How To Make Money as a Teen

Learn about commons ways to make money and learn financial responsibility

A teenager pours steamed milk for a customer.
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An after-school or weekend job can provide both new experiences and new responsibilities, making it a rite of passage for many teens. Teens have a wide array of options for earning their own money, from online gigs to traditional part-time jobs. Learn about today’s top ways to make money as a teen.

Key Takeaways

  • Teens can make money with traditional jobs such as babysitting, washing cars, or lifeguarding.
  • Online money-earning opportunities include taking surveys, monetizing social media, or freelancing.
  • Teenagers can gain valuable skills from earning their own money, including how to budget and pay bills.

The Benefits Teens Get From Earning Money

Learning how to make money as a teen has significant advantages. First, teens can benefit from having their own spending money and being less reliant on their parents. "Getting a job helps your teen prepare for the real world by learning about finances at an early age,” Faisa Stafford, CEO and president of Life Happens, told The Balance in an email. “You don’t want to wait until they're adults to teach them about finances."

Stafford said teaching children about financial responsibilities while they're young is key to fostering a positive financial outlook and helping them become a self-reliant adult. Teens can learn about the value of money and how to manage it as they gain job skills. Their work experience could give them an edge on their career path as an adult.

5 Ways for Teens To Make Money

Teens have many opportunities for earning their own income. Here, we've used five categories to detail the best ways to make money as a teen: traditional jobs, online hustles, side hustles, business ideas, and passive income ideas.

Traditional Ways To Make Money as a Teenager

Common ways teens have traditionally earned money for decades include:

  • Part-time jobs
  • After-school jobs
  • Summer jobs
  • Weekend jobs

Typical part-time job options for teens include working at fast-food restaurants, car washes, retail stores, grocery stores, and movie theaters. Some employers may require teens younger than 16 to have a valid work permit.

Teens may also be able to find weekend or summer jobs working at golf courses, amusement parks, and summer camps. The median weekly earnings for people ages 16 and older working a part-time job was $317 in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Online Side Hustles for Teens

As more employers hire for remote positions, teens may find opportunities in this trend. Online side hustles and side jobs can be great options for making money as a teen because they don't require transportation and they can allow for a flexible schedule, Stafford said.

At-home opportunities for teens include:

  • Getting paid to take surveys
  • Starting a blog or podcast
  • Monetizing social media, like a TikTok channel or YouTube channel
  • Freelancing on Fiverr
  • Managing social media accounts
  • Flipping clothing or other items
  • Watching videos or playing games with a site like Swagbucks

Some of these online side hustles have more earning potential than others, and how much you earn will also depend on how much time you put in.

Keep in mind that you will have to pay income tax on your earnings, even if they are from a side hustle. Teens with income should talk with an adult about how to handle their taxes.

Offline Side Hustles for Teens

Offline side hustles are another way to make money as a teen. Some of these opportunities include:

  • Walking dogs
  • Babysitting
  • Washing cars
  • Cleaning houses
  • Working as a youth-sports referee or lifeguard
  • Delivering groceries via Instacart
  • Delivering food via DoorDash
  • Teaching music lessons
  • Tutoring

The amount of money teens can earn with offline side hustles will depend on the job. Tutoring jobs for teens, for instance, pay $20 an hour on average as of May 2022, according to ZipRecruiter. Offline side hustles are usually flexible, so teens can make money while still keeping up with schoolwork, socializing with friends, and fulfilling responsibilities at home.

Business Ideas for Teenagers

Starting a business as a teenager can also be considered an investment that could lead to long-term financial success. Teens can develop many products and services that could lead to potential profits. Some business ideas for teenagers include:

  • Selling homemade crafts or products on Etsy
  • Developing an app
  • Dog walking or pet sitting 
  • Lawn care
  • House cleaning or house sitting
  • Freelancing

Starting a business might require an initial investment of time or money, but this money-making opportunity could pay off in the long-term.

Passive Income Ideas for Teenagers

Passive income is money generated from activities in which you don't materially participate, according to the IRS. Rental real estate income, for example, is a form of passive income that adult investors can earn.

Passive income strategies might appeal to a teen looking for low-stress ways to make money, but they typically require an initial significant investment of your time. Some ways to make passive income as a teen might include:

  • Starting a blog or niche website
  • Creating a YouTube channel
  • Selling digital products
  • Selling photos
  • Creating an online course

You may need help from an adult if you're under age 18. YouTube, for example, doesn't allow teens under 18 to monetize their channels unless they're linked to an approved Adsense account owned by a parent.

Also, remember that "passive income" streams still require work. If you want to start a blog, for example, to make money from ads or affiliate marketing, you'll first have to spend some time creating content for it. You'll also have to spend time promoting that content to build steady traffic to generate income.

How Parents Can Help Teens Learn Financial Responsibility

Talking to kids about money from an early age can lead to lifelong benefits that can keep them in financial health. Some ways parents can help teens learn financial responsibility include addressing topics such as:

  • Budgeting basics
  • Setting savings goals
  • The benefits of investing
  • The importance of managing debt

Parents can also teach financial responsibility by setting a good example and sticking to a budget, regularly setting savings goals, and managing their debt. They can talk to their teens about their own financial decisions.

Parents can also help their teen manage financial products such as credit cards, bank accounts, or even IRA accounts. They will often need to co-sign for these products for their teens. Some budgeting apps offer debit cards for teens and allow parents to monitor their spending activity.

The Bottom Line

Making money as a teen can be a valuable learning experience, whether it’s through a part-time job, starting a side hustle, or passive income channels. "Look at this job as another step toward you becoming financially independent," Stafford said. "It's never too early to look at what financial planning is."

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When should a teen get a job?

Teens should consider getting a job if they're ready to make money and can handle the responsibilities of being employed. Starting a side hustle is also a great option for teens who don't want a set work schedule.

Is it hard to get a job as a teenager?

Many companies and businesses hire teenagers for part-time and weekend work. How difficult it is to get a job as a teenager can depend on your age, hiring laws in your state, and whether an employer requires any special skills.

How can a teen learn to budget when they have a job?

Parents can help teens learn to budget their money by discussing how a budget works. They can help their teen decide how much of their paychecks need to go to bills, how much to allocate to savings or other goals, and how much is appropriate to spend.

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