How To Make Money As a Teenager

Summary:

You can make money as a teenager by working at a local business, doing odd jobs like babysitting and washing cars, or selling your handmade crafts on Etsy. By having a job, teens can develop professional skills, create business relationships, and (of course) have the freedom to spend their own money.

If you’re curious about making your own money as a teen, then you’re on the right track to a good financial future. Making money as a teenager is a very worthy endeavor and will help you learn lessons that will carry on for the rest of your life. It’s also reported that making money in your teens leads to better finances as an adult. For every year that teens work, income in their twenties rises 14% to 16%.

If you want to know how to make money as a teenager, read on to get some ideas and tips on starting out. Also, keep in mind that starting out is often the hardest part. Hang in there and you’ll be well on your way to a bank account that you’re proud of.

Different ways to make money as a teenager

While it may seem like having a job is mostly for adults, there are plenty of opportunities open to teenagers both online and at small businesses. But before you decide on your schedule, first determine whether an online or in-person job would be best for you.

  1. In-person. If you have a nearby local grocery store, café, or small business, you may be able to quickly get a part-time job as a cashier or barista. Or, if your family owns a business, you may also be able to start working there and gain some experience.
  2. Online. Outside of retail or restaurant jobs, there are plenty of ways to make money online. The internet is full of opportunities and online marketplaces to make money, from content creation to selling your old clothes.

Now that you have a better idea of where to search for jobs, we can take a deeper dive into the different jobs available through these avenues.

IMPORTANT! Depending on your age, you may also be able to work using your car. Though driving services (like Uber or Lyft) may be out of the question, teenagers can still deliver food using Instacart, GrubHub, Postmates, or similar apps. That said, you’ll probably have to wait until you’re 18 years old.

Tips for making money as a teen

Before we start discussing different job opportunities, make sure to keep these tips in mind when job hunting.

1. Make a resume

A resume is a document that explains your skills, qualifications, and prior work experiences. As a young adult, you shouldn’t have more than a page describing these attributes. It should cover all of the things about you that make you a good fit for the job you’re applying for, including some additional skills you may want to highlight.

For instance, do you speak another language? Have you had experience from prior jobs or classes? Make yourself stand out from the competition.

2. Develop relationships with coworkers

Although you might not think making small talk with your coworkers matters, this can help you develop relationships in a workplace setting.

Make an effort to talk with your coworkers, no matter how much older they are or different from the people you usually hang out with. Remember things that they tell you, such as weekend plans or birthdays. Not only can this make you feel more confident going to work, but you can also use those skills to get promotions or better jobs down the line.

3. Making minimum wage

Minimum wage is the minimum amount that you can be paid. For employees under 20, you’ll receive a lower minimum wage for the first 90 days of your employment. After that period ends, you’ll make at least the federal minimum wage.

Depending on where you live and where your employer is located, you may qualify for a minimum wage that’s even higher than the federal minimum. Take a look at the chart below to find out what your state’s minimum wage is.

Pro Tip

It’s important to be aware of the minimum wage laws in your state and what wage you qualify for. Use the table above or refer to the U.S. Department of Labor for more information on the minimum wage in your state.

4. Taxes

Fortunately, teenagers don’t have to pay taxes on everything they earn. Teenagers who qualify as tax dependents aren’t required to file a federal income tax return or pay taxes on their income if they earned less than the threshold amount ($12,950 in 2022 and $13,850 in 2023).

If you don’t qualify as a tax dependent or earn more than the threshold amount, then you’ll have to pay taxes on that income. Just make sure to review your earnings with a parent or guardian before filling out any tax forms.

5. Keep the law in mind

As a teenager, make sure you know and understand the specific labor rights for minors in the United States. Unless you meet specific circumstances, no minor under 14 years old is allowed to work, and anyone under 16 years old can only work limited hours.

Getting a job with a paycheck in the U.S. doesn’t usually require special paperwork, though you’ll obviously have to provide identifying documents like a passport or driver’s license. However, some states do require proof-of-age documentation to ensure compliance with child labor laws. Check out the Department of Labor’s website for more information on state child labor laws.

6. Have a dedicated savings account

Starting a savings account is a great way to retain the money you make as a teen. Teens under 18 years of age by law can’t set up a bank account on their own and need a parent or guardian to set up a joint or custodial account. A custodial account is a bank account that is the property of the child but managed by the parent until the child turns 18.

Within this custodial account, you can have both a checking and a savings account. A checking account is able to be accessed daily for withdrawals and deposits, while a savings account is intended for money that you want to save. To get a better idea of what teen savings accounts are available, take a look at the accounts listed below.

In-person

Of course, in-person positions aren’t just limited to cashier or barista jobs. You can also offer your services as a babysitter, dog walker, or lawn mower.

  • Errands and chores. Few people like mowing the lawn or washing their cars, and many will gladly pay you to handle that work for them. If you don’t mind doing a little physical labor, you can start promoting your services all around your neighborhood. And if you like to learn new skills, you can help with home improvement projects or cleaning up a garden or garage.
  • Babysit or become a camp counselor. Babysitting is a classic teenage job, and for good reason. If you like kids, this can be an easy way to score some extra money as a teen, though it could mean busy nights and weekends. On the other hand, you could dedicate your summer to working as a summer camp counselor, which is one of the higher-paying options for a summer job. You may even have an edge in getting the job if you went to the same camp as a kid.
  • Start a dog-walking business. If you love spending time with dogs, then consider starting up a local dog-walking business. Start by walking dogs in your neighborhood. You can make flyers that advertise your dog walking services and then knock on doors handing out the flyers to neighbors that you know have dogs.
  • Work at a local business. Many people’s first job making money as a teen is working at a local business like ice cream parlors, bakeries, or local grocery stores. Working at a local business is a great steady job and also a guaranteed way to make minimum wage.

Pro Tip

Odd jobs mean a series of unrelated and casual jobs, such as mowing a lawn or keeping an eye on younger kids. Being on call for odd jobs means having a local adult know they can text you when they need some help around the house. Take the first step and mention that you’re looking for a part-time job to start earning some extra cash.

Online

Whether you’re selling goods or your social media services, you may find that creating an online presence and platform pays off well in the end.

  • Use your social media skills to help local businesses. Are you often on top of the latest Instagram caption trend or TikTok sound? Being able to set up social media accounts for local businesses is a great way to make money as a teen.
  • Sell old clothes or furniture. Another great way to earn money online is by selling clothes or furniture through apps, such as Depop and Poshmark, or online forums like Facebook Marketplace. Whether it’s your own clothing or items you found at a thrift store, you could be on your way to making a good deal of extra money online.
  • Sell crafts on Etsy. Selling crafts on Etsy is another great way to earn money as a teen since people are likely to pay extra for an item they know is handmade. Also, selling on Etsy allows you to learn the ins and outs of running your own business. In the beginning, try saving money that you make to buy more supplies and make more money down the line.
  • Start a YouTube channel. Making YouTube videos is another great way to earn money online. On average, a YouTube channel with Adsense revenue can receive between $3 and $5 per 1000 video views. This can definitely add up as you develop your channel audience. Building an audience takes time, so be patient and you’ll see more and more money flow into your bank account.

Pro Tip

Look into these free and easy-to-use social media tools: Canva for graphic design, Animoto for video editing, and Adobe Spark for creating eye-catching posts.

Surveys and studies

In addition to selling clothes or developing a local business’s online presence, teens can participate in surveys and studies to make more money on the side. Just make sure to speak with your parents before signing up for a study or survey.

  • Take part in local studies. Wondering how to make money as a teenager in a way that is quick and has few barriers to entry? Look into local studies. Universities often need test subjects for clinical trials, and the pay depends on how long you’re needed and what the study asks you to do.
  • Look into online surveys. Online surveys are another way to make extra cash. Surveys ask you to answer questions in exchange for a small amount of money. Look into Survey Junkie, an app that has you complete questionnaires for companies as long as you’re 13 years old.

How to make money as a teenager over 18

While you can start by working odd jobs and offering babysitting services for family friends, you may find several more opportunities open to you after turning 18.

  • Rover or Wag. Using the apps Rover or Wag are great ways to start offering dog walking or pet sitting services, though you must be 18 or older to set up a profile. When you first start, it’s also a good idea to set your prices a little lower than other walkers in the area. This way, you can build experience and get some good reviews under your belt.
  • Deliver groceries. Another great way to make money if you’re over 18 is to deliver food through a grocery or dining delivery app. This could include Instacart, Doordash, or Ubereats. These are especially great jobs if you like to create your own schedule.
  • Become a tutor or coach a sport. If you ever worked with a tutor growing up, you know how valuable good teaching skills can be. With that in mind, consider tutoring students who need some extra help or offer private lessons to a younger player. A strong academic background or athletic history can help you get even more gigs, which may even pay above minimum wage.
  • Work in retail. If you love stores, shopping, and working with people, then consider working in retail. Retail is a great way to learn about sales and customer service. If you have a favorite store, be bold and ask them upfront in the store if they’re hiring.

Pro Tip

Many clothing stores, such as Urban Outfitters, will let you know to apply online. If you end up working there, you’ll likely get discounts on purchases from the store.

FAQs

How can you make money as a teenager without a job online?

There are many great ways to make money as a teen that don’t need an internet connection. For example, washing cars, working at a local business, pet sitting, or offering babysitting services are all great ways to earn cash. Making money as a teen in an offline job also allows you to gain valuable skills, such as working with people face-to-face.

Do minors pay taxes if they work?

That depends on how much you earn. If you qualify as a tax dependent, you don’t have to pay taxes as long as your earnings are below the threshold amount. Check to make sure your earnings are below this number, which changes annually.

What jobs should I do as a teenager?

When considering the jobs, you can do as a teenager, consider the skills you want to use and how much time you aim to work. Typically, teenagers should aim to spend working 10 to 15 hours per week and no more than 20 hours a week. It’s also important to be aware of state labor laws, which you can check right here.

Besides how much time you’d like to dedicate, consider the skill sets you already have or passions that interest you. If you particularly like working with people, work at an ice cream store, local business, or retail. If you’re adept at video editing, start making videos for a YouTube channel.

What job gives you the most money as a teenager?

It’s difficult to determine what jobs earn the most money since this varies with how much time and money you spend on the job. For example, being a counselor at an overnight camp will likely make you the most money in the smallest amount of time, but it also requires you to work 24/7.

Some jobs such as selling clothes or crafts are great for passive income. However, they also require you spend money upfront on clothes or craft supplies. Before committing to a job, be sure to compare the pros and cons of each.

Key Takeaways

  • You can make money as a teenager in several different ways. While you can start by working odd jobs around your neighborhood such as yard work, you can also apply to local businesses or participate in online surveys.
  • If you like to knit or paint or have a lot of old clothing, you may be able to sell your crafts or old clothes online through Etsy or other online marketplaces. On the other hand, you may be able to promote your social media content creation services to local businesses.
  • There are certain jobs that you can only do if you are 18 or older, such as most retail jobs, dog caretaking on Rover and Wag, and delivery service apps.
  • Make sure your parents know the details of a job before starting it. You should also research how the job relates to details such as minimum wage, taxes, and employment laws before starting a position.
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