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The Earn Your First $100 Challenge (Free Printable Included)

Have a money-hungry kid or a child who wants to buy something expensive? They'll self-discover so many money lessons by going through the Earn Your First $100 Challenge.

I’ve got a simple money challenge for kids – simple, but not necessarily easy.

tween boy with cash in hand, excited, text overlay "earn your first $100 challenge for kids"

It’s the Earn Your First $100 Challenge.

Why $100?

Can you remember what it was like to get money as a child? What would your child-self have thought about $100?

$100 is a lot of money for a kid.

I can remember my own experience with a large amount like it was yesterday: walking around the boardwalk in OCMD (Ocean City, Maryland) with $80 in my wallet. As an 11-year-old.

And back in the 1990s? That was like earning my first $100 (actually, with the wild rate of inflation, it’s more like $156.55 in today’s dollars – but stick with me here).

I had earned the money by working the past six months on our farm’s pumpkin/holiday stand (yes, six months for a whopping $80…yet I felt rich!).

Getting to decide how to spend my money was more difficult than I thought it would be. Probably because I had worked SO HARD for it.

And I can tell you as an adult all these years later that learning to make priorities in how I spent my money, with the lens of the effort it took to earn it, was PRICELESS.

I want to create a similar eye-opening experience for your child.

How to Do the Earn Your First $100 Challenge

Download this free set of $100 Trackers, and have your child pick one out. Print it, and follow the steps below to get started.

Step #1: Brain Dump a List of Money-Earning Ideas

Help your child to brain dump all their ideas – the good ones, the pie-in-the-sky ones, the meh ones – about how they can earn extra money for this challenge.

Here are the main ways a child can earn money:

  • Allowance/Chore Commissions
  • At-Home Chore Projects
  • Neighborhood/Neighbor Chore Projects
  • Creating and Selling Something
  • Getting a job
  • Money Earning its Own Money (Savings account interest rate/investing gains)

And within each of these categories, are tons of ideas.

For example, for the Allowance/Chore Commission category: your child could try to negotiate a pay raise from you for their allowance (hey, all ideas are okay during the Brain Dump session!). Or, they could ask to do Chore Projects around the house to earn extra money above regular responsibilities.

Here are some resources to help your child fill in their Brain Dump:

Step #2: Filter the Ideas Down to the Quickest & Best

If your child is anything like mine, then they either come up with 47 different ideas OR, none at all.

Hopefully, that resource list of kid-earning ideas helps with the latter problem.

But if it’s the first problem? Then you need to help them filter down their ideas to the best ones to go after.

For the sake of earning their first $100 challenge, we want to encourage them to choose the ideas that will: take the shortest amount of time and are the easiest to take action on.

That matrix looks something like this:

matrix with easy and hard on the "y" axis, and "I'm excited to try it"/"I'm not excited to try it" on the "x" axis

Step #3: Do It

Take one of their ideas, and do it. Earn that cash.

Step #4: Track it

Use the free printable challenge tracker to color in one lightning bolt for each $1 earned. When each $10 is earned (one line), they can color in one of the circles.

All the way to $100.

Step #5: Do Something Else to Earn Cash

Keep going back to that list of filtered ideas for how to earn extra cash, and try them out.

OR, if they found something that’s lucrative and they like? Keep doing that.

Until they reach $100.

See? Simple. But the money lessons your child is about to learn from taking on this challenge? WOW. They might just knock you off your feet.

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Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2017 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Her money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money, CA.gov, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Amanda is the founder and CEO of Frugal Confessions, LLC. Read more here or on LinkedIn.