How to Earn Money while Traveling: Our Kids’ Experience

This post may contain affiliate links. Please visit our Disclosure page for details.

How kids can earn money — An Epic Education

Kids can earn money in so many different ways. It’s a skill every parent should teach their children, but it wasn’t until we hit the road that I realized how challenging this would be for a nomadic family.

I cut a lot of grass when I was young. It was punishing work, especially in the heat and humidity of July in Georgia, but it paid well for a kid like me, and I needed cash to fuel my music addiction.

I absolutely refuse to pay the kids to do household chores — no one will ever pay you to wash your own dishes or fold your own clothes, so they might as well learn that now.

How to Earn Money while Traveling: Our Kids’ Experience

Now our kids are asking for their own money because there are things they want that I won’t buy them — things that I think they should earn themselves: the boy begs for USD $100-dollar soccer cleats, while the girl pleads for an ice cream after every meal. They’ll need money for these, but how they’ll get this money has been problematic.

Some parents give some sort of allowance, but we could never find a method we liked, and I absolutely refuse to pay the kids to do household chores — no one will ever pay you to wash your own dishes or fold your own clothes, so they might as well learn that now. So….where’s the money coming from?

The opportunities of my childhood aren’t really an option for them. There are no kids around to babysit (or a culture where that’s ok), and there are no lawns to cut in or near our Malaysian apartment tower. Lemonade stands won’t work in our neighborhood. Washing cars and landscaping work are out, too, as there are teams of grown men here in Penang that do these jobs for almost nothing already — why hire a kid?

Jamie and Felicia's Flyer: How Kids Can Earn Money — An Epic EducationWorking opportunity for kids

First thing we tried was looking for odd jobs from our neighbors. I showed Jamie and Felicia how to create a flyer (see above), and took them to a printer, where we made enough copies to put one in every mailbox in our building — around 100 units.

The kids designed the flyer and wrote the copy, while I oversaw and made sure that they were charging a really low fee: three to six Malaysian Ringgit (USD $1-2) a job. At eight and eleven years old, they didn’t need to start earning much more — I wanted them to start low. I also wanted them to be a bargain and get lots of work.

I received a text only a few hours after we put the flyers in the mailbox. A young Chinese-Malaysian couple wanted to hire them to walk their dog and do random household chores. If they did well, they said, this could become a recurring job every weekend. Best of all? They live six floors below us, so the kids could be there and back in no time.

Score!

Now that easy money’s coming in, what would they say when some grandma wants them to come clean her toilet?

Work is fun?

They’ve held that job for nearly six months now, and I’m happy that they have it, but it hasn’t worked out as I planned. The couple are really nice people. Too nice to be the kids’ employers, really.

The husband asks our boy do a few menial chores and then they play Xbox. The wife will have our girl cut fruit to make juice, and then serve my child the juice. My children are basically being paid to hang out — the couple just likes kids it seems, or perhaps they like practicing their English. And then they pay the kids handsomely: ten (TEN!) ringgit. Each!

I’ve asked the couple cut their pay unless they do more substantial work (and I made sure that the kids knew that this was my doing), but the truth of the matter is that it’s a cushy “job.” No other jobs came in, but I wonder how they would react if some did. Now that easy money’s coming in, what would they say when some grandma wants them to come clean her toilet? They’d try to get out of it.

So basically, my plan backfired. Our kids have met some nice people in the building, but they’ve learned nothing about how kids can earn money.

F Fiverr page: How Kids Can Earn Money — An Epic Education

Our girl loves drawing, so why not try to sell some of her work?

Enter plan B: the internet. Ideally, I wanted to show that the kids can earn money with some real, tangible good or service, and then later we’d attempt to move into the virtual. Due to our situation —  a semi-nomadic family, carrying minimal gear — I decided to see what they could do from our laptops.

Our girl loves drawing, so why not try to sell some of her work? People do it all the time on sites like Fiverr.com, so I thought we’d give it a shot. If you’re not familiar, Fiverr is a service portal for millions of jobs, all for the price of five dollars. Our girl has two gigs now: HERE and HERE. I just put them up yesterday. We will adjust and add/subtract gigs as I see fit.

There are plenty of other possibilities on there. Some people want to see what there name looks like in Japanese — She can show them, or even write it for them. Apparently, lots of people will spend five dollars to have a video message of someone singing happy birthday. Both of our kids can do that. In three languages. While playing guitar. We’ll explore this if it looks promising and doesn’t get too weird — working the internet can get weird sometimes. Wish us luck!

You can find our Fiverr gigs here.

Surely there are other ways that kids can earn money while they travel. Do you have any ideas? Let’s hear them!

Comments

  1. Awesome, yes, I second the suggestions above. In Japan, au pair like positions…basically paid to hang out, speak English, play games with young kids.

  2. Yvonne Tse Creapldi says:

    If they are English speakers, perhaps they can babysit and offer English tuition too – it’s very much demanded in Asia. I got my first job when I was 8, teaching my neighbour’s 4-year-old child alphabets and numbers in English – and I am Chinese but I learnt just enough to teach the 4 year old 🙂

    • That’s a great idea, Yvonne! We’ve thought about that, and a friends’ kids in Spain did something like that (babysitting + basic English). Now that we’re in Mexico, we might be able to find something similar? I appreciate the suggestion

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

css.php