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Thanks to the internet, teenagers have more options than ever to make a few bucks. Long gone are the days when teens had to knock on neighbors’ doors asking to do yard work or shovel snow.
But if you’re a teen looking for easy ways to make money online, it can be hard to know whether an online job is worth your time. It can also be a bit nerve-racking. Is it safe to make money online? How do you know you’re not being taken advantage of?
In this article, you’ll learn what teens need to start making extra money, the best online money-making opportunities, and safety tips to do it right.
What Teenagers Need to Start Making Money from Home
- Computer or laptop
- Wifi connection
- Bank account
- PayPal account
To start working from home, you’ll need a couple of things. Most importantly, you’ll need a computer or laptop and a Wi-Fi connection.
Hopefully you already have access to these for your school work, but if you don’t — and you don’t have any family members you can borrow from — you can check out Facebook Marketplace to purchase a secondhand laptop.
If your local Facebook Marketplace offerings are subpar, consider purchasing an affordable Chromebook. While you won’t be able to download any applications on it, you can use the web. For most online jobs, that’s all you’ll need.
Next, you should set up a bank account and a PayPal account. Most online jobs use PayPal to pay you, and your bank account is where you’ll manage all the extra cash you make.
How to Make Money as a Teenager Without a Job
Making money without a job might sound odd, but it’s totally doable.
Think about it this way: A job comes with a regular schedule and responsibilities. For the most part, you have to show up when you’re told to and work a certain set of hours.
If you work online at home, you can get paid without all that. That’s not to say that you won’t have responsibilities. But you can fit your online work in around your more pressing responsibilities, such as high school, extracurricular activities, and regular teen stuff like having fun.
Once you’ve decided that you want to make extra money as a teenager, you’ll want to think about how much time you have and how much money you want to make.
It might be a good idea to get a planner to stay organized. It’ll depend on how you work, but dedicating a couple of hours a week to your side hustle can help you stay on top of everything.
Legitimate Ways Teenagers Can Make Money Online
There are endless opportunities for making money at home as a teenager. Check out our list of the best online jobs for teens to see opportunities from taking online surveys to listening to music.
Below you’ll find a few of the most lucrative and legitimate ways teens can make money online.
Sell stuff online
It sounds so simple — and it really is. Our family homes are filled with valuable stuff that no one uses.
But before you start raiding Dad’s closet, start with your own belongings.
Odds are you’ve accumulated a lot of gifts over the years that you don’t want, or old pairs of pants or shoes that aren’t cool anymore.
If you want to really get into it, check out tidying expert Marie Kondo and her KonMari method. She’ll help you decipher between the things you love and want to keep, and the things that introduce clutter, stress, and unhappiness to your space.
Personally, the KonMari method helped me realize that I didn’t like over half the things I owned. That’s a lot of stuff that I could turn into cash.
Go into your room and pick up every single thing you own. Ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, put it in a pile of things to sell. Of course, you should keep some things that don’t spark joy. Like your toothbrush or hair brush — you know, things you need and use every day.
Once you have a pile of stuff, do another pass and decide if the items are in good enough condition to sell. Once you’ve done this, divide them into types of things:
One of the absolute best things to sell are your old high school textbooks that you no longer need. These sometimes sell for over a hundred dollars!
You can also ask your parents if they have anything lying around that they don’t want anymore. They might want to keep some of the money, but it’s worth asking! When I was a teenager, I used to sell my parents’ old books on Amazon. I would give them 20% and keep the rest — because hey, I worked hard.
While this kind of money-making seems like it’s more labor intensive than taking online surveys, you’ll make a lot more money. You’ll also de-clutter your living space at the same time. I say it’s a win-win!
Another relatively lucrative online opportunity for making money is to tutor students online in your favorite subjects. Of course, to do online tutoring, you’ll need to know a lot about the subject matter.
Luckily, if you are a native English speaker, you are already an expert in a highly sought-after ability. You can tutor students in English online without many prerequisite skills.
While Fiverr is mostly known as a freelancing platform, you can offer all kinds of services on it-including tutoring.
You set your own rates and can offer 30-minute English conversation classes. Non-native speakers can have a conversation with you to practice, and you correct them as the conversation progresses.
Another unlikely place to find tutoring work is Facebook Marketplace! And of course, you don’t have to offer English tutoring, you can offer anything you’re good at. Be it 5th grade math, 2nd grade science, or even guitar!
Become a virtual assistant
Being a virtual assistant can be a fun work-from-home job for extra cash. You can hire yourself out to do simple tasks for busy professionals like answering emails, making phone calls, and scheduling appointments.
It’s worth asking your parents if they know anyone who could use a hand with these odd jobs.
Sell your crafts on Etsy
Calling all creatives! Etsy is the easiest way to sell your art, designs, carpentry, or whatever you like to create online.
- Art prints
- Custom T-shirts
- Dog collars
Using Canva, a free online graphic design platform, you can design tons of items without leaving your couch.
Another option is to go thrifting and sell your best vintage finds on Etsy for a profit.
Social media can be a great way to make money if you can build a large enough audience. All you need is a social media account and a lot of time to create content.
YouTubers who have more than 1K subscribers on their Youtube channel can apply to the YouTube Partner Program. This allows them to begin making money through ads and other features. YouTube videos that have 1,000 ad views can bring in upwards of $18. So the more followers you have, the more money you make!
Instagram influencers can make upwards of $700 per post, but that’s if you’ve got at least 1 million followers. If you have 10,000, you could make around $90. The key is to have followers who engage with your content, meaning they like, comment, and share your photos. Try these Instagram business ideas for inspiration.
Another option is to become a social media manager. You don’t have to be the influencer, but you can help manage the social accounts of a local business or influencer that needs some help.
You can also make money blogging through websites like WordPress and Blogger.com. As with YouTube, once you have enough viewers, you can begin making money through ads and affiliate marketing!
Another great social media money maker is the infamous TikTok. Successful TikTokers can make between $200 and $20,000 per video. So… yeah. You might want to try getting TikTok famous.
How Much Money Can You Make Working Online as a Teen?
The earning potential of working online depends on a lot of factors, but it can be anywhere from $20 a month to a couple hundred.
For example, let’s say you secure a regular tutoring student through Fiverr. You charge $15 per hour and have one session a week. That’s $60 a week, from just four hours of tutoring!
If you sell 50 books on Amazon or Facebook Marketplace and the books range from $5 to $10, that means you’ll make between $250 and $500.
Remember, you can sell old high school textbooks for up to 75% of their original value. So a $125 textbook you had to buy for school could be resold on Amazon for around $94. And that’s just one sale!
If you get running with an online Etsy business selling your art or vintage finds, you could sell an antique rug for as much as someone’s willing to pay for it.
While these options all sound great, you can also sign up for easier side gigs like taking paid surveys, watching ads, and surfing the web for money through a site like Survey Junkie or InboxDollars. But these opportunities pay between $2 and $12 an hour.
How Can Teenagers Make a Budget with the Money They Earn?
How can you make sure you don’t spend all the money you make? With a handy-dandy budget, of course.
Budgeting isn’t just for adults. In fact, if you can get a jump on budgeting in your teens, you’ll have a significant headstart on adulting. (Lots of my friends don’t have budgets but wish they did.)
Because online jobs don’t often come with a steady monthly income, a great way to start budgeting would be to put away just 25% of each paycheck (at minimum) in a savings account. This money is untouchable, so don’t get any ideas!
If you want to make a fancier budget, figure out on average how much money you make each month. Then plan out exactly where each dollar will go. So if you make $100 a month, you can decide that $25 will go to eating out with friends, $50 will go toward your college fund, and $25 will go in your fund for the next Xbox.
Of course, don’t forget to set aside money for taxes, either. Your parents can help you figure that out.
There’s more teen financial advice where that came from, so don’t hesitate about reading more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it legal to work online as a teen?
Yes, it’s legal. But, some websites have age restrictions on certain jobs and/or require parental consent. Be sure to talk to your parents or guardian before you start working.
What safety information should teenagers have before they start making money from home?
While working online as a teenager is generally safe, it’s important to be diligent and take safety precautions.
Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know, even if you are tutoring them or selling them stuff. This is business, not fun!
Refrain from clicking on any emails from senders you don’t know.
If you’re selling items online, the safest course of action would be to deliver it to them through the mail. If you are comfortable offering in-person pick ups, bring a parent with you.
What to do with the money you make as a teenager?
You should make a budget and save money! You should also set up a bank account and debit card to keep track of your earnings. Opening an account is one of the best ways to jumpstart your financial literacy.
You could also save up for something you really want. Here are some ideas:
- An Outward Bound trip
- A cool new backpack
- A new bike
- Guitar lessons
- Hair dye
How can teenagers open a bank account?
To open a bank account, you usually need to be at least 14 years old.
You can go to your local bank with one of your parents. Make sure that you both bring a valid ID. Your parents should also bring proof of address.
From there, it’s pretty simple. Usually banks offer joint accounts with your parent’s account. You get to manage your own money and account without some of the fees imposed on adult users.
You might want to consider opening a credit card account while you’re at it. As long as you spend only money you have, it can be a great way to start building your credit score for your future.
The Bottom Line
If you want to work from home as a teenager, there are safe and lucrative ways to do it! Just make sure you ask your parents for permission before you sell their furniture and you should be all set. Whether you tutor kids online in English or sell old textbooks, you’ll be sure to make some extra cash.