Enterprising youngsters can make money for the extras they want or to save and invest for their college education. How much money you can make depends on your talents, the amount of time you have to devote to work and how much effort you are willing to put into your projects. These ideas include some of the old standbys that kids have worked at for generations, such as washing cars or bikes, mowing lawns, and walking dogs, as well as ideas for tech savvy kids who know more about electronics than their parents. Parents can also teach their kids how to make money to encourage saving, budgeting, and a strong work ethic. Children who grow up learning about money and the freedom it brings will be empowered later in their lives, especially when it comes to making smart financial decisions.
Most kids today know more about PCs, iPhones, Blackberries, iPods, home theatre systems, and other technology than their parents will ever learn. If your mom or dad calls on you when her/his PC has a glitch, you may be able to sell your talents to others. My mom can clean anything in her house except her hard drive and she would be happy to pay someone to come over and help her out when the PC or Mac is running slow or has a virus, if she didn’t have me around to do it for free. Advertise your services in church, supermarket and community bulletin boards, or family and friends. You can even have business cards made up for a small cost.
The other side benefit is that it will teach your kids to be entrepreneurial and creative – after all, technology is the industry with the greatest number of millionaires under 30. You may just be setting up your children for a lifelong fascination with computers, programming, or web development.
Start A Website or A Blog
While this may not be the fastest way to earn money, you don’t have to be 18 to start a website or a blog. If your site is successful, advertisers will pay you to put their ads on your pages. If you know how to get your site noticed by search engines and you find a name and topic that you are passionate about and draws visitors, this can be a great way to earn extra cash for the long term. You can choose any topic that interests you and chances are, there are more like-minded people online than you ever imagined. Worst comes to worst, your first website may be a flop, but you will have learned invaluable lessons on content production, marketing, advertising, and research.
Repair and Resell
Back in the dark ages, some dads made extra money repairing broken TVs and radios. Everyone has a family member interested in buying old stuff, refurbishing and then reselling. People often sell partially broken items at garage sales, which your children may buy cheaply, fix, and then sell for a little extra cash.
If you have a talent for fixing and reselling electronics like PCS, flat screens, video game systems, MP3 players and cell phones, this may be the way to get the extra income you want. Post requests for broken electronics on bulletin boards and at local businesses. Many people cheerfully give these items away. Advertise the “reconditioned” items on Craigslist or in local newspapers. Again, this hobby can develop analytical and problem-solving skills, a natural curiosity and interest in learning, and spawn a passion for engineering or computer science.
For The Technically-Challenged
Not everyone loves technology, but old fashioned jobs like washing cars or bikes, lawn care, dog walking, and housecleaning are still great ways to earn extra cash. The best way to advertise is to post notices of your services on bulletin boards and local businesses, flyers on trees, and share with family and friends. These advertising methods are free and just take a little time, creativity, markers and some paper. If you can afford to spend a few dollars, put an ad in the local free newspaper. If your customers are happy with your work, word of mouth will get you all the business you can handle. Car washing can get you $10 to $20 per car or truck, lawn care can pay you $10 to $30 each weekend, dog walking may help you earn $5 per dog multiple times a week, and household chores are negotiable. Just be sure to charge more for cleaning toilets!
Love to sew, make jewelry, paint, draw or create other crafts? Upcycling uses discarded clothing, plastic bottles or other “trash” to make new items. An old pair of jeans can become a trendy tote bag and a plastic bottle makes great bracelets and earrings. The items are available at low or no cost and the things you make can be sold at craft fairs, flea markets or even on websites like Etsy. Top designers are using up cycled items in their shows so use your imagination and create the next fashion must have.
Photography and Videography
If you love taking pictures or making videos, you may be able to sell your work or your services. Online sites accept photos, drawings, paintings, and cartoons and pay the photographer a fee every time a visitor downloads his picture. If you want to sell your services as an events photographer or videographer, you will need to put together a portfolio to show potential customers. Contact local wedding planners, event coordinators, family and friends who may want portraits, and post business cards on bulletin boards at businesses and churches. If your work is good and your prices are competitive, you will probably be booked every weekend.
Music and Art
If you are proficient with a musical instrument, you may be able to make money by teaching others to play or working at a music shop. Talented young artists can sell their work at local art shows. Sometimes local restaurants hang and sell artwork by local artists and once you have made a few sales, you can try getting a gallery to take your artwork on consignment. Additionally, local restaurants and venues may invite you or your band to play for patrons on weekends.
I have dozens of friends who have earned extra money babysitting, and still do if they don’t have plans on a particular weekend. Babysitters will always be in demand, but to ensure your business thrives, you should get certified in child care by the Red Cross. The courses are free or cheap and some states require that babysitters have this and CPR certification. You usually must be at least 12 years of age to care for children under 5. For your own safety, it would be best to start by discussing the idea with family and friends in your own community.
Some states, like California, require that a deposit be paid on plastic or glass bottles, which is refunded when the bottles are turned in to be recycled. Collecting discarded plastic and glass bottles is a great way to make a few extra dollars and clean up your city. Recycling centers pay for aluminum cans and some also pay for glass, plastic and old newspapers, so if there is a recycling center near you, collecting recyclables can be a good way to make a little fast cash. A family in the United States was able to send all three of their children to top-ranked private universities by actively recycling, eventually turning their side-business into a full-time, multi-million dollar company. You can even ask local businesses to set up recycle bins that you pick up once a week.
Fast Money For Kids
Motivated, creative kids can find lots of ways to earn money for toys, clothes, videos games, even a laptop or a car. High school and college students with special skills may find temporary jobs for data entry, programming, web design, graphic art or copywriting on freelance websites. If you have a talent or skill, there will always be someone you can sell it to. It just takes some planning and creative thinking.