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Cure for the ‘gimmes’: Get it yourself

By on March 27, 2008

photo by Digital Sophia
It’s no secret that most kids want stuff, and most of it isn’t anything they need. As a parent, you want your kids to be responsible, grateful and not think they are the center of the universe. You can’t possibly afford to satisfy every whim, either.

A common solution to the “gimmes” is to let them work for the things they want instead of running out and buying it or simply saying no. Often, it’s the children who want to work for extra money. If you don’t have enough work for them on the home front, let them test their entrepreneurial skills close to home. If you want to help, you can match what they make to bring them closer to their goals more quickly.

The following are some money-making ideas for kids.

WRAPPING GIFTS: Holidays are an ideal time for kids to make money wrapping presents. It’s a task many adults dread, so they’d happily allow children to wrap for them. This could broaden into the area of creating custom gift baskets.

Whether it’s with a digital camera or an instant camera, taking pictures can be a great way to make money. Children can get creative and take pictures of pets, homes, gardens, families, or simply sell their own random photos or create and sell custom-made greeting cards.

CLEANING: Children can do various domestic chores, such as cleaning a garage, window washing, car washing, vacuuming, dusting, laundry and being a mother’s helper. Responsibilities could broaden to baby-sitting, reading to younger children, helping with parties, helping unload groceries, organizing closets, washing outdoor furniture and teaching skills such as computers, playing an instrument, crafts or school tutoring.

PET CARE: Offer services such as pet walking, bathing and brushing, and pet sitting.

YARD WORK: Try mowing lawns, sweeping driveways and walkways, shoveling snow, weeding gardens or raking leaves. This could expand to caring for houseplants or farm help, too.

YARD SALE: They can sell items such as toys, clothing, homemade beaded jewelry and crafts. When the temperature heats up, they can sell beverages and frozen treats, too. Children could also plan ahead and grow houseplants or cut flowers in your backyard garden. Kids could sell baked goods, produce and potted outdoor plants grown from seed.

TYPING PAPERS: Kids who are fast and accurate on a keyboard can type school assignments or letters for people who don’t have the time or equipment to do it themselves.

Research local laws concerning any inspections or licenses that might be required. If you prefer not to have a sale at your home, introduce children to selling by consignment or on eBay. If your children don’t have the skills for some of these jobs, you may have to teach them first, but you’ll both be satisfied in the long run: You’ll have taught your children a new skill and the value of a dollar, and they’ll be able to pay for some of their own toys and activities with their own money.


  1. Amy

    3/28/2008 at 8:39 pm

    Great ideas, Sara! I definitely will be taking many of these into consideration. The older my kids get, the closer they get to getting the gimmes. So far, we aren’t there yet, but I can feel it looming on the horizon!

  2. Michelle

    3/29/2008 at 3:32 pm

    My kids are at the gimme stage, but they’re not horrible about it really. Usually I can tell them how unreasonable some of the things they want are or show them a way to get something less expensive. For example, the other day we went to a sporting goods store for new sneakers for Kathryn. We couldn’t find a pair that fit her and that she liked. One pair she tried on was $40.

    So off we went to Payless. I was able to get TWO pairs of sneakers for her (neither of my kids wear anything but sneakers) and one for her sister for $40. The look on her face was priceless when I pointed it out to her.

    I’ve been doing Ebay off and on for years. I never thought of teaching them to help me with it or to do it on their own. I think I will show them how to do it (I often sell the toys they’ve outgrown and don’t want any more) so that eventually they can do it on their own.

    Thanks for the great ideas! 🙂


  3. Kristen

    4/14/2008 at 10:54 am

    To get my son away from the gimmees we had to teach him the value of money first. He was of the opinion that all we had to do was “go to the money machine” and get what we needed. LOL
    Once he got a better grasp on that, we started having him save for his wants. At first we would match half, but now he saves most if not all on his own. He bought his own Wii and PSP this way.

    He’ll do chores, save his allowance, and occasionally ask me to sell something on Ebay for him.

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