Years and years ago when we lived in Princeton, New Jersey we had four little kids, the cost of living on the east coast was high, the hubby had his first real world job and we all know how those pay. I have no idea where I got the idea to get a paper route to help make money but the point is I got the idea and the rest is history. Much to my husband's chagrin I signed up to deliver the Trenton Times everyday. The papers would get dropped super early in the morning on the street outside our apartments on Bayard Lane in Princeton. I would get up while everyone was still sleeping and go out and fold them into our car. I can not remember the exact amount of papers we had but it was well over a hundred. I delivered them most of the time but some times the hubby would get up and deliver them before work. Sometimes the hubby would be out of town and then I would wake my 4 little sleeping kiddos and stick them in the car and go deliver those papers. I was also in charge of billing everyone on the route and I would line the bills up all in order in a shoebox that we would take with us on the weekends. We did that route the whole time we lived in New Jersey. I will never forget the relief when a week before we moved to Kansas we quit it.
When we got to Kansas money was still tight but I had lots of little kiddos at home with me so what is the best way to make money when you can't during the day? Um yeah, paper routes. This time the hubby did the route plus doing his daytime job at the University of Kansas.
During this time in Kansas our oldest kid, Zach, decided he needed the latest handheld electronic device...I think it was a Gameboy? It would cost about $80.00. I decided he needed to earn the money himself. So I found out that there was a little paper in Lawrence that was delivered once a week during the day and we signed up to do it. Zach did this little route and earned his money and bought his Gameboy. We kept the route for several years and only quit because we moved.
I loved that the kids were earning their own money, learning about work, and commitment. It was a ton of work for me getting them to follow through with doing the route, driving them since the routes were not in our neighborhood, making them go back to put the papers in the right place when they were lazy, pretending it was fun, but in the end it was worth it. I confess that by now I was a little addicted to the kids having this extra money.
So when we moved to Indiana guess what we got? Yeah, we got another paper route. This one was the most challenging yet. It was two days a week but it had to be delivered by 6 in the morning and by this time I had kids that were in early morning seminary at the church. So, Miriam did one morning and Madeline did the other morning so that they were only sacrificing one day of sleep. I would wake them up at about three in the morning and we would drive the route which took us two hours to do. It was a lot of papers. It was clear out in the country. After the route we would run home, get ready for seminary, go to seminary, go straight to school, and then to track or soccer practice after school. They made quite a bit of money on this route and we had some quality bonding time listening to our music and driving in the car for those two hours but it was definitely a sacrifice for all of us. Driving this route in the winter was where I overcame my fear of driving in the snow for once and for all.
Now we live in Massachusetts and we have two paper routes. They are afternoon routes and they are not too big. As with all the routes we have had these routes have rotated through our kids but right now Tatiana does one that has 19 papers and Joe does the other that has 26 papers and on Saturday Natalie does both the routes so she can have a little money too. Tatiana has $900 dollars saved from doing the paper routes and Joe has been able to purchase almost anything his heart desires with his earnings. Notice there is no use of the word "saved" in the sentence about Joe and the paper route :)
Why all this reminiscing about paper routes? Well another route opened up in our area and I have decided to take it for me. At 36 papers it is one of the biggest routes that the Westfield Evening News has. I could use a little bit of extra money and I am not quite yet in a spot where I can have a real job since I still have little kids who need me at home. These routes only take about 20 minutes to do and I could walk, bike, or even run this one to combine money making with exercise :) I start my new job on the 18th of February and I am very excited about it. I hope it all works out as fabulously as it appears it will in my head.
These routes have been a bother but we have a lot of memories associated with them. There is the time that Madeline got bit by a dog on a route. There is the lady who tipped the kids $100.00. There is our Suburban with the side runners that the kids would stand on while I inched down the streets...yeah, bad mom moment :) There is getting super stuck in the snow. There was me backing into a mailman truck. And don't forget the wonder at discovering most people tip the paper carrier at Christmas.
So wish me luck with my new job. I am a paper girl I always dreamed of this day :)