As a teenager nearing twenty, I’ve seen my fair share of struggles when it comes to making money; between a lack of skills and the absence of opportunity, I used to always wonder how to make money as a teenager. It seemed like an impossible cycle to break: you can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job. But over time, I started discovering ways to make money as a teenager. And now, I want to share all of those tips with you.
How To Make Money As A Teenager
We’re going to break down how to make money as a teenager into two categories: making money in-person and making money online.
Making Money In-Person
There are a surprising number of ways to make money in-person. This can be anything from part-time jobs to garage sales to mowing lawns. Let’s talk about the most typical way teenagers make money: part-time jobs.
If you’re over the age of 14 (or your state’s minimum age requirement), part-time jobs are a great way to earn a steady income.
Part-Time Jobs For Teenagers
Though it may be more of a seasonal job than a year-round part-time one, lifeguarding lets you earn a good amount of money. Even better, since lifeguarding happens during the summer, you can take advantage of your time off school.
Given how hard it can be to balance school, homework, extracurricular, and work, removing any parts of that equation can make your life way easier.
Working as a camp counselor is another job that’s usually seasonal rather than year-round, but it’s one of the few jobs that regularly pay above minimum wage. Granted, you will need a certain ability to work with young kids.
But, if you don’t mind working with children, summer camps give you a great chance to earn extra money. Plus, you can enjoy a lot of the fun parts of going to a summer camp—meeting new people, building community, and exploring new hobbies.
While we’re on the topic of part-time jobs that involve working with children, babysitting is another well-paying way for you to make money as a teenager. Even though this isn’t always the most exciting job, babysitting is often much more relaxed and gives you more freedom than other options.
Unlike lifeguarding or camp counseling, babysitting lets you stay right in your neighborhood. Parents are often looking for opportunities to go out and have some alone time, so there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll be able to get jobs through word of mouth alone.
As one more bonus, you can often multi-task when you’re babysitting. Now, you obviously don’t want to risk neglecting the child or children you’re looking after.
But, most babysitting jobs will involve a good amount of downtime where the kid is either asleep, watching TV, etc. During this time, you may have the chance to do homework or study up on a difficult subject. Imagine getting paid for the stuff you’d normally be doing for free!
If working with kids isn’t your thing, but you love animals, there are still lots of possibilities for you to make money as a teenager. One of the most popular part-time jobs is pet sitting, and it’s great if you enjoy being around pets.
Now, the work is usually less frequent than it is for babysitting since most people hire pet sitters for long stretches of vacation rather than daily occasions. But, if you’re able to find steady work, pet sitting can be a low-stress and fun way for you to make money.
If you find yourself struggling to get enough work pet sitting, dog walking can be a useful addition to your part-time job list. Because dogs need to be walked at least once a day, the possibilities for work are much more frequent.
As an added bonus, walking dogs removes one of the biggest hurdles for teenagers 13 – 15: the ability to drive. Since you’re already walking around as part of the job, and most of the work you’ll find is likely local, your absence of a license or car won’t hinder you from being a successful dog walker.
Amusement Park Employee
Working at an amusement park is one of the jobs people often reflect upon as most fun. Now granted, this isn’t always the case, and there might not be any amusement parks near you. But, if you have the chance, it’s worth exploring.
Amusement park employees get the fun of working with the public in a location where everyone goes to have fun. Though you’ll definitely find the occasional angry customer, the amusement park’s security is usually quick to step in and bail you out.
But what is maybe the best perk of all is your access to discounted or even free admission to the amusement park. With these savings, you can spend your days off having fun riding roller coasters. What teenager wouldn’t want that?
If you want a part-time job that doesn’t require a ton of interaction with others, manual labor might be the way for you. There’s no shortage of manual labor jobs you could get, even as a teenager.
Whether it’s mowing lawns, shoveling snow, landscaping, or washing cars, you can make a lot of money doing manual labor in your spare time. One of the advantages of this type of work is setting your own hours and choosing when and where you work.
The extra flexibility may not be a big deal for some, but if you’re struggling to balance other obligations and live a hectic schedule, consider more flexible jobs to make money as a teenager.
How To Make Money Online
All of the jobs we’ve discussed so far have some in-person aspect. But, we live in the age of technology. There’s an ever-growing number of ways to earn money without ever leaving the comfort of your own home.
Now, there truly are almost limitless ways to make money online, at any age. There are literally thousands of online surveys and apps that claim to pay you for almost nothing.
Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish legitimate services like these from scams. So, for the purposes of giving you information that’s safe and consistent, we’ll focus on your other options.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about how to make money online as a teenager.
So, yes, tutoring isn’t technically a job that you have to do online. But, it’s certainly one that you can do.
Of all the different odds and ends jobs I had growing up, tutoring was always one of the easiest and best-paying ones. Depending on what subject you tutor and the overall clientele you’re able to contact, you could make anywhere from $15 – $25 per hour!
As a teenager, that pay rate can translate to some serious money. In many places, people are willing to pay even more if you can tutor their child in a foreign language of some sort. So, if you happen to speak or are proficient in a second language, definitely explore this option.
Using Artistic Skills To Make Money
“But wait, what if I don’t want to tutor?”
If tutoring isn’t something you’re interested in or feel confident doing, you can still make money (even as a teenager) using any artistic skill.
It doesn’t matter if your particular talent is painting, drawing, singing, playing an instrument, graphic design, knitting, etc. Whatever it may be, odds are, there’s some way you can start a side hustle with it.
If you love making anything physical, such as paintings or other crafts, consider starting an Etsy shop. These are great ways for you to make money off of a hobby that you already enjoy doing!
If your talent is instead something a little less tangible, don’t worry. You could always try your hand as a musician or a performing artist.
Now, before you start a band with your best friends, it’s important to understand your options. You don’t necessarily need an entire band in order to get gigs.
A lot of the time, you can get hired as part of another band. The consistency of work may vary quite a bit depending on how many musicians are around you and how much demand there is, but musical gigs can pay very well.
But, let’s say you don’t want to be a performer. Luckily for you, there’s always teaching. Music teachers can make a lot of money.
If you know a few kids in your neighborhood looking to learn guitar, drums, etc., it could be worth reaching out to see if you can turn that desire into some extra money.
Making Money Through Social Media
For those of you who don’t feel like you have any options thus far, there’s always the power of social media.
This money-making method isn’t as stable or surefire as some of the other jobs we’ve discussed, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
If you have a certain interest or hobby and can draw others in and make yourself entertaining, you might just be able to earn money through sites like Youtube.
Again, you’ll need to establish a strong following to make any serious money, but the option is still out there if you want to give social media a try.
At the end of the day, however, how you make money won’t matter as much as how you spend it. Apps like EveryDollar can help you learn to budget, while Acorns can help you save, and M1 Finance or Robinhood are great to learn how to invest.
Remember: it’s not how you get the money, it’s what you do with it once it’s yours.
Part-time jobs are some of the best ways for a 14 year old to make money. Since you’re above the federal minimum age to work, you can get jobs as a waiter or waitress or as a camp counselor.
One of the best ways a 13 year old could make money is with “unofficial” jobs. These include local work mowing lawns and taking on paper routes, but you won’t be able to get official work as a part-time employee.
Lucas is a personal finance expert, an undergraduate student at Harvard University and the founder of the Personal Finance and Consulting Group at Harvard College (an officially recognized student organization). He has spent much of his life working to increase financial literacy in his surrounding communities through independent financial research and curricula design, and he is currently studying economics with a secondary in music.