How did you get money as a kid?

Thread Starter


Joined Oct 3, 2010
Seems like everybody gets an allowance and a cell phone these days. Not me, when I was a kid.

Ok, story time:
I was home schooled as a kid. My mom only had to teach one student instead of 20, so I got through with my studies in maybe 3 or 4 hours. The rest of the day I was outside, exploring the world on my bike while all the other kids were in school & the adults were at work. My mom thought I stayed on my street like she told me, but I ventured miles from home. We're talking maybe 7-10 years old.

I would make my daily rounds, first to the offroad bike trails in the expansive abandoned wooded lot behind walmart for an hour or so of solitary fun. Then to video arcade; not to play games, but to check all the coin slots & under all the machines for unclaimed quarters. Then to the laundromat for the same purpose. I almost always found at least 50c under the change machine. Then to the resale shop to see what new stuff they had, and what had sold. The resale shop lady often gave me trinkets & broken stuff that came in & wasn't likely to sell. those went into the homemade quick-disconnect bike basket. Then I had a few goldmine dumpsters I would check, and bring home whatever treasures I found there. I was always on the lookout for broken bikes in the dumpsters.

If I found a bike, no matter how mangled, it got bungee'd to the back of my bike, and came home with me. I would strip off all the good parts and when I got enough good parts I would build a whole good bike. I would then try to sell the new bike to other neighborhood kids, but they usually couldn't afford my bikes so I just showed them off. I also fixed their bikes & replaced bad parts in exchange for goods.

This is how I got a nintendo, a TV, a crossbow, ice cream every day from the ice cream truck, nunchucks, toy trucks & GI Joes for little brother, dolls for my sisters, and tapes & VHS movies, ..., the list never ends.

Later on when I was about 10 or 11 I wore out dad's 3.5hp walmart push mower mowing lawns front & back for 10$ a pop. That's when I started high-rollin'. I found things in the 3-digit price range suddenly attainable. First thing I bought was a Benjamin Sherridan pellet gun. I swear that thing was more powerful than a .22cal rifle.

I also bought drinks by the pallet at sams club and built a little tow-behind cooler trailer (big ice chest bungee'd to a handtruck) for my bike and rode through the neighborhoods that were under construction and sold the drinks to the construction workers. Like 10X markup! I made a killing off those guys selling them ice cold gatorade in the middle of summer. A lot more profit than mowing grass and a lot easier. On the rare occasion when I would see some kids with a lemonade stand I would scoff to myself "ha, amateurs" :).

Later on when I was about 13- 14 I got my first "real" (40hrs/week) job, during the summer mowing grass again, for my uncle. He paid me 4$/hr under the table - only 1$/hr less than he payed his illegals (so he said).

When I turned 15 & old enough to pay taxes I worked @ KFC, and then at a telemarketing place (worst job ever) and then at a quick lube place. I worked at the quick lube all through high school.

ok, you've heard my story, now I want to hear yours.

Story time!


Joined Dec 15, 2009
When I got in the age of needing money, I had to clean the toilet and bathroom at home, including the hallway.

This went on every Friday for three years. Then my family moved to another location, next to a guy working with flowers. I think it's called a flower nursery, but I'm not sure. I worked there in weekends and after school. This went on for another three years. After that I served in the army for one year, and then I got a "real" job.

I don't give my daughter allowance. I give her money according to how she performs in school and school tests/exams.

She has a cell phone, but that was a birthday gift. When it comes to girls and make-up and clothing, I pay for some of the clothes. Underwear/bras and jeans and sweaters. If she wants something extraordinary, she have to pay for it herself.

BTW, she is 16 and a half years old.


Joined Nov 30, 2010
Paper route at 10 and 11 years old. Mopped a gas station for $1/day at 12. A catering service at 13, KFC and Burger Chef from 14 to 16. RCA Service at 17. RCA factory and tech school at 18. Went to Florida, acted like a total bum for a couple of years then caught my break at Sears fixing vacuum tube TV's. A couple of years of that and off to California to go to college.

Never did learn how to squeeze a dime out of a local kid. Probably only mowed 5 lawns for money in my whole life. My goal was never about money, it was about avoiding my family. Two things I never got a whipping for were going to school and going to work. By the time I was 14 I only went home to shower, sleep, and change clothes. Rarely home and not available to talk to when I was there. That cured every problem I had except having time for a girlfriend.


Joined Oct 5, 2010
I have a 2.32 $ allowance a day :))).........i save them but sometimes i buy something crazy... now i learned how to save. :) i currently have a bank account (named to my mother)....

ok ok..... bye :)

oh good! all of you are good person! you work at a young age... too sorry i can't fix anything about electronics.:(


Joined Dec 17, 2009
Most kids here have not chance to earn money by themself.untill when i am in college,I teach some primary students at their home.two or three times one week.40-50 yuan one last about three years


Joined Nov 25, 2009
I never got an allowance. My folks and I always got along very well, so I would be given money for the things I wanted to buy, either that would be clothes, magazines or time on a net cafe.
My demands were always reasonable and they were happy to oblige. I 'm not a big spender, so I always had change to spare.

Now that they have moved away and I 'm in uni, they deposit some money in the beginning of each month, to cover my expenses. But it still stockpiles gradually.


Joined Sep 7, 2009
I was a lifeguard at a couple of local pools from when I was 15, before that not much apart from dinner money for school.
Lifeguard was the easiest job I've ever done.


Joined Jun 7, 2009
didn't need money before my teens. Into my teens we stole pretty much whatever we needed. Straightened all that out by the time I was 18, thank God. Then it was borrow from the parents until work kicked in.


Joined Jul 3, 2008
Seems like everybody gets an allowance and a cell phone these days. Not me, when I was a kid.
Not me either. My grandfather gave me some money for doing odd jobs around his house. That's the closest thing I had to an allowance from familiy. My father deserted my mom with her 4 small kids (I was the oldest) so money was very tight.

ok, you've heard my story, now I want to hear yours.

Story time!
I was a kid in the 1970s and it was typical for neighborhood kids to try to make money shoveling snow for neighbors. I took this further than most and did any odd jobs that any neighbor was willing to pay for. One neighbor liked the way I worked and always tried to get me to do work for him. Garden work like trimming and shoveling were typical. However, one time he had me install fiberglass insulation in his attic. Two days work in 120 degree heat and then I itched for 3 days afterwards. He only paid me $20, but at the time it was like a million dollars to me.

A significant event happened to me in 9th grade that may have changed the complete path of my life. I was not into studying at all and I played football. I was getting a D grade first quarter in physical science because I never even payed attention. Football season ended, and being a little less tired, somehow the subject in the class seemed interesting. The next test, I got a B even though I didn't study at all. Apparently, just paying attention was enough to let me get by. I think I would have been content to just get by like this, but something significant changed that. My teacher accused me, right in the middle of class, of cheating. His reasoning was that I was too stupid to get a B, so I must have cheated. I casually denied the charge and he had no proof, so the matter ended, ... at least in his mind. Despite my casual attitude publically, I was furious and resolved to show him how wrong he was and that I was both honorable and intelligent. So, I payed attention and studied which resulted in me getting the top grade on every following exam. However, by the end of the year I had developed a deep love of physics, math and learning in general. The teacher later apologised to me in front of the class once he saw my track record.

Anyway, this event got me into electronics. That following summer I learning the basics of electronics and built a lab in my basement. I built various circuits and repaired anyone's radio or TV that requested it and I did it for very little money because I wanted to learn. I still have a couple of letters from people thanking me for fixing the device that the repairman could not fix. I knew that the repairman was capable of fixing the darn things but that they would not put more parts and labor in than the value of the device. However, I never explained this fact to my happy customers. I was willing to put in any amount of time (kids have infinite time at their disposal).

Because of this, I wandered into the local wholesale electronics parts store in 10th grade. I asked the owner if I could get a job there, and he said I could clean the place every saturday. After about 6 months he switched me to shipping and receiving and let me work after school too. At that point I abandoned football for my passion. Soon, I was waiting on customers too, which was a great experience for a young person. Working at the parts store allowed me to talk to TV repairmen, while I waited on them and got their parts. Also, I got to see all the parts and learning how to cross reference them and look up schematics (anybody remember the Sams series of manuals?). I did this all through high school. Experimented in my basement, while spending all my earned money on electronics parts that I could buy at cost.

After all this I went to University for electrical engineering. All of this previous experience made me want to learn the theory behind all of the practical stuff I had learned. The university gave me 20 hours per week work study and I worked in the microfilms dept of the library for those 4 years. Summers allowed me to do internships as an engineering technician at several technology companies nearby.

Hey, I think this is the first time I've tried to write an autobiography. :p Thanks, strantor
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Joined Aug 9, 2008
Steveb, if you write a book I will buy! :p

And I never got any money as a kid and I think the same goes for most Indian kids.My father was willing to buy me anything I asked .So no interesting story to share :(


Joined Mar 24, 2008
Life was simpler when I was a kid. I had a news paper route. At one point I had a TV Guide route. My brother was the baby, and was happy to take my parents larges. When I was a teen I worked as a projectionist for gas money, $5 / night at 3 nights.

There was no internet. There were no computers. Gas was cheap, so were cars.


Joined Aug 30, 2007
For me, my first job was in the summer between the 7th and 8th grade.
I went to work for my grandpa, we has a brick/block mason. I hauled mortar, blocks and bricks to him all summer long, that's when I decided I needed to learn how to do something that was a whole lot easier!!
That was in 1964. I was always foolin' around with hot rods, my next job was in a wrecking yard, aka junkyard, there I would remove parts for customers.That was in '66.


Joined Nov 13, 2010
I used to cut grass, cut grass and cut even more grass.

I had to approach the thick grass with caution, the mower had a tendency to cut-out.


Joined Feb 20, 2009
As a kid, I made money by collecting dinosaur poop and selling it for fuel.
I did the same but sold it as dino-crap. Coprolite sells for good money at the gem and mineral shows. Wanna here something sickening. My aunt found an extinct rare sloth skeleton in the 80's. It was near complete and the best specimen in the world. Being a hippy she donated it to a school or something and it made the rounds around the country for about 3 years then it dissapeared off the face of the earth. We asked who we donated it too where it was on display and got blown off. A year later we found out they sold it to a Japanese corporation for 3 million dollars to go in their lobby of their skyscraper.

Thread Starter


Joined Oct 3, 2010
I had to approach the thick grass with caution, the mower had a tendency to cut-out.
yeah, sometimes you have to mow only half a path instead of whole path. If you have a 3.5hp chinese lawnmower, it's 1/3 of a path. If it cuts out, it probably also has a wad of moist sod under it which you will have to pull out before you can start it again.


Joined Nov 9, 2007
Well I was young in the days before supermarkets and I had a rabbit round.
I collected waste greens, thrown out at the back of greengrocers - they were glad to be rid of the stuff - sorted them and supplied various local rabbit owners with rabbit fodder.

As this was a country market town we also has a large area of bombed greenhouses left after the war. I discovered several large caches (old dumps) of returnable soft drink bottles - you could get a few pennies per bottle and it soon added up.


Joined Nov 13, 2010
yeah, sometimes you have to mow only half a path instead of whole path. If you have a 3.5hp chinese lawnmower, it's 1/3 of a path. If it cuts out, it probably also has a wad of moist sod under it which you will have to pull out before you can start it again.
Yeah it was really damp grass, some of it was the kind that flops over because its so long.

I cut it on an old ride-on lawn mower that stunk of petrol and oil. I had to raise the header and take an inch or two off at a time before I could lower the header all the way down to the ground to finish it off.

My backside would give in after four hours of sitting down mowing. I had to stand up, lean forward and steer hoping know one was watching.


Joined Mar 9, 2011
Never worked to get money as a kid. Didn't have a reason too - all I needed were books and my family had a large library. One time my father had a great idea to talk me into cleaning a hallway at his work and paying me for it, but I saw absolutely no point in it and never did it again. I guess i am just not money-driven ;)