Making Money As A Kid Way Back When I Was One Of Them
When I was a kid we were able to earn money in many different ways. We lived out in the “boonies” and couldn’t get a “real” job but we did find ways to get cash if we weren’t too lazy.
Here is what some of my friends and I did to get our spending money.
We all saved pop bottles and copper. Boys would strip copper wires out of any old appliance that was thrown out. There were places and ways to get copper from time to time and we hoarded it like it was gold. A guy’s copper collection could even be used to “trade on”.
The deposit on a 16 ounce returnable glass bottle was ten cents. Folks still tossed them out of car windows and left them laying around. When folks went fishing or camping or something like that they never seemed to want to carry their trash back out with them. That included their returnable pop bottles, just left behind. It didn’t take long to collect up a few dollars worth of pop bottles. There were times when you carried a pop bottle you had found for hours before you finally got home with it. You wouldn’t consider throwing it back down though. In fact you would be glad to feel its weight and think about that big dime added to your pile.
The first I can remember about copper was when it was around 30 cents per pound. It took quite a pile of copper wiring to add up to very much in the way of cash. But it was generally free other than the time we spent working at it. I remember walking alongside the road and finding a heavy gauge copper battery terminal someone had just tossed or lost. To a ten year old boy it was like a piece of treasure. I added it to my pile and spent the money in my imagination over and over.
How long could you save? How long could you wait? That was the game. The longer you waited to cash in your bottles or sell your copper the more money you would get. But the longer you waited the less you could stand the waiting. Somewhere along the line you would always cash in your treasure.
Most of us would need to find someone who would give a kid a ride into town. Several cartons of returnable glass bottles was heavy and difficult to carry on foot. A bucket full of old copper wire was impossible to carry!
The first thing to do now was to get a banana flip and a carton of chocolate milk. Next you would sit down and count the money you have left and start making your plans. So much to buy, but you don’t want to spend it because you don’t want to be broke again. These days it seems that when a kid has money it “burns a hole in their pocket” and they have to spend it as soon as they can. I don’t recall it being that way for us. We were hesitant to spend our money and if we came back from the store and still had money left it was a good thing.
We had peacocks for a few years. I would gather up peacock feathers and take them to school and sell them for 25 cents each. This was in the early 1970s. I also ordered coins and stamps from comic book ads and sold and traded on them at school.
There were others ways that we made money too. When I was 10 years old I was going door to door and asking people if they needed any odd jobs done. I mowed a lot of grass, changed light bulbs, crawled up under houses and a lot more. Most summers I would have a few certain yards promised to me to cut for the season. Every week I would mow the same lawns. So often I would be paid not only with a few dollars but I would also be brought out sandwiches, candy bars and even an ice cold pop!
I once found some Playboy magazines and I pulled out the centerfolds and, you may have guessed it, took them to school and sold them! Yep.
I even had a small stint selling Grit! Yep, rode around on a bicycle tossing papers and knocking on doors trying to get folks to pay up. Grit was just a little newspaper thing back then. It’s a big glossy magazine nowadays.
Mowing lawns and doing odd jobs along with collecting pop bottles and copper and maybe selling a few things here and there kept me up in money to buy BBs, shotgun shells, comic books, and even a 5 cent cigar from time to time.
A fella’ might even be tempted to order from them comic book ads. There were all sorts of amazing and interesting gizmos you could buy right there from the pages of your very own comic book!
I had my eye on those x-ray glasses and that 6 foot submarine for so long, but I just couldn’t part with the money to order them.
Who remembers the Sea Monkeys? Well, when I saw them I just couldn’t live without them! I had to send in my hard earned money for those amazing creatures with ribbons in their hair and smiles on their faces. Why, there was even a promise of potential nudity!
Well, if those X ray specs were anything like those sea monkeys then more likely than not I just never would be able to see through that ladies skirt anyway. Might be better that I saved my money and bought instead things like 5 cent cigars, BBs and shotgun shells. I imagine I would have just gotten into too much trouble if the X ray Specs did work so it was probably just a no win deal. I tell ya what though.
Lately I have been thinking about going down and getting one of those new comic books and checking to see what amazing devices can be ordered now. Perhaps I can read her mind while I am looking through her skirt?!
There’s gotta be a song in there somewhere and if you can find you can have it for a dollar.
Written by a dern fooll
2 replies on “Hillbilly Kids Use To Be Able To Make Their Own Money”
yep, I used to pick up pop bottles. I had a shopping cart and would fill it every other day. Then I also mowed lawns and then had a paper route. At 14 , I washed dishes at a local serf and turf( and ate real good), at 15 & 16 , I worked on the Railroad all Summer. At 17, I joined the Marine Corps
You must be young. I picked up pop bottles for return but the deposit was 2 cents. Of course that was fine with us as we could buy a candy bar or an ice cream cone for a nickel and we had a penny candy store across from the school if you could not come up with a nickel.