Teenagers might not have a lot of bills, but they still might have to pay for quite a few things: car insurance, phone plans, eating at restaurants with friends, school trips, clothes, you name it.
Of course, not all teenagers get an allowance. And even teens who do don’t necessarily receive enough to make all the purchases they want. Naturally, if you’re in either of these boats, you’ll want to consider taking on a little bit of work to make money.
But even if you’re a young adult fortunate enough to have parents or guardians who can pay for everything, you should consider trying to earn money as a teen to prepare for the future, when you’ll have to enter the workforce.
How you make money is a different question altogether. That’ll largely come down to how much you’re able to work, what your skills are, and whether you like to work independently or want the structure of a traditional workplace.
Fortunately, there are tons of ways you can make money as a teenager—heck, some of them can even be fun at times. So if you’re looking for a little inspiration, check out our list of dozens of excellent ways teens can earn money. After that, we’ll also answer some common questions you and your parents might have about making money as a minor.
How to Make Money as a Teenager
If you’re wondering how to make money as a teen, wonder no more—you’ve got all sorts of options right there for the taking.
In fact, there are so many options, you might have a hard time deciding. That’s why it helps to consider a few things ahead of time—things that will help narrow your job search and make it more likely you’re getting the best job for you.
For one, consider if you want an in-person job or an online job. Some people just need a lot of face-to-face time or they’ll go crazy, and in-person jobs are great for that. If you’re a little more on the introverted side, or if you live in a remote area and don’t have many options within driving distance, you might want to consider an online job.
Also decide what you’re looking to earn. Do you just want a little extra spending cash, do you need to save up a lot of money in a short time, or do you want a regular paycheck to pay for a couple of bills, like car insurance or your cell phone?
Lastly, consider your skills. Are you physically strong, great with numbers, able to remember complex directions? These and other types of skills will open up opportunities for certain types of part-time jobs that other people might not be qualified for.
Best Ways for Teens to Make Money Online
Now, do you have a rough idea of what would make a job attractive to you? Great! Then you’re ready to start sifting through the various options for making money as a teenager. We’ll start with jobs and other money-making methods that you can find online.
In no particular order …
1. Start a YouTube Channel
Depending on how much time and effort you put into creating YouTube videos, you have the potential not just to make a little extra money, but a sizable amount.
You must be 18 years old to earn ad revenue from your YouTube channel, but you can create an account with a trusted adult. That said: Many YouTubers earn much more money from sponsored videos, swag, and paid product promos than they do from any ads on their YouTube videos. While teens make up the majority of minors who make money by creating videos about topics they love, even younger kids can get in on this opportunity as long as an adult is willing to create a channel for them.
2. Manage Social Media Accounts
Running social media accounts is an excellent way for teenagers to earn their own money, especially if they are considering a marketing career in the future. While you’re unlikely to land a role at a major company (which would be a full-time position anyway), you can work for smaller businesses or individuals.
This position is a great fit for anyone who has a large social media following of their own, as it showcases your abilities on the platform. But you’ll have to demonstrate maturity: While businesses know how adept young adults are at navigating social media, a couple bad choices could destroy their reputations.
3. Become a Virtual Assistant (VA)
The responsibilities of a virtual assistant vary but often include tasks such as responding to emails, scheduling meetings, data entry, and other administrative tasks. While the client focuses on the higher-level aspects of a business, the virtual assistant handles tasks that are easier but still essential to get done.
This is a particularly great way to make money as a teenager if you personally know someone who could use a virtual assistant, such as family and friends. Virtual assistants often work with personal information about their employer, so they’ll prefer to work with someone they know and trust.
4. Play Video Games
Teens, kids, and adults alike enjoy playing video games—and as it turns out, that favorite hobby can also earn teenagers extra money.
Mistplay helps users discover new mobile games. The longer people play, the more Mistplay Units they earn. Units can be redeemed for rewards, including gift cards to PayPal, Amazon, Google Play, and more.
Mistplay also has weekly contests where users can earn big prizes. This is a way even younger kids can have fun while making money. (Note: The app is available on Google Play but isn’t currently compatible with iOS devices.)
5. Online Surveys
Everyone has an opinion! But did you know you could get paid for yours? Several online survey services offer up a little money when you tell them what you think.
Making money through Swagbucks is simple. Swagbucks lets users earn Swagbucks points (SBs) by completing simple tasks—that includes surveys, yes, but also shopping online, playing video games, or even just doing web searches.
Users can redeem SBs for gift cards from popular retailers, such as Apple, Amazon, and Target; the website awards roughly 7,000 gift cards every day. However, if you just want cash, you can redeem points that way, too, and receive the money in a PayPal account.
Survey Junkie, which is trusted by millions of users, matches users with the surveys that are most relevant to them. Surveys can be completed on your own schedule, and every survey completed earns points.
Each point is worth 1 cent. You can collect points once you have at least $5 worth of points. These points can be redeemed for virtual gift cards to popular merchants such as Starbucks, Target, iTunes, and even Visa, or you can get cash back via PayPal.
InboxDollars doesn’t bother with a points system—participants earn cash. Most surveys pay between 50 cents and $5, though some have larger payouts of $10, $20, and even more if you match the demographic the survey creator is looking for.
And if you want to earn money even faster, InboxDollars also rewards users for online shopping, playing games, trying new apps, reading emails, and more. The website has paid out more than $80 million in cash rewards since it started in 2000, so it has been allowing anyone with internet access to earn extra cash for decades.
6. Graphic Design
Love creating visuals and want to get paid for it? You can make money doing graphic design. Graphic designers specialize in logos, blog images, social media content, signs for businesses, and more.
A great place to start is by looking for clients via social media or reaching out to local businesses. If you end up enjoying working as a graphic designer, you can become a full-time designer in adulthood.
7. Video Editing
Video editing is an in-demand skill you can do remotely. You might edit videos for YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, or other social media platforms. But there are other types of video editing work you can do, such as working on videos for a company’s website or helping a wedding videographer. If you already enjoy editing video, this can be a fun way to make money.
8. Start Your Own Business Online
If working for someone else doesn’t sound appealing, consider starting your own online business. You might start an Etsy shop with crafts you’ve made, send email newsletters, help connect people with jobs, sell items on Facebook Marketplace, or do any number of other tasks. Think of a service you wish existed and create it.
9. Start a Blog
You can write a blog about any topic that interests you. Many people get started blogging by writing about a cause they care about, such as mental health or the environment, while others blog about their interests, such as music or sports.
While some people blog just as a therapeutic hobby, it’s possible to make money from blogging. You can host pay-per-click advertisements on your blog, promote useful products or services, or publish sponsored posts.
10. Sell Clothes on Poshmark
If you look in your closet right now, there are likely clothes you haven’t worn in a long time and don’t have plans to wear any time soon. You can make money from selling those clothes on Poshmark. The higher-quality the clothes and the more distinguished the brand, the more money you can make.
Spend the cash you earn on the platform to update your wardrobe. Or if you’re saving money for something else, cash it out to a bank account, PayPal, or Venmo.
11. Freelance Writing
Whether you want to write website copy, advertisements, blog posts, or something else for others, many people make money through freelance writing. Sometimes your name is on the work. But sometimes you’ll “ghostwrite,” which means either someone else will get credited for the writing, or there will be no name on the writing at all.
To become a freelance writer, you need a combination of writing skills and the ability to market those skills so clients will want to hire you.
12. Sell Stock Photos
Many businesses prefer to buy stock photos rather than hire someone to take photos specifically for them. So if you enjoy photography, but don’t want to take photographs directly for clients, you can sell your shots on photo marketplaces.
Any type of photography is fair game, whether you like to photograph people, nature, buildings, and more. Many websites allow you to sell your photos online, including (but not limited to) Shutterstock, Stocksy, and Adobe Stock.
13. Flip Items for a Profit on eBay
“Flipping” items—meaning buying something at a low price and selling it for a higher price—can be a fun way to make money as a teenager. And you can do this online through auction sites such as eBay.
You might start with items you and your family no longer want or ask family friends if they have any objects they were planning to donate soon. If you eventually realize you enjoy this kind of work, you could expand by sourcing items from garage sales or thrift stores.
This way of making money is a particularly great fit if you are knowledgeable about the type of item you’re selling, such as sports memorabilia or Pokémon cards.
14. Open a Teen Investment Account
Everyone loves spending money, but if you save and invest your money as a teenager, you can grow that cash into much larger sums in the future. It’s not a quick way to make money, unlike the jobs above. But it’s still a worthwhile way to put some of your earnings to work so you can generate even more money over time.
A Fidelity® Youth Account is an excellent place for your teen to make money through investments, and you can sign up online.
Fidelity® Youth Account ($50 bonus for teens, $100 bonus for parents)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: No account fees, no account minimum, no trading commissions
- Promotion: Teens get $50 on Fidelity® when they open an account; parents get $100 when they fund a new account
Is your teen interested in jumpstarting their financial future? Do you want them to build smart money habits along the way?
Of course you do! Learning early about saving, spending and investing can pay off big when you start on the right foot. And one tool that can help your teen get that jump is the Fidelity® Youth Account—a brokerage account owned by teens 13 to 17 that’s designed to help them start their investing journey. They can use their own brokerage account to start their investing journey by trading most U.S. stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and Fidelity mutual funds.
Your teen will also get a free debit card with no subscription fees, no account fees, no minimum balances, and no domestic ATM fees. And they can use this free debit card for teens4 to manage their cash and spend it whenever they need.
And as for building smart money habits? You and your teen can access Fidelity’s Dedicated Youth Learning Center, which is packed with materials developed specifically to help teens develop good financial habits.
Controls Parents Want and Need
A parent or guardian must have or open a brokerage account with Fidelity® to open a Fidelity® Youth Account. For new Fidelity® customers, opening an account is easy, and there are no minimums and no account fees.
Parents and guardians have plenty of tools they can use to monitor their teen’s activity: They have online account access, can follow monthly statements and trade confirmations, and can view debit card transactions made in the account.
To make it even easier, you can set up alerts to notify you of trades, transactions, and cash management activity, keeping you firmly in the loop on actions your teen takes across the Fidelity® Youth Account’s suite of products.
If your teen has an interest in learning about investing and taking their first steps toward building their financial journey, you should consider opening a Fidelity® Youth Account. The account comes custom-built for their needs, which will help them become financially independent and start investing for their future.
Read more in our Fidelity Youth Account review.
15. Saving Money in a Bank Account
While teens should invest some of their money, most of what they earn should go in a traditional bank account. Bank accounts make it easy to both save and spend your money, and they’re the backbone of solid money management.
If you’d prefer to simply save some and spend some, a Chase First BankingSM account is an excellent way to meet your needs.
Save and spend with Chase First BankingSM
- Price: Free (no fees)
Ready to teach your little ones about money, but not quite sure if you have the time, patience and expertise?
Chase First BankingSM offers simple banking for both of you in one location—the Chase Mobile® App—for free. You can manage all your accounts on the mobile app, avoid fees, and withdraw money on 16,000 Chase ATMs around the country.
At the heart of Chase First BankingSM sits one of the best free debit cards for kids and teens that works anywhere Visa is accepted.
Need insight and oversight into your child’s spending and saving? You can set spend alerts and limits as well as specific locations all in your Chase Mobile® app.
Teach your kids to spend, save and earn—all from the Chase Mobile® app. Chase First BankingSM helps parents educate their children about money by giving parents the control they want and kids the freedom they need to learn.
To get started, you’ll first need to be a Chase customer with a qualifying Chase checking account.
- Chase Total CheckingSM also grants access to 16,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches as well as a $200 sign up bonus when you set up direct deposit within 90 days of coupon enrollment. You can pay $0 in monthly fees, subject to meeting certain conditions*.
- Chase Secure BankingSM offers the same Chase ATMs and branch locations as well as a $100 sign up bonus when you make stated qualifying activities and meet certain conditions.
Once you open a qualifying Chase Checking account, you may apply for a Chase First BankingSM account for your child.
Read more in our Chase First Banking review.
16. Earn Cryptocurrency
Numerous apps allow you to earn cryptocurrency, which like other investments—stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and more—can grow in value.
Earn crypto with Step
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Free
The free Step Visa Card is a unique “hybrid” secured credit card that’s tailor-made for kids and teens. It has the safety features of a debit card, but it functions like a Visa credit card—including the ability to build your child’s credit history.
Parents, who sponsor the card for their child, add money to this FDIC-insured account and can determine how their child can spend. Kids can use their card anywhere Visa is accepted, and even use it to withdraw cash within Step’s network of more than 30,000 ATMs.
Step features an “invest” function that allows children age 13 and older to buy and sell Bitcoin for a small transaction fee. They can also earn Bitcoin (or cash) rewards when they opt into offers from companies like Hulu, Chick-Fil-A, CVS, and The New York Times. The app is not a pure crypto wallet, however—your kids currently can’t spend Bitcoin directly at vendors.
One of the most unique and powerful features of the Step card is its ability to build your child’s credit history. With this optional feature, Step will report the past two years’ worth of information—transactions, payment history, and more—to the credit bureaus when your child turns 18. That can greatly improve their chances of starting adult life with a better credit score, which can help lower the cost of things like student loans and auto insurance.
Best Offline Ways to Earn Money as a Teen
Of course, the internet isn’t the only place where teens can find jobs. Long before teens were able to get online, they had access to a wide array of part-time gigs that helped them make money after school or during summers. Here, we look at a couple dozen:
If you talk to adults, quite a few of them would tell you babysitting was how they first started making money as a teenager. It’s typically recommended to begin babysitting for family members and family friends before transitioning to offering babysitting services to people you don’t already know. In addition to earning extra cash, babysitting teaches you some skills that will be useful if you want a career involving children or just want to have your own kids one day.
18. House Sitting
When people go on vacation or need to leave their homes vacant for another reason, they sometimes like to hire somebody they trust to stay there while they’re gone. If somebody is staying in their home, they don’t have to worry that there was a break-in, burst pipe, or any other issues that wouldn’t be addressed for days. If you’re house sitting, you might also be tasked with watering plants, bringing in mail, or doing other small jobs.
19. Pet Sitting
If you love animals, pet sitting can be an awesome way to earn money. Pet sitting usually involves giving the pet food and water, walking the pet (if applicable), and sometimes staying with it overnight. Rather than housing pets in kennels, many people prefer to have their pets stay home with someone they trust.
20. Dog Walking
Dog walking is perfect for anyone who likes dogs and enjoys getting paid for some exercise. You might have a regular agreement with people you know or, if you live in a city, you could sign up for the Wag! app, which matches dog walkers with customers nearby.
Enjoying fresh air, seeing pretty scenery on walks, and interacting with dogs is a triple win for many teens.
21. Odd Jobs
Some people hate doing the same tasks over and over again. If this sounds like you, that’s OK—you can offer to perform a variety of basic services, typically referred to as “odd jobs.”
There’s nothing odd about these tasks, by the way. They’re typically mundane. Assembling furniture. Picking weeds. Cleaning gutters. You might charge hourly, or you might charge per job. But you get to do something different from job to job, and if you do well, you’re likely to get repeat clients.
22. Filing and Other Office Work
Offices often have a lot of small tasks that need to get done, such as filing documents and shredding paper. When people think of how to make money as a teenager, they often first think of people-facing jobs. But filing and other office work can be an excellent choice for teenagers who want to work a little more behind the scenes.
23. Summer Camp Counselor
Many summer camps like to hire teens for their camp counselor positions; after all, they can relate to the children more than adults. A camp counselor often leads the children in fun activities, such as hikes or crafts. Depending on the camp, you might just work during the day, though some might have overnight stays.
In most states, the minimum age to become a lifeguard is only 15 years old. However, since this job requires certification, it often pays more than other jobs that hire teens. If you’re a strong swimmer and want to earn more than minimum wage, this job might be a great fit for you.
25. Mow Lawns
Mowing lawns is a popular summer job. The grass just keeps on growing throughout the summer, so it’s easy to pick up repeat clients willing to have you work as often as every week. And if you’ve got hours to kill, you can easily scale—mow one or two lawns for an extra bit of money, or get clients throughout the neighborhood to make as much money as possible.
26. Shovel Snow
Plenty of people are happy to pay someone else to shovel snow. It requires a lot of strength and can be hard on muscles—fine for teenagers, but not appealing to older people, people with injuries, and people who just don’t like going out in the cold. You can charge by time worked or a flat rate per driveway.
27. Tutor Kids
Tutoring kids younger than you can reinforce fundamental concepts, so as you tutor, you’ll actually help your knowledge retention as well. And in addition to getting paid, tutoring can be an emotionally rewarding job as you watch the progress of your pupils.
Some people tutor through programs at their schools or community centers. Others make deals directly with parents, and either go to their homes or have the parents bring their children to a community meeting place, such as a library. If you work directly with parents, make sure to have a no-show fee for people who cancel sessions last-minute—you’ve already set aside the time, and you should be paid for it.
28. Give Music Lessons
In the same vein, you might consider giving music lessons.
Do you play an instrument or consider yourself a strong singer? You can teach others your skills and make a profit doing so. Giving music lessons can be lucrative, emotionally rewarding as you see your students improve, and it can help you hone your own musical skills, too.
It’s easy to fit this type of work into busy schedules; each session might only be a half-hour or an hour. So, someone who can’t fit a full shift in at a standard part-time job might still be able to give music lessons.
29. Get an Internship
Internships look excellent on college applications, scholarship forms, and resumes. A coveted internship could easily be the tipping point to get you into your dream college or land a competitive job you want. Plus, it can teach you a lot about the topic and provide invaluable experience. Just remember: If you want to make money, make sure to apply only to paid internships.
30. Wash Cars
Washing cars can be a profitable line of part-time work. While your town probably has an automatic car was or two, some people prefer car washing services to be done by hand, and some people want the convenience of the car washer coming to their home. Your service will be even more appealing if you offer to vacuum and clean vehicle interiors. Just understand that how busy you’ll be will vary, as most people only want to have their cars washed when they know the weather will be nice for a long period of time.
31. Become a DJ
If you love music and frequently control the music choices at gatherings, you may enjoy getting paid as a DJ at events. But unlike many of these other jobs, DJing takes quite a bit of upfront investment (namely equipment), so you might have to ask for media players, turntables, and other gear as birthday or holiday presents, or buy these things with your own money.
You’ll want to look for work doing parties, school dances, and other social events. This type of job can be extremely fun for the right people, and you don’t need to commit to a significant number of hours each month.
32. Become a Golf Caddy
The primary task of a golf caddy is to carry the golf bag for a golfer. But some caddies also hand golfers clubs and even provide suggestions about which clubs to use. So at the very least, it can be a great job from someone who likes to be outdoors and get exercise, and it’s a perfect job for someone who wants to learn more about golf.
Golf caddies usually get paid by the round or “loop” and receive tips, too. And some actually turn being a caddy into a career; a PGA Tour caddy makes a salary of about $2,000 a week on average, plus a percentage of their golfer’s earnings.
33. Sell Baked Goods
You don’t need to be a contestant on The Great British Bake Off to make money selling baked goods. Especially if you are talented at dessert decorating, you can take orders to make cakes and other baked goods for events, such as birthday parties, bridal showers, and book clubs. Alternatively, you can hold bake sales where you sell your creations. Baked goods are popular at garage sales and lemonade stands.
34. Sell Stuff at a Garage Sale
Rather than adding to a landfill, you can sell items at a garage sale to make money. Your parents might even thank you for saving them a trip to the dump or a thrift store. People sell all types of items at garage sales, so feel free to include whatever your family no longer wants. To get more attention for your sale, consider putting up signs and posting about it on social media.
35. Work in Retail
As there are often many openings, it’s usually easy to secure an entry-level retail job. Retail jobs are best suited for personable people. It’s common for retail jobs to offer an employee discount, which is a nice benefit if it’s a store you already frequent.
Also, because you’ll be on the consumer end of retail for much of your life, it can be valuable to learn the perspective of the people on the other side of your interactions.
36. Work at a Gym
You don’t need to be a personal trainer to work at a gym. Gyms need people to run the front desk, clean, and more. Most gyms provide their workers with a free membership, so this can be a great way to both earn money and save money if you like to work out at the gym. It’s also convenient—you can get a workout in before or after a shift!
37. Deliver Food (Direct or Instacart Driver)
You can almost always find an opening to deliver food. Pizza places and other restaurants sometimes provide the vehicle, so you don’t have to spend money on gas and put miles on your own car. However, they also usually require set hours.
Instacart and other services that hire freelancers usually require you to use your own vehicle. The benefit is that you choose how many hours you want to work each week and can adjust hours according to your current schedule.
38. Be a Barista
Do you love coffee? You might love becoming a barista as well. Whether you prefer to work at a chain or a small local shop, you can often indulge in some of the coffee you are selling. You might even learn some tricks for how to improve your coffee-making skills at home. This is a people-facing job that is best for social teens.
39. Become a Referee or Umpire
Sports lovers should consider becoming a referee or umpire for their favorite sport. To be certified as a referee, most states require you to be at least 18, but not all organizations need someone to be certified. The minimum age to become an uncertified referee or umpire varies, but many people start as young as age 13.
40. Get Any Other Part-Time Job
Any traditional part-time job, whether done as a summer job or year-round, can be an excellent way to build up a resume. No matter what type of work you choose, toiling even for a few hours a week can teach you what it’s like to have a job. In addition to the jobs listed above, you might choose to work at a fast-food restaurant, a dry cleaner, or anywhere else with a low minimum of required hours.
How to Make the Most of Your Earnings
Open a bank account
Opening a bank account makes it easier to track your money and understand your current finances. Depending on what type of account you open, it might also help your money grow. To open an account, you’ll need the assistance of a parent or guardian.
Create a budget
Once you’ve learned how to make money as a teenager, you’ll discover that money can disappear quickly if you don’t have a budget in place. There’s nothing wrong with spending some of your hard-earned money on fun items and activities—just don’t spend all of it. Put a set dollar amount or percentage of your earnings aside to save for large future purchases.
Set savings goals for things you want
Teenagers set all types of money goals. Here are some of the most popular savings goals they have:
- Save for school: Even if your parents have set up a 529 plan or other higher education fund for you, it might not be enough to cover all of your tuition and other expenses. You’ll need money for books, equipment, housing, recreation, and more. Set a reasonable goal for how much money you want saved for college or a trade school, then work toward that goal.
- Save for a car: Cars are expensive, and the costs continue for as long as you own the vehicle. In addition to the cost of the car itself, you’ll need to pay for insurance, regular maintenance, gas, and more.
- Save for a phone: Some teens are responsible for buying their own phones, some have to cover the monthly costs, and others must pay for both.
Learn how to spend wisely
If you’re going to spend some of your money, do so wisely and strategically.
For instance, if a lot of your money goes toward gas, consider carpooling to more events. If you spend a lot on clothes, consider buying from Poshmark, eBay, or thrift stores instead.
Otherwise, routinely look back at what you’ve spent money on and ask yourself: “Did I need to spend that money, and if not, did it make me happy?” Let the answers there educate how you spend money in the future.
Open an investment account
It’s never too early to open an investment account—and in fact, the earlier the start, the more you can benefit from compounded returns.
Just know that investments can take a long time to grow. You can get rich in the stock market, but you should only invest money you won’t need in the next few years. If you’re interested in making money more immediately, a part-time job is the best way to go.
Do Teens Pay Taxes on Their Earnings?
Yes, if you’re a teen, and you earn money that’s above a certain threshold, you’ll have to pay taxes on it. If you’re a minor, you generally won’t owe taxes on earned income less than the standard deduction, which in 2022 is $12,950. If you make less than that, you generally won’t have to file a tax return; but you might still want to file a tax return, because you might be able to get a refund for earnings that were withheld on your paychecks. If you make more than that, you generally will have to file a tax return.
If you work for an employer, like being a cashier at a store, your employer should provide you with a W-2 tax form that you’ll use to file your return. (These kinds of jobs are often referred to as “W-2 jobs.”) If you do work like babysitting or dog walking where you don’t have an official employer, and you make more than $400 a year, you’re considered “self-employed” and will need to fill out Schedule SE (Form 1040) when you file your tax return.
Terms and Conditions for Fidelity® Youth Account