I can remember when I was nine I had my own paper route. I delivered the evening paper, which meant that after school I would come home, roll and rubber band each newspaper, load them onto my bike and begin delivering them. Rain, shine, snow, and slush. There were gross snow days where my dad would come home early and we would load up my papers in the back of his truck with the tailgate down. I would sit on the tailgate with my legs dangling and he would take me on my route, stop at each house, and I would jump off and throw the newspaper to its spot on the subscriber’s porch.
I sometimes loved those snowy days, as cold as they may have been, just for the chance to hang out on the tailgate, and know my dad was there with me driving along. My money memory is from my paper route. I cannot remember if I actually got paid for delivering papers, or if the only payment was through tips. Each month I would take my collection book to each subscriber’s house and collect the amount they owed for the newspaper. Often I would get a tip. Tips ranged widely in amounts and really depended on who answered the door that day. The generous wife, the miserly husband, the kid who would just pay me the exact amount. Usually the best tips were around Christmas time.
It was a tough time for my family, my mom often worked many jobs to help ensure there was food on the table. I would give my parents my tip money so they could put it in my savings account, and many years later I found out that my parents were not putting it in my savings account, but that my tips were being spent. Maybe it was for the electric or phone bills, or maybe for the food on the table. It does not matter now, I will always remember that as my first money memory. Not the best lesson to learn, but maybe that is what has made me so careful with my money now.
What is your earliest money memory?