How to Make Money as a Teenager: Your Exhaustive Guide

Not long after my fifteenth birthday, my parents broke the news: “We’re not giving you allowance anymore. It’s time to get a job.”

I wasn’t devastated or disappointed—I was excited.

It felt like a rite of passage, and I knew making money as a teenager would give me lots of things I craved: personal freedom, independence, and spending cash. 

Of course, there was also hard work involved, especially right at the start when I had to get my resume together and start finding jobs that would hire a teen with no experience. 

But I pulled it off, and you can too. In fact, these days it’s easier than ever to find ways to make money as a teenager. And this article is chock-full of them! 

Check out the other articles that make up our How to Make Money in College series


Why make money as a teenager?

My first job was at a toy store in the small city where I grew up. I took the job mostly for the cash, and because the idea of playing with toys all day sounded appealing. 

It wasn’t a perfect job, and there were plenty of hard moments (flashback to cleaning up a dirty diaper stuffed under a bookshelf 😱). But I kept that job for years, working there after school, over the summer, and during breaks through my first year of college. 

Why? Because I quickly realized that making money as a teenager had a lot of benefits.

The most obvious one: Extra money to spend with friends, for things I wanted to purchase, or to tuck away into savings. 

But there were other benefits too, that I hadn’t expected—skills that would serve me as I applied for college and more jobs in the future, such as… 


⚡ Navigating the job application process: This is something you have to learn at some point, but the sooner you start figuring out how to create a resume, find jobs to apply for, and submit applications, the easier it will be to apply for better jobs in the future. Here are more tips for getting your first job: 


⚡ Better time management skills: Getting your first job as a teenager will give you a headstart in one of the most valuable life skills: time management. Not to be a downer, but the older you get, the harder it becomes to wrangle your free time while balancing work and school, social relationships, and hobbies.

A job is the first step in learning how to divide up your time, so you can get work done while also enjoying your personal life. Need more help with that? We have you covered: 


⚡ Interacting with colleagues and customers: The biggest lessons I learned at my job came not during the formal training sessions, but on the job as I interacted with a rotating roster of colleagues and customers. There are so many skills you pick up through everyday interactions at a job. Just a few I learned at the toy store: 


⚡ Managing money: Everyone has a different relationship with money, but when you start working and earning your own income, that relationship is bound to change. You’ll learn how to budget, save, and spend your cash, which are skills everyone needs (but few people pick up at such a young age). 

Be sure you check out our resource on building a budget—the easiest and best time to start doing that is before your first paycheck arrives! 


Before you start: Is it legal to work as a teenager?

Before you start on your journey to get rich as a teenager, you need to discuss your plans with your parents or guardians. Tell them what you’re planning to do, so they can help guide you and keep you safe. 

Beyond parental approval, your ability to earn money as a teenager will depend on both national labor laws and regulations within your individual state. 

In most cases, except for agricultural work, you have to be at least 14 before you can take a job, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act. However, there are some exceptions to this rule: 

  • Delivering newspapers
  • Babysitting
  • Working in your parents’ business (except dangerous jobs like manufacturing or mining) 
  • Minor chores around a private home 
  • Performing on TV, radio, stage productions, or film 

Weirdly, the labor laws also state that ‘youth may be employed … to gather evergreens and make evergreen wreaths.” So there’s one job idea for you! 

Kidding. There are plenty of jobs out there for teenagers that aren’t so strange. Let’s go over some of the best ones. 


In-person jobs for teenagers

Thanks to the internet, there are many jobs teenagers can do online. However, I strongly encourage you to consider getting your first job somewhere in the “real world.” Not only are these jobs more reliable, but you’ll also pick up good skills while making connections, having new experiences, and meeting new people. 

Here are the top jobs for teenagers looking to make money: 



There are lots of parents out there who need help watching their kids on weekends or after school. If you enjoy younger kids and can stick to a schedule, this can be a great job for you. 

To find babysitting jobs, it might be easiest to start within your existing network. I found my first babysitting job through my parents’ church, simply by asking around. Think of people you know who have younger kids, and consider whether you might want to offer your services. 

Otherwise, you can likely find babysitting jobs by making a poster outlining your skills, experience, and availability. Post this around your neighborhood, or on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram (wherever you think parents are most likely to see it!). 

According to Zippia, the rates babysitters are charging vary from state to state, ranging from between $10 and $21 an hour. Your rates will depend on where you live and what the parents are asking of you. For example, if you’re only going to be playing with the kids for a few hours after school, you’ll likely charge less than if you’re expected to cook them meals, take them on outings, and tuck them into bed.


Lawn care/snow removal

Since the dawn of time, teenagers have made money all year long by providing lawn care and snow removal to their neighbors. What’s great about this is that since you can switch between mowing lawns in the warm months and shoveling driveways when it’s cold out, your services will always be in demand.

Bear in mind that this is a physical job. That’s part of what makes it so successful for teens: Adults may not have the time, strength, stamina, or desire to mow their own loans or shovel their walkways. If you don’t mind physical work (and maybe want to get some exercise in while you get paid) then this is a great option for you. 

Getting started is straightforward: Go door to door and let neighbors know you are offering lawn or snow removal services. If you don’t have neighbors nearby who need help, try advertising in local groups on Facebook or NextDoor, or visit other neighborhoods nearby that you can easily access (driving yourself or asking your parents/friends for a ride). 

For this kind of job, consider charging a flat rate based on the size of the property you’re working on. You might offer to shovel short driveways for $15 each, and raise your rates to $30 for long driveways or lots of paths. 


Retail and food service

Retail and food service jobs are common starting points for teenagers entering the workforce. These industries often are willing to hire teens who have little to no experience, and provide them with training and a steady paycheck. 

Restaurants and retailers like student workers because their schedules often align with busy times: weekends, holidays, and summer breaks are when restaurants and shops have the most foot traffic, and need the most help. 

If you are applying to chain restaurants or businesses, it’s likely best to visit their website and look for the “Careers” page to see how to apply. Otherwise, you can pay these businesses a visit in person and ask if they’re hiring—many will openly advertise when they’re looking for new staff, so keep your eyes peeled for Help Wanted signs.


Car cleaning and maintenance

If you’re into cars or don’t mind getting your hands dirty, offering car care services can be a pretty good gig for a teenager. Washing cars, filling up gas tanks, or handling basic maintenance tasks like refilling oil can help you pocket some decent cash.

To start out, you’ll need a space where you can provide your services—most likely your garage or driveway. If you have your own wheels, you can offer on-demand car service, which could be very enticing for people who don’t have time to run to a gas station or mechanic. 

Let friends and family know you are offering different services, and ask them to spread the word. As you gain experience and trust, watch how word-of-mouth recommendations can help your customer list grow.

Rates for car washing come down to what you’re offering. You might charge around $15 to $30 for car washes, depending on the level of service and your location. Filling up gas tanks can earn you tips, and basic maintenance tasks can fetch you anywhere from $20 to $50 or more. 


Selling handmade goods

If you’ve got a knack for crafting unique items, turning your passion into a profitable business is more doable than you think. Jewelry, paintings, sculptures, wood carvings, needlepoints, homemade tamales, scented slime, flavored syrups, weird little figurines made out of pebbles—no matter what kind of creativity you have, if you make a product, you can try selling it for extra cash. 

You must be 18 years old to use the most popular website for selling products online, Etsy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find other places to sell your goods. If it’s allowed at your school, you can try selling to classmates. You can go door to door in your neighborhood, set up shop on the side of the road, or post your products on Facebook marketplace or Nextdoor. 

You may also look into selling your goods at markets, other yard sales in your neighborhood, or craft fairs. You may need an adult to work with you to get this done. 

Depending on what you create, you could make anywhere from $5 to $200 or more per item. It all boils down to your craft and the market you’re tapping into. 



Do you excel at a particular subject in school? Are you skilled on the piano or guitar? If so, you can use that beautiful brain of yours to make some side income as a tutor. 

You may be able to get your start as a tutor through your own school—it’s worth asking a guidance counselor or teacher if they know of a program that could connect you with students in need. 

You can also look into local community centers that provide tutoring help, or use the same techniques we’ve outlined above to advertise your services: posters showcasing your expertise pasted around your neighborhood or school grounds, or marketing yourself on social media. 

According to Glassdoor, most tutors charge around $20 per hour, though you may want to lower your rates when just starting out, to help you build some experience. 


Pet or housesitting

If you like cats and dogs (or lizards and rodents), or you like the idea of having a bit of personal space to yourself, then consider earning money as a pet sitter or house sitter (or both!). 

As a pet sitter, it will be up to you to make sure your clients’ animals get the food, water, exercise, and affection they need. This is a great route for ongoing income, because many people need daily or weekly care for their animals, and once you’ve shown you’re trustworthy and that their furry (or feathery/scaley) friend likes you, then you’ll be the person they come to again and again. 

House-sitting is less likely to be a regular gig, but still a great way to make money as a teenager. Let people in your network know you’re available to gather mail, water plants, and perform minor chores when people are out of town. Depending on what they need and how long they’ll be out of town, you could charge anywhere from $15 to $100 a day. 


Online methods to make money as a teenager

Teenagers today have more opportunities to earn money than ever before, in large part thanks to the internet and social media. The digital gigs on this list can provide you with valuable skills, independence, and, of course, spending cash.

Be sure to check out our other articles about earning money online: 



If you have a knack for technology and a love for problem-solving, coding might be your ticket to earning money online. Once you understand programming languages like Python, JavaScript, or HTML, you’ll be able to use those skills to build your own apps, websites, or games—or help businesses who need a coding pro. 

Bear in mind that AI now plays a big part in coding. Human coders haven’t been fully replaced by AI, but using ChatGPT and other tools to help you learn and build code will get you ahead of the game. 

To get started, you have to learn coding (duh!). Your school, library, or local community centers may offer free coding courses, or you can learn to use platforms like Codecademy or freeCodeCamp. These programs will help you build a portfolio, which you can then use to showcase your talents to others who need help with coding.


Social media management

Businesses and brands need help keeping up their presence on social media, and if you’re already savvy with the big platforms, you could turn your skills into some side income. 

Many businesses and individuals are willing to pay for someone who can manage their social media presence, create engaging content, and grow their online following. Some companies will hire agencies or full-time professionals for this job, but you can position yourself as a more affordable option, as you’ll be working as a freelancer. 

To get started, you’ll want to create your own professional social media pages on the platforms you plan to use. Make posts about what you do and how you can help businesses, and dedicate some of your time to following and engaging with businesses that you’d like to work with. 

Your rates will vary depending on what you plan to offer. You may choose to charge an hourly rate or flat rates for various actions (like $30 for 5 social posts). 


Virtual assistant

Becoming a virtual assistant is a great way to make money as a teen, especially if you’re someone who is naturally organized and proactive. As a VA, you’ll provide administrative support to businesses or individuals remotely. 

Tasks can include email management, scheduling appointments, creating graphics, posting on social media, and doing any of the other bits and pieces that busy professionals can’t get done. 

As a teenage virtual assistant, you can expect to earn between $10 to $25 per hour, depending on your skills and the complexity of tasks. As you grow your experience, you’ll be able to charge more and take on fewer (but better-paying) clients. 

To get started as a virtual assistant, create a resume highlighting your skills (even if you don’t have much experience yet). List out the tasks you’d feel comfortable doing and what experience you have, even if it’s mostly based on schoolwork or your hobbies so far. 

Here are more resume and portfolio tips: 


Content creation

You’ll note I’ve neglected to put “Influencer” on this list. Becoming an influencer can seem like a very appealing idea for many teenagers, but the reality is, it’s not a guaranteed way to make money. Many people who set out to become influencers end up wasting their time and have little to nothing to show for it in their bank accounts. 

However, if you are passionate about content creation and have some skills with video, photography, graphic design, or writing, you can monetize your abilities to earn extra cash. With talent and drive, you may be able to build a successful following on YouTube or TikTok, or create a blog that gets enough readers for you to use ads and affiliate marketing to earn extra income. 

To be successful in this field, you need to have a unique perspective and style—one that gets people’s attention. You also need a place to “capture” your audience, whether that’s through a newsletter,  your social following, or a subscription to a publication you put out. 


Take advantage of working when you’re a teenager

I’m glad I started early, rather than waiting until college like many of my friends. That said, make sure that you aren’t so focused on making money as a teenager that you aren’t enjoying yourself! 

Save time for friends and family, your (non-monetized) hobbies, and your education. Think of work as another piece of the puzzle to an enjoyable life.