When you’re a teenager, coming up with the money to do the things you want can be tough. In reality, it can seem tough to find jobs for 15 year olds. Here's what you need to know.
You might be in a situation where your parents can’t afford to pay for the things you want, or maybe you’d just like to earn your own money and be more independent. Developing new skills and becoming a strong, independent person is a good idea no matter how wealthy your family is.
Heck, you might even need to help pay some bills at home.
Whatever your case may be, the earlier you start earning an income, the longer you have to accumulate wealth! If you take the right financial steps in your teenage years, you can become really wealthy early on in life and be way ahead of the game.
Why should you work when you’re 15?
Being broke isn’t fun regardless of how old you are! There's no shame in looking for jobs for 15 year olds.
Everyone’s goals are different, but here are a few good reasons to work when you’re young:
Saving up for a car
Saving up to pay cash for a car when you turn 16 or older is a great reason to start working when you’re 15. Going into debt to pay for a car is almost never a good financial move because you will be paying interest on a depreciating asset.
Let’s say you bought a new car for $20,000 on a 6-year loan. By the time you’re done paying off the loan, the car would probably be worth less than $15,000 and you would have paid thousands in interest (on top of the $20,000) over the life of the loan depending on your interest rate.
If instead, you buy a used car for something like $7,000 with no loan, it will probably have already depreciated mostly and the value of the car won’t drop much for several years. No matter what option you choose, owning a car is an expense and you’re guaranteed to lose money regardless. But if you can find a dependable car that you can pay cash for, you should save a lot of money by not going into debt.
Saving for college
College is expensive. REALLY expensive. Hopefully, you’ll be able to fund college expenses by doing good in school and getting scholarships, but even if you somehow get a free ride through college, there will surely be expenses that you will have to cover.
Nights out, football games, and other extracurricular activities.
Saving just to save
One of the best reasons to start working when you’re 15 is to set yourself up for financial success early on in life. Staying out of debt will put you on the fast track to becoming wealthy and in order to stay out of debt, it’s important to have an emergency fund.
Life is full of surprises and an unexpected expense is certain to pop up eventually. If you can establish an emergency fund in your teens, you will likely never have to worry about paying cash for emergencies. Think about all of the hard times you could avoid just by having some cash in the bank to cover emergencies!
Once you’ve got a few thousand set aside for emergencies, you could start saving cash to invest in the stock market once you reach age 18. You could even get your parents to create a custodial account for you and you’d be able to start investing right away! The longer you invest money, the more time it has to grow. So starting as early as possible will only boost your investment growth over the years.
Saving up for a down payment on a house
I know it may sound crazy and not many people go around telling 15-year-olds to save up for a house, but it’s never too early to start saving for your first down payment. If you were able to save up enough money for your first downpayment by age 18, bought a house and started renting out some of the rooms to friends, you will be extremely well off at a very young age.
Housing costs are usually a person’s biggest expense and if you could get your first house at age 18 and rent out the rooms to cover the costs of the house payment, you can live for free and build equity in the home. Keep buying homes over time to rent them out and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a millionaire by age 30!
Maybe you just want to have fun?
I know doing the smart thing with money doesn’t sound all that fun. But if you step back and take a long-term look at why you’re going to start working, doing smart things with your money just makes sense. You go to work to make money and if you’re thinking about starting to work when you’re 15, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor to get your finances set up properly in your teens.
With that being said, maybe you just don’t want to do anything with your money except have fun! That’s a perfectly fine option at such a young age and you have plenty of time to get your finances in order later on – like maybe at age 18? :).
Non-Monetary Reasons To Find Jobs For 15 Year Olds
Learning the value of money
There are a lot of good reasons to start working other than just making money. When you start earning an income and go to buy things with the money you make, it hits you in a different way than buying things with money that was given to you.
You begin to realize that you don’t just trade money for things, you trade the time it took to make the money as well. If you want something that costs $500 and you make $10 an hour, you will have to work over 50 hours to make the money in order to pay for the item after taking taxes out of your earnings. You might think twice about buying it when you realize how much time and work you’ll have to put in!
Most of the jobs for 15-year-olds are on the lower end of the career spectrum. You probably won’t be doing very glamorous tasks, but doing grunt work can be a great way to develop a good work ethic. You’ll be more grateful for the job you have when you rise into higher positions because you’ll remember past positions and realize you’re in a better position than you could be.
Working entry-level jobs is also a good way to develop discipline by taking orders from your supervisors. Just like doing smart things with your money early on will put you on the fast track to wealth, becoming humble and developing a work ethic when you’re young will help you rise in your career later in life.
Becoming a team player
If you get a job with a company at age 15, you will most likely be part of a team and will have to learn how to work with others. Learning how to work well on a team and work towards a common goal with your coworkers will make you a valuable individual that any company would love to have. Being likable is so import in life and learning how to work as a team player will make you more likable. While having to look for jobs for 15 year olds might not be the most fun thing in the world, it's clear that there are some major benefits.
Learning what you like to do
Sometimes the best way to learn what you want is to learn what you hate. It isn’t surprising that most people don’t like their first jobs, but doing things you don’t like gives you a better perspective when trying to figure out what you do like.
A lot of people make it all the way through college and realize they’d like to do something other than what they studied for. By starting work when you’re 15, you will open yourself up to more opportunities and have a better chance of finding a job that you really enjoy. If you can find a job you enjoy at a young age, you can focus on becoming the best you can be at it and rise to the top when you’re still young.
Laws for working when you’re 15 Years Old
At the federal level in the US, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) there are some rules in place for working at age 14-15. The rules mostly apply to the hours worked and consist of the following:
- Work can’t be done during school hours.
- You can only work 3 hours a day on school days.
- Only 18 hours a week during a school week.
- Only 8 hours on a non-school day.
- 40 hours during a non-school week.
- Work can only be done during 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended to 9 p.m.)
There are some exceptions to these rules depending on what state you live in, so you’ll need to find the rules for your state. The rules are also different in the agriculture industry and you can potentially work at a younger age.
You will most likely need a work permit to work when you’re 15. Most of the time, you’ll need to get the work permit after getting a job, so be sure to ask your employer about it once they hire you.
Ideal jobs for 15 year olds
It isn’t a guarantee that all of these companies will hire 15 year olds at every location, but generally speaking, they will.
- Dairy Queen
- Chick-fil-A (go to your local restaurant to apply)
- Boston market
- Zaxby’s (go to your local restaurant to apply)
- California Pizza Kitchen
- Taco Time
Other jobs for 15 year olds
If you look around, you might find retail stores in your area that hire 15 year olds. A lot of movie theaters and entertainment venues such as theme parks will hire 15 year olds as well. If the movie industry is strong in your area, you could potentially and a role as an extra and get paid to work with famous actors!
If your parents or a family member own a company, it could be a great opportunity for you to help them out and earn some money at the same time. You’ll probably be treated a little better than you would if you worked for a large company and you might be taught more since your family is closer to you.
Lastly, consider checking out other local businesses like car dealerships. According to Camilo Maldonado owner of The Finance Twins blog, “The detail department of a car dealership can be an ideal place to work as a 15 year old. That’s where cars are cleaned and prepared for new owners. I started working at the local VW dealership when I was 15 and I loved my job!”
Businesses you can start at 15 years old
Working for a company is a good way to make money when you’re 15, but starting your own business is probably the best option. Working for yourself allows you to have more freedom and you can potentially earn more money than you would working a regular job.
Here are a few business ideas you can start when you’re 15:
If you enjoy being around kids and caring for them, babysitting can be a great way to make money when you’re young. This is probably the type of job that comes to mind when you think of jobs for 15 year olds.
Taking care of kids requires a lot of discipline and maturity, so you’ll need to keep that in mind when considering this option.
You can probably make a good bit more babysitting than you could working for a company, so if you’ve got the knack for it, babysitting could be one of the best options to make money.
If you decide you want to pursue babysitting, come up with an hourly wage you’re comfortable with before you start advertising your services. The more kids a person asks you to watch, the more you should be able to charge.
If you really want to be able to charge a premium, make sure you get CPR certified and have solid references lined up.
Once you’ve got your hourly rate figured out, start asking around on social media and tell anyone you know with kids that you’re looking for work. If you live in a neighborhood, you could make fliers and hand them out to every house.
Pet sitting and dog walking
If taking care of kids doesn’t sound appealing, you might enjoy dealing with animals better. Pet sitting is basically the same concept as babysitting but with pets. Sometimes people go out of town and need someone to look after their pets when they’re away.
If someone asks you to take care of their cat, you might only have to check in on it once a day. If you’re looking after a dog, you might have to keep it at your house to take care of it. Make sure your parents are okay with this before advertising your services.
Walking dogs is another good option. You get a little exercise while making money and get to hang out with some furry buddies in the meantime!
Flip items on eBay
You will need to get your parents to setup an eBay account for you, but you can make a lot of money buying things at yard sales and thrift stores and selling them for more on eBay. This is actually a business that you could grow into a full-time income if you kept at it for a few years.
There are loads of videos on youtube that share what items sell well on eBay and you can learn everything you need to be successful for free. I’m currently making a little under $1,000 a month selling things on eBay myself.
Cutting grass and doing lawn maintenance is one of the more popular business ideas for teens and for good reason. A lot of people don’t have the time to keep their yards looking nice but have enough money to pay someone to do it.
If you can use your parent’s lawnmower or buy your own, you can make good money cutting grass. Just like babysitting and pet sitting, advertise your business on social media and make fliers to give out in your neighborhood.
Using a skill you have
Maybe you’re really good at playing an instrument or know a lot about computers. If you have a valuable skill, you can charge people to provide this skill. You could teach someone how to play an instrument, learn a language, setup a home network and any multitude of other skills you may have.
You could also start a website or youtube channel teaching people how to do whatever it is you’re good at and the potential to make money doing that is very high. It all depends on the amount of work you’re willing to put in and whether or not you have the persistence to keep doing it.
Summary of jobs for 15 year olds
These are just a few ideas for jobs for 15 year olds. The good news is that there has never been more ways to make money and the ideas you can take action on are limitless!
With the right mindset and skills, you can potentially make a lot of money in your younger years. Even if you just want to work a job and make a little extra money to do the things you enjoy, making money when you’re 15 is a realistic thing for almost anyone to achieve.
If you’re under 16 and looking for work, look into one of the opportunities listed above or maybe pursue something else you’ve thought about. As long as you’re sticking to the FLSA guidelines, you should be fine.
This article originally appeared on The Money Mix, and has been republished with permission.