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The Money Messenger -- Prepping for Winter: Teen Job Options and Winter Chores
November 06, 2008


Welcome to Issue #10 of The Money Messenger!

The Money Messenger brings you the latest on your kids and money.

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The Money Messenger

In This Issue

Winter is coming! This month's articles on chores and teen jobs focus on the change in seasons. What fall and winter chores are on the list for your kids? What seasonal winter jobs are out there for teens - despite the economic issues facing us this season?

A reader's question on how to find a job when you are only 11 years old

What's next?

Note from Jennifer

This month's newsletter focuses on the coming winter season (if it's not already here for you) and how that offers new options for winter chores and winter teen jobs. I also answer a question on winter jobs for tweens.

I still need YOUR help 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
Fall and Winter Chore Ideas

As fall and winter start to set in across the United States, new seasonal chore options start to appear too. That makes it a good time to review the current chores that the kids are doing to see if new ones need to be added (and others taken off the list). Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Raking leaves. Nearly any age can do this as long as you aren't too picky with the younger kids. And, it can also be a family activity, so it doesn't feel as much like work to anyone.
  • Clearing out the last of the fall flowers - particularly after a couple of frosts has wilted them.
  • Putting away or covering up summer seasonal outdoor items. This could include carrying flower pots inside, covering up summer furniture and outdoor grill or taking down the birdbath.
  • Clearing the last of the summer toys off the front porch or from the backyard.

You might also have other specific things for your house for fall and winter chores. Do you have a pool that needs to be covered and/or winterized? Do you have bikes that could use a thorough cleaning and greasing before sitting all winter? Even if most of your fall and winter chores only need to be done once, these are great opportunities to have your kids help around the house.

And, if you are paying for chores, you can consider adding these one-time seasonal fall or winter chores as extra pay. It might come in handy when the kids need to buy Christmas presents (or make holiday donations) in the next couple of months. For even more chore ideas, check out the kids chore section or the ones for teens.

Once you have the list complete, the next challenge is getting stuff done when the holiday calendar starts to fill up and everyone is so busy. The key is to get organized. The thing that I have found works best for our family is to sit down on Sunday night and look at what is going on during the coming week. This can take as little as 10 minutes. We make it as informal as possible and use the school lunch calendar to put down kid sports and club meetings. Then we add in the fall and winter chores that need to be done. (Really, I am not at all an organized person - so if I can do this, I know you can too!)

Doing this is especially important if your kids are being paid to do their chores. They can't be completely responsible for finding time to do chores if the family schedule gets a little crazy (or not getting their full allowance if that's the case). The key is for everyone to agree - just as you did when you put the chore program in place. Involve the kids in the scheduling discussion and ask them to come up with solutions. You might be surprised how creative they can get!

Feature Article
Winter Teen Jobs: Seasonal Options as an Employee

Winter and Christmas provide some new winter teen job options. This is especially true when you are wanting to work for an employer. And, there are many places that ARE hiring even as you hear stories in the media that it's tough to find a job. Even if that's true in your area, there are still plenty of opportunities if you stick to a job search. Here are some ideas on where to look:

  • Holiday or Christmas stores. In our area, there are specialty stores that exist only for the holiday. They have names like "Christmas Express" and "Holiday Superstore." (Yes, they are in the same place as the ones that were there fore Halloween!)
  • At a mall or other store being a helper to Santa. Parents and little kids still love to tell Santa what they want and have their pictures taken. And Santa needs lots of help to get the kids through the line...usually dressed as elves.
  • In a seasonal business such as a Christmas tree lot or the garden center of a retailer (such as Home Depot or Wal-Mart) where they are selling trees and other decorations.
  • For a year-round retailer that hires more staff for the season. This could be a discount retailer, a restaurant or a local toy store. Even with the economy, sales for the holiday season are predicted to be slightly higher than in 2007. And someone needs to help those customers (and feed them when they are hungry!)

As with any job search, you need to apply looking like you could start working right then. Make your best impression. You might also need to be persistent by applying at several different places. Don't let that discourage you. And, don't be afraid to follow up.

Some retailers are hiring very little at the beginning of the season until they see what they really need. And some may find that early hires just aren't working out. Either way, there will be jobs available throughout the season, so be sure to keep your eyes open.

What places are hiring for winter teen jobs in your area?

Ask the Editor!

Here's where I answer your questions. Mindy writes that she is only 11 years old but wants her own money. What jobs are available to her? Here's the advice:

Congratulations on wanting to make your own money! I know there are lots of things that would be GREAT to have and sometimes your parents just can't buy it for you. Earning your own money can help you get some of those things - plus it can help you save up for bigger stuff and presents for others.

At 11 years old, you are going to have to get creative. You are too young to work for someone else (unless your parents have a business you can help out in) and even too young to babysit. What does that leave you with? Lots of options.

What can you do really well? Are you really good at math, science or reading? You could tutor younger kids after school to make money. Or are you best at sports - swimming, soccer, volleyball? You could teach other kids the basic skills and help them improve.

If you teaching or tutoring is not your area, can you make something and sell it? It can be anything from baked goods (some of the best cookies I have ever had come from kids!) to crafts to artwork. Or is there work you can do in your neighborhood such as cleaning cars or yards (or shoveling snow in the winter if you live in that type of area)?

Make a list of everything you can do to make money and then start narrowing it down to what will work for you and your parents. You might even consider doing a couple of different things, but don't stretch yourself too thin. You still need to have time for homework, any household chores and time to play!

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

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

December's issue will focus on getting ready for the new year, including feature articles on reviewing allowance and chore programs and kid and teen job ideas for the rest of winter.

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 this contact form.

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