Whether looking to save for a car, pay for college, or earn some extra spending money, there are many ways they can make money as a teenager in the US. Many businesses need part-time workers, and the good news is that they can start working part-time as soon as they are 14 years old. If they are feeling a little more ambitious and want to be their own boss, there are ways they can make money as a teenager without even 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.
Once they start making money, teens can ask their parents to help them set up a GoHenry account. They are ideal for helping teenagers come to grips with their finances and learn about managing money, and with a GoHenry teen prepaid debit card, they can spend their hard-earned money online or in-store.
How to make money online as a teen
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.
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.
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. Good sites to try are Shutterstock, Dreamstime, iStockphoto and Fotolia.
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 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 for Paypal cash or gift cards to your favorite stores.
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.
How to make money offering a service as a teen
There are plenty of opportunities to make money in the local area by offering a useful service, for instance:
If your teenager loves dogs, they could try speaking to neighbors and see if they could help with dog walking. They could also contact local dog walking businesses and see if they need any additional walkers.
When people go on vacation, they often need someone to come in and feed their beloved pet. Encourage your teen to spread the word in your local area that they are offering pet sitting services, and keep an eye on Facebook for anyone local looking for a pet sitter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
- Preparing lunch boxes
- Vacuuming and mopping floors
- Being a mother’s helper
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:
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.
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.
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 shop employee
Consider encouraging your teen to apply at your local ice cream shop. 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.
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.
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.
Teenagers who already like working out at the gym can get a job as a receptionist there. Membership for employees is often free!
What to do with the money teens have earned
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.
Give your teen their own prepaid debit card with GoHenry
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 safe way to get their wages, and they can access the money right away, making it 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.