Making a Buck

As kids growing up in Kensington, Philadelphia, we were always on the lookout to make a buck. Well, more like pennies, nickels and at most a quarter. I would assume all kids that grew up in the inner city did the same. It was a good thing because I believe it taught us the value of working so we could buy the things we wanted.

What we wanted back then, in our younger years, was money to buy candy, sodas, ice cream cones, or tickets to the movies. As we became teens, we needed more money to go on dates, buy the occasional bottle of booze, or save to buy a car. This required us to look for more permanent and long-term jobs.

Here are a few ways my friends and I looked for pennies to make our life a little sweeter:

Taking orders at the local market.
Looking for money, people forgot after using pay telephones or vending machines. Outside of bars was a good place for that.
Shining Shoes.
Taking used glass soda bottles back for pennies.
Fishing for pennies (or, if lucky, nickels) in grates in front of the bank.
Shoveling Snow.

We upgraded as teens:
Delivery of groceries for local stores.
Night jobs in factories.
Helping with construction on weekends.
After-school clerk jobs at local stores.
Running numbers (just kidding).

How did you make a buck as a pre-teen and then as an older teen?

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