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The Money Messenger -- Summer Jobs for Kids, Tweens and Teens
May 08, 2009


Welcome to Issue #16 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

Summer Jobs for Kids and Teens This month's articles focus on summer jobs for kids and teens - and some money-making ideas that really aren't "jobs"

A reader's question on struggling to get her teen to make her own money

What's new and what's next?

Note from Jennifer

Welcome to the summer job-hunting season! Maybe your kids have already started thinking about what they are going to do this summer - or maybe they are just getting ready since the calendar flipped over to May. I know some teens are finding the job market tougher than in past summers, but there are still opportunities - even if you have to make your own. Kids face their own challenges because they often can't be an employee. Kids and families can still think creatively and come up with some ideas to make money - alone or together.

No matter which category you fall in, it's time to get creative and take action! Summer jobs are a great way to learn about money, business basics and some general ecomonics. They can also be fun and become a year-round option.

I still 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
Summer Jobs for Kids

The biggest stumbling block for kids can be that they can't just "get a job" because they are too young. But that can also be a great asset because it opens up lots of options on creating your own business. Here are a few ideas to get your list started:

  • Yard work. Most kids are too young to mow. But they are not too young to rake grass, pull weeds or plant and water flowers. They might make a great team with an older sibling who can do heavier work, or they can provide a great extra service for neighbors who have a commercial mower or mow their own yards.
  • Make crafts to sell. Many kids are artistic in some way. What summertime crafts are big in your area? Mosaic or decorated flower pots? Wind chimes made from recycled material? Decorated bags made from scrap material? Summer farmers' markets are a great (and cheap) way to sell these items. If you discover a demand, this can turn into a year-round money maker.
  • Have a lemonade stand. It's just not summer without a lemonade stand. If you live in a large neighborhood, this can be an especially good option. And don't limit the products to lemonade. Offer small treats or other drinks as well. Just make sure you don't sell the items for less than what they cost.

These three ideas cover a variety of things that kids can do to make money. Can you take these and make your own list? And check out this page on five easy ways for kids to make money.

Feature Article
Summer Jobs for Tweens

The biggest stumbling block for tweens can be that they aren't old enough to get a "real job" but not young enough to do some of the standard kid businesses. But tweens want (and maybe need) their own money - and they should earn at least some it. What can tweens do to earn money? Check out these ideas and use them to jumpstart your own creativity.

  • Babysit. I know this is a pretty standard business, but summer can be a great time to get started or to take it in a new direction. During the summer, tweens have time during the day to take on jobs that they can't do during the school year. Combine that with moms who have kids home all day long, and you have a great match. Tweens can offer daytime services to give parents a break for a couple of hours. Advertise it as "Mom's Afternoon Off" and you are sure to have takers!
  • Make stuff to sell. This idea is good for any age really, but tweens can really take this to a higher level than kids. Embellish CD cases, MP3 holders or denim bags. Make funky jewelry. Think about stuff that your tween makes that is always getting compliments or that friends want to as a way to get inspiration. You can sell it at locals markets or sales or even online at Ebay or Etsy.
  • Use your talents. Several of the preteens I know are line judges or refs for soccer games. The pay depends on how many games and which job they do. But there is even pay if they schedule you and then don't need you to work a specific game. These can be actual jobs through an employer - even at a younger age. Don't like soccer or basketball? Consider your musical or dance talents. What other creative or other things that you can do that you can use to teach someone? Almost of any of these can be offered as a service - and you can get paid for that service.
  • Take care of pets. If you like animals - cats and dogs especially - there is more demand than ever for quality pet care. There are plenty of pet owners who take their pets to "doggie daycare" and pay hundreds of dollars a week for it. What if you offered a service to play, walk and feed pets after school? Many petowners who work would love to have someone to give their animals some extra attention while they are at work.

Use this list as a starting point for your own ideas. And don't discount anything. It may surprise you the things that people need, want and are willing to pay for when it is a quality item or service.

Feature Article
Summer Jobs for Teens

You don't have to look too hard to find articles about how hard it will be for teens to find summer jobs this year. Some of those even talk about siblings are fighting over who gets to the mow yard since in their house it's a paid chore. Those negative articles make it hard to get motivated to even look for a job. But that spin is just a small part of the story for most areas. If you and your teen can get creative, the possibilities of summer jobs for teens are many. Here are just a few ideas to get started.

If you are going to work for someone else:

  • Make a list of potential employers. Don't get stuck on just one perfect option and don't limit to who you think might be hiring. Be thorough but realistic based on transportation and required work hours.
  • Dress appropriately when you visit the store. Whether filling out an application or going for an interview (which could all happen at the same time), be clean with presentable clothing. What is presentable? No stains, wrinkles or revealing clothes. Employers want to know that you can present yourself to other staffers and customers appropriately. (Even if you are interviewing to be a lifeguard, your swimsuit should be appropriate!)
  • Follow up. A simple phone call or note can make a difference. It keeps your name in front of the interviewer.
  • Be persistent. Whether with one employer or just in your job hunt in general, being persistent can land you the job that others aren't willing to search for.

If you want to have your own business:

  • Make a list of everything you like to do - and then put next to it how you can get paid for it. For instance, if you like working with kids, you could have that in column one. Then in column two you could have summer tutoring, sports coaching, private swim lessons, and babysitting.
  • Test the market. Ask adults who might use your services (e.g., parents who have kids you would teach) if they are interested in the service, how much they would use it and what they would be willing to pay.
  • Advertise and hit the streets. Word-of-mouth is an excellent way to build a business. But you need customes first! Meeting people and telling them about your business firsthand can go far in signing up those crucial first customers. Provide great service and they can become a key part of your future marketing.
  • Do a great job! The best way to build and keep your business going is to provide a great service with a great attitude.

Get even more information on summer jobs for teenagers here.

Ask the Editor!

Here's where I answer your questions. Susan writes that she is trying to teach her teenage daughter some money responsibility and would like to know how to get started teaching her to earn her own money. Here's the advice:

Teaching money responsibility at any age can be tricky - and tough. This is true whether your kid is 5 or 15. Each age has its own trials and tribulations. Turning those into learning moments and lifelong habits can be challenging but here are some ideas to try:

  • Keep the communication lines open. This isn't even a money habit specifically, but without being able to have a conversation, you can't talk about money.
  • Figure out what the root of the issue is. Is the issue that your teen thinks of you as a personal ATM without regard to the shrinking family budget? Or is that you think they are spending too much money without an appreciation for how it is earned? It could simply be that you want them to start earning their money through additional responsibilities instead of expecting it to be handed to them. Whatever is the case in your family, be specific. Tackling the issue as one thing instead of as a general one will help you communicate it less personally and develop a plan to address it.
  • Have them be accountable. One of the challenges with any program that kids or teens are on is that it often lies with the parents to keep it on track. That's true whether it is chores, allowances or the overall household schedule (and even homework!). But teens are old enough to have developed some basic accountability that they can bring to the table on the money responsibilities. They need to keep track of what they are spending and why. They need to come up with ideas on how to spend less and earn more. It certainly can be easier said than done if you are dealing with a teen who isn't used to that type of responsibility. But that doesn't mean that they don't have to do it - they just get some time to adjust.
  • Stand firm. As tough as it can be, parents have to set the rules and live by them too. I know that it can be easier (even much easier) in the short term to give in - to give an advance on the allowance, to let them go over budget "just this once." But that's not the long-term answer for anyone. And two months from now, you will all be the same place. It takes about a month to establish a new habit. That is true of eating, exercising - and yes, money. Think of it as a challenge that you are completing for 30 days - make it a game. You CAN do this for 30 days!

Are there tricks or tips that you have for helping teens learn about their money and responsibilities? Share them with me (and everyone else) by sending them to

And for more information on teen money basics, click here. Or to get your question considered, contact me here.

What's New?

The last issue of The Money Messenger introduced the Money Basic areas of the site for kids, teen and families. This month, a new site map has been added to help you look through the areas you might be most interested in. This site map can be found on the same page of the site search so you can use them together to find what you want!

Other new stuff:

  • Five easy ways for kids to make money
  • The creation of The Reading Room, which will house free and for-purchase resources. Look for these additions coming soon...
  • A free downloadable book that looks at money in a whole new way: Money-Morphosis: What Butterflies can teach us about money.
  • Kids' Business Ideas: A great resource book for kids, tweens and teens looking for ways to make money.
  • A free downloadable book on kids' crafts that is a great resource for babysitters and parents alike.

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

In mid-May, a special issue of The Money Messenger will focus on garage sales. This can be a great way for kids, teen and families to earn money. It will include tips on setting up your garage sale, getting the most for your stuff and unique ideas.

June's regular issue will focus on summer chores, allowances and motivation for keeping it all going when the regular routine melts in the summer sun. If you have questions you'd like to see addressed for that issue, just use the Contact Form or email me at Be sure that your name will be kept confidential if you wish.

Talk to you soon!

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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