September 21, 2021

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How to Make Money as a Kid in 2021

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How to make money as a kid: what you need to know

According to the US Department of Labor, the minimum age of employment is 14 years old (for non-agricultural jobs). There are certain hours restrictions for youth under the age of 16 and hazardous work restrictions for anyone under the age of 18. With that said, these refer to full-time and part-time employment positions at businesses. So you can’t be legally employed to mop floors or work as a cashier if you’re just 11 or 12 years old. But that shouldn’t stop you from making money. There are plenty of ways to earn some extra cash at home or around the neighborhood, at any age. Just make sure you have your parents’ or guardians’ permission and supervision to do these jobs.

15 Legit Options for Making Money as a Kid

So how do you make money as a kid? These are the top 15 options that we’d recommend. Some IWT staff members have done some of these jobs ourselves back in the day.

Lawn Mowing

Cutting the grass is an excellent way for kids to make money. Start at your own house to practice your skills. You might even be able to talk your parents into paying you for it. Next, ask your neighbors. Depending on your neighborhood and the size of the yard, lawn mowing can get you anywhere between $10 and $40 per yard. Each lawn shouldn’t take you more than an hour or two. Most people need their lawn mowed once per week. Let’s say you’re averaging $25 per lawn. If you can do 10 yards per week, that’s $250 in your pocket.

Yard Work

Don’t stop with mowing the lawn. You can upsell your lawn mowing customers by helping them out with other jobs around the yard. It could be watering the flowers, picking weeds, fertilizing the grass, or spreading mulch. The list of possibilities here is endless. This all depends on your abilities and the needs of your neighbors. If you live in an area where it gets cold in the winter, you can shovel snow off of driveways and sidewalks to make some extra cash as well. Hand out flyers around your neighborhood with some of your top yard work services to get started.

Lemonade Stand

A lemonade stand is the classic kids’ startup business. It costs very little money to make lemonade. You can get a small container of lemonade mix for as low as $3. That should make around 32 cups of lemonade. Even if you’re only selling lemonade for $1 per cup, it’s an exceptional profit margin. Plus, most people will give you a good tip. You might get lucky and have people pay you $5 or even $10 per cup. The key to a great lemonade stand is location. Most kids do this in their front yard or at the corner of their street for convenience. But if you can, go somewhere with heavy foot traffic and a high-demand for refreshing drinks. If you have siblings playing sports, set up a lemonade stand at their games. Don’t stop at lemonade either. You can add iced tea, soda, and waters to the menu too. Double check if you need a permit in your state to set up a lemonade stand. Most states require it.

Babysitting

Babysitting is typically a job reserved for teenagers. The best way to get started is by securing a babysitting job with someone you know. Maybe a family member or neighbor needs someone to watch their kid for a couple of hours after school. Once you get comfortable with this, you can make more money if you babysit families who have multiple kids. Weekend nights when the parents go out to dinner will usually be higher-paying jobs. You could easily earn $60 or $100 by watching 2-3 kids for a couple of hours. This job isn’t for everyone though. It comes with lots of responsibility.

Pet Sitting and Walking

Similar to babysitting, pet setting is another great way for kids to earn extra cash. If you have neighbors that work all day, there’s a good chance their pets need to be let out of the house. You can arrange to walk some neighborhood dogs before or after school. This will only take about 5-10 minutes of your time per animal. Take them out, let them go to the bathroom, make sure their bowls have enough food and water. It’s that simple. If you love animals, you can probably get at least $50 per week for each dog you walk.

Washing Cars

Washing cars requires a bit more manual labor. You’ll also have to invest in some cleaning supplies. But if you like working outside and don’t mind getting dirty, handwashing cars are a great side hustle for kids. There are a few ways to do this. The first is by holding a cash wash event. You get some friends to help you out and hold up signs around the neighborhood. The event could be a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when you and your friends try to wash as many cars as possible during that time. Alternatively, you can wash cars on your own by building a steady customer base. Again, your neighbors are the best place to start. If you do well, they can have you wash their cars once or twice per week. When you’re ready to take this side hustle to the next level, you can start detailing cars. This will take much longer to do and require lots of extra work. But you can charge $100 or even $150 for a full detail.

Tutoring

What’s your best subject in school? If you get straight A’s in math, science, or history, you can take those skills and tutor other students. Parents are willing to pay good money for their children’s educations. You can easily earn $20 for an hour session. Lots of times, you’ll just be helping out with homework assignments, test preparation, and things like that. If you’re good at a certain subject and you’ve already taken these classes, this should be a pretty easy job for you.

Teach Adults About Electronics

Students aren’t the only ones that need tutoring. Lots of adults have trouble using electronics. Whether it’s a new iPhone, tablet, or computer, some adults can’t figure out basic functions for new technology. If you’re like most kids, using a smartphone or computer will be second nature to you. Explaining how to take pictures, make calls, send messages, and things like that will be easy for you to teach. The pay for this will vary on each unique situation. Some adults may just want a quick one-time lesson for 30 minutes. Others may want help every week learning how to use different types of software on their computer (like Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Google Drive, etc).

Start a YouTube Channel

You’ll need a parent or guardian to help you out with this. Legally, you need to be 18 years or older to get paid from a YouTube account. But the highest-paid YouTuber of 2019 is 8 years old. Ryan Kaji made $26 million last year for his YouTube channel, Ryan’s World. While you might not be able to make millions of dollars (at least not right away), you can still earn hundreds or thousands of dollars on YouTube.

Garage Sale

Most houses are full of unwanted junk. But your parents likely don’t want to go through the hassle of getting rid of it. This is a great opportunity for you to make some money. If you organize a garage sale, you can work out a deal with your parents for a percentage of the money earned. Since you probably didn’t buy any of this stuff, it’s all profit for you. For example, let’s say they let you keep 25% of everything sold. But it’s your job to put flyers up around the neighborhood, and set up the entire yard sale. This will probably take at least a couple of hours and might even involve some heavy lifting. So be prepared to get sweaty. Then you can help out once the yard sale starts. If $1,000 worth of merchandise gets sold, $250 goes into your pocket.

House Painting

Painting jobs are usually for teenagers. You’ll likely have to get on a ladder to complete some jobs. So doing this with a friend or sibling is probably your best option. Start with interior painting jobs. Family, friends, or neighbors might need a bedroom in their house painted. They’ll buy all of the paint and materials. All you need to do is the actual painting. Wear old clothes you don’t care about getting ruined. Take your time and make sure the job is done correctly. Professional painters could charge up to $1,000 per room. So it’s a bargain for people to pay you half of that. You and a friend could easily earn $200 each for two days worth of work.

Sell T-shirts

If you have some money you want to invest in a business, selling t-shirts is a great way to start. A t-shirt business will teach you the basics of inventory management, pricing, supply, and demand. A ton of entrepreneurs start out with t-shirt businesses. There are plenty of websites out there that will let you customize a t-shirt design and buy them in bulk. Let’s say you buy 50 shirts for $10 each. If you sell them at $20 per shirt, you’ll have a $500 profit. There is some risk involved here, since you’ll have to spend money before you can make it. But this is a great opportunity to learn business basics.

Fix and Clean Bikes

If you know your way around a bicycle, you can make money fixing them up. It seems like there’s a broken bike in every garage in America. Some of these are easy fixes for someone who knows what they’re doing. Things like fixing the gears, putting on a new chain, replacing the tires, or new brake pads are common jobs. You could get at least $20 for a 30-minute job. Earn even more money by providing the parts. For example, let’s say a bike needs two new tubes. You can probably get tubes at your local Walmart for roughly $5 each. For a $10 investment, you could charge $30+ for the job.

Become a Personal Assistant

This is another position that is likely better for teenagers. If you have a parent, aunt, uncle, or cousin who needs some help at their job, you can become their personal assistant. The job description will vary based on who you’re helping out. It could be anything from answering phone calls to getting coffee and opening letters. You’ll probably get paid a fixed rate for each day you work. One of the best parts about being a personal assistant is that it gets your foot in the door at certain businesses. When you’re of legal working age, you could have an advantage over other people applying for the same job. The hiring manager will already know who you are.

Do Chores For Seniors

Senior citizens could use a hand doing basic chores around the house. So if you know a house in your neighborhood has older people living there, offer your assistance for a fee. It could be something as simple as carrying groceries into the house from their car. Some adults will even pay you to spend some time with their elderly parents. You could potentially get paid to spend an hour a day playing games with a senior when you get home from school.

Watering and caring for plants

Take a look around you. Do you notice any lawns that have foliage and flowers that might need extra care? If you have a neighbor with a beautiful green yard, knock on their door and offer to water their plants when they need it. Suggest your services when they’re out of town.

Flipping stuff (at school or online)

The art of flipping has become extremely popular in the last few years. Essentially, you find something at a garage sale or online that you can buy for much less than you know it’s worth. Then, you take those items to school or even post them back online (sites like Facebook Marketplace or Ebay) and sell them for a profit. This can be an especially great way to make money as a kid if your peers like “vintage” or “retro” stuff (who doesn’t?). You can also visit your local Goodwill or thrift shop really cool items you can sell to people at parties or other activities.

Online surveys

You’ll definitely need the permission of your parents to try this next money-making idea for kids. If your parents have a spare device (or if you’ve got your own), taking online surveys can be a great way to make money. Sites like Swagbucks or Survey Junkie will pay you to answer questions on your mobile device or at a computer. The payouts are small, but they can add up over time. If you’re a teenager, you can also review these ways to make money online as a teen.

App testing

If you’re really into technology, you may want to consider testing apps as a way to make money as a kid. There are tons of sites that will pay you to use their clients’ app and then offer feedback about your experience so they can make their app better.

Take stock photos with your phone

There are many ways to make money from your phone camera and taking stock photos is just one of them. There are sites that will pay you every time a user buys/downloads the image you posted. For starters, try Shutterstock and Fotomoto.

Sell treats on hot days

Have you ever been to a local splash pad, pool, or park on a warm summer day? It’s packed with kids like you (except these kids aren’t learning to make money as a kid, they’re just idling away their time). So try this creative way to make money: Borrow your parent’s cooler (with permission, of course) and head to the local grocery store. Buy a box of ice cream sandwiches, some popsicles, and some water. Don’t forget the ice. Pack your cooler, head to the park, and put up a sign. You might even want to walk around, letting people (parents, especially) know you’ve got treats for sale.

Sell fresh chicken eggs

If you’ve got lots of land and your parents agree you’re responsible enough, you could try to convince your parents to get a chicken or two that can produce eggs to sell. But if getting your own chicken sounds like too much work, or your parents won’t go for it, ask them about this idea: Find a few neighbors who have chickens. Chicken-owners usually have more eggs than they know what to do with. They might let you take some eggs for free. Or they might charge you a small amount. Hey, they might even pay YOU to come to collect the eggs for them. Either way, take the eggs and then put up a sign in your yard or flyer in your neighborhood letting everyone know you’re willing to deliver fresh eggs for a price.

Sell used stuff

As you get older, you might start to care more about making money than you do about keeping all your old stuff. That’s totally normal. You’ll outgrow toys, books, and movies. If your parents give you the thumbs up, consider posting some of your best stuff online or running a garage sale (see above) in order to turn your unused toys, books, and movies into money.

Put up holiday lights and decorations

Every year, multiple times a year, people spend hours putting up and taking down holiday lights and decorations. For adults with busy schedules, this can be frustrating. To make some cash, you can offer to put up decorations at the beginning of a holiday and take them down when it’s over. 

Digitize photos for your older neighbors

If you have elderly neighbors, it’s pretty safe to assume they have a bunch of old pictures that are fading and have a risk of getting ruined forever. Since you’re a kid and probably know your way around a printer and scanner, you can offer a valuable service to your family, neighbors, and others by scanning in and digitizing old photos. Plus, you’ll get to hear some really cool stories.

Aerate lawns

Another great way to make money fast as a kid is to aerate lawns. You can rent a lawn aerator pretty inexpensively at a place like Home Depot and many people will pay $40 or more per yard to aerate it. It takes you about 30 minutes per yard (if you stay away from the huge yards) which means you can make something like $80/hour. Not bad for a kid—heck, a lot of adults don’t make that good of money. Want to learn more about how to get the rich life you deserve? Our founder, Ramit Sethi, put together the Ultimate Guide to Making Money with people of all ages in mind as you are never too young to set yourself on a solid path to financial success. Download it here:
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