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Ways for Kids to Make Money


There are the usual ways for kids to make a little bit of money, ranging from lemonade stands to newspaper routes and mowing lawns. Then there are the more interesting ways. The ways listed below are partly from my own childhood, when I was always looking for another way to make a buck.

1. Cooking. When I was about eleven years old, I used to sell meals to my brothers (I had four of them). I think I got 25 cents for scrambled eggs or a sandwich, and more for more complicated meals. They preferred to stay in front of the TV and let me do the work. The food was already provided by my parents, of course, so the income was pure profit.

2. Service menu. If there are a lot of people in the family, a great way for kids to make money is to sell their services. They can make a menu of things they'll do and how much they charge for each. Washing windows for 50 cents each, for example, and maybe $1.50 to walk a dog. If the list can be copied, it could be handed out to all relatives and possibly neighbors too.

3. Computer helper. There are many young kids who know a lot about computers. My own nephew was getting paid for programming by the the time he was fourteen. Even younger kids might show old folks how to use a computer and the internet for a fee. If they know how, they can even set up computers for new owners who are using them for the first time. Telling grandparents to spread the word would be a good marketing ploy.

This video looks at how kids can make money...

4. Returnable cans and bottles. We used to collect and return bottles for a deposit as kids. Now that there are more states with return laws, this is an even better way to make a little cash. In fact, during the Cherry Festival, when I lived in Traverse City, Michigan, adults came to town just to collect the cans that people threw all over. Even with a 10 cent deposit, they were collecting more than $100 worth per day according to several of them. Wear gloves, leave the broken cans and bottles alone, and use some hand sanitizer, and this is a safe way to make money.

5. Mini-carnival. As a child, I charged my brothers five cents for a wadded up piece of paper selected from a bucket full of them. Most had a penny or two in them, and a few had a quarter. That was just one of my "carnival" events. Another involved them throwing pennies at a bowl across the room. If one stayed in the bowl they won a dime. I am almost embarrassed to admit how much of their hard-earned paper route money I took from them.

6. Dog washing. If a busy street where people walk their dogs is in front of the house, a fun way for kids to make money is washing dogs. They can set up with shampoo and water and a hose for rinsing, and ask people as they go by if they want their dog washed, perhaps for $3 per dog, or on a sliding scale according to size.

7. Rummage sales. If their parents agree, kids can have rummage sales, and sell not just household things, but arts and crafts and refreshments too. A real cooperative parent might even take their kids to a flea market to set up. I sold (as an adult) over $1,000 worth of hand-made walking sticks one summer, and my wife sold hundreds of dollars worth of pewter figurines glued to pretty rocks and crystals. Kids can sell cookies and drinks too. It is a way to learn about business, and a great way for kids to make some extra cash.

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Another good resource on ways for kids to make extra cash and on the lessons parents should teach:

Money and Children