For my first real paying job I delivered newspapers. I was a paperboy. I
did this for two years or so. 7th and 8th grade it I remember correctly.
When I start I delivered in the afternoons using my bike or skateboard.
I'd say I had about 50 houses. Within the first year the paper switched
to a morning format so I had to get up early and deliver before school.
That sucked. I didn't sleep in for more than a year.
Ah, but the money. I collected the monthly fee from all my houses. I
want to say they paid around $12 a month. I think I got $2 of that and
any additional tips. (Most folks didn't tip.) But I did make over $100 a
month. And I learned something about banking because I had to deposit
all my collection money into the paper's bank account.
One of the real issues was anytime my family went on vacation I had to
find a sub to deliver. (I usually use some Jeff kis down the street.)
I'm quite certain I paid them more per day than I made. But that was
just part of the incentive. In addition, the paper often ran
subscription contests. If you could sign up additional people you'd get
cash and prizes. I particularly remember getting free fireworks one year
for signing up 4 new homes to my route.
Over the course of having the route I used my earnings on two big ticket
items. First is I replaced my Norco BMX bike with a Specialized Hard
Rock mountain bike. I was one of the first kids in school with a
mountain bike. (Although the jewelry store owner's kid in our
neighborhood had a Stumpjumper. That's life. Always someone else with
something better that didn't have to earn it.)
The Hard Rock actually helped me run my route quicker. So buying it felt good and had a purpose.
The other item I bought was a Suzuki RM80 motocross bike for $700. I
still remember my mom driving me to pick this thing up with a wad of $50
bills. She couldn't believe my dad okay'd the purchase. I probably only
had it a year or two but probably sold it for about the same amount. It
seemed awfully fast at the time. Boy, I'd like to ride that bike today
and see just how fast it isn't compared to some of the streetbikes I've
As high school approached I could see having a paper route was less
appealing. I don't know which kid got my route. But I bet they were
happy at the time. Easy money for a 12 year old. Except for the rainy
Pacific NW winter morning. (If I was really lucky my mom would drive me
on the route. My dad never liked that pampering.)