One of the best ways for children to learn the essential life skill of money management is for them to earn and be responsible for their own money. The following are some great money making ideas for children and young adults. Keep in mind that some of the suggestions are better suited for older children while others are suitable for younger children.
- Recycle cans and earn money while also helping the environment. Simply save and take your recyclables to the nearest recycling plant. Do a quick online search to find recyclers in your area and ask how much they pay per pound.
- Hold a garage sale a couple of times a year and sell unwanted/unused toys, clothing, etc. Check out Entrepreneur Ben Weissenstein’s website, Grand Slam Garage Sales. Now 20, Ben started selling lemonade at age four and now sells garage sale business kits.
- Start a lawn service business. Mow yards in the summer, rake leaves in the fall, and shovel snow in the winter. Charge different fees depending on the size of the yard. You can advertise your availability to the neighborhood by making up flyers and sticking them to your neighbor's front doors. Or advertise your business in your neighborhood’s newsletter if they have one.
- Get a few friends together and hold a neighborhood car wash.
- Make and sell crafts (for instance, crocheted hats and scarves, jewelry, candy and gift baskets). If you have the money, consider renting booth space at a holiday craft fair. Handmade gifts sell well at craft fairs. Check out festivalnet.com to research local and national art and craft events and festivals.
- Write a book review. Check out 10-year-old Ayesha’s online reviews of children's books. She pays other tweens and teens 50 cents to $2.50 to write reviews. She also earns money through ads and promoting children's books and services.
- Do chores for neighbors/help the elderly. Elderly people often have odd jobs that they are unable to do for themselves, or errands they need run. Make sure your parents are comfortable with the neighbors you help.
- Babysit smaller children. Make sure you are old enough and are a certified babysitter through the Red Cross. Check out this link for Red Cross babysitting and caregiving classes in your area.
- Are you musically inclined or play an instrument? Consider providing music or instrument lessons.
- Manage a vending machine (such as gumball machines). Follow this link for information about how to start a vending machine business or route.
- Resell items online. Find items on sale at stores and then sell them on eBay for a profit. Sell your toys, collectibles, or electronic equipment on Craigslist. Check out CafePress where you can create your own store and sell items. Also check out the different “yard sale” pages on Facebook.
- Provide pet care services for friends or neighbors. Pets need washing, walking, and sometimes, even training. Many pet owners would rather pay a responsible kid to watch their animal than send them to a care facility when they go out of town.
- House sit for neighbors when they are out of town. Water their plants, check their mail, tidy up the home, etc.
- Have a neighborhood bake sale. Check out WikiHow for ideas on how to run a bake sale.
- Take your used and unwanted video games to a local game stores (for instance, GameStop).
- Take your old but well-maintained clothing to a consignment shop (for instance, Plato’s Closet).
- Be a class helper at a local dance school or coach/referee at your local YMCA, or summer youth league.
- Get a paper route in your community. Check out WikiHow for ideas on how to get a route in your local area.
- Use your computer skills to teach someone how to use a computer. Create and design websites, or keep a blog.
- If you have other skills like math, a foreign language, etc., try tutoring and help others improve their skills. Check with your teachers for possible opportunities, or look for postings on websites (like Craigslist) or through the local newspaper.
- If you have a knack for photography, consider volunteering your services with a local photography. Once you learn the ropes, you can bring up the idea of being a paid assistant and maybe get your foot in the door.
The above list is just a small sampling of business ideas for children and young adults. You can probably come up with an assortment of ideas on your own. The important thing to remember is that it’s never too early for children to learn about managing money, and if they earn their own money, they will have a vested interest in the process.
FamilyMint can help parents and children better manage that process and build financial literacy in a fun and educational way. Check out our award-winning solutions to help your own kids!