Earn Money

Can Your Kids Pass The Parent Test’s $20 Hustle Challenge?

I’ve been watching The Parent Test on Hulu over the last couple of weeks. It’s pitched as a competition of parents with specific parenting styles to see which one comes out on top. This shouldn’t be a spoiler, but there’s a lot of “it depends.” My parenting style mixes almost all styles at one point or another. Most often, the parents praise the other parents’ style – the opposite of what you see in most “competition” shows.

The show puts parents and kids through tests to see how they do in certain stressful situations. In episode eight, there was one that caught my eye:

The $20 Hustle Challenge

The $20 hustle challenge is a test to see if your kid(s) could make $20 in an hour without their parent’s help. I KNOW my kids would fail. That is quite sobering, given that I have this website, and they’ve read a number of financial books. Most of the kids that passed this test ended up calling family, friends, or neighbors and asking if they could do something. In one case, it was baking them some cookies. In another case, it was washing an RV.

The successful kids had a mix of four or five kids of various ages working together. One only child was successful, but only because his father failed the test and guided him through the process of coming up with ideas.

I felt that much of the success depended on having a network to sell to. My kids sell popcorn for the Boy Scouts, which is similar, but not the same, as that’s a very controlled situation. We know a few neighbors well enough to try something like this, but I’m not sure my kids would know who best to go to. I imagine that they might try a Lemonade War style lemonade stand.

It’s an interesting challenge. Do you think your kids could pass? If they couldn’t do it in an hour, could they do it in a day?

It’s Only Teenage Moneyland

The other day my 10-year-old said to me, “I can’t wait to work at Mcdonald’s in four years.” You don’t usually hear people excited to work in fast food, but he was generally excited. He had seen a sign that Mcdonald’s is hiring 14-year-olds at $16/hour.

I had to double-check it, and he’s right. Of course, I thought back to my first non-paper route job. I had just turned 16 and I was making $4.65 at a local pizza place. After six months, I got a raise to $4.75. After a year, I got $4.85. My next job, as a pharmacy technician paid a whopping $6.41. That was a great job for a kid in the early 90s.

A kid can make nearly $100 after school and still get homework done. That’s amazing to me. In my area of Rhode Island, I bet a kid could make $20/hr with a little looking. There’s such a shortage of workers. At a minimum, there’s never been a better time to find a job.

What’s even better is that the stock market is now more than 25% off its highs. A kid investing now will likely see his/her money jump by 30% in a few years.

There are only a couple of downsides in these awesome economic times for teenagers. First, inflation is high. That means that they’ll have to pay more at the mall. Well, that is if kids still went to the mall. Second, college seems more competitive than ever. I don’t know how great fast food chef looks on the college application, but it’s probably not as good as the chess club president.

I’m curious if my son will still be excited to work in fast food in four years. Maybe he won’t be interested in working at all. I’m not in any rush to find out though. I’m going to enjoy this time as much as I can.


I hope some of you caught the song reference in the title. I know I’m old, but I figured that it’s popular enough to work.

Tips: Teaching Kids to Earn Money

One of the kids’ favorite shows was Apple and Onion on Cartoon Network. Unfortunately, it got canceled earlier this year. Fortunately, if you have HBO Max you can stream all the episodes. It’s one of the few shows that parents will enjoy almost as much as the kids.

My oldest recently saw a set of Pokemon cards at Walmart that he just had to have. He knows the difference between needs vs. wants, but it was a strong enough want that it felt like a need. Alas, he hasn’t saved up enough allowance.

He had a solution. He would invoke the Apple and Onion episode of Tips where the characters try to perform extra tasks for a hot air balloon ride. They have one day to do it.

There are pluses and minuses to parenting a kid with a photographic memory. This is one such time.

At first, it doesn’t work well. They are a disaster at earning tips:

Eventually, they learn how to be helpful:

Earning Tips in Real Life

My son knows that I write this blog. So he said, “Hey, by reminding you about that Apple and Onion episode, I kind of helped you with your blog, right?” I responded, “Yes, that episode is an entertaining way for kids to learn how to make some extra money.” He then said, “Can I have tips?”

Yep, I gave him a tip.

I then went to look when the next new episodes are coming out and I saw that it was canceled. On Twitter, I found one of the storyboard artists put together a guide of what it was like to work on the show – complete with Apple and Onion characters.

My 8-year-old loves art and cartooning, so this was a win. I saw that he was selling a physical for $5, but he was also giving a digital copy away for free, but via Gumroad where you can… give a tip. So I put in my credit card number and sent a few dollars his way. Both my kids loved it.

It seems that I’m a lot like Apple and Onion before they learned how to earn tips. I’m a lot better at giving tips than receiving them.