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The Money Messenger, Issue #005 -- Unique Summer Jobs and Teen Chore Contracts
June 17, 2008

Welcome to The Money Messenger!

Welcome to the fifth edition of The Money Messenger!

It's June! School is finally out (extra long due to those frequent snow days!), and the humidity has settled in. Summer is here! Are you enjoying family vacations and frequent cookouts? Or are you (or your kids and teens) still trying to figure out what to do this summer? Be sure to check out this month's ideas on unique summer jobs for some help.

In this issue, you will find:

  • unique summer job ideas
  • teen chores update
  • This month's fun money fact, and
  • Ask the Editor!

Unique summer jobs ideas
Summer jobs (or any job for that matter) can be either hard to find or just not in your area of interest. Don't get me wrong - sometimes you have to take a job that is just that: a J-O-B. Not everything you will work at is going to be something you love. And while that may be the longer term goal (or even one that you work on while you have a not-so-glamorous job), there are times when you will just have to work.

But whether it is what you love or just a job, it doesn't have to be the typical summer job. It can be a unique summer job - whether working for someone else or yourself.

What is a unique summer job and where can you find it?

Start by using your imagination and your list of things you really like to do or spend time on. For example, do you enjoy expressing yourself through art or even just looking at all different kinds? Maybe one of your favorite things to do is explore local art fairs or flea markets looking at one-of-a-kind pieces.

Next, come up with a list of at least 10 ways that can lead to a way to make money - without lots of time or investment. Remember - we are talking about working for summer and time is limited! In our example, a list of 10 things might look like this:

  • Working at a local flower shop arranging flowers artistically
  • Assisting a floral designer during the busy summer bridal season
  • Working as a summer intern/temp in a graphic design studio
  • Helping local artists set up, staff and tear down their exhibits at art fairs and flea markets
  • Working at a summer children's art camp
  • Working at a local pottery studio helping others create unique pieces of art
  • Working at a local art gallery or craft shop
  • Designing your own jewelry and selling it at a weekly farmer's market in your area
  • Working at a local landscape and/or lawn and garden center
  • Designing landscapes as a freelance artist and helping homeowners make it a reality by assisting in the buying and planting process (or using this as a way to generate leads for a local landscaping company and getting a portion of the profits)

Now - narrow down your list to what is practical and doable for both you and your area. You probably want to have at least 3 ideas that survive and that you would really be interested in doing. Then try to make them work. If 2 of your ideas are to find certain types of jobs and that doesn't work out, move on to idea #3. You might have to keep moving down your list or even do the brainstorming again with a different thing that you love.

That's really all there is to it. So...try something unique this summer and see where it leads you! For more traditional ideas on teen summer jobs, check out this page.

Teen Chore Update
Teen chores are a hot topic on the site! Maybe that's because it's summer...


For teens who don't work (due to sports, younger age, etc.), there is plenty of free time that can be filled with chores that just weren't an option during the school year. And for teens that do work, there can still be time for chores. Clearly the parents will feel differently than the kids about the abundant options for the free time and the chores to go with it!

What better way to bridge the gap than to use a teen chore contract? Whether this is your first contract or a change to the one you already have, follow these simple steps to make it work for summer:

  • Review the basics of a teen chore contract.
  • Decide on the overall timeframe for this part of the contract. Establishing this first will help you determine what things will fit into the contract.
  • Determine the chores, when they will be done and the other basics of the contract.
  • Fill out the contract and have everyone sign.

Having a teen chore contract should help everyone's summer run more smoothly!

Fun money fact
If you had 10 billion $1 notes and spent one every second of every day, it would require 317 years for you to go broke. (Courtesy of

Ask the Editor!
Here's where we answer your questions. This week's question comes from Amanda. She wants to know how to get started on an allowance program for her kids including how much to pay and how often.

In general, it is best to pay an allowance each week. Why? There are really two reasons. The first is because kids of most ages operate on short time frames, but even younger kids understand the concept of a week. And older ones do better with other aspects of their money management program if the time frames are at first set in a shorter period.

The second reason is because it can be easier for parents to manage. It is honestly easier to stick to a weekly payment than it is to try to remember to pay it on some other schedule. (Even if it is easy for parents to pay the kids each time the parent gets a paycheck - say twice a month - there is still the issue of the timeframes the kids understand.)

Now - How much should you pay them? The first thing that should be considered is the family budget. How much can you afford to pay in an allowance? Allowances are intended to be a first step in a money education and breaking the family bank to pay them is defeating the purpose. With your potential allowance pot figured out, decide on a way to allocate it to the kids.

I really like attaching it somehow to their age - it provides a built-in method for future increases as well as a way to pay different amounts among kids in the same family. You can pay fifty cents, a dollar or 5 dollars for each year of age. Determining which one should be a function of the family budget, how old the kids are and what you expect them to pay for out of their allowance.

For even more detailed information on allowances, visit our allowance basics page. And if you need some one-on-one help, consider hiring me as an allowance coach. Or to get your question considered (about allowances or anything else), contact us here.

Latest on the site
I use Sitesell to build the site. And I can't say enough good things about it. Right now, they are having a summer special. So if you have been thinking about starting your own business, now is a great time to take that first step. Not only is the offer a great deal, you have 30-days to try it out and make sure that it will work for you. Check out the details here.

Special SiteSell Promotion

New subscribers to the newsletter (as well as the first ones) get a free downloadable copy of the Top 10 articles we offer. Feel free to forward both this newsletter and the free report to any friends that would like a copy. (If you don't have a copy, grab it here.)

Coming soon...the next issue of The Money Messenger
Next month's issue will include new articles on:
  • unique summer job ideas
  • teen chore updates
  • more fun money facts,
  • another Ask the Editor, and
  • the latest site updates

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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