For most home school families, the school year never really ends—it just gets a little less structured. And with this freedom, comes free time, at least for the kids. Sometimes filling those long summer days can be a challenge, but with the right goals and some financial motivation, hot summer days can translate into cold cash for kids.
Summer jobs have always been a great tool for teaching kids responsibility while helping them build what one teen called their “mad stacks of cash”. We talked to three kids who make the most of their summertime schedule:
Berlin, 6, could not get her mind off a baby doll she saw at the store. “Katherine’s so soft and you have to keep her clean…and she needs me to take care of her,” Berlin exuberantly shared.
Seeing a teaching opportunity, her parents set up some money-making tasks for Berlin to earn the doll. She picked up sticks in the backyard, cleaned out her grandma’s car and sold lemonade in the neighborhood.
Within a month, Berlin had earned a 6-year-old’s fortune. Her parents helped her set aside a portion as tithe, and some for tax, then gave her the experience of handing over the cash to buy the doll. The relation of the purchase to her hard work seemed to make an impact. “I did it,” she whispered into Katherine’s ear. “I get to bring you home!”
More ideas for talking to your kids about money
While working around the house is an option for younger children, consider expanding the job market to include neighbors, family and friends who may need help with tasks suited for your child’s skill level. This also provides the added value of kids taking the summer to experiment with building their own business along with their bank account.
Baby Sitting in the Driver’s Seat
14-year-old Grace is a great example. She has her sights set on a well-seasoned car that she can buy from a family member—in two years. “That’s when I’ll be old enough to get my license,” Grace explains, “so, I need to start saving money now to be able buy it when I’m 16. I saw my brother having to save up all his money to buy his car, and it took forever. So, I thought it would be a lot easier if I started now.”
At her age, Grace had a tough time finding work in the typical the job market…so she created her own opportunity. Instead of bagging groceries or dunking fries, Grace set up a babysitting service. First with neighbors and family, and now her reputation is starting to spread. “I make sure the kids are in bed when the parents get home, and I clean up their messes,” Grace explained. “I want to get hired a lot, so I’m taking an online CPR Class, too. I think that will help.”
So far, her plan has worked. She just finished saving to upgrade her phone, and she clearly sees the benefit of buying it herself. “It makes a huge difference, because I care for it a lot more. It’s like hard earned money, because it took me a long time.” She hopes to make $600 this summer, and at least that much next year, which should give her enough cash to buy the car, gas and help with insurance.
Need a savings or checking account for your student? ECCU can help.
The Lawn Arranger
17-year-old Grant had a similar goal, but he didn’t start saving for a car until he was ready to drive. Grant couldn’t find anyone that would hire him before he was 18. So, he started digging in to find other work. Literally. He began landscaping, mowing, and doing basic yard cleanup for neighbors. He quickly realized it payed more than typical hourly employment, and he could set his own schedule around school and friends. Being his own boss allowed him to decide to either bid hourly or by the job, and he even began hiring buddies to work with him on the larger projects . “I realized that if I could get a couple of my friends to help, I could get a job done faster, and even do more jobs in a day.”
The entrepreneurial bug had bitten. Grant expanded to food deliveries, washing cars, even advertising his services on Facebook. Eventually he saved enough to buy his car, and now continues his hands-on horticulture and other skills to earn enough for ongoing car expenses. “I never expected that someone else would be paying my bills. If I want something to happen, I’m going to have to work hard to get it done.”
More resources for building budget-minded kids
Whether helping kids learn the value of earning their own way or the satisfaction of giving, the money-making opportunities for students are almost endless. Here's more inspiration to help you find summer jobs for your students.