Money Making Activities for the Whole Family

Chinese piggy banks #2818

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This interview is part of a weekly series that publishes every Saturday. If you enjoy, please join us next week or check out past interviews.

If you want to teach your children about making and managing money, why not take up a money making activity the whole family can enjoy?

Parents play a critical role in how their children financially develop. Studies show that personal finance knowledge is best retained when children find the lessons applicable, which means parents are the best influence on a child’s financial education.

Your children will be waiting until at least fourteen before they start working, so teaching children about making money might require some creativity. If you are looking for creative ways to make money, there’s few more knowledgeable than today’s interviewee, Kyle.

Kyle is the author of the blog The Penny Hoarder. He’s shared his knowledge in numerous media appearances on local news shows like KABC 7 Los Angeles and ABC 8 Detroit. Today, he can finally add Smart Family Finance to the vast number of mediums that have interviewed him!

(Me) Is it a good idea to involve the whole family in money making activities? How can parents cross the line in involving their children?

(Kyle) Oh – most definitely! I’m not suggesting you start a sweat shop, but I think by involving your kids in a side job you can teach them some valuable lessons about working hard and how to manage your money.

Growing up, my single mom often had to work multiple jobs to help pay the bills. Instead of leaving us home by ourselves, she would find ways to involve us kids. We would go mystery shopping together a few nights a week and us kids had a blast! My mom made extra money and we would often get a free meal by making the last mystery shop of the night a restaurant shop.

We also were very involved in cutting coupons and helping to reduce our grocery bill. By the time I was 16 I knew how to get a week’s worth of groceries for less than $25. It was those experiences that helped me pay for college and gave me the confidence to start my own business at 24.

(Me) Could you share some good money making ideas that involve the whole family?

(Kyle) One of my favorite ways to make money as a kid was to have a garage sale. My mom would find a bunch of things to get rid of and us kids would spend the week getting the garage sale ready. We put tables together, priced the items and made signs to advertise our sale. On the day of the garage sale my mom let us handle the interactions with customers. It was great because we got to practice our salesmanship, negotiating and making change for the customers.

As a kid we would also make money recycling, selling crafts online, and spying on the mailman for HauserNet.

I think another great idea is to start a family business. It doesn’t even have to be a full time business or something that requires a lot of startup money. We’ve got lots of weird business ideas on our blog that might fit the bill. Some of our readers have tried cricket farming with their kids and other have built a backyard nursery and sold the plants/herbs on Craigslist and at the farmer’s market.

(Me) What is it about these activities that make them a good choice for a family?

(Kyle) I think what makes these great activities is that they can make a real impact on the families’ budget, but they’re also fun and a way for families to spend time together.

(Me) How can families find their own money making ideas and how can they avoid activities that are a waste of time?

(Kyle) Well, by reading my blog of course! :) I think that families need to be creative. Working a 9-5 job isn’t the only way to make money and families need to think outside of the box.

I do think that you need to set a minimum of what you’re willing to work for and stick to it. For example, you’ve probably seen those sites that are willing to pay you money to read emails or click on a link. You only earn a penny or two for each click which limits your money making potential to $2.00/hr or less. I think for some people they’re great, but I made a decision long ago that I wouldn’t work for such little money. There are too many other ways to make a buck…

(Me) Are there any resources for money making activities that families should know about? What are they and how are they useful?

(Kyle) If you’re interested in mystery shopping with your kids, you should check out Corporate Research, Market Force, and Sinclair Service Assessments. Those are a few of my favorites companies. Some mystery shopping jobs also specify that they must be done alone, so be sure you read all of the instructions before signing up.

(Me) What are some pitfalls that families can find themselves in when they take on a money making activity and how can they avoid them?

(Kyle) Because of the times we live in, there are a lot of scams out there that folks need to look out for. There are tons of great resources on the web to help you determine if a company is legitimate. The Better Business Bureau is oldie, but a goodie. I also use the Mystery Shoppers Provider Association’s website to research a mystery shopping company before signing up to work for them.

Another great tip is that if you find a company you want to work for and you’ve never heard of them – Google them. I know it sounds simple, but if others have had negative experiences, you can almost always find a review that will tell you to stay away.

(Me) Is there anything else you’d like to add?

(Kyle) I just want to thank Shaun for putting together this great series of personal finance interviews. I hope to see you and all of your readers over at The Penny Hoarder. And just one more shameless plug – I’d love for everyone to sign up for our free newsletter. We promise not to spam you and when you sign up I will send you my 5 favorite ways to make extra money. :)

Read More from Kyle at The Penny Hoarder:

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