How to make money as a teenager: 9 ideas from a money expert

If you want to help your teen understand how to make money as a teenager in a way that's legal and suitable, our money expert shares her tips, plus the rules on when teens can get a job

smiling teen girl lying on her bed looking at her laptop
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As your child grows up, they might start to wonder how to make money as a teenager. While you might have already sorted your child out with one of the best bank accounts for kids, and used a pocket money app to give them a little spending money, as they grow older, they might want to earn a bit of extra cash. 

Work can be a fantastic way for teens to earn the cash they crave, whether it’s for PS5 games, clothes, or going out. But it can also be a helpful stepping stone to adulthood too. However, parents will understandably want to make sure that any work their teen takes on fits around their education and is cohesive with family life. 

Myron Jobson, senior personal finance analyst at Interactive Investor, says: “For teenagers, earning money for themselves is their first step towards financial freedom. No longer are they reliant on pocket money, or financial handouts from parents."

But it can also help your child learn vital money lessons that will see them grow into a financially confident adult. Myron adds: “Encouraging teens to pay some of their expenses is a good way to teach them how to budget.” 

While teens as young as 13 can legally be employed, strict rules around the hours they work can make it tricky in practice. But that’s not to say it’s impossible for kids to find work or ways to earn some extra cash. Get your teen inspired with our tips.

1. Get your teen to help sell your stuff to earn extra money

If you’ve got piles of books or stacks of DVDs or CDs that are still hanging around, why not get your kids to sell them for you? This is a great one for younger teens (and tweens) as it can largely be done from home – with some apps even offering free courier pick-ups. 

Author's note

My youngest son did this for me in the school holidays last year and in return for helping me clear out our clutter, I let him keep the cash.

It’s pretty straightforward. Sites like Music Magpie, Ziffit, and Zapper, get you to scan the item’s barcode with your phone and you’ll get an instant quote for your stuff. It’s then just a case of packing it all up and posting it off.

The amounts paid per item are pretty tiddly, but it quickly racks up if you’ve got lots to sell. For bigger payments, you can also use the sites to sell old tech like phones, tablets, and laptops. Follow our guide on how to sell old gadgets if you're not sure where to start.

Payment is made once the items have been received and checked. You might find you get less than originally quoted especially if items aren't in pristine condition, so it's worthwhile being prepared to not receive as much as you thought.

2. Introduce your teen to the world of eBay

Chances are you’ve some items knocking around that you could get a decent price for. But if you haven’t had the time or the inclination to sell them yourself, let your teens have a go at making some money themselves. From boxes of Lego to clothes or collectibles, you could have a wealth of items to sell. Just make sure they check with you first!

While under 18s can’t open their own eBay account,  they can use yours if you’re happy to let them, but make sure they understand how to buy and sell on eBay before you set them loose.

Online auctions can be exciting but the fun – and the profits – don’t have to stop once your home’s been cleared out. Eager auctioneers can start flipping, or upcycling, things. This is where you snap up bargain items wherever you can find them – on eBay, at boot sales or charity shops – and sell them on for a profit.

Alternatively they can ask friends, family and neighbours whether they have any items they’d like to sell. Your teen can either agree a price to buy them, or pass on the proceeds, less an agreed rate of commission.

teen girl holding a drill, upcycling furniture with her father

If your teen has a creative side, they might enjoy upcycling old furniture to sell

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3.  Your teen could offer pet care services to earn extra money

The summer months can be tricky for pet owners. So if your teen is an animal lover they can easily earn some extra cash helping friends, family and neighbours with their pets.

This could be anything from taking their dogs for a walk when they’re out for the day to popping around to feed cats, hamsters or goldfish when they go on holiday.

If your teen is hassling you to buy a family pet, this can also be a good way to test the waters.

4. Babysitting is a great way for teens to earn money

For responsible teens, babysitting is a great way to make money. But confusingly there are no rules that set when teens can start babysitting younger children – it’s down to the judgement of the little ones’ parents. The key point those parents need to be aware of is that if the babysitter is under 16, they’ll still be legally responsible for the child in their absence.

If your teen is keen to get babysitting start by asking local friends and neighbours. It’s also worth reassuring your teen’s first customers that they’ll have their phone with them at all times and that you’ll be on hand if there’s an emergency.

 5. Teens can earn extra cash by doing odd-jobs

The earnings potential for teens that are willing to give anything (legal!) a go is huge, especially if they don’t mind rolling their sleeves up. 

Maddy Alexander-Grout, founder of the Mad About Money app, says: “From car washing to mowing lawns, DIY, or helping people with shopping, cleaning or any other chores, my best tip is to offer yourself out to neighbours for odd-jobs.”

Grandparents or older neighbours might appreciate the help in particular, especially for more physical tasks like mowing the lawn or washing the car.

teenage boy mowing a lawn

Odd jobs, like lawn mowing, can be a good way for your teen to earn their own money, and can really help older neighbours who may struggle to do it themselves

(Image credit: Getty Images)

6. Teens can get paid for sharing their opinions

Teens that are glued to the sofa or can’t put their phone down can still make money online by sharing their opinions in surveys. “Teenagers are a hot market for paid-for surveys and websites like Oh My Dosh and Swagbucks are great,” says Mad About Money's Maddy Alexander-Grout. “Just make sure you cancel if you sign up to any free trials.”

7. Take on secret missions to earn extra cash as a teen

One app that let’s teens make money when they’re out shopping is BeMyEye. Nick Smith-Patel, senior quality and training manager at MyBnk, the young people’s financial education charity explains: “You take on ‘missions’ - short mystery shopper tasks - that pay between £3 and £10 depending on the amount of work. It's an easy way to add a few pennies to the pocket and the app will even alert you when you're near a money maker!”

8. Teens can find part time work to boost their pocket money

For teens who prefer to go out and get a job, there are still options. The main limits for younger teens will be the hours they can work. For 13-to 16-year-olds they’ll be limited to two hours on school days or Sundays and during term-time they cannot work more than 12 hours a week.

There’s more scope in the school holidays – 13- and 14-year-olds can work 25 hours a week, rising to 35 hours once they’re 15. Nobody under the age of 16 can work for more than eight hours on a Saturday.

Money app founder, Maddy Alexander-Grout says: “There are lots of jobs teenagers can do. Retail, hospitality, supermarkets, or food delivery if they have a bike. Over the summer, teens can also apply to work at festivals, events, theme parks, or garden centres. Just get them to check the minimum age before they apply.” 

teenage girl working in a coffee shop as a barista

Working part time is a good introduction to the world of work, but make sure you know the rules around how many hours your child can work if they are still in school

(Image credit: Getty Images)

9. Your teen might want to become a content creator (but it's not an instant money-maker)

I’m always desperate to get my kids off their phones, but as my own boys would tell me, no list of teen money-making ideas would be complete without mentioning becoming a social media content creator.'s Money Editor Sarah Handley warns this is not an easy or guaranteed route: "Becoming a content creator or social media influencer is a difficult task, especially when there are already so many that have such large followings. You'd need to be online constantly, on multiple platforms, and online trolls are considered part of the job. As well as taking a long time to build up enough of an audience in order to earn money from the activity, this kind of job can also be harmful to your child's mental health."

Knowing how to make extra money as an adult can be really helpful too, especially if you are trying to save money

Personal finance expert

As well as being a mum, Rachel Lacey is a freelance journalist with more than 20 years' experience writing about all areas of personal finance and retirement planning. After 17 years at Moneywise magazine as both writer and editor, Rachel now writes for a variety of websites and newspapers as well as corporate clients. She is passionate about financial education and simplifying money matters for all.