Most kids need/want dollars, but often it’s hard to find the cash to pay one, two, three or more kids the kind of “pocket money” that keeps up with everything they need/want. So finding a way for tweens and teens to make money outside of the home is pretty critical for many of us.
Raising kids has always been expensive, but there’s no doubt that costs have ramped up considerably for our generation raising the next.
Back in the dark ages when we were kids, we weren’t packed off to school with over a grand’s worth of technical equipment in our school bags. Between the mandatory computer (suggested as an expensive Mac Air at our Apple-connected school) and the phone (iPhone-only and ‘newer than a 7’ according to my three) – not to mention iPads, Apple watches, iPods and all the other i’s – we’re all pretty broke.
These days, offering 10 bucks pocket money a week to do chores around the home isn’t enough to keep my kids happy. They need money for phone plans, after-school activities and, it’s true, mighty expensive trainers. What is it with the enduring expensive trainer fad?
I created this list of ways to make money outside of the home for my 12-year-old. She’s too young to get an official job, but she’s got super-expensive tastes that I’m tired of paying for. We brainstormed this list together and I reckon it’s a doozy!
For a list of the minimum working age for kids in your state, click here.
Hopefully there will be a ‘job’ on here that your tween or teen can do to relieve some of the pressure off your wallet too.
Loads of ways for kids to make money outside of the home
1. Get an official casual or part time job – if you’re old enough and one is available in your area, and you’re successful out of the pool of hundreds of other applicants, of course.
2. Mowing lawns – there’s plenty of work in the neighbourhood for a kid who can work a mower and an edger.
3. Other gardening work – check in with the neighbours for regular weeding, mulching or path sweeping/blowing work.
4. Walking dogs – taking one or two dogs out for an early morning or afternoon walk everyday can soon add up to a good income.
5. Training dogs – our own dog is ‘untrainable’, but only because none of us have the necessary patience to go over and over the same thing with him. If you have patience, this might be an excellent service that will be snapped up by fed-up dog owners like meeeee! Check in with your local vet or dog walking service to see if this is something that might interest them.
6. Running errands – they may need a lift from their personal Uber driver, but elderly people in the community are often happy to pay for prescriptions to be collected, mail posted or collected, grocery shopping to be done, etc.
7. Walking younger kids to and from school – if you’re in walking distance from the school, ask your neighbours if they need help with drop offs and pick ups. This is especially helpful for parents whose school age children have siblings who are babies or toddlers.
8. Minding younger kids before or after school – even if you don’t live near the school, plenty of families do. Do a letterbox drop offering your services as a before and after school carer.
9. Helping out your extracurricular teacher – if you’ve been dancing, gymnasticking, playing an instrument or anything else for years, you may be ready to help your teacher teach younger kids. Being a golf caddy is also a possibility.
10. Sports umpiring – you can earn money refereeing matches on the weekends in netball, soccer, rugby and so many other sports. Find out from your club how to get qualified.
11. Babysitting – it’s been a teen’s job for generations and it’s still a great way to earn some money on weekends now. Start with your parents’ friends with younger kids and go from there.
12. Modelling – if you’re genetically blessed, you might be able to get a gig doing some modelling.
13. Pamphlet deliveries – it’s not a well-paid job, but it might be all you’ve got in your area. Sorting then lugging pamphlets from mailbox to mailbox can be done by tweens as well as teens.
14. Washing cars – washing, vacuuming and polishing cars is a good way for a kid of any age to make money outside of the home. Advertise in your neighbourhood with a mailbox flyer drop and hopefully you’ll soon have some regulars.
15. Recycling bottles and cans – Return and Earn banks are springing up everywhere and are a good way to make money if you ask neighbours and friends to also hold their bottles and cans for you. If you don’t have a Return and Earn in your area, contact your local Council to ask whether there is a similar operator locally.
For older kids: 50+ jobs for teens that will benefit them for life
16. Working with hair – ask at your local hairdressers whether they need a weekend or evening junior to sweep hair, make drinks, shampoo and condition, give head massages, etc.
17. Pet sitting – if you’re open to it, minding pets in the home is a fun way for the kids to make some money. Okay, so it’s not quite falling into the ‘make money outside of the home’ category, but at least you’re not paying! When he was only ten, my nephew took dogs in for $20 per night and loved every minute of it. It’s great value for the dog owner, and the dogs get a loving family home with built-in doting kid to play with.
18. Acting – if you have a flair for the dramatic, becoming an extra (or even a star) in TV commercials, programs, films or professional theatre productions could be a possibility for you.
19. Online admin work – if you’ve got good typing skills, you might be able to pick up transcribing work for writers (where you type out spoken interviews). Other work in this field might be setting up social media posts for an agency, or scanning images onto computer, or any number of things. Have a think about your skills and google whether there’s work in that field online. Fiverr is a good place to start, too.
20. Baking – clever kitchen clogs might pick up work baking cakes, loaves and bread for local cafes or nursing homes. You could even do a roaring trade in baking birthday cupcakes for busy mums at the primary school. There may be some workplace hygiene requirements to meet, so do check the legals.
21. Produce maker – if you love cooking, then making jars of preserves, chutneys, sauces and jams can earn you a good income.
22. Cleaning – if you’re a capable cleaner, try getting some work cleaning the houses of family or friends. You can specialise in something like “garage cleaner” to make your offer more compelling.
23. Blogging/ Influencer– you can monetise a blog or your socials though affiliate links, sponsored posts or advertising, so look into making your passion into a space on the internet. If starting your own blog isn’t for you, look into becoming a teen writer for an existing blogger or even publisher.
24. You Tuber – warning, one in about eleventy-billion people actually make money from their YouTube channel… but that doesn’t mean it can’t be you. Just remember to create, don’t emulate. You want to offer something unique and different to what everyone else is doing.
25. Gift buying – being the go-to person for all things presents is a fun and lucrative junior career. Let family and friends know that you can select, buy, wrap and deliver presents to anyone they feel deserves one. Be it a birthday, anniversary, thank you or congratulations. Putting together gift baskets for different scenarios is a good way to advertise your services.
26. Resell your stuff – if you’ve grown out of clothing that’s still in perfect nick, try selling it on places like Yourdrobe or Depop or sell books and toys on Gumtree or eBay. You could also book a stall at the markets, school fete or just hold a garage sale.
27. Kombucha brewer – start with a SCOBY and you’ll soon be brewing enough buch to sell to friends and family. Homemade kombucha can fetch a good price per bottle and is super-easy to make.
28. Mother’s helper – it’s quite an old-fashioned concept, but still relevant to any mum of young children today. You basically help a mum out with babies, toddlers and preschoolers during the dreaded ‘witching hour’ – bath, dinner and bed time.
29. Plant sitting – if animals aren’t your thing, looking after people’s plants and houses while they’re away can be a good way to make money outside of the home. Bring in the mail, water the plants and switch some lights on and off. It’s a much cheaper option for people than having a professional house sitter.
30. Camping packer – no one, NO ONE, likes packing for camping – all the organising to make sure you’ve got everything and then the actual packing. Imagine if someone could do it all for you…
31. Pool cleaner – maintaining someone’s pool by scooping leaves, sweeping paved areas and checking water levels and chemistry is achievable for most tweens and teens.
32. Tech support – if you’re computer or internet-savvy, the older generation might pay you to set up tech like computers, mobile phones and smart TVs. A good way to get business is to let stores that sell computers, TVs, etc know that you’re in business and leave some business cards for them to offer when they sell new items.
33. Ironing – charge by the hour or by the item, but just keep pressing those clothes…
34. Leaf raker – in autumn and early winter you can have an ongoing job raking up all the leaves that deciduous trees drop. It’s hard work, which is why so many people are happy to pay good money to have a tween or teen do it for them. Ask around the neighbourhood wherever you see the right kind of trees!
35. Online survey taker – there are plenty of companies who will pay for your opinion! Try companies like Pure Profile or My Opinions. Always get your parents to check out a website first before signing up!
36. Sell online – if you’re handy with a sewing needle, paintbrush or wood craft skills, make things to sell online via sites like etsy or Facebook. Whatever you can make that people want, you can sell.
37. Play mate – offer to take kids outside for an hour or two of play (either in their home, your home, or a local park or playground). With enough regular work, this will soon add up to a meaningful job.
38. Video game librarian – if you can collate a great library of video games, you can rent it out to school friends.
Jobs are important: A job might just improve your teen’s wellbeing
39. Stick insect breeding – my own kids did this for a while when they were younger. If you get the right environment, stick insects multiply rapidly and then you can sell the babies for about $5-10 a pop. It’s lucrative if you get it right. The same might be true for mice or guinea pigs, but check with your parents!
40. Tutoring – smarty older kids can tutor younger kids in Maths, English or general research skills. Ask at your local primary school if you can advertise in their newsletter.
41. Kids’ party host – if you love kids and parties, then rent yourself out as a party host. Have a stash of party games to play and an even bigger stash of patience, and you’ll be a hit!
42. Declutterer – if you’re a super-organised kid you can make money outside of home helping people organise and get rid of their stuff. There are plenty of online resources to give you ideas for helping out – try A Bowl Full of Lemons and The Organised Housewife; and, of course, read the Marie Kondo bible The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying.
43. Worm farming – you can keep worm farms and sell their liquid gold to local gardeners by the milk-carton load. The same is true of compost.
44. Pet photographer – if you’re good with pets and can take a mean photograph, set yourself up as a pet photographer. Advertise at your nearest off-leash park.
45. Upcycler – scour the kerbs on hard rubbish night (or just ask family and friends) for discarded furniture or other goods you could turn into something worthy. A lick of paint and a fix-up is often all it takes to make something to sell on Gumtree, eBay or in your local buy/sell group on Facebook.
46. Letterbox painter – it’s a left-of-centre idea, but why not? I’d love someone to knock on my door and offer to paint my letterbox right now! Have a few colours to choose from and a stack of numbers to glue on once finished, and voila! A cheap way for a home to get a small makeover.
47. Busking – cute kid playing the big instrument really well = kerching! This is an especially good way to make money outside of the home at Christmas time. Remember to get Council permission to busk. If you’re good enough, you might also be able to get a regular paid gig at a nursing home.
48. Home movie editor – if they take the footage, you’ll edit it into fun videos for the family to watch and keep.
49. Photo book creator – everyone has stacks (STACKS) of photos they’ve been meaning to get around to editing into albums. Help them out! There are loads of photo book places like Snapfish, Momento and Officeworks.
50. Coaching – if you’re good at a particular sport, offer to train kids one-on-one or in small groups to up their skills.
51. Homework helper – get a gig helping primary school kids with their homework in the afternoons after school. Particularly helpful for big school projects that require cardboard and glue…
52. Bin getter – find out if anyone in your street would pay you to put their bins out and bring them back in the next day. Even if you only charge a couple of dollars, if you have enough families say yes, you’ll make enough. Offer bin cleaning as an additional service.
53. Letter writer – another one that the older members of our society might pay you to do – handwrite letters that they dictate for you. Check in at your local retirement village to see if there’s a market for beautiful handwritten notes.
54. Face painting – if you’re artistic, set yourself up as a face painter for birthdays and Council events. Practise on your family and create a ‘look book’ of faces you can create. Also works for hair braiding.
55. Music practiser – my son had a ‘music practise helper’ when he was learning the trombone in Year 3. Tim would come over twice a week for half and hour to help Max with is practise. Good gig, yes?
56. T-shirt creator – Slogan T-shirts are big news. You can design some clever logos, sayings and meme-like shirts at sites like Print Locker or Spreadshirt and sell them to friends or online (see ‘Resell your stuff’ above). If you catch onto a fun trend, this could go gangbusters. Offer your services to local sporting and other clubs, too.
57. Seedling seller – if you’re a green thumb, try growing seedlings to sell to neighbourhood gardeners. The beauty is that you’ll be offering seedlings that are perfect for the local conditions. While this isn’t exactly a way to make money outside of the home, it’s still an income coming in…
58. Green grocer – if you are the green thumb of the seedling seller idea above, selling the produce from your own garden could be a great way to make money outside the home. Fresh, organic vegetables are always in hot demand. Set up a list of regulars and offer weekly boxes of produce where you can.
59. Egg seller – if you can keep chickens, then selling their eggs is a terrific earner. Eight or so chickens will produce enough for your family and one or two others each week. Or you could go large like Blake. Check local council regulations before you bring in your flock.
60. Book coverer – you’ll be run off your feet at the start of every school year, but book covering can be lucrative. Parents will pay good money to not have to ever handle a sheet of contact paper ever again.
61. Christmas tree decorator – another seasonal job idea, but a good one. Plenty of people will pay you to decorate, and later take down, their Christmas tree. Just ask around.
62. Firewood seller – if you’re old enough to chop wood, you could set yourself up as a firewood merchant. Gather the wood in bulk, chop it up to fireplace or pit standard and you’re in business.
63. Party service – you can take around canapes, clear glasses, set out food, wash up, top up water glasses and generally keep a party venue clean and tidy for the hosts. Just don’t go near the alcohol service until you’re over 18 and qualified.
64. Homemade dog treat maker – dog treats are big business, but relatively easy to make yourself at home. Package them up and sell them in Facebook local buy/sell groups. This looks like a good recipe to get you started.
Do you think your tween or teen would well at these jobs?