How to Make Money as a Teenager

How to Make Money as a Teenager

Whether looking to save for a car, pay for college, or earn some extra spending money, there are many ways teens can make money in the US. For a start, many businesses need part-time workers, and the good news is that teens can start working part-time as soon as they are 14 years old. If they feel a little more ambitious and want to be their own boss, your teen can even make money without leaving the house. Here's our guide to how to make money as a teenager in the US.

Working when you are a teenager

Before a teen starts looking for a job, it's important to know the basics. While they can typically start working when they turn 14, according to federal labor laws, they are restricted to 18 hours a week during the school year and 40 hours a week when out of school until they turn 16. 


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the federal standards for how much and where kids can work, but teens should also check the laws set in their state. The federal minimum wage is set at $7.25, but may be more depending on where you live. How much teenagers pay in taxes can also vary from state to state. 




The benefits of making money as a teen

There are many benefits to encouraging your child to find a part-time job. From independence to flexing their earning muscles, working helps build financial literacy and enables your child to understand their earning power.  Alongside this, making money help teens to:


  • Understand the connection between hours worked and earnings

  • Develop a sense of responsibility

  • Build self-confidence

  • Understand the power of a work ethic

  • Be responsible 

  • Learn how different working is to school life.


How can a teen prepare for their first job?

To help teens prepare for their first job, you need to put them in control of their work needs. From punctuality to having a clean work uniform and factoring in how to get to work, ensure they know this is their responsibility, not yours. Alongside this, talk about:


  • What it means to be professional at work, from listening to what you’re being told to having a positive mindset about work.

  • Staying committed. It’s easy to be excited about work in the first few weeks, but teens can lose enthusiasm fast. Don’t give them an easy way out of leaving their job. Remind them they made a commitment.

  • Safety concerns. A part-time job may mean coming home late, starting early, or working with different people and age groups. Be sure to talk to your teen about safety and what to do if they feel unsafe or harassed at work.

  • Getting paid. A first job also means teens need a bank account to receive their wages. While federal law doesn’t prohibit teens from opening an account, many states do. Even in those states where there’s no minimum age requirement, most banks still require an adult to open a bank account for a minor. Another option is the GoHenry pre-paid teen debit card. A GoHenry account has an account number and sort code so an employer can pay their salary via a bank transfer or BACS. (This is subject to limits)

  • Establish how much they will save from their pay. Suggest that a certain percentage (ideally at least 20%) of their earned income always goes into a savings account. This is an excellent life habit; ultimately, your teen will thank you for it.  

Different ways teens can make money

The type of job your teen gets and how much money they make comes down to their age, how much spare time they have, and whether they want to work for themselves or prefer a more traditional part-time job.


The pay mentioned below is an average and it can vary depending on the employer and state.

The best high-paying jobs for teens aged 14-15:

  • Web designer — $22 per hour. Sites like Upwork are good for getting freelance work and your teen can work from home too. Please be aware that your teen could encounter issues and they should be vigilant when considering jobs.

  • Tutor — $17 per hour. There are plenty of online tutoring websites, you don’t have to be hired by a company. If your teen’s good at a certain subject, tutoring is an option.

  • Babysitter — $15 per hour. Hours typically fit with a teenager’s schedule. And once they’ve established a reputation locally, they’ll be neighborhood parents’ go-to sitter.

The best high-paying jobs for teens aged 16-18:

  • Hotel housekeeper — $14 per hour. Your teen will need to make beds, clean rooms, change linen and toiletries and vacuum floors. They may also have to clean lobbies and meeting rooms.

  • Delivery service driver — $17.68 per hour. If your teenager holds a driver license they can deliver customer orders for fast food outlets and restaurants. 

  • Landscaper — $16.77 per hour. They’ll need to be able to trim hedges, mow lawns, water plants and weed borders. 

Get a summer job as a teen

While the summer vacations are often a good time to relax and have fun with friends, it's also perfect for earning extra cash and getting valuable work experience. Here are some ways for teens to make money this summer:


Summer camp

If your teenager likes the idea of working with children, they could spend their summer working at a summer camp. There are many different types of summer camps, from sports camps to summer schools, and they are often looking for mentors, office staff, teachers, activity leaders and helpers.


Theme parks

If they want to spend their summer outdoors helping people have a great time, then they may want to consider getting a job at a theme park. There are usually many roles available: cleaning, photography, food and drink sales, customer service, retail assistants, and ride attendants. So, something to suit all different ages, interests and skills.


Summer festivals

Between June and September, there are lots of festivals taking place across the US that offer a variety of job opportunities for older teenagers. Some of the jobs available include selling food, drink and merchandise, stewarding and security. While they get free entry to the festival, some also include accommodation.



Summer is the ideal time to get some paid gardening work, from mowing lawns and weeding to cutting back hedges. They can start by asking neighbors if they need any help in the garden or contact local landscaping companies and ask if they are looking for extra paid help over the summer.


Refereeing or umpiring

Recreational leagues and little leagues need refs and umpires for games. Sports fans can get involved with a part-time job and earn extra money for their services.



Every community pool needs lifeguards on duty to make sure everyone stays safe. Lifeguarding can be a great entry-level job for teens who love to swim, while gaining certifications and valuable training.


Movie theater employee

Working at the movie theater often comes with great perks like free movie tickets and all the popcorn you can eat, but it also teaches valuable job skills for teens just entering the workforce. Inquire with your local cinema to see if they’re hiring.


Job at an amusement park

If you live near an amusement park, there are plenty of ways to make money as a teen. Jobs selling food and drinks, merchandise, or attending rides are all great options for teens.


Grocery store bagger

While not every city has an amusement park, there are always grocery stores looking to hire good workers. Your teen can learn customer service skills and good work ethic bagging groceries and stocking shelves.


Ice cream parlor employee

Consider encouraging your teen to apply at your local ice cream parlor. Seasonal summer positions are usually available for teens, and they’ll love free ice cream in addition to the sweet paycheck.


Maintaining golf courses

Golf courses also hire teenagers to help out around the course and on the driving range. Teens can get paid for shagging balls, mowing, or helping out in the pro shop.


Receptionist work

Many businesses and offices will also hire teens to help with office work like emails and filing paperwork. If your teen is good with computers and organization, a receptionist position may be a great job to start.


Hold a garage sale

Consider holding a garage sale for easy ways to make money as a teen without getting a regular job. Teens can gather their old belongings and help clear out storage spaces to put together their own sale.


Floral shop employee

Florists often hire teens to help out during busy seasons or with big event orders. A floral shop can be a wonderful place to work and inspire your teen’s creativity while they make money.



Coffee shops and cafes are a great entry-level job for teens and can be an effective way to earn money while learning how to work in a fast-paced environment. Bonus: They’ll know how to make a great cup of coffee.


Restaurant server or host

Restaurants also hire teens regularly. A host or server position is a great opportunity for teens to make a paycheck. Since restaurants are so plentiful, they’re a great place to start working for teens no matter where you live.


Retail work

If your teenager would rather work with clothes and products instead of food and drinks, they can consider retail work. Many stores offer seasonal positions or limited hours for students.


Gym employee

Teenagers who already like working out at the gym can get a job as a receptionist there. Membership for employees is often free!



Ways for teens to make money online

If, like most teenagers, your teens spend a lot of time online, then they could turn that time into money. Making money online means they don't have to worry about getting someone to drive them anywhere, and its flexibility means they can fit it around their studies. There are lots of ways teens can make money online, for example:


Make and sell stuff online

Selling homemade crafts is big business. In 2021, as many as 25% of young people sold items online, according to GoHenry’s Youth Economy Report. If your teen likes making things, why not encourage them to make money from them? With sites like Etsy, eBay and Facebook, they can find a buyer for their unique goods. If they enjoy drawing and graphic design, they can design things like logos for people via Fiverr.


Ensure your teen pays attention to the age limit, terms and conditions of each platform before they join. Also, be aware that your teen knows how to stay safe when using these platforms, as they could be at risk of phishing and fraud scams.

Related: How to sell on Ebay as a teenager


Paid surveys

Some companies are keen to learn what consumers think about their products through paid online surveys. It's not going to earn your teenager a fortune, but it's fairly quick and easy work, and all they need is internet access.



It's possible to make money by blogging through affiliate marketing, advertising and sponsored posts. Blogging for money is writing content that offers value to other people. They just need to decide on a theme or topic and start writing regular content.



Growing a successful YouTube channel doesn't happen overnight. But once your teen gets enough views and subscribers, they can apply to have ads on their channel. They can only start a YouTube channel once they are 13 and have parental permission. Monetizing only happens once they turn 18. But this might be something that parents can help with.


Video game streaming

Video game streaming has become hugely popular in recent years. It's a fun way to share a love of gaming and generate some income. Your teenager shouldn't expect to earn huge amounts to start with, but as their platform on Facebook, YouTube or Twitch grows, so should their income.


Though bear in mind with Twitch that as a live streaming platform, there are some risks to be aware of, such as inappropriate content, unwanted contact (via private messages or 'whispers'), lack of appropriate moderation and scams/phishing. So be sure to talk to your kids about these things before use


Take and sell photos

If your teenager enjoys taking photos as a hobby, they can turn it into real cash by selling their photos online. There are several websites where they can upload their photos, and then people can download them, and your teen gets a cut of the sales value of the photo.


Freelance writing

Teenagers who love to write might find the start of a wonderful job or side hustle in freelance writing. Teens can write about a range of topics and start their own blog, or offer their writing services to companies looking for blog posts or other writing services.


Manage social media accounts for businesses

If social media is a bigger interest for your teenager, they can make money managing social media accounts for businesses online. Creating posts, replying to comments, and answering messages are all skills needed by businesses to manage their platforms online.


Amazon Associates program

The Amazon Associates program is among the list of easy ways to make money as a teen if you already have a blog or large social media following. You can promote products you love and use an affiliate link to make a part of the profits anytime someone buys.



If you’re asking how can teens make money without a job, Swagbucks (Ages 13+) can offer a way to earn some extra cash. Earn points by searching the web, shopping online, watching videos, or answering surveys. You can redeem points gift cards to your favorite stores.


Video editing

If your teenager has experience editing video and wants to build their skills further, they can offer video editing services for a range of events. Weddings, parties, and holiday events are all great ways to make money as a teen by offering video editing services


Start a business as a teen and earn money 

There are also plenty of small business ideas for teens to make money in the local area by offering a useful service. For instance: 



If your teen likes being around children, they could think about becoming a babysitter. They can start by advertising on a local Facebook group or reaching out to neighbors and families they know with children to let them know that they are available for babysitting.



Declutter and sell their stuff

Most teens accumulate a lot of things, so now's a great chance to get your teenager's bedroom tidy. If they have something they don't want or use anymore, but it's still in good condition, they could make some cash from it by selling it with a yard sale, online through eBay, Vinted or Facebook Marketplace. Just check the age rules first on these sites. Your teen may need a parent to set up an account.


Personal assistant

Adults need help running their business or even just managing day-to-day tasks. Teenagers can become a personal assistant helping out with basic tasks like emails, errands, and making appointments for easy ways to make money as a teen.


Grocery delivery

Delivering groceries has become a popular part-time job for teens, and there are plenty of delivery services to choose from. See which companies are popular in your area and research what they pay and their requirements.



Your teen could make great money offering tutoring services in their favorite subject. Ask around with local family and friends or research different services online. Your teen can always set up tutoring services through Zoom for even easier business.


Music lessons

In addition to tutoring for academics, teens can use their instrument skills to teach music lessons. If your teenager has a passion for music, they can start building a business or make extra money sharing their skills.


House cleaning

Many busy parents appreciate help with house cleaning, and teens can make some extra money helping out. If teens are serious about making money from house cleaning, they can reach out to a housecleaning business or professional for work as an assistant.


Teaching language

Learning a new language is challenging, and many parents want help sharpening their kids’ skills. If your teenager knows a foreign language, they can offer tutoring services online or to locals in their area.


DJ at local clubs

Does your kid love to DJ? They could make good money by offering their services at birthday parties, holiday parties, weddings, and other events. Ask family and friends if they have any upcoming events or talk to local businesses.


Give swimming lessons

Summer is a great time for teenagers to make extra money, and it’s also the perfect time to offer swimming lessons. If your teen is a strong swimmer and a good teacher, they can make money teaching local kids how to swim.


House sitting

When people leave town or go on vacation, they need someone they trust to take care of their pets, water the plants, and check the mail. Your family and friends may be willing to pay your teen to house sit while they’re away.


Snow-shoveling services

If you live in a snowy area, you can make good money helping people shovel snow. Teens can set up a regular time to shovel and get multiple neighbors on board to create a steady income.


Teaching older people how to use technology 

Grandma and grandpa often need help figuring out new technology. If your teen has basic tech skills and patience, they can make money teaching the elderly ways to operate computers and phones.


Collecting and recycling metals

Contact companies in your area who buy scrap metal or see if your community offers any other recycling opportunities to make money. Teens can go around their local area collecting scrap and sell it for a profit.


Painting houses

Painting houses is a classic way to earn extra money. Teens can offer their services to friends and family or go around door to door talking to neighbors about any upcoming projects.

Make money doing household chores

Your teen might also be able to earn some money as a teenager by doing some chores at home. Think about what household chores would be most helpful and suggest that your teenager takes responsibility for them in exchange for an allowance. Here are some household chores ideas:

  • Helping younger siblings with homework

  • Babysitting younger siblings

  • Doing the laundry and ironing

  • Mowing the lawn

  • Washing and valeting the cars

  • Cleaning the bathroom

  • Taking out the trash

  • Walking the dog

  • Cleaning the windows

  • Cooking

  • Preparing lunch boxes

  • Vacuuming and mopping floors

  • Being a mother’s helper

Find out more about the best chores for teens.


Need more inspiration?

Even if your teen isn’t 14, there are still ways to make money. The easiest way to find paid jobs is to ask around. It’s likely you have lists of things that need doing that you never get around to. Clearing a closet, taking things to the thrift store, cleaning out the basement or the shed in your backyard. Neighbors might need someone for odd jobs like mowing the lawn. Ways to make money as a 13-year-old include:

  • Tech support for parents/grandparents

  • Doing paid online surveys

  • Washing cars

  • Odd jobs

  • Selling handmade items online


Related: How to make money as a 14-year-old


Encourage your teen’s entrepreneurial spirit. Brainstorm small business ideas your teen could easily set up and do from home. For example: 


  • Make and sell cupcakes or party bags for kids' parties. During the festive season, they could sell holiday wreaths or gift wraps.

  • Sell old toys and books online. LEGO, Beanie babies, Barbie dolls and My Little Pony could all make extra money for your teen.

  • Offer garden help to neighbors and family. Your teen may need to learn how to redesign a garden, but weeding, planting and mowing the lawn are all in demand.


If your teen is 16 and over, they may still need some inspiration beyond traditional part-time jobs, suggest they consider:

  • Selling unwanted clothes, accessories and sneakers online (check what they put up for sale). A third of teens (34%) are now earning from selling things on online marketplaces such as Etsy, eBay, Depop and Vinted. Skills learned here include marketing and price setting. These are 18 plus so will need parental permission apart from Depop which is 13+ but your teen will need to use a parents PayPal account.

  • According to our Youth Economy report, 29% of kids aged 10+ are already making money from social media, topping up their pocket money payments with micro-influencer work on TikTok and Instagram.

Understanding your first paycheck

Getting your first part-time job is exciting, but research from the Workforce Institute found that 42% of Americans find their pay stub hard to read. The good news is it's easy to explain to your teen how to understand their first paycheck.


Firstly, teens need to understand that a pay stub is a summary of their earnings and deductions. It typically includes: 

  • Pay period — the date ranges this pay stub covers. 

  • Hours worked — the number of hours worked during this pay period (typically for hourly or part-time workers)

  • Gross pay — the money earned before any deductions are made

  • Year to date — the total amount of money earned in a calendar year

  • Deductions — taxes, insurance premiums and other payments made

  • Net pay — the total amount of money paid after all taxes and deductions have been subtracted. 

What can teens do with the money they make?

Teens earning their own money should consider saving a part of their income toward a rainy day. Consider starting an emergency fund, saving for college, and saving toward things teens really care about. Creating good savings habits now will ensure they have the money they need in case an emergency happens in the future and for wants. Clarify savings goals and how much your teen will need to save from each paycheck to reach them. Help teens make savings a habit and watch their money grow over time.


Related: How to save money as a teen


As for how much teens should save, the general rule of thumb is 50/30/20. That’s 50% for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings. The key to saving is consistency. Get them to save a percentage of their earnings or pocket money as soon as they get paid so they learn the right money management skills to set them up for life.


How can teens manage their money?

If your teen is aged 14 or over, they can have the money they earn from their part-time jobs paid straight into their GoHenry account. It's a convenient and safe way to get their wages. And because they can access the money right away, it’s a popular choice for teenagers. 


It means they don't have to remember to deposit a check into their bank or carry cash around with them all the time. It's super convenient and perfect for teens. As their parent, you can also set up regular or one-time payments, and with Giftlinks, friends and family can safely send them money. Once the money is in their account, they can use their GoHenry prepaid debit card to pay for items online, in-store, or withdraw cash.


There are plenty of options to make money as a teenager and with a GoHenry account, they have somewhere safe to put their money.

Written by GoHenry Published Jul 3, 2023 ● 14 min. read