I'm a teenager, how can I earn extra money?

If you're a teenager, the number one thing you probably want is more freedom. It's your life and you want to be in control. In order to do more of what you want, you'll need to earn money. True, it can be tough to get a job when you are young and don't have a lot of work experience. But it's not impossible if you look around a bit and offer a can-do attitude.

Best jobs for teens

Most teenagers earn extra money by taking summer jobs and finding part-time work during the school year. Some of the most popular jobs for teens include:

  • Babysitting. This is a particularly good job for teens with younger siblings who already have experience taking care of kids.
  • Fast food jobs. Fast food places are usually happy to hire teens. You'll learn hands-on customer service and cashiering experience that can lead to better jobs in the future.
  • Retail positions. Some local stores are willing to hire and train teenagers for part-time work in retail. Teens enjoy the income as well as a small discount on items sold in the store.
  • Simple office work. Some local offices hire teens to answer phones and file papers.
  • Camp counselors. This is a leading summer job specifically geared towards employing teenagers.

Tips for finding work as a teen

Finding a job is tough for everyone. Teens with little experience job hunting may find it particularly hard. However, if you are a teen who wants to work, there's a lot of help out there for you. Some of your best resources include:

  • School counselors. Jobs interested in hiring teens often let high school counselors know about open positions. Counselors can also help you get references from your teachers to improve your hiring potential.
  • Family members. Adult family members may be willing to employ you themselves or to spread the word among their contacts to see if anyone is looking for a babysitter or office worker.
  • Churches and other organizations you belong to. These places are filled with adults who already know and trust you. They may be willing to offer you a first job.

Launching your own teen business

Getting employed by someone else is the most common way for teens to earn money but it's not the only option. Many entrepreneurial teens do start businesses ranging from making and selling jewelry to launching their own social networking sites. This requires a lot of hard work but can be a great opportunity if you're a dedicated go-getter.

Getting help from your parents

Those older, kind of weird folks you live with may actually be your ticket to extra cash. Pick a time when they aren't too stressed out and just ask them if there are extra chores that you can do to earn more allowance. Another hot tip: Ask them if they'll match what you earn towards a target purchase such as a car. Be willing to accept their advice about money in exchange for their help. You might be surprised.

Make your money work and build your confidence

It's never too early to start your path to being a millionaire. While it's fun to spend money in the moment, investing what you've earned makes it continue to work for you and gives you confidence in your ability to handle money. Open a high interest savings account to grow your money without any added effort on your part. A Roth IRA is another great option for a teen since that money has years of growth ahead -- ask your parents if they wish they had started an IRA back then!

What is the best advice that you can offer to teens who are looking to earn extra money?

This Guide to Money answer includes the topics: Live, Income.

Kathryn Vercillo is a full time freelance writer / blogger with nearly ten years of writing experience. She has authored two books and contributed to many other print publications. Previously Kathryn worked as the editor-in-chief of a small literary arts magazine and as the manager of a writing company that linked businesses with freelancers. Areas she has researched extensively include personal finance, real estate, travel, life-work balance and health and fitness.

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