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11 Ways to Make Money as a Teenager

I meet with business owners both locally and internationally and share what I learn to help readers generate more income.

Learn how to earn money as a teenager!

Learn how to earn money as a teenager!

How to Make Money as a Teenager

If you need some extra cash and have already squeezed as much as you can out of your parents, you need to consider making some of your own money. Let's face it: Unless you have the gift of the gab and can con your parents into giving you a raise in your allowance (doubtful), you are going to have to look elsewhere.

The idea of setting up a lemonade stand at the end of your driveway and earning a nickel no longer has the appeal it used to, so I have gathered a wide range of ideas for you to consider. Some of them may be better suited to you than others. Some will be dependent on the area you live in, your age, and how much of an entrepreneur you are.

Most of these things will only need a little planning and almost no money to get you started—just a few notices advertising your services and a willingness to work.

Check tire pressure for extra cash.

Check tire pressure for extra cash.

1. Check Bicycle Tire Pressure

Find an area where there are a lot of cyclists, for example, a park, a shopping center or a college campus. Set up a sign which says you will check their bicycle tire pressure for free.

If their tire pressure is low, offer to fill it for them.

Have a donation box nearby. You will be surprised how much you can make. People will be glad you are providing this service and that you are trying to earn a little bit of money without being pushy.

You may need to ask permission from the organization which runs the area you plan to set up in.

2. Deliver Newspapers

Although this may seem a bit of an old-fashioned way to make money, it still needs to be listed here. Some areas offer a daily paper (either morning or evening), and others may just be a weekly paper. Get your name down for both. If you don't have a bicycle, find other means of delivering it. I knew a young girl in the UK who delivered papers out of a baby buggy. If you can get the Sunday delivery, they pay better.

If there isn't a paper round available for your area, inquire why and perhaps you can get the customers and the route. This is exactly how one of Britain's wealthiest men started his career as an entrepreneur.

3. Organize a Garage Sale

Tell your parents you want to help them clear some clutter. Trust me, your offer to help will be appreciated. They may be stunned at first at your offer of help but pleasantly so. Don't just stop with things from your house—include items from grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, and anyone else you can think of. Everyone has things they want to get rid of. Help them to get motivated. Some people will find it wonderful that you want to earn money, but oddly enough, you may meet some resistance.

I saw this with the families of some our my children's friends. The way around this is to give part of it to a charity. Trust me on this one, you could beat your head against a wall and stamp your feet, but it won't get you anywhere. By offering to give some of it to charity, you are more likely to sell more things as well. Just choose a charity that isn't controversial. A charity about animals, children or the elderly is a safe bet. Place a sign up at your garage sale making a statement about a percentage perhaps 10% will be given to "dogs for the blind" charity, for example.

Not only will it help sales, but this should also make it easier to get people to donate things to you for sale.



4. Wash Cars

Wash cars for family and neighbors. Often people don't like to wash their own cars. Just think how many drive-thru car washes there are, and that should tell you there is a need for this service. If you do a good job without any hassle, this could be a profitable weekly income for you. It won't cost much to set up either. Buckets, sponges, and cleaner. Also, consider cleaning or valeting the inside of the car for them. This could be as simple as vacuuming and wiping down all surfaces.

If you have never done this before, take a look at the video below for some excellent advice on how best to wash a car.

5. Collect Recyclables

These could be cans, bottles, or plastics. This may or may not be possible in your area. If you have at-home collection for these, you may be breaking the law if you take these items out of other people's recycling bins. You can ask your neighbors to keep them for you instead of putting them in their bins. You will need to make sure you have space to keep them and that they are clean. If they aren't washed, you could be encouraging rats and insects, which is not what you want. You will also need a way to get these to the recycling center. Ask a parent or older brother or sister if they can take you. If it isn't on their way, the cost to take you there may outweigh the amount you receive.

Also, find containers which won't allow any liquid to leak into the car. They will only allow that to happen once, and then you will have to find an alternate way of getting your cans to the recyclers. If you don't want to pay for gas, offer to wash their car or something else which will take time, but you can keep your money.

6. Babysitting

Depending on your age and the level of responsibility you have shown previously, you may be asked to babysit other people's children. If you are dependable, there will be no shortage of clients. Many a young person, both male and female, have earned a tidy sum doing this. If you have homework, take this with you, and when the children are sleeping, you'll have quiet time to complete it.

7. Ironing Service From Home

If you have never ironed anything, watch your mother or father a few times. Ask to do the household ironing for a little extra allowance. However, don't stop there; this could become another source of income for you.

I did this as a home business when I was in the UK and was surprised by the different people who needed this service.

  • Start Your Own Ironing Business
    Most people hate ironing, and that is why this is a great money-making idea. With very little outlay, other than your time, you can begin earning money and building your own business.
Yard work is a good way for teens to make money.

Yard work is a good way for teens to make money.

8. Yard Work

Consider doing yard work for people. This could be bi-weekly mowing or weeding. This can become a very lucrative job as I know people who started when they were young and carried on doing this. They expanded and now have a fleet of landscape gardeners and vehicles, all from starting with just one lawn. There are a lot of people who need help with various gardening and lawn care projects. Don't see this as just one person's lawn. If your work is good, they will spread the word, and you may be turning away customers.

9. Carol Singing

Although this is short-lived (perhaps just a couple of weeks), depending on where you live, this could be very lucrative. My children went together or with their friends carol singing in the neighborhood.

Unlike Halloween, you don't get candy but cold, hard cash! One friend who came along couldn't believe how much she made from this. It can be a money earner. You will get more money from people if you wear festive clothing and are presentable, respectful and polite.

10. Work for a Company

Get a job at a company. For many large companies, such as fast food restaurants, there will be a minimum age limit, usually 16 years old. Although many people balk at the idea of working in one, it is where many people start their working career. They do offer a unique insight into the working world, including teamwork, customer skills and time management. Getting a job at a company doesn't have to be at a fast food restaurant; your parents may know someone who needs help after school or on the weekend.

11. Housekeeping and Window Cleaning

Although your bedroom might look like a tornado has blasted through it, I am certain you know how to clean it. If this is something you might consider doing, you can make a simple notice and put this in places such as supermarkets and on community notice boards. Here too, you can make a good amount of money from being a hard worker who can be relied on.

Tasks might include vacuuming, dusting, and even cleaning windows. If you aren't sure of the best ways to do these tasks, ask your parents or whoever is in charge of cleaning in your home to show you. Trust me, they will be happy that you are taking an interest in keeping a house clean. If you still aren't sure, take a look at a video.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2014 Mary Wickison


Mary Wickison (author) from USA on May 23, 2018:

Thanks for confirming that it is possible. You obviously have an entrepreneurial flair for business.

Me on May 21, 2018:

I made £180 from carol singing when I was 11 if I can do it you all can and every day I went down 2 roads and went car washing some days I didn’t have any customers for a whole week but one day I had 5 and I made £30 also I done mowing elderly lawn and got £10 dotn giev up I thought I should but I didn’t and I made money xxx

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 27, 2016:

Hi Patricia,

I couldn't agree more. Not only does it build confidence, it encourages them to be self reliant.

Thanks for reading, commenting and those much needed angels.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 26, 2016:

Hi Paul,

That is an excellent idea. Plus when they are saving for something special, like the summer trip, it makes it more memorable. I think there are many parents who just give their kids money, which is a shame. Going out and earning money gives a teen a good grounding and a sense of pride.

Great to hear from you and thanks for sharing this.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on October 26, 2016:

Good is a good thing for kids to have a 'job' as they are growing up for a number of reasons as you know. Mowing lawns, baby sitting, housekeeping, and on and on are readily available and are often easy work to find. Thanks for including those.

Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on October 26, 2016:

These are all excellent ways for teens to make money and my boys did some of these jobs when growing up. One way to motivate is to say that you will match a certain amount of money that they make from their jobs. I did this when my son had a part-time restaurant job before making a summer trip to Germany. I am sharing this hub with HP followers.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 30, 2014:

Hi Esther,

Thank you. I think kids fall into different categories, some want to work and others don't see the point if it is being given to them.

I like to see an eagerness to work in teens.

Thanks for reading.

Esther Strong from UK on June 30, 2014:

Some interesting suggestions here for the industrious teenage.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 30, 2014:

Hello Thelma,

I too wish someone had suggested these ideas to me. Nowadays kids are so eager to get out and work. They seem to have missed that 'climbing trees' age.

I feel giving them the opportunity to earn opens up the opportunity to discuss budgeting, and saving as well.

Glad you found it useful.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 30, 2014:

Hi Tori,

I think if teenagers see a problem and can offer a solution, they are already ahead of the game. I think within our own families we need to encourage a 'think outside the box' mentality. It is a more effective way of problem solving than telling a young adult, "we do it this way because we've always done it like that."

I'm pleased you enjoyed the hub, thanks for reading.

Have a great week.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on June 29, 2014:

How I wish somebody suggested that to me when I was a teenager. Nowadays some of your suggestions are done by teens in Germany to add the money to their allowances from their parents. Great and useful hub! Thanks for sharing.

Tori Canonge from North Carolina on June 29, 2014:

Lots of great ideas listed here! I think that building work experience as a teen is very important, even if you are only doing something as simple as delivering papers. I liked your idea about filling up people's tires - very creative! If you use the resources around you and get to know your neighbors, then there could be plenty of opportunities to earn a little cash here and there.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 27, 2014:

Hi Lisa,

I have used this on a separate hub in ' how to make money online as a teen'. I placed a link at the end of this hub.

I decided to split the two as the list was getting quite long.

My son did this when he was younger selling running shoes and did well out of it.

Have a great weekend.

LisaKeating on June 26, 2014:

I love the ideas here. I would add selling things on eBay through parents' account. Make sure you have permission to sell the items--don't sell sister's new purse. Teens can accumulate a lot of music, movies, and games that could be sold online. Nice hub.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 26, 2014:

Hi Sam,

You are right. Writing and getting published is not the sole domain of adults.

I think everyone dreams of earning like Stephen King but as you say, a down payment on college is nothing to sneeze at.

Thank you for your thoughtful and indeed useful comment.

Sam OWheelohan from Midwestern USA on June 26, 2014:

Christopher Paolini did the write a book method, this is often an overlooked way to make money and share your experiences at the same time. It doesn't even need to be a best seller, there are plenty of things to write about and someone out there will read it, just make sure you go for royalties and don't fall for the buyout option.

There is no age limit to writing a book either or getting published (I have one I wrote when I was 5 I should have tried to get published back then, good thing I didn't since I get to illustrate it now and edit it), you can even just take pictures and compile them and make a reference book for artists, you probably won't make Stephen King money but you can probably make a down payment on college.

And all you need is a word program of some sort, or even just a basic layout program and camera, plus with Ebooks you can self publish these days so you don't even need a publisher.

Whatever you decide to do to make money though you need the willpower and determination to do it first.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 25, 2014:

Hello Torrilynn

I think new ways to make money on everyone's mind. It is easy to get discouraged if something doesn't work but we shouldn't, we should just try something else.

I think that is the difference between those who are successful and those who aren't in any field. Those who are have failed more times, they just keep trying until something works.

The reference about the paper delivery, is from Duncan Ballantyne's book. There was no delivery round, and so he canvassed the people in the area and developed more customers, then he had a paper round. Most kids would have given up.

Determintion is necessary in anything we really want to do.

Thanks for reading and your kind words.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 25, 2014:

Hello Thumbi7,

I think in most countries the children are supported by their parents. Many teens receive a small allowance for doing chores around the house as well. However, many teens want to buy more than their allowance will allow and as such need to look elsewhere.

I believe this starts an entrepreneurial vision for many young people and opens their minds to the possibilities for self employment and business ownership.

Thank you for reading and your comment.

torrilynn on June 24, 2014:

thanks for the hub. making money is always on one's mind. I like the tips that you said such as organizing a garage sale and delivery the paper. overall, very well written. thanks.

JR Krishna from India on June 24, 2014:

Very interesting. We don't see this in India because here a teenager is laso supported by parents.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 24, 2014:

I think a bit of work only does them good.

Thanks for reading and the sharing.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on June 24, 2014:

Cool ideas, and just in time for summer break. Put them kids to work. LOL. Shared!

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 21, 2014:

Hi Grand Old Lady,

This is one of the things I see here in Brazil. There are many entrepreneurs with businesses of all sizes.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 21, 2014:

Hi Meredith,

I too had one but I lived in the country and no one passed by. LOL

I should have done more market research.

I could see them doing that or smoothies as well. Great idea.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 21, 2014:

Hi AustinStar,

What a wonderful idea. Not just for him but his actions made his community a safer place. He/she saw and opportunity and a need, they will go far with that type of vision.

Thanks for reading an adding another potential way for teens to make some money.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 21, 2014:

These are great suggestions on services that people can do for extra money, no matter where they are in the world. Thanks for such a helpful list.

Meredith Loughran from Florida on June 21, 2014:

This is a great list!

I've one more to add... Lemonade stand!

It's one of my first jobs and I loved it. :)

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on June 21, 2014:

I know of an enterprising teen who went around painting addresses on little signs, the curbs, wherever they were allowed. The deal is that emergency services need a larger indication of which house is which and addresses are hard to see from the street and a moving vehicle.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 21, 2014:

Hi Bill,

Times have indeed changed.

Both of my kids have an entrepreneurial spirit which started quite young but I think there are many kids who are just given money.

As parents I think it is our duty to encourage them to earn their own .

Financial planning and budgeting is a necessary life skill to teach our children.

Thanks for reading, have a lovely weekend.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 20, 2014:

All good suggestions. What I was thinking about as I read this was that back when I was a teenager, nobody had to give us suggestions on how to make money. :) How times have changed.

Have a great weekend.