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Learning that money doesn’t grow on trees, and that debit cards are not an endless supply of money is an important part of growing up. Kids need to know that parents work hard for their money. A good work ethic is an important value for kids to have and letting kids earn money is an important part of developing that value. Parents often times find themselves paying for kids to do extra chores around the house to earn money. If that is not your cup of tea, then check out these ways for kids to earn money outside of household chores.
My mom has mentioned to me numerous times that she has always been told her kids are hard workers. I told her that I am grateful that they taught us to be that way. They taught us a good work ethic by having us earn our own money. From the time I was six years old, until I was seventeen, I had a paper route. I even kept that paper route while working my first high school job at a fast food place. At least for a while.
My parents never paid us an allowance. We did chores around the house because we lived there. End of story. While I have no issue with parents who choose to give their kids an allowance, I have followed in my parents’ footsteps. Our kids do not earn an allowance for doing chores. So how do we teach our kids a good work ethic and about how hard we work to make our money? We find alternate ways for our kids to earn money, outside of household chores.
Don’t get me wrong, before the Goof was old enough to do the things on this list, we did have a chore bucket where he could pick an extra chore for a quarter or such. This was for him to help pay for his spending money on vacation. It was all we could ask of a four year old. But now that he is seven, almost eight, years old, he is starting to earn money outside of the home.
Ways for Kids To Earn Money That Doesn’t Involve Extra Chores At Home
Before I share some of these ideas to not only let teach kids a good work ethic but for kids to earn money, I just want to make sure we are on the same page. You as a parent may have to help your kids with some of these jobs. Depending on your child’s age, the job, and tools needed, you may play a small (or large) part in these tasks. But even with your help, your kids will learn a good lesson and make a little money.
I mentioned above that I carried papers when I was little. In fact, every kid in the family had a paper route at one point. We would get up at 5 am every morning to deliver papers. Every. Single. Morning. Even on Christmas or New Years. If we wanted to go on vacation, we had to find a substitute to take our route.
Paper routes have changed immensely since I was a kid. Now, in most places, mom or dad would have to have the actual paper route, but there is no reason why kids can’t help deliver papers. Parents can easily pay kids a percentage of the income for helping deliver papers.
Okay, I get it, the idea of getting up early every morning to do a paper route with your kid is not your idea of a fun time. I like my sleep, so I totally understand. Maybe a good alternative is for your kids to earn money doing work around the neighborhood. This can include a lot of different odd jobs that neighbors are willing to pay others to do. These may include:
Watering plants and bringing in mail while neighbors are out of town
Walking pets or cleaning up after pets
Mowing their lawn or raking leaves
These jobs are best done with people you know well, such as members of your church congregation or close friends or neighbors. While these may not give kids a steady income stream, they will let them earn some money for special occasions like vacation or a day at the fair.
Deliver Phone Books
This is what we are currently doing with the Goof for him to earn some spending money for vacation, and is actually how I was inspired to write this post. A few weeks ago, a member of our church congregation let us know that the phone book company where she worked was looking for people to deliver phone books.
We signed up thinking it would be a great way for the Goof to make some extra money for vacation. They pay 30 cents for each phone book delivered. By the first hour the first day, he was saying how hard it was. Eventually we worked out a system between the three of us for delivering where we were getting them done pretty quick. He makes ten cents for each phone book delivered because he puts the phone books in bags and puts magnets in the bags. My husband and I do most of the delivering.
When he was ready to call it quits the first day, and we told him how much he would make that day, he started to realize how hard we work for our money. And guess what. Since doing this, he has slowed down on how often he asks us to spend money. He rarely asks for toys when we are at the store, and he even has talked about how he plans to save some of his money.
Babysitting & Mother’s Helpers
Older, responsible children can babysit to make extra money. Putting their name out in church groups or other close knit groups is a great way to get teens and older tweens started with babysitting. But what about younger kids who may not be quite ready to babysit?
Mother’s helpers are a great way for kids around 8-11 to earn extra money, and prepare them for full on babysitting. Mother’s helpers are often hired to either entertain kids while mothers do some work around the house, or are hired to help with household chores for moms who are wanting a little more time with their kids when they are not working. (Or father’s helpers too.)
Often times they are in charge of playing with toddlers, or helping sweep, vacuum, or even help with laundry or cooking. Many Mother’s Helpers work one to two days a week. This is also a great gig for summer time when kids are out of school.
Each season has unique opportunities for kids to make some extra money. All it takes is a little creativity.
Maybe your family has a killer cinnamon bun recipe your kid could help make and sell and deliver around Christmas time? Or maybe they are excellent with wrapping paper, they could offer to wrap presents for money.
I seriously would pay someone to stuff my Easter eggs with candy and toys for my kids every year. They could offer this up as a service to busy parents in your area. Or they could put together Easter Baskets and sell them.
The sky is the limit with a little creativity.
After They Are Paid
Finding ways for kids to earn money is not just about them having some spending money, but it is also about teaching them a good work ethic and helping them realize money is not free. But it is important that you also help them know how to handle that money. Here are a few tips for after they get paid.
Help encourage them to save money
Help teach your kids to save money they have earned by setting up a savings account or even a savings jar. You can even find cute savings jars that break down all of their money by what it is for, such as savings, spending, donations, etc.
The save can be put towards a larger item or saved for the future. The one pictured above even has an invest section. Another great lesson kids can learn from the money they have earned.
Let them decide how to spend their money
Sometimes as parents we want to stop our kids from spending their hard earned money on frivolous things. Here is the thing though, this is their hard earned money, not ours. We wouldn’t like it if someone told us we couldn’t buy something with our own money, so we need to allow kids some freedom to spend their money how they choose. Of course, we may give them some guidance, and it is okay to have some rules in place like it can’t be $20 worth of candy, but we need to let them make the final decision.
The Goof has decided, when we are done delivering phone books, he wants to use some of his money to treat the family to donuts from our favorite bakery. We tried to tell him there are better things to spend the money on that won’t be gone by the end of the day, but he really wants to buy donuts. So, we will be getting donuts.
Give them responsibilities to pay for as they get older
As your kids get older and start making money more consistently, make sure that you give them items that you will no longer purchase for them. Maybe it is a movie ticket to go to the movies with friends, or maybe it is vacation spending money. Whatever it is, start having them be responsibile for paying for some of their own extras. A teenager could pay the line access fee for their cell phone, or their part of the car insurance. Whatever it is, having them pay something will start teaching them responsibility and money management skills.
Before the Goof was born, I worked in an office. We actually had a few employees come through that worked for spending money only and still had their parents pay their bills (and no they did not live at home). Not saying this would happen to your or my kids, but I want my kids to start learning early that yes, you do have to pay for certain items and have bills.
I am proud of the Goof for keeping up with this job, week after week, until it is over, so that he can earn his own spending money for vacation. I know that this lesson will help teach him a good work ethic, like the paper route did my siblings and myself.
Do you have your kids work for money?