspect of financial literacy is knowing how to create a budget. Your teen may be interested in earning some extra cash because they want to buy a car or add to their video game collection. Whatever the reason, teach them how to compare the amount they’ll earn each month with the cost of their expenses so they know how much they actually have left to spend.

Many adults don’t have much put away in their savings account, so to keep your teen from falling into that trap, show them how to dedicate a portion of their budget to saving/investing. Their budget should include a set amount of money that goes from their paycheck to their savings account. An easy way to ensure the money gets there is by setting up automatic deposits to their bank account through the company where they work.

If the concept of saving money is hard for them to grasp, learning how to set SMART goals may be the answer. That acronym stands for Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Essentially, your teen would set a specific goal, like saving $2,000 for the down payment on a car by the time summer arrives. It’s measurable because they know how much they need. They can make it achievable by putting a certain amount that they can realistically afford towards that goal each month. It’s relevant because they need the car to get to work, and it’s time-bound because they have until the summer to make it happen.

The same SMART goal philosophy can also work the other way around by providing a plan for how they earn money. The goal could be to find a job in retail that earns a specific dollar amount per hour so they can put the specific amount aside to get that car by summer.

You should also discuss putting their money in places where it can grow as it sits like a High Yield Savings account or investing it in certain business endeavors that will have a reasonable ROI.

Make Saving Fun

While your teen may express a desire to make their own money and save for the future, remember that they’re still young and may require additional motivation.

Luckily, there are ways to make saving money more enjoyable, such as including rewards. Such a reward could be that your teen could buy a game or go out for a favorite meal every time they reach a particular savings milestone.

Another idea is to try the 52-week savings challenge, where they save one dollar on week one, two dollars on week two, and go from there throughout the year. Saving a smaller amount of money weekly can make the process more manageable, and they’ll be amazed at how much they have saved by December. This challenge can be even more fun if they do it with friends.

Different Ways to Make Money as Teenager

Now that we’ve discussed how to teach and encourage your child to utilize their money wisely. Here are some more ideas on how they can actually make some money. 

Get A Part-Time Job

One of the most straight-forward ways that your teenager can make money is by getting a part-time job that they can do alongside their responsibilities of school and homework. There are many options for part-time work and many of them have been around forever, like babysitting or pet sitting, dog walking, cutting grass in the neighborhood, raking leaves in the fall or shoveling snow during the winter.

There’s also the opportunity to work part-time at an existing business. Many teens work in retail or bus tables for a few hours weekly. If your teen has an idea of what they want to do for a living, like work in sales, they can likely find an opportunity in town to do so.

In addition to making money, there are other pros to getting a job at their age. Part-time work will help them to develop a sense of responsibility and ease the transition from youth to adulthood. Just remember that too many working hours can make your teen’s life more stressful, and their grades could suffer, so it’s important to strike a healthy balance.

Part-Time Job Ideas for Teens

  • Babysitting
  • Pet sitting
  • Dog walking
  • Yard work (cutting grass, raking leaves, etc.)
  • Work at an Amusement park
  • Work at your local movie theater
  • Coffee shops
  • Golf course jobs
  • Assist with birthday parties
  • Work in retail or at local grocery stores
  • Help during summer camps

Stay Home And Make Money Online

One way for your teen to reduce commuting time, set their own schedule, and stay home more often is to find a way to make money online.

If your teen has a particular skill or topic they’re interested in, like sports or video games, or they like to talk about current events, they could start a YouTube channel, vlog, or a written blog. Teens interested in a specific skill or subject, like math, science, or playing a musical instrument could also work as an online tutor and help other students in need.

Many companies are hiring remote workers these days, and many positions, like customer service, AI training, and data entry, don’t require any previous experience, so that’s an option. Finally, teens who spend time on Facebook and Twitter can parlay what they learned into managing social media for influencers or businesses.

Online Jobs to Consider for Teens

  • Working as a virtual assistant
  • Completing online surveys through platforms like Survey Junkie
  • AI Training
  • Managing social media accounts on various social media platforms
  • Podcasting
  • Writing blog posts
  • Work as a freelance writer
  • Try affiliate marketing
  • ​Create YouTube videos and start your own channel or help others develop content for their own channel
  • Tutoring or teach an online course
  • ​Video editing
  • Create mobile apps

Start Their Own Business

Teens who have an entrepreneurial spirit can spend their early years starting their own businesses. There are many business ideas that young people can consider without previous experience, such as becoming a dog walker or starting a lawn care business. Kids interested in computers and art could open their own graphic or web design operation and potentially continue the business after graduation and through college. Perhaps they wash cars and get them nice and clean from the inside out. 

You can check out these hobbies for teenagers to give you even more ideas on potential business ideas.

Starting a business now is a great idea because if they’re interested in having their own business one day, they’ll be able to learn about marketing and saving money for expenses. Provide them with expert advice for small business owners so they can get a good idea of what, exactly, starting a business entails. 

This could also be a time to teach your teen about responsibility when using a credit card. There’s no better time than now to show them how important it is to not spend beyond their means and how they’ll need to plan accordingly to pay the balance each month. Support your teen during this endeavor and see what comes of it.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways for teenagers to make money while keeping up their responsibilities at school. By looking at their skills, time constraints, and interests, your child can find the perfect job to make money, increase their work experience, and prepare themselves for a successful future.


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