Real-life money lessons

Teaching Kids How to Earn Money with a Side Hustle

10 years old is a great age to teach kids how to earn extra money — they’re still young enough to listen to you, but old enough to do some actual work. Here’s the story of J’s first side hustle — selling Christmas cookies to family and friends.

Deciding on a hustle

If you’re going to plant some hustle seeds, you want to make sure that they’re in line with something your kiddos already like to do.

You also want to make sure that what they’re offering is something that solves a problem for people, something people actually need.

J likes to cook and bake and it was Christmas time, so we decided on a cookie baking hustle.

Putting the plan into action

Once you decide on your hustle, think about how you’ll advertise and what you’ll say.

I asked J to create a flyer to pass out to family and friends. We talked about what people need (cookies) and what their problem might be (they don’t have time to make them). We also discussed the benefits of his particular solution (the cookies are homemade).

He wanted to donate half the proceeds to our local animal shelter, which turned out to be another benefit to people — the purchase supported a good cause. (He’s donated to the shelter before, asking for contributions instead of gifts for his 9th birthday.)

The flyer contained all the important details — what exactly he was selling, the price, when people had to order by, when he would deliver them, etc. Making this flyer also sorted out all of these important details in his mind!

He gave a free sample with the flyer to entice people further and making a preliminary batch of cookies was a good opportunity to test our recipe.

We passed the flyers and samples out to friends and family. Everyone loved that they could email him and he got a ton of emails with orders and questions. (This was a great opportunity to talk about customer service and how to respond.)


We scheduled the baking on a weekend close to Christmas when we were completely free (in case something went wrong).

He calculated how many batches of the recipe he’d need to make based on how many orders he had. Then he calculated what size packages he would need to buy. (Hey, a math lesson! So many lessons here.)

He purchased all the supplies. I donated some Christmas-themed shirt boxes from the dollar store to package the cookies in. We borrowed extra cooling racks and a table.

Baking day

We started early on a Saturday and made two batches. At one point he said, “This is the greatest day ever.”

We took a break and then made the other three batches. In the middle of those, he got really tired and at one point, I found him under the table waiting for the next dozen of cookies to come out of the oven.

In all, it was a lot of fun and went really well (no cookies burnt!), but I’m glad we didn’t have more orders as that would have been too much for him.


The next day we delivered the cookies to family and friends. He created a small flyer and put it in the boxes with the cookies to thank people for ordering and to let everyone know how much money was raised for the animal shelter.

Homemade Christmas Cookies Thanks


He sold 40 dozen cookies for a total of $267. (Almost everyone bought 3 dozen for $20.)

Animal shelter

Split in half, he had $133.50 for the animal shelter, plus an extra $25 donation for a total of $158.50. We dropped the cash off to the shelter a few days after Christmas.

His to keep

The other half ($133.50) was his to keep. He had an extra donation towards supplies of $40, of which he spent $31, so his total was $142.50. He allocated the money as follows:


The main reason I wanted to teach J about side hustles is because I think earning money can be 1) active and 2) within your control. Finding a need and fulfilling that need for people (using skills unique to you) is an amazing way to take control of your finances.

I think his first hustle was a success and I look forward to planting more seeds and hopefully trying another in 2019.

What kind of hustles do you teach your kids to do? Links welcome in the comments below!

2 replies on “Teaching Kids How to Earn Money with a Side Hustle”

That’s a great one.
I did something a bit different with my 10 year old. He spent 8-10 weekends, 45 mins each weekend evening, selling popcorn where we live. Given that he sold over 300 packs, he had to make several small improvements, like pack size, packing material, selling price, pitch, etc.
He also maintained a profit and loss sheet so he could track his profitability.
Of course, he made a few losses along the way and still ended up making a healthy profit.
And oh, we live in Pune, India

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