6 Ways 14-Year-Olds Can Make Money
At age 14, you're old enough to get working papers—also known as work permits—in most states. You will need the signature of parents and an employer willing to sign them. However, even with these papers in hand, you're still too young to operate machinery, use knives, serve alcohol, or drive a car.
If you're lucky enough to have an employer ready to sign your papers and hire you for age-appropriate work and wages, congratulations. If not, consider several other money-earning options.
Babysitting is a very popular way for a 14-year-old to make money. The American Red Cross offers babysitter classes to prepare 11- to 15-year-olds for babysitting. Be aware, though, that babysitting isn't for everyone. If you're looking after an infant, you may need to change diapers, prepare a bottle, or cope with a gassy tummy. Toddlers require complete focus—one minute of distraction could lead to disaster. Young children can be demanding and noisy and hard to manage. In short, babysitting isn't just a chance to get paid while watching TV and eating snacks. It's real work and a major responsibility.
Working for a Business or Restaurant
If you have your working papers in hand and are looking for employment, know that you're still limited to the types of jobs you can get at age 14. Options may include bussing tables at a restaurant, stocking shelves at a store, scooping ice cream, helping with yard maintenance, or doing filing and similar work in an office.
Paper routes used to be the go-to option for young people with energy and a desire to make some money. Opportunities still are available, but they are tougher to find. That's because many newspapers have gone to web formats, while others have hired services that deliver papers quickly by car.
If you can find a local route and you have the willingness and energy to get out there and deliver in all types of weather, you may have a gold mine on your hands. People enjoy receiving a paper from a young person on a bike and often are willing to tip lavishly—especially around the holidays.
If you enjoy outdoor work, there is usually a market for your services. There are also year-round opportunities to make money. Some options for yard work include raking leaves in the fall, shoveling snow in the winter, yard clean-up and planting in the spring, and mowing and weeding in the summer. Be sure you negotiate a fair hourly fee for your work as you'll be working hard.
Pet care can involve anything from taking a dog for a daily walk and cleaning up after it to looking after a goldfish while its owners are away. By advertising and getting good references, you actually can become the neighborhood pet-care professional—the person neighbors turn to when they go out of town. You will need to be very responsible with homeowners' keys: The first time you forget to lock up the house, you're likely to lose your job.
Junior Camp Counselor
If you're a kid who has always enjoyed camp, now may be the right time to become a junior counselor, sometimes called a counselor in training. Junior counselors make less money than full-fledged counselors, but they also get more time to just enjoy camp. If you do well as a junior counselor, you may find it easy to slip into a senior counselor position when you turn 16.
What Do You Love?
While making money is a fine ambition in itself, it's not enough to keep you motivated and focused for the long term. Think hard about the demands of the job you're pursuing before you take on the responsibility.