101 ways to make pocket money

101 ways to make pocket money – old school

I have recently been helping my mum clean out the dreaded loft and came across a book I had as a child. It was one of those moments when you instantly remember an old lost item like it is a piece of treasure. This tiny book has provided me with hours of endless laughing, as I sit remembering all the different schemes I tried and tested to make money! I HAD to share these 101 ways to make pocket money. I can’t find this old school information anywhere else online! I urge you to try and find a second-hand copy of this book and share it with your kids. I need to credit this book, it has made me savvy with money! Let’s get started…. here are the first 23 ideas, I will be adding all 101 over time.

101 mays to make pocket money book


1. Running an Agency

Gather a group of friends together and write down their details: names, addresses and telephone numbers, skills on offer. You will probably want to keep a file or card index, with an entry for each worked and one for each customer. Suppose you want to offer a car cleaning service. You advertise it, and when people come forward, you put customers and car cleaners together. The customers pay you, and you pass the money on to your team, keeping a share – 20% is fair – for your trouble. In return to that 20% you have found work for your team, paid them their wages and made sure they did a good job.



2. Cleaning cars

Whether you head a clean-up squad or go it alone, you will need equipment. Luckily, most can be borrowed from home.

The best way to learn how to clean a car is to watch someone who is good at it. You will see them sponging or hosing the bodywork, drying it off with a “shammy”. When you are sure you can do the same, you are ready to offer your services.

Although many car cleaners do a fine job alone, many work in teams like a production line in a factory. ‘A’ swabs the paintwork, ‘B’ leathers off, ‘C’ cleans the glass, and so on.

3. Cleaning windscreens

This is quicker than full-scale car cleaning, and you don’t need so much equipment. A bucket and a sponge should be enough. A friendly car park attendant will probably let you pounce on motorists when they arrive. Be slick, cheap and cheerful – but NEVER be a nuisance. A smile and a “Have a safe journey” will brighten your customer’s day.

4. De-Icing

In cold weather, cars let outside are often covered with frost. With care, you can clear windscreen with a scraper (try a plastic kitchen spatula) in no time.

5. Mucking Out Cars

Most family cars are mobile dustbins, pleading for someone to clear out the used tissues, sweet papers, old receipts, etc. Start by clearing out everything that isn’t actually stuck down and putting each item into one of your bags. Don’t forget the glove compartment and those little pockets on the doors. Then clean the seats, remembering the little crevices using a car vacuum cleaner or dustpan and a stiff brush. Clean the carpets – some can be removed and thoroughly beaten outside. Finally, spray air freshener to make the car smell as clean as it looks.

6. Checking Tyres for Damage

Tyres pick up all sort of things: flints, nails, even thorns. Any of these foreign bodies can cause a puncture. You can offer a tyre checking service. No special equipment is needed: just old clothes (you can get very dirty around cars), an old screwdriver and a piece of chalk. Check each tire and with the screwdriver, carefully clear out any foreign bodies from between the treads. If you come across anything dodgy, such as a scuffed place or a tear in the rubber, mark it with your chalk or felt tip and tell the car owner.

7. Checking Tyre Threads

Tyre thread standards vary slightly from country to country, so you will need to check this. Bald tyres – tyres whose treads have worn down – are illegal and their owner can be fined. This is where you come in. Checking tyres takes all of five minutes. All you need is a tread gauge and a note pad. You measure the treads of all five tyres (remember the spare tyre!) and write them down. You tell the car owner the results of your examination and claim your money.

8. Cleaning Bicycles

You could combine this with servicing. See below.

9. Servicing Bicycles

Many families have several bikes but nobody take care of them. You can check bicycle tyres, blow up any soft ones, mend punctures, etc. Test the chain; oil it if necessary. Check the brakes and adjust them if necessary. You could then attach a sticker with “This bike serviced by – “and your name and phone number.

10. Cycle Classes

Sensible, responsible children who have already passed cycle proficiency tests can earn pocket money by teaching little ones how to handle their bikes safely. Choose somewhere safe and put the tinies through their paces. You could give each “graduate” a homemade certificate of success.

11. Be a Despatch Rider

Sometimes a bike is faster than a car for urgent messages!

making pocket money running around


For hundreds of years, young people have earned money by running errands. “Pop down to the shop for me, and fetch a loaf of bread” can be turned into a thriving business.

12. A Shopping Service

Make it known that you are available to do shopping. You must be business-like about this.

If you are well organised, you can shop for several people at the same time. This is where the note pad comes in. Start a new page for each customer. Write the customer’s name, the amount of money they gave you and a list of the things they want you to buy.

Always keep till receipts, write the name of the customer on each receipt and staple it to the list. That way you are unlikely to give the wrong change.

Many people are very glad to have a service of this kind. You can also keep an eye on old or disable customers: if someone doesn’t answer the door, this may mean that he or she is ill or hurt. Tell a grown-up at once. There is more to this job that just earning money: you are helping people too.

13. Posting Letters and Parcels

Busy people will often pay for this. At Christmas, however, you can set up in opposition to the Post Office. Here’s how:

14. Running Your Own Postal Service

Offer to deliver Christmas cards within, say, a one-mile radius for half the amount the Post Office charges. Many Scout troops to this to help their funds. You and your friends could do the same. You’re unlikely to put the Post Office out of business.

15. Delivering Magazines

There is money in delivering newsletters, magazines, etc. You can also spot potential customers for other services as you do your rounds.

16. Parking Shopping Trolleys

If you visit a car park near a supermarket, you will see lots of people wheeling shopping trolleys to their cars. They load the loot and then face a trek back to the trolley park with the empty trolley. You can save them the trouble and earn yourself some pocket money too. Watch for likely customers. Offer politely to return the trolleys.

Some supermarkets have special trolleys which cannot be wheeled away until someone puts a coin in a slot. With such trolleys, you can retrieve the deposit and take it back to your customer, who will probably want to give you a share for your trouble.

17. Retrieving “Lost” Trolleys

Supermarkets lose thousands of trolleys every week. They are expensive to replace and staff have to go out looking for them instead of working in the store. Make friends with the manager of your local supermarket and agree a fee for every lost trolley returned.

18. Loading Shopping

It’s amazing how many people have no idea how to do load shopping into their cars. They put fresh-baked loaves under bottles of pop and wonder why their bread gets squashed. Learn how to pack a car boot and then offer your services. Remember the golden rule: heavy at the bottom, light at the top.

Remember also that bottles roll around when the car is moving, unless you pack thing between them. Put frozen food together to keep each other cool. And protect fruit from bruising: no one wants battered bananas or punctured pears.

making pocket money with rubbish


19. Emptying Waste Paper Baskets and Rubbish Bins

Busy people will often pay to have their bins emptied and the refuse sacks, wheelie bins or whatever put out for the dustmen. All you need is a pair of rubber gloves and a plastic refuse sack. Find out which day is rubbish day in which street, and offer a weekly service.

20. Recycling Waste Paper

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and you may know of local organisations which collect waste paper to sell to raise money for charity. Otherwise organise collections of waste paper to be taken to the nearest recycling centre. Paper is amazingly heavy, so a wheelbarrow or trolley is a great help here.

21. Taking Bottles and Jars to the Glass Bank

You could charge so much per bottle/jar. They are heavy: use a wheelbarrow or trolley.

22. Taking Cans to the Can Bank

As above. Aluminium drinks cans are worth more than steel ones and many charities are glad to have them.

23. Taking Rubbish to a Skip

When someone has done some decorating or heavy gardening, they often hire a skip to take away the rubbish. If someone has space in their skip, you can ask their permission to go and collect rubbish from other people (who, of course, pay you) and put it in their skip.

What do you think of these ideas will you be encouraging any of your kids to try them out? Will you be buying the book? Have you looked at our other money-making ideas?

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