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Beyond Babysitting: New Ways for Kids to Earn Money This Summer

BeyondBabysittingI could tell from the vibe I was getting from an unnamed grandparent that something was wrong.  If the stompy foot falls and balled up fists weren’t a good indication, the frowning face sealed the deal.

“I just heard that T can’t be on the swim team this year.  She said she can’t afford it.”

Ahh yes.  This is a favorite ploy our kids try a few times a year to get family members (especially grandparents) to feel sorry for their unfinanced plight.

We brought the kid over and I asked if this was true.  Now since this happens quite often at our house, the kid’s face turned red.  She was busted, and she knew it, so she decided to start arguing her way out of the situation.  When that didn’t work, she sullenly admitted she could probably take on a little extra babysitting over the summer to fund her activity.

In truth, I know she has more than enough already to pay for swimming, skiing and just about any other activity she wants to participate in, and that she’d just spent $150 on clothes, but that’s another story.

Now that our kids are getting older, they are quickly realizing that with age, comes expense.  Everything gets more expensive as you become a teenager.  Activities now cost hundreds of dollars, and that doesn’t include the gear.  Clothing is bigger and more expensive even if kids don’t care about the latest brands and styles.  There are more enticing opportunities around every corner for ways for teens to depart with their cash.

At our house, when you become sixteen, your allowance begins to decrease as well.

Go figure.  Just when kids are starting to need the money, we start giving them less.  Our goal is for them to receive no allowance by the time they graduate from high school.

Allowance for us is a way to teach kids to manage money, plain and simple.  By the time they are sixteen they’ve learned this lesson and it’s time for them to start really putting it into practice.  Enter the summer job.  Many teens babysit, some will mow lawns, others will walk dogs.  All are considered rites of passage for most kids.

What if this summer, however, your child learned a skill that would allow them to have an online job?

New Ways for Kids to Earn Money This Summer

With Allowance Academy, there are many things that we need done that we normally would need to pay a contractor to accomplish.  Shooting, recording and editing video, social media tasks, SEO optimization and graphics management are all tasks we pay our kids to do.   In some cases, assigning the job to one of our teenagers makes perfect sense – video editing is something our 15 year old took to right away but was not one of our strengths.  He now has his own studio set up and can use it not only for us, but to shoot videos for others as well.  For other jobs, we pay for the kids to go through classes that we would have to take anyway and now they have a marketable skill they can use not only to work for us, but to use in their own entrepreneurial ventures.

For a monthly subscription service, with online programs like http://lynda.com, people can learn just about any online skill.  They can use these skills to get jobs on sites like fiverr, Elance or Odesk.  If a kid can do two-three jobs on fiverr an hour, they’re earning $10-15/hour.  Not a bad way to earn some extra income.

I’m not advocating that kids never work outside the home.  I think it is vital that kids learn to show up on time for work and to report to someone that isn’t their parent in order to learn job skills that will serve them well in the future.  As a supplement to those jobs, for kids too young or for those whom a job outside of the home isn’t a possibility right now, an online job can be a great solution for the summer job problem.

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  • Clever Dude

    Our 16 year old started part-time job at a grocery store a few months back – while an online job is intriguing, I feel that having him work in a physical workplace learning social interaction skills in that kind of environment is extremely important.

    • We completely agree. Our sixteen year old started working at Target as soon as he was old enough. There’s nothing like learning to be accountable to someone else when it comes to showing up on time and to learn about gross vs take home pay! He did start as our video editor before he was old enough for a “real job” and now does that work on the side.

      As an aside, when he went in to fill out his job application at one of the online kiosks, he had no idea how to answer some of the questions and initially wasn’t hired. He answered the “how many hours can you work” question as though he was determining his own schedule (4-7 Monday, 3-5 Tuesday, etc.) rather than saying “10 hrs a week.” He had no idea what they were asking. We both learned from that experience and it’s something to be learned before applying for their first post college job!

    • Have you set up any plan with him on how much of his earnings go “into the pocket” and how much goes into the bank? There’s a bunch of different ways parents go about this, just curious how you’re handling it.

      • Clever Dude

        Absolutely….50% goes into savings. It’s simple, and it makes him think about whether he really wants to trade away, or pick up shifts. 🙂