10 min read

How to make money as a teenager – a quick guide

Earning your own money for the first time is an exciting prospect. Having a job gives you some independence and is a good way of learning money management skills. Read our short guide to working as a teenager so you know your rights, how to find your first job and a whole lot more.

portrait of a salesgirl working in gift box store

Working hours for teens

When you first enter the working world you’ll probably be excited to be making your own money. But it’s important you don’t over stretch yourself and stay within the legal parameters.

While you’re still in education, the amount you can work differs between term-time and school holidays. It also depends on your age, and your employer.

During term-time

It can be difficult to make money as a teenager as your hours are restricted. You can work a maximum of 12 hours per week if you’re aged 15 to 16. Within these 12 hours you can only work two hours on a school day or Sunday. But on Saturdays you can work up to eight hours if you want and if your employer can accommodate it.

When you hit 16 you’re legally entitled to work up to 40 hours a week. This is split into a maximum of eight hours per day.

You’re not allowed to work during school hours or for more than an hour before school. And you can’t work before seven in the morning, or after seven at night.

During school holidays

Periods out of school free you up a little. You can work a maximum of 35 hours per week if you’re aged 15 to 16. This includes a maximum of eight hours on weekdays and Saturdays. But only up to two hours on Sundays.

For 16 to 17-year olds you’re allowed to work 40 hours per week. The legal limit is eight hours per day. If you want to make money as a teenager just ensure you’re working within the legal limits.

Rates of pay

Depending on your age and your employer, your rate of pay can differ. If you’re 15, although you’re not necessarily entitled to the national minimum wage, your employer will probably ask you what your salary expectations are. This is why it’s good to know your rights. Asking for at least the minimum wage is fair and your best starting point.

If you’re 16 – 18 years old the minimum wage is currently £4.35. So make sure your employer meets that, if not more.

Traditional ways to find work

Handing your CV out to local shops, cafes and businesses is a tried and tested method of securing your first job. If you’re offering your own services, such as doing odd jobs, you could post flyers through your neighbours’ letter boxes, and stick up posters in nearby supermarkets and newsagents. Asking your parents if they have friends that need any work done is also a good way to pick up casual employment.

Finding work online

Given much of our lives are now online, using the web or social media is also a good way to find work. You can join relevant community groups or use your social media networks (or parent’s networks!) to help secure work.

The rise in marketplace apps that list services is something a lot of teenagers can exploit. Mobile marketplaces where users can advertise the need for odd or even specific jobs is empowering a lot of young people who want to make money as a teenager.

So if you’re a teen aged 18 or 19 looking to make extra money, check out some of these apps.

  • Airtasker: An online mobile marketplace that enables users to outsource everyday tasks.
  • Pawshake: Allows you to find 5-star pet sitters near you who offer dog sitting and boarding, dog walking and dog day care.
  • Sitters: You can find reference checked child carers and babysitters in your area.

Getting a job

Securing a job means selling yourself and your skills. So when you’re applying for roles, follow the steps below and you’ll be off to a good start.

  1. Tailor your CV, and cover letter so it’s unique to the role you’re applying for. Ask a parent or teacher to proof read it for spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes.
  2. Use any previous experience you have, this could include volunteer work you’ve done, relevant interests and hobbies, or extracurricular activities and clubs you’re involved in.
  3. Consider setting up a LinkedIn profile, especially if the job you’re going for is in the digital or online space.
  4. Practise your interview technique, ask friends or family to run through some possible questions, and get that smile ready.
  5. Apply for the right job. You might want to spread your net far and wide, but looking for roles relevant to your experience and skillset will make success more likely.

What jobs can you do as a teen?

Due to your age you might feel like your options are limited. But actually with a bit of thought and some effort, there might be more areas to work in that you expect. Below are some fields you could look into.

  • Dog walking
  • Baby-sitting
  • Car washing
  • Gardening
  • Retail and catering
  • Second-hand seller
  • Lifeguard
  • Sports coach
  • Sell your arts and crafts
  • Blogging

Some of these are quite popular, so they’re more competitive. But if they’re based locally such as dog walking, car washing, baby-sitting and gardening, talking to neighbours and family friends could put you ahead of the game. A personal introduction could put people at ease and would be a good way to build relationships.

But if you’re feeling entrepreneurial you could put new skillsets to use. It’s of little surprise that a considerable proportion of young adults are capitalising on their digital skills and knowledge of technology to make money as teenager. So you could earn cash by providing IT lessons, or if you’ve got specialist experience in areas like programming, coding, or design these are highly sought-after skillsets and could prove quite lucrative.

Enhance your digital skills and create yourself a blog, website or online portfolio to showcase your work. You could gain experience and build a portfolio by working for friends or family. Or even just by producing your own projects in your spare time.

Making your own money is not only empowering but also a good way to get into the savings habit.

Be confident

Job hunting can be a daunting process. You want to make money as a teenager but you might feel you lack experience. Don’t be discouraged. Find a skill or area that you’re good at and enjoy, and explore it as much as possible. And once you’re earning, it’s a great way to learn the value of money.

Build your experience through personal projects, or by working for friends and family at first. Consider unpaid work experience to give your CV a real boost. And always ensure your applications and cover letters are typo free.


Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Talking Finance content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decision. The opinions expressed within this blog are those of the author and not necessarily of OneFamily.