Hey, this is Allison. And welcome to the Inspired Budget Podcast where we talk all things budgeting, debt and saving money.
Today, we’re going to be talking about ways that teens can make money – and not just ways that they can make money, but some of the benefits that come along with it, like what they can do with their money. What’s a good way to spend it? What’s a wise way to spend it
My very first job when I was a teenager was actually working at the YMCA in the child care room. You know, whenever parents of little kids want to go work out, they want to go do things at the YMCA, they would go by the childcare room, drop them off. And I was one of the people that was left to entertain the little children. And I did that during the summer. I’m not gonna lie to you, it was not my favorite job ever. But it was a job, nonetheless, it gave me money in my pocket. It allowed me to go out with friends whenever I wanted to, and just feel like I had some sort of independence and control over my life.
And isn’t that what a lot of teenagers want? And isn’t that what sometimes we need to give them?
So whether or not you are a teen, or you have a teenager at home, or you will one day have a teenager, no matter what this episode is for you.
Let’s be real, everything costs more. At the time of this recording, inflation was I think, at 8.5% for the year. So it’s understandable that parents might be strapped when it comes to their money, and they might not be able to give their teenager everything that their teenager wants. With rising costs, parents have to say no, probably to a lot of things, which is one reason why it’s so good for a teenager to find a job. Even if it’s a summer job, even if it is a really simple job that maybe they don’t work all the time, but it helps bring them in extra money.
There are many benefits to teens having a job some of them include it teaches your teenager balance, it teaches them how to balance their work life, their home life, their school life, it gives them an opportunity to learn and to fail in these times before they go off into adulthood.
It also gives them valuable work experience. They can essentially have something to put on their resume. So when they do go off when they graduate and they leave, it allows them to have experience that is valuable to getting their next job. When a teenager works a job they’ve never worked before, they’re given the opportunity to learn something new. And when you learn new things, you increase your skill set. And this increase of your skill set and learning new things helps build confidence in teens and believe that they can do things that maybe they hadn’t learned in the past.
Having a sense of humility paired with confidence will set teens apart when they’re looking for a job in the future, and talking with potential employers. When they see competence and shyness and a teen these potential employers will know that they can count on them. And the more practice and experience that teens get, the more competence they build over time.
And the final benefit I want to touch on is one that I appreciate the most. And it’s that having a job as a teenager gives teens the ability to practice managing their money before they go out into the real world.
I think this is something that as a teenager, I completely overlooked. But when you are a parent and you have a teenager who is working, this gives you a wonderful opportunity to really guide them and teach them about how to manage money properly, how to plan out what they’re going to spend on how to write a budget, the importance of savings. And this is so wonderful to learn about before they step out into the real world and have to do it all on their own and the parents don’t have as much input as maybe they did while they were teenagers.
Okay, let’s get down to it. Here are five job ideas for a teenager.
The first one is very broad, and it’s to find a summer job. This is perfect for any teenager that is maybe a student and they’re really involved in the school year. Maybe they have very busy schedules. Maybe they’re in sports or they’re in extracurricular activities, and they don’t have as much time available to be able to work a job and maybe work 10 to 20 hours a week during the school year because they have those other commitments. So a summer job, the ones that I’ve done before, is a camp counselor. Whether it’s a day camp, or whether it’s an overnight camp where you work for six weeks at a time.
Being a lifeguard. I know that the pools in our area our community pools, they specifically hire only teenagers to be the lifeguards, and so the pools are only open whenever the lifeguards, the teenagers, are not in school.
Another idea is to teach swim lessons. Yes, you might have to be a certified lifeguard. But this is a really great way to pass the time maybe a little bit quicker, feel like you’re making an impact on people and earn money along the way. The second job for teens that you can do all year long around the clock is to pet sit. Now while you can’t work for a company like rover until you’re 18, I can bet that you or your parents know someone around you that needs a pet sitter. I know for us, anytime that we go on vacation, we pay to have our dog boarded. And that adds up very quickly. If we were to go with a pet sitter instead, it would actually save us money. And I think that maybe our dog we get a little bit more one on one attention. So put up fliers, contact people you know, post about it on social media, ask if anyone is going out of town and needs a pet sitter. Whether you bring the pet into your home, whether you go to their home, it’s a great way to earn money.
Another great job for teens is to become a tutor. If you have mastered the academics and a certain class, maybe you took a class last year, then consider becoming a tutor for someone that’s younger than you. This is a really great way for you to give back to help out and to make a difference. And all it requires is an hour a week of your time because you already have the knowledge you already have the skill set. I’ve known people that have tutored in the summer, and they’ll tutor at the local library. And they’ll line up several kids one after another to tutor once a week. So you can tutor for probably five hours a week and still make really decent money. Some tutors charge between $25 to even $75 an hour, depending on the subject. And if it’s one thing I know as a parent and as a teacher, if your child is struggling, most parents want to help. Yet, most parents feel like they don’t know how to help and that’s when a tutor comes in and can help out and let me tell you, you will be rewarded financially for doing a good job.
Another job option for teens, and one that is completely remote, is to sell on Etsy. Now technically, you do have to be 18 years old to sell on Etsy. However, if you are a teenager and you’re super responsible, maybe you ask your parents to team up with you and let them run your shop. But you use your creative outlet to earn money. If you’re really great with design, especially graphic design, you can sell printables or digital designs, images, pictures, the options are endless when it comes to selling on Etsy. What’s so great is that so many of the things you can sell are digital downloads, meaning that you literally don’t have to spend any money. It’s just using your time, your effort and your creativity to actually create the digital product and then turn around and sell it on Etsy.
The last job that I want to talk about that would be amazing for a teen is one that I saved for last because I think I would have really enjoyed it as a teenager, and that’s to be a kennel assistant. You can easily check with your local vet or any vets in the area to see if they need any kennel assistance. This is a great job for any animal lovers.
So your teenager has a job. What should they do with the money?
This is a wonderful opportunity for you to teach your child or for you as a teenager to learn how to manage money in a very controlled and safe environment before you step out into the real world. Now obviously what you do with your paycheck is going to depend on your financial situation. You might be in charge of paying your own gas, or your own car insurance or your own fun money. If that’s the case, what I like to think of is coming up with a super simple percentage split for your money. So let’s say you take 50% of your paycheck, and you send it to savings, and 50% set aside for spending, Obviously, the percentage will depend on your needs, and what your expenses are and what your responsibilities are. But I think that it’s really smart to at least set some sort of split, whether it’s 50/50, or 60/40, or even 80/20, the goal is to make sure you are consistently setting aside money in that savings account to help create that habit.
I will never forget when I was a junior in high school, one of my brother’s best friends worked at a gardening store. And we were all driving together one day, I don’t know, maybe we were like going to get dinner together. And he told us that he was contributing almost all of his paycheck every month to retirement. He said, ‘Oh, yeah, I have all of my 401 K contributions set up.’ And I thought ‘401 What? Why, like, why would you do that? Don’t you want to spend your money? Come on, like, have a little fun.’ And now I’m looking back and I’m thinking, Oh, he had it, right. He he knew what he was doing. And clearly he had parents that taught him to do this.
So I think it would be incredible for all their teens to also start saving for retirement, that is the hardest thing for a teen to do. Because it feels like a world away. It feels like a lifetime away. But I think that it is something that would be so good for teens to start prioritizing when they are young.
So that’s my idea, figure out a percentage split. 50% of it goes to savings. Whether that’s saving for school, future school, trading school or college, 50% goes to saving for something that maybe you need or maybe saving for something that you want or part of that savings goes to their investing. No matter what set aside a percentage for saving. Then the other percent can be used for spending, whether it’s spending on gas for your car, spending on car insurance, spending on going out with friends or creating memories. I think it’s really important though to make sure that at least there’s a certain percentage, there’s a certain expectation, it is consistent, and it prioritizes saving.
Overall, I think that having a job as a teenager is a really great way not just to earn money, but to learn how to manage money to build confidence and to gain valuable life experience before you step out into the real world.