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The Money Messenger -- Halloween: Allowances and Teen Jobs
October 09, 2008


Welcome to Issue #9 of The Money Messenger!

In This Issue

  • The results are in! A BIG thanks to all for your feedback on making this newsletter and the website better. This month's issue takes a first step towards putting those changes YOU WANT in place.
  • Halloween is here! This month's feature articles on allowances and teen jobs focus on this fun holiday.
  • A reader's question on filling out their first job application
  • What's next?

Note from Jennifer

Hi! This month's newsletter focuses on Halloween and how you can make it part of your allowance program and teen job hunting. Those are two of the areas that YOU wanted to hear more about each month - so that's exactly what I am focusing on. I really like the changes to the newsletter, and I hope you agree.

One area I do need your help with is to get your stories. Everyone wants to hear more from each other! Personally, reader stories are my favorite part of any newsletter or magazine so I can't wait to make this addition. But I need your help! Please drop me a note at to tell me your story (and you can remain anonymous if you like).

Feature Article on Allowances:
Making Them Last Through Halloween

One of the biggest (and most fun) holidays of the year is just around the corner. But Halloween isn't just about dressing up and getting candy. Whether your kids are saving part of their allowance each week or spending it all, October is a month filled with options for spending. There are nearly endless options for kids - it is a literal candy store no matter where you go. And it's a great opportunity to help your kids manage the money they are getting in their allowances.


First, make a list of what you are willing to buy for Halloween and what they need to pay for. For example, you may be willing to pay for a costume up to $25. But they want one that is $20 plus another $10 in "extras" - like a wig and fake blood. They can make up the $5 difference by using their allowance. Or maybe they see some candy - orange Peep ghosts! - that they just have to have but it's not in the family's Halloween candy budget.

Second, try to go shopping once with the kids. If you are like me, that will be nearly impossible. But, if you can, it will really help cut down on the "I wants" that you are faced with. Every store is going to have something special that the kids MUST have. And even with the best intentions, their allowances may not last or cover all their Halloween wants. Limiting the times they are tempted can help everyone.

Third, challenge the kids to get creative. Maybe they can come up with a money-saving costume - or swap costumes with friends. My son is considering going as a Cub Scout which would cost nothing additional since we already have the uniform. What can your kids come up with?

For even more Halloween spending (and saving ideas), check out the Halloween area on the site.

Feature Article on Kid and Teen Jobs:
Halloween Opportunities

Halloween provides some new and fun job options for kids and teens. This is true whether you want to work for someone else or yourself. Here the top ideas I have found for teens:

  • Work in a Halloween store. In our area, there are specialty stores that exist only for the holiday. They have names like "Halloween Express" and "Halloween Superstore."
  • Work in a haunted house. These seem to become more and more popular each year. The hours can be long, so it may not be an option for everyone.
  • Work in a seasonal business such as an apple farm, pumpkin patch or corn maze. These fall businesses really start to pick up during October.

For kids and teens of all ages, you can work for yourself. Below are just some of the creative ideas for Halloween jobs.

  • Costume designer. Some people just have a knack for putting together outfits and costumes. Are you one of them?
  • Take younger kids trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. This isn't as much a commitment as babysitting, but can be a big help to parents. The parents are then free to stay home (out of the cold!) to hand out candy.
  • Babysitting during an adult Halloween party. If you know someone who is having a Halloween party for adults, offer your services to babysit the kids of people coming to the party (within reason or you will need help). That can be a great way to meet new customers while providing a great service so people don't have to find their own sitter.

These are just some kid and teen job ideas to get you started. What other Halloween jobs can you think of?

Ask the Editor!

Here's where I answer your questions. Sara writes that she needs help with her first job applications. She is applying to Hot Topic, Pac Sun and Aeropostale (all retail clothing stores) and needs to know how to fill out the basic sections such as salary requirements, skills and references. Here's the advice:

Congratulations on taking the job apps seriously. These applications can be the first real impression that you make to an employer, so you are taking a great first step by wanting to fill them out fully and correctly.

For the salary, try to get an idea of what other people in similar retail stores make. You can find this out by talking to your friends that work in similar stores or by calling up the store and asking politely. In general, these stores already have a set hourly rate that they are going to pay to new employees so this shouldn't be a big deal. But for reference, federal minimum wage is $6.55/hour so put at least that amount on your application.

For skills in a retail position, typing is not usually a skill that is required so it is not necessary to put this on your application (although if you do, you should put how many words per minute you type vs. just that you type fast). Instead, you should include skills like working well in a team environment, being outgoing and friendly with customers - basically things that will help you be a good employee in a sales job.

For references, you should include adults who can support you being responsible and a hard worker. Your idea on babysitting is an excellent choice. You could also consider other adults, such as teachers, who could support your work ethic and people skills. Just be sure to check with them first!

For even more ideas on teen jobs this time of year, visit the winter teen jobs page.

To get your question considered (about teen jobs or any other topics), contact me here.

Coming soon...
the next issue of The Money Messenger

November's issue will focus on getting ready for the holidays, including feature articles on getting chores done during the busy holidays and holiday jobs for teens.

PLUS, watch for new free reports on the site or in your email as bonuses for subscribers.

Comments or suggestions?

If you have any comments or suggestions for future newsletters, please let me know. I want to be sure that this newsletter meets your needs. Feel free to provide your comments using our contact form.

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