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Income Opportunities Tools & Tips

Helping Tweens & Teens Make the Most of their Earnings

© Denise Oliveri

Earning money is a lot of fun, but it also means understanding your profits, reinvesting, and savings. Here are some helpful tools and tips to help your child manage.

Teaching your child how to manage his business affairs is a long-lasting lesson that will help him throughout his life. It is no joke that there are some really successful tweens and teens who are making a lot of money. Whether your child will be one of those depends on determination and priorities. Here are some tools and tips that will help your child manage his business effectively.

It is a good idea to print this article for your child and go over the contents together.

10 Tips for Young Entrepreneurs

1. Treat all people honestly and fairly all of the time.
2. Set realistic goals for your business. No idea is too small. You don't want to take on too much too soon.
3. Take your time and pace yourself. Trying to expand too fast can backfire.
4. Don't expect riches. If you're thinking of starting a business for fast cash or for financial reasons only, STOP! It normally takes years of hard work before you start to see a real profit.
5. Use your time wisely. Remember to maintain a healthy balance of activities in your life.
6. Stay focused on your goals. Don't let temporary setbacks get you down.
7. Don't depend on family members and friends alone to be customers. Find customers in your community, in your state or across the nation.
8. When interpreting detailed paperwork, don't be afraid to ask for help from an adult.
9. Be a professional. Dress neatly and be dependable, punctual and courteous.
10. Reinvest some of your profits back into the business. Thinking long-range is a great way to ensure the continuous success of your business.

How to Make Change

FunBrain has an awesome game to teach kids about giving back change to customers.

What do you do when someone gives you a dollar bill to pay for something that costs 10¢? Do you keep the dollar and say, "Thanks very much?" Do you give it back and say, "That’s too much!" No. You make change. All you have to know is how to add. Use FunBrain to practice giving back change.

Stashing Cash

Where do you keep your money? Do you put it in a "bank" on top of your dresser? Do you stash it in an envelope in your drawer or put it in a savings account in the bank? Larger sums of money are probably the safest in a savings account and these will earn some interest to help your total grow. Smaller amounts of money still need to be kept safe in your home.


Even though your money may be in a safe place, you won't know what you have unless you have some record of it. Use a notebook to write down your income and your expenses. Under the income column list the amount you received and where you got it. Under the expense column list the item and its cost. Putting a date by each is a good idea.

Watching the dollars add up as you write down money under income is fun. It's also a good way to keep saving for an item you really want. It's just as important to write down your expenses. Otherwise, you may have a lot less money than you thought. Work with your parents to set up a spending plan that will help you have money when you need it.


One way money can slip through your fingers is by lending it to brothers and sisters or friends. You will need to decide if you want to loan out any of your money. Think about how you will feel if it doesn't get paid back. Always keep a record of how much, when and to whom the money was given. Then you can cross off the debt when it is paid back.

Spending Plan

A spending plan is actually another word for budget. It allows a person to plan for upcoming expenses and ensure that money is available to meet those expenses. Helping your child set up a simple plan now can lead the way to more detailed spending plans in the future.

Children learn most money management concepts by observing parents' behavior. Your attitude towards record keeping, balancing your checkbook, or following a plan for saving and spending will strongly influence your child's involvement in setting up a record-keeping and spending plan.


Even with an established spending plan, there may be times when your child will need to borrow money. Use this opportunity to write up a loan agreement that includes a repayment plan. Set up a regular payment schedule and assess a late fee if payment is not received by the designated date. You may even want to charge a small amount of interest.

Suggested Activity for Parents

Involve children in family finance chores, such as making out checks, mailing envelopes, filing receipts and comparing charge slips to billing statements. Working with your child, estimate income and expenses for a two week period on the form below. Adjust figures to balance the income and expenses.

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