8 Ways to Make Money This Summer
By Stephanie Lynn, age 24, Massachusetts
Summer is a perfect time to make some extra cash and save up for college or a car. Unfortunately, unless you're at least 16 years old, many companies aren't looking to hire you. And though more opportunities open up as you turn 16, maybe you choose not to be trapped at your local supermarket until you complete your high school or college education. The good news is, no matter what your age, you can keep your summer freedom and make extra money this summer.
Many titles can fall under this category from nannying to babysitting to mother's helper. Nannying is great if you already have many years of experience under your belt. Nannying can mean working anywhere from 15-50 hours a week (sometimes more!) with one family. In most cases, you will not only be responsible for looking after the children, but cooking healthy daily meals, running errands for the parents, taking kids to the park or beach, cleaning the house, doing laundry, offering creative activities throughout the day, and taking care of their pets. Nanny jobs may require you to be 18 or even 21, depending on the parents' guidelines and the needs of the child(ren), and it might be necessary to have your own car. Live-in positions can also be great if you're between college semesters (or have completed school) and need a place to stay at no cost to you during the summer.
If you're not quite ready for nannying, then you can get some extra money by babysitting. Babysitting hours depend on the family you're working for. You may only work a 3-4 hours a week while the parents are on a date night or meeting with friends, or perhaps more hours while the parents are working a small, part time job. For some families, you may work for 5-6 hours in a single day for four kids, so you need to have energy. Keep the children busy with outside games and activities, arts and crafts, healthy snacks, an occasional meal, and parent-approved movies.
Finally, consider working as a mother's helper. For this position, the mother is usually present around the house doing chores, accomplishing work-at-home projects, or out running errands. It would be your job to supervise the children, play games and activities with them, provide snacks, keep them out of Mom's hair, and basically assist wherever needed. This is a great job to have a few hours a week, especially if you're looking to get more experience with children. If you're looking to work more than 3-4 hours a week, then try working for more than one family.
Yardwork and Gardening
In the summer, many homeowners need help from an energetic teenager when it comes to maintaining their yard. Yard and garden maintenance can mean hours of work. Your "clients" many require a variety of tasks to be completed, including mowing the lawn, raking leaves, cleaning dead plant material from a garden, ripping out dead shrubs, assisting in planting fresh flowers and other plants, digging large holes, mulching, and weeding. Another idea is to offer a service to your neighbors where you water their gardens a few times a week while they are at work for a reasonable fee.
Whether you're helping your folks with a few extra tasks for bonus allowance money or assisting a neighbor or local friend, many could use a house cleaner. Job tasks could include dusting, vacuuming, sweeping and washing floors, cleaning bathrooms, disinfecting kitchen counters, doing dishes, sorting laundry, wiping down windows, shampooing carpets, storing children's toys, making beds, and organizing office areas.
Professional pet sitting is a rising career, and it's never too early to start getting the experience you need for the future. During the summer, many neighbors will be off on long vacations, and they often can't take their beloved pets with them. As a pet sitter, you'll stop by their house 1-3 times a day to feed and play with their animals. Cats only need one visit a day, while dogs require 2 or 3 visits a day, as they need more care. You'll need to let them out to run around, play games, go for a short walk, and do their business. You can charge your clients $6-9 a visit to start for the first animal or two and add $1 for each additional animal. You may also need to care for small animals such as hamsters or rabbits which you can charge another $1 for each cage. For example, if you charge $7 a visit for the care of two dogs and stop by twice a day, that's $14 a day multiplied by the number of days the owners are on vacation. If you work for seven days, you've earned a total of $98. Another idea: board your friends' small pets while they are on vacation for a per day fee.
If you love photography and are looking to build your portfolio while making some extra cash, summer is the perfect time! Between summer weddings, birthday parties, and beach and pool parties, you'll have a number of opportunities to practice your skills. Also, maybe your friends need senior or family portraits done while the weather is still nice and flowers are in bloom. You can give them a great discounted rate.
Farm Help and Maintenance
If you're located in a rural area, offer a local farm your assistance a few times a week. This is a great opportunity if you love animals like horses, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, llamas, and alpacas. Tasks may include providing fresh food and water, moving piles of hay, sweeping out stalls, grooming, herding to a different pasture, and shoveling poop. It can be hard work, but you can spend a lot of time outside learning to care for your favorite animals. Maybe you'll even get a free horseback ride from time to time! :)
Many beauty jobs are available from makeup artist or hair stylist to doing manicures or pedicures. If you have the flair for beauty, then gain some valuable experience this summer. With all the summer weddings, plenty of brides-to-be and bridesmaids are looking for some pampering before the big day. If you're at least 16 or older, maybe seek out a job at a local beauty parlor.
Teach a Class
Share your expertise and talent regarding a subject with others by teaching a class. You can sign up to teach a topical class at a community location, but be sure to check and see if you have to be at least 18 or older to participate. If that doesn't work out, give a local child lessons in cooking, instruments, art, crafts, photography, sports, dance, horseback riding, or whatever you have a lot of experience in.
For more summer job ideas and tips for how to snag them, read Mayra's "Summer Job Guide", Kate's "Summer Jobs: Helping You Find the Perfect Summer Job", and Kyleen's "Summer Jobs".