When your allowance doesn’t stretch far enough, you need to find ways to make additional cash. Child labor laws limit employment opportunities for children younger than 16, but if you’re determined and creative, you can find plenty of ways to make money. You can use your talents, learn new skills and meet interesting people, all while fattening your bank account.
Close to Home
Volunteer to wash cars or windows, clean the garage or basement or tackle one of the other chores that often need doing around a household, but that get put off due to lack of time or energy. Check with grandparents and close neighbors also.
Sell your unused toys, video games or sporting equipment. List them on craigslist or in the local paper, or hold a garage sale. You can also sell items on eBay. Sell baked goods or crafts. In warm weather, set up a lemonade stand or sell bottled water.
Tried and True
Offer to mow lawns, shovel snow or babysit for neighbors. These aren’t new ways for young people to earn money, but they continue to work. People still need these services and if you do a good job, you can build a list of regular clients who will come to depend on you.
Use Your Talents
Take advantage of your talents by offering unique services to neighbors and friends. If you’re artistic, you could decorate Christmas trees or string outside lights for busy neighbors. Help your friends or your friends’ parents build Facebook pages or set up their iPhones. Tutor younger children or hold a weekend basketball camp for neighborhood kids. If you’re good at something, teach others what you know and make money at the same time.
Start a Business
Go beyond offering to do chores for neighbors and establish yourself as a business. Think of a name for your business such as Gary’s Great Lawns or Becca’s Best Babysitting. Print a flier and distribute it to neighbors and post on bulletin boards. The flier should list the services you offer and your contact information. Make up a price list of services you offer and be prepared to offer references. Have your parents help you screen new clients in order to make sure they’re legitimate.
Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University.