Need money: 14yr old
September 1, 2011 7:40 AM   Subscribe

How can I raise about $1,500 by late January?

I want to get a custom made guitar designed by yours truly and need to know how to raise the money. I'm 14 and it is illegal in my town to babysit and/or provide other services unless you are licensed and/or 18. I was thinking maybe something online and am already doing all that I can at home-chores, cleaning, etc.
posted by anksguitars to Work & Money (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
First, let me boggle at how much the world has changed, if we are now requiring teens to be eighteen and licensed in order to babysit. (I mean, I get why, but DANG.) I'm assuming that pet-sitting and dog walking is out as well? How about the roadside carwash kind of thing?

How about selling something? Any old books/toys from when you were nine/stuff like that you can have a big tag sale and unload? That's not going to get you the whole sum, but I've usually taken in about a hundred bucks each time I have a tag sale. If you really want to boost the stock, make a deal with your parents: they give you more stuff they want to get rid of, and you will do ALL of the work (you'll be the one to publicize it, set everything up, clean up after, figure out what to do with all the stuff that doesn't sell, etc.) in return for keeping most of the profits. (Be a sport and give 'em a cut. Hey, they may be sports about it and give it all to you anyway.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:47 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

posted by nomisxid at 7:48 AM on September 1, 2011

Do you have to be licensed to mow lawns or shovel snow? That's how I made my xbox money when I was your age.
posted by Think_Long at 7:48 AM on September 1, 2011

Are you good enough at anything to stand a reasonable chance of winning a competition that awards prize money? What's the legal and economic situation for busking where you are?

Unfortunately, Amazon's Mechanical Turk requires that you be 18 years old, so that won't work.
posted by jedicus at 7:50 AM on September 1, 2011

How much are the chores netting you?

By my calculations, there are 137 days between today and Jan. 15, 2012. To make $1500 by then, you need to make $10.95 every day.

Do you live close to other relatives? Maybe do chores for them?

Good luck! This is a pretty big endeavor for a 14-year-old :)
posted by Stephanie Duy at 7:51 AM on September 1, 2011

You could open an Etsy site and try to sell things you've made.
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:51 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Looking for "hidden gems" at yard sales and reselling them on eBay?

Can you cook, craft or sew? You could sell on Etsy, or at a craft festival. Don't discount this idea just because you're not in to needlepoint or lace - you could be making cool mix CDs with awesome cases, or candies in gift boxes, or sports headbands with fun decals, etc...

Bake sales and lemonade stands can be surprisingly good moneymakers if you go somewhere like a bike path or park where lots of hungry people pass by and there are no other food options. You will make more money if your lemonade is unique - rose flavored, or served with lavender ice, etc.

Is yardwork/gardening also illegal in your town? I can't imagine that, even if it's illegal, the local law enforcement would come down too hard on a 14-year-old pulling weeds or mowing a lawn.

Are you really strong in any academic subject? Do you like teaching? Are you good with kids? If so, put up an ad for a tutoring service.

Dog-walking and pet-sitting is how I made the most money at your age. People are willing to pay a lot for somebody really, really careful and caring to watch their pet.
posted by Cygnet at 7:51 AM on September 1, 2011

Also, you could start eBaying stuff on behalf of folks and taking a cut.
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:51 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ask 30-40 of your friends what they'd pay a dollar a day for. A really good joke? Insurance in the form of a spare pair of gym socks held by you? The mars bar from your lunch? Your silence on the bus? (eg. whatever). Narrow it down to the ten or fifteen who will actually pay you a dollar a day. Provide them with what they need, collect seventy or so dollars a week, put money in safe, take money out at end of January, buy guitar.
posted by Ahab at 7:56 AM on September 1, 2011

Are you in the US? I ask because I've never heard of anywhere in the states requiring that you be 18 and licensed to work odd jobs, and I've been a lot of places. If you're not in the US, that will affect the answers you get. Maybe someone can give you location-specific advice.
posted by phunniemee at 8:01 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

As someone who was up before six every day starting in 4th grade (in third grade it was an afternoon paper) for my paper route, and had a bunch of neighborhood dogs and cats to watch, and mowed lawns, and raked leaves, I think that your town's laws are INSANE.

I would guess that the vast majority of the people in your town have no idea that such laws exist, and most wouldn't care(I sure wouldn't). Just start asking neighbors if you can mow their lawn, rake their leaves, watch/walk dogs/cats, etc. 1500 bucks isn't that much to raise in a few months on odd jobs. It costs 40-50 bucks a day to board the dog, so I will happily pay 40 bucks so the dog can stay at home where she is happier.

Oh- get a bank account, and every time you get money, hustle down there and deposit it. If the cash isn't easily at hand, then you can't just a grab a twenty here and there for a movie, etc. It is amazingly easy to fritter away money.
posted by rockindata at 8:02 AM on September 1, 2011

First of all, awesome for you!

I remember doing a whole bunch of things to make money when I was your age. I didn't play sports, was a nerd, and my parents wouldn't pay for shit.

I had a paper route at one point which netted me a hundred bucks or so a month (it was huge!) That was a Thursday/Sunday gig. I also mowed lawns, picked up pet waste, cleaned gutters, painted, and did just about any odd job I could think of. Another thing as other people point out is that those regulatutions are a pain, and to be honest not likely to be enforced. I am not encouraging you to break these rules (I bet those types of rule/laws/regulations are to deter a home ran daycare), but some rules are meant to be broken.

Not sure if you live in a close subdivision or apartment, but ask your neighbors if they have any chores/projects to get done. Offer your service, do a kick ass job, and they will come back to you as well as recommend you.

Good luck, I am sure you will come up with the money!
posted by handbanana at 8:02 AM on September 1, 2011

People will pay you $10 a day (at least) for someone to walk their dog in the middle of the day while they're at work (you might be able to get away with doing it after school). Ask your parents if they know anyone who needs a dog walker, and ask your vet (or any local vet) if you can post a sign at the office offering your help.
posted by chowflap at 8:02 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm not trying to get anyone to break Amazon's TOS for mechanical turk, but if you got a parent to sign up for you and then just pass whatever money you made along... well, I don't see how anyone would be the wiser.
posted by codacorolla at 8:02 AM on September 1, 2011

Wait, I misread your question and thought you only had to be licensed to babysit. I can't believe those laws are enforced. It must be for insurance reasons. Still, see if you can get pet sitting/walking gigs. Have a don't ask, don't tell policy on your age. (And if you get bitten or something, don't sue!)
posted by chowflap at 8:04 AM on September 1, 2011

Is the guitar maker local? Maybe you can do some odd jobs under-the-table in exchange for credit to your guitar. Or maybe even an apprenticeship/internship-type arrangement.
posted by mullacc at 8:07 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Are you already good at playing the guitar? There are a few kids your age that show up at our farmer's market every week and probably make $100.

I am not going to tell you to break the law but you might want to look into what the penalties are if you do and weigh the risks. I will guarantee you that you are not going to get thrown in jail for unlicensed babysitting.
posted by desjardins at 8:11 AM on September 1, 2011

One way to make money back when I was in middle school/high school was to buy a big bulk bag of lollipops and then sell them to the other kids at school for a quarter apiece. You could do this with any popular, cheap candy - something not available or something cheaper than the school vending machines offer. Lollipops worked well because a quarter is nothing to most people, and you were basically selling for twice as much as you bought it for.

Make sure it's not something you can get in trouble with at school - I remember the kids that did this only sold at lunchtime, never in class.
posted by flex at 8:12 AM on September 1, 2011

Kid, I admire your moxie. You basically need to make $300/mo between now and then. Does your family celebrate Christmas? If so, how much do you think you could clear by asking your parents and relatives to contribute to a "guitar fund" instead of presents?
posted by mkultra at 8:21 AM on September 1, 2011

Get a bike or bus pass and baby-sit one town over?
posted by cgg at 8:26 AM on September 1, 2011

licensed and/or 18

Is that "or" helpful? What does it take to get licensed, a Saturday class or something?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:39 AM on September 1, 2011

Maybe you're asking the wrong question. The cost of a custom made guitar is mostly the cost of paying someone to make it for you.

You have all the time in the world. Why not make the guitar yourself? It would be significantly cheaper, and you can probably use the wood shop at your high school, if it has one.
posted by empath at 9:09 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

At 14, it's not likely anyone with a business can hire you without breaking some law. But dog walking, pet sitting, running errands for the homebound, raking, mowing, sorting trash for recycling (not dumpster diving) and all that are probably faster than Etsy and Ebay. Can you have a yard sale? Do you expect to get presents for Christmas and/or Hanukkah--you could respectfully drop broad hints about wanting cash more than socks.

Can you negotiate with the guitar maker? Pay in installments?

Can you teach younger kids something--guitar? My son made money in 8th grade by teaching his classmates how to circumvent Net Nanny, but that's probably not going to happen now.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:12 AM on September 1, 2011

Even if you can't babysit, you can probably still be a "mother's helper.". That's when you come over and play legos with the kids and keep them out of mom's hair while she makes some phone calls or works on a project. She's home the whole time, so you don't need to know CPR and all the emergency stuff.
posted by xo at 11:05 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

What about busking?
Granted, the kind of town that requires a license to babysit might not look kindly on street musicians, but dude, you know how to play guitar, so go play! Sit in the park with a hat out, see how it goes.
posted by aimedwander at 11:39 AM on September 1, 2011

Don't know what the seasons are like where you live, but how about mowing lawns for (what's left of) the Summer, raking leaves for the Fall and shoveling snow in the Winter?
posted by brevator at 7:10 PM on September 1, 2011

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