Real-World Money-Making Ideas for Teens and Pre-Teens

One important way we parents can help kids develop into responsible adults is to teach them the rewards of having a job. Our kids can gain self-esteem, understand the value of a dollar and become more thoughtful in choosing to spend money.

Share this list with your pre-teen or teen for a range of ways to cash-in this summer.


  1. The Grass is Always Greener Mow lawns to get fit and make spare cash. Create fliers, and be sure to provide your phone number. Include your fees based on yard size, and keep them below the cost of pro services.
  2. Young Entrepreneur Capitalize on nearby garage sales by setting up a refreshment stand in your yard. You’ll need a small table and a handmade sign. Breakfast tacos, coffee, lemonade and cookies are always popular.
  3. Too Old for Toys and Games? Sell those you’ve outgrown. Make a sign to attract neighborhood kids, and spread out your wares on the front lawn. Keep your prices reasonable.
  4. Kiddie Care Old enough to stay home alone? You may be ready to care for other children. Plan activities ahead, so you can be one of those valued sitters who keep their charges busy. Don’t forget to clean up.
  5. A Little Dirt Never Hurt Offer your garage cleaning services to friends and neighbors. To start, move everything out. Sweep away cobwebs, dust ledges and sweep the garage floor. Neatly return everything back.
  6. Fence Finishing Wood fencing requires ongoing maintenance, so offer to paint or stain them. The homeowner should supply the paint or stain and tools. Follow directions and take your time to do a careful job.
  7. Window Washing This dreaded task is your ticket to cash. Clean the interior windows, including the ledges and tracks. Do exterior windows that you can reach without a ladder.
  8. Life’s a Zoo Pet owners are often in a pickle at vacation time, so offer to pet sit. Do the sitting in your home, if your parents agree. Or make regular visits to the pet’s home. Follow the owner’s instructions carefully.
  9. Weeds Away Offer to get your neighbor’s flowerbeds back in shape. Before you start, be sure you know which plants are weeds. When in doubt, ask before you pull. Wear gloves and hose the ground lightly to loosen roots.
  10. Dollars for Duds Ask your parents if you can sell your outgrown clothes. Check store policies. Make sure clothes are clean. And don’t forget about shoes, coats and accessories.
  11. Errand Boy or Girl Offer to run errands within walking or biking distance. Attach a basket to your bike or carry a backpack for easy transport. If you have your driver’s license, offer to do more-distant runs.
  12. Make it Shine Wash cars in your driveway or at the owner’s house. Set your price at no more than your local car wash charges. Have supplies handy: a bucket of soapy water, rags or sponge, a hose and plenty of dry towels.
  13. Down on the Farm You don’t have to be raised on a farm to make a good farmhand. Visit area farms and offer your help. Work may include laboring in fields or feeding and caring for livestock.
  14. At Your Service Offer home cleaning services. You can dust and vacuum, sweep and mop, scour sinks, tubs and toilets and make beds. Ask the homeowner to supply their preferred cleaning products.
  15. Pool Patrol Find out the age and certification requirements for lifeguard duty, and apply at your community pool or YMCA. Keep your skin safe with a quality sunscreen.
  16. Daycare Duty Do you love little kids? Ask local daycare centers if they need a young helper. Tasks may include assisting with crafts and activities, reading stories, helping with lunch and snacks and cleaning up.
  17. Nurturer of Nature If you’re a nature lover, contact your area parks department. You may be able to assist with planned activities and events, maintain park grounds or tend a ticket booth.


Kimberly Blaker is an author and freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in more than 200 newspapers, parenting and women’s magazines and other publications throughout the U.S.


Tips for Business Success

Follow these tips to play it safe and keep the loot rolling in.

  • Get your parents’ permission before accepting a job, and make sure they know where you’ll be.
  • Dress for the job, and wear old clothes if they could be ruined.
  • Discuss payment in advance to avoid disputes or hard feelings.
  • Do your best, not only for your self-respect, but for the likelihood that you’ll be hired again or can ask for a reference.
  • Don’t ignore mistakes or try to cover them up. Inform your employer, offer your apologies and ask what can be done.
  • Be on time. Call right away if you’ll be late or can’t make it.
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