FOOL'S SCHOOL DAILY Q&A

Kids Earning Money

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By Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena)
December 18, 2002

Q. What are some ways for a kid to earn money?

A. Here are a bunch of ways, excerpted from our newly overhauled and spiffed-up Teens and Their Money area. (It's full of helpful -- and free -- guidance.)

Pet-sitting. When someone in your neighborhood goes on vacation, there's often a pet that needs looking after. Also, with people working longer and longer hours these days, some folks will pay you to visit their pets during the day and take them for a walk.

Tutoring. Some teens report that they earn anywhere from $5 to $20 per hour tutoring. If you're good at a subject, you may be able to earn money by helping others to understand it.

Jobs matching your interests. If you enjoy working with children, see if any day care centers near you need help. If you like the great outdoors, check with your local parks department. If you like movies or recreation, look into movie theaters or amusement parks.

Serve the elderly. Not only might you find work in a nursing home or retirement community, but you might also serve older people in your neighborhood. Many older people can't get around much. They may welcome your services delivering groceries, running errands, or doing odd jobs around their home. 

Be a computer guru. Many people buy computers and have a lot of trouble setting them up and trying to use them. Even if you have an intermediate familiarity with computers, you might offer your services as a local computer consultant. You can set things up, solve problems, answer questions, teach programs, and show people how to send and organize email, upload digital photos, buy something on Amazon.com, use Instant Messaging, and conduct online searches (with Google or other search engines).

Caddy at a golf course. This not only helps you learn more about a sport you might enjoy, it also gives you the chance meet a lot of adults from whom you might learn more about the business world. They could turn out to be valuable connections that lead to other jobs.

Delivering newspapers. If you sign up to deliver a lot (which may be more possible in areas with apartment buildings), you can make a good bit of money. Some kids make $100 or $200 per week or more.

Use your skills. Think about what you're good at and try to teach others -- adults or children. You might offer piano lessons, horseback riding lessons, or Spanish lessons. Maybe you can juggle and entertain at children's birthday parties. If you play an instrument, perhaps you could play at weddings or other events. If you write, you could try to sell articles to magazines or newspapers.

Volunteer! If all else fails, or even as a first choice, consider volunteering. Don't just do the first thing that pops into your mind, though. Be a strategic volunteer. Think of a field or company you'd like to learn more about. If you're really concerned about hunger in the world, volunteer at a food bank. If you're thinking about becoming a doctor (perhaps one who treats the elderly), consider volunteering at a hospital (or a nursing home).

To get your kids interested in saving and investing their money (and perhaps to ensure that you'll be treated to a first-class nursing home one day), consider giving them a copy of our new book, The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of. And remember to send them to our corner of Fooldom for teens, too.

If you have any questions, thoughts, or opinions on this column, share them with others on our Ask the Fool discussion board.

This question and answer is adapted from The Motley Fool Money Guide: Answers to Your Questions About Saving, Spending and Investing. For answers to this and 499 other common money questions, check it out -- it's a handy resource.