Abbie's prediction may be coming true. Amerika could be on the slide toward being a poor third world nation. It could be what game theory based economic education leads to, everyone grabbing as big a slice for themselves as they can only weighing the punishment against the potential gains. At this pace, in a few years, the Amerikan dollar might not even be worth the paper it's printed on. In the future, it might as well be used as asswipe or require wheelbarrows full just to get a loaf of bread.
Till then, there are many things that require money. Free Money will only discuss semi-legal ways to get money that does not entail working or stealing. Those are in different sections.
Get a Job has ideas about working for someone else and maybe ways out of wage slavery.
Steal Now Pay Never and it's subpages are an amoral guide on modern techniques and observations where thievery may be necessary.
Many cities like New York and New Orleans have a vibrant artist and performer scene. You can usually find these in major tourist areas. Indeed, there are many who make livings doing this.
Performances can be just about anything that people find entertaining. Performers may do acrobatics, animal tricks, balloon twisting, card tricks and tarot, caricatures, clowning, comedy, contortions and escapes, dance, singing, fire eating, fire breathing, fortune-telling, juggling, magic, mime and a mime variation where the artist performs as a living statue, musical performance, puppeteering, snake charming, storytelling or recite poetry or prose as a bard, street art (sketching and painting, etc.), street theater, sword swallowing, and even putting on a flea circus.
Put out a tip jug, do your entertaining, and watch a bit of cash free of employers flow.
Be sure you know your communities' laws concerning this. Some cities outright ban this as "panhandling", some may require a cheap permit, and others actively encourage it.
Panhandling is easier than your mom. Just get a cardboard sign with a message like "broke and hungry" or "traveling, and need supplies." I find that saying you're hitchhiking across the state really helps. If you aren't broke, hungry, or traveling you could always just be funny. A good line like "I wanna drink", "I'll be honest. I want a beer" or "Support Your Local Bums" will get you enough to get a buzz. One successful panhandler (witnessed by one of our writers) used a two-sided sign that read "Dreaming Of A Cheeseburger". When establishing eye contact with a driver, he flipped it over to read "But Will Settle For A Taco".
People want to give you money if they think you'll use it to get yourself out of a rut, not further in to one. Don't smoke when begging for change, since people will think that you're already wasting their money. Don't smell like alcohol; swish some mouthwash or chew some mints. Try to wear something that's not totally trashed and smell a little. Smile a little, even if you don't want to. Amerikans hate the poor, so try not to act like a piece of shit.
Don't fuck around though because the cops do not really dig bums. The pigs will end your employment! Be polite and do not be aggressive with ANYONE.
If the bins are picked clean stand outside a supermarket and ask people going in if they can buy you some liquor. At a gated train station; ask a passerby if they can buy you a ticket to the next station (once in, you can go anywhere). Try a line like your following the way of St Francis and you cant touch money.
Psychological tests show that people are more likely to give alms to a guy in a suit than a guy in gutter punk homeless attire if they're both asking for change for a bus.
Pandering to a tribe
Often if wearing a monks robe, people will identify with you, and see a chance to gain religious merit.
Many religious orders encourage begging as it promotes a simple life with humility and gratitude, such as the Catholic mendicant orders, Hindu ascetics, some dervishes of Sufi Islam, and the monastic orders of Buddhism. In the Catholic Church, followers of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Dominic became known as mendicants, as they would beg for food while they preached to the villages.
This is a somewhat common scam we have seen in big cities near some high volume gas stations.
First, you must be a dirt yippie. This means long hair, smoking dope and NEVER shower. The last part is very important. Steal a squeegee from a gas station pump and find an empty water bottle. Look for an intersection where traffic lights take a while to change, because you will need at least a minute per windshield. Wait in the meridian of a road for the light to turn red and dump the water on a windshield.
Do not bother with drivers that shake their head or yell at you. They're behind two thousand pounds of metal and will definitely not pay for doing something they told you not to do, no matter how desperate you are. Get out of the road when the light turns green, and be careful! This can be a very dangerous way to make a few dollars.
Remember to watch out for store managers and employees as they can rightfully call the pigs on you for soliciting if you do this actually in the gas station parking lot.
What discussion on Free Money would be complete without a short mention of gambling? In theory, you walk in, play a game and maybe leave with someone else's cash. However, it is not that simple. The casinos are in the business of taking people's money by offering the chance of something for nothing. The top people that run the business are legalized crooks. Everyone that enters is profiled and monitored by cameras and plain clothes detectives. They have been known to use CIA level tactics on folks that consistently win by 'fair' tactics such as skill (in what few games have skill as a component), card-counting, and knowledge. If a slot machine tends to pay out too much, they have been known to remove the machine from the floor. Or worse, have security goons come up and tell you a machine is 'malfunctioning' when it hits jackpot on.
While casinos have a tough stance against cheating, even if good tactic, they have no problem with rigging a game for themselves. This includes cameras observing the players hands, 'loosening' and 'tightening' slots, and only operating the games that are greatly rigged in their favor, and maintaining industry blacklists.
If you do try your luck, research and stick to games that require skill or have low odds. Although there are some who make a living of bets, they are rare and play almost exclusively against other gamblers. Decadent casinos and their fountains are not built on paying out to winners. Many gamblers that win in casinos, such as Ken Uston or the MIT gang, eventually end up on blacklists. The tactics once used are mostly obsolete, as casinos constantly research modern play styles to keep ahead of smart gamblers.
A very successful strategy in playing black jack is "loading the table." This is when you, or you and friends, place many bets against the dealer at once. Do not let allow any of your hands to go bust as when the dealer goes bust you all win. Even when the dealer does not bust some hands may still win, or even draw black jack, allowing you a good chance of breaking even. Do not place high bets on single hands.
Casinos have employees called Player Development Coordinators. They keep track of a player's winnings and profile - usually through the use of Club Cards. If it is thought the casino may receive more money, they may give away free meals, hotel rooms, and other perks. They usually reserve the best deals for incredibly wealthy gamblers that spend hundreds, also called "whales". With big whales, the casino may put them in a hotel room days before they even gamble! However, they give comps to the less wealthy as well, if they feel they can get his paycheck in the future. It may pay to ask around and check into Comp programs, but remember to remain skeptical as well as persuasive.
Online Gambling can be a source of cash, with some risk. Some poker sites may give you up to a 25% bonus in cash simply for depositing some dough when you sign up. The problem is that many sites are located on off-shore servers with even less oversight than the land based casinos. There have been folks make money, but be careful. These sites can be very easy to rig without any proof.
With good research and attentiveness, there are tricks in the card games like Poker. Many sites have low-stakes gambling, where the antes range between a quarter and fifty cents per hand, and the bets and raises are limited. If you learn what cards to play and how to play them, you might could earn about $50 a week or more, with only a few hours in front of the computer. Many of the other players at those low-stakes tables are newbies, who don't know what they're doing, or veteran players looking for some relaxation, and they both can play recklessly. They don't care about losing a buck fifty here, three dollars there. But to revolutionaries, $4.50 is a full meal. As long as you play more carefully than most of the other people at the table, you may come out ahead.
The chance of you and anyone you know sharing a birthday is 1 in 365, or 0.2%. However, the chance of any 40 people sharing a birthday is significantly higher, at 90%! Consider the birthday paradox while playing the lottery. Although somebody who plays the lottery, including scratch tickets, wins, the chance of anybody in particular winning is very slim. The sole excuse in playing the lottery is the fleeting dream you may have of winning. Remember the French proverb; "Lotteries are a tax on people who can't perform mathematics."
Selling Your Body
As an organism, all people have renewable resources which can have cash value. The more popular ones will be discussed.
Imagining the sound of a cash jackpot when you masturbate seems almost too good to be true at least for males. Indeed, there has been much talk on this in "free money" discussions. Strict requirements for very little cash limits this as a realistic choice for many. Sperm banks do not advertise, either. You will need to look in the phone book to find them.
Sperm banks have very high standards that eliminate most potential donors. First off, you must be 18 to 35 in great health. They are going to want extensive family history information which includes grandma's schitzo episodes and your dad's TB. You can be disqualified for failing a drug test, having poor eye sight, not being of fashionable body build or race, diabetic, placed poorly on a standardized test, etc.. They will outright reject your sperm if you are adopted.
If approved, they will provide you with a collection cup and 'study aid' porno magazines. You can not use a lubricant as it contaminates sperm. They may pay you between 50 and 100 USD per specimen after you sign a commitment to return two or three times a week. You will also have to agree to abstain from ejaculating outside the office to protect your sperm count.
There is no cash in blood, except in rare circumstance. Blood bank companies typically visit various sites like school and work places as a 'charity'. Volunteers willingly donate for an advertisement tee-shirt. The blood bank then sells the collection to local hospitals for negligible profit.
In most major cities, there are places you can sell blood plasma. Plasma is the liquid portion of your blood. They hook you up to a machine that separates your blood cells from the plasma then returns the blood cells to you. Not everyone qualifies, because they do tests on your blood to make sure iron levels, red blood cell count, etc. are to standards. You can also be disqualified if you are a man who admits having sex with men, admit to previous IV drug use, have donated blood within a certain time frame, or have certain medical conditions. Some facilities frown on selling to folks out of state and will want to see an in-state ID, but this differs depending on the place. They are also going to drug test you for Heroin and also test you for Hepititis and AIDS.
You can sell twice every 7 days and the prices vary from 20 USD to 50 USD a pop or more depending on area and blood type.
Sometimes the centers take walk-ins, other times an appointment must be made. The first time you go, be prepared to be there for about 3 to 4 hours as they are going to give you a physical exam, have you fill out paperwork, and may make you watch a movie. The process of giving plasma itself is about an hour or so procedure. They mark your fingernail with a permanent ink that shows under a black light to make sure you do not go to multiple plasma centers throughout the day.
Doing this long term eventually messes up the veins in your arms and can leave scars. You should always drink plenty of fluids when selling plasma as you can get dizzy and dehydrated easily.
Kidneys and other Major Organs
Even though there are millions looking for life saving transplants, it is illegal in most parts of the world. In the parts of the world where it is legal (like Iran), the price is very low (around 1000 USD) and the surgery can leave you with serious complications.
High quality wig makers still use real human hair. But, you will have to look around to sell it. Typically, they want virgin (unbleached, not dyed, no perm) hair that is at least 10 inches or longer. The hair of chronic chain smokers is undesirable because the smell lingers in hair for long periods. Nor is hair that is shampooed daily wanted because it strips natural oils.
There are sites like http://www.buyandsellhair.com/ that provide a marketplace. Typical sales range from 100 USD to 400 USD. Some will pay up to 1000 USD for highly fashionable hair with the right color and length.
Escort Service, Prostitution, and Strip Clubs
Since the origin of civilization people have been exchanging sex and companionship for goods, regardless of gender. Now prostitution can be dangerous, degrading, work; and it is not exactly free. The best sex workers are great conversationalists, keep immaculate care of their appearance, and are experts at appearing 'into' someone even if they are not.
Porn is almost prostitution but at least it is legal. Youth and an attractive appearance are prerequisites unless you are interested in fetish pornography. Men will usually not get paid much, even for gay porn scenes, unless they are one of few worldwide male stars, or they are willing to do some unusual stuff. There are a lot of volunteers willing to screw porn stars for free. Women mostly burn out after just few years in the business. Additionally, your acting work is completely public once released. This could be used to discredit activists, organizations, or career professionals.
Phone sex is reasonably safe. You might end up with strange working conditions and coworkers and the pay is often low since there is negligible risk. This can not be considered free as it is a regular hourly job.
Stripping is a safe, well paying job that runs the sole risk of being naked in front of your friends. If that's not something you mind, and you're willing to learn pole dancing, then stripping may make you some decent money. Most clubs have many bouncers to stop guys from getting too close to you. Stripping is a very competitive industry however, and only the most attractive or talented strippers get regular billing.
However, these roles have expiry dates. The sex industry runs on body-fuck drug use with few consequences, and can leave you addicted. Many that run the business actually condone addiction as a method to control labor. Sex workers are used, then spit out with no safe guards. The repeated selling of sex can expose you to many diseases. It will also affect their long term interest in sex and leaves unhealthy attitudes with future relationships.
Some online survey offers are scams to collect valid e-mail addresses while some are legitimate, paying, survey companies. You may be asked to watch a movie trailer or give an opinion on cell phones, packaging art, etc. Generally the surveys do not take long, but they don't pay much. Some survey websites give 'points' redeemable for entry into lotteries for prizes or money, while others mail checks or add to a paypal accounts after a quota has been completed. A few survey websites mail samples of their products.
Be sure to read the fine print. You may be required to sign you up for a mailing list, or worse, a paid text message subscription. Also, some survey companies keep ad bots and web trackers on your browser, or sell valid email addresses to bots and spammers.
Lost Money at the Corpgov Treasury
Sometimes money owed to you can be lost if they can not find you. Sometimes this is from a paycheck that was never picked up, a dispersment from a 401K, a class action lawsuit, a forgotten bank account, and many other things. Each state keeps a list of all money that they receive that never made it to who it belongs. To check, go to the state treasury website of each state that you have lived in. If you find that you have money owed to you, all you have to do is print out a form and take that and your valid ID to be notarized and mail it in. It takes a few months, but the cash will be mailed to you.
One of our contributors found 130 USD this way from a benefit plan from a long forgotten job years ago. There are cases of folks that have thousands waiting in the treasury department in some state capitol. It may be worth it to check.
Aluminum from soda cans, copper from wiring, newspapers, etc. can be sold to recycling centers for a few bucks. Problem is, you may need a ton of it to get any worthwhile amount and it may take more in gas or a paid ride to get to the recycle center than they pay. Some states even make it a bit easier through bottle deposit programs that pay out a set price for used glass, plastic, and aluminum containers. With bottle deposits, all you may have to do is return them to a merchant. The practice of collecting cans and bottles is called 'binning' and can put some spare change in your pocket.
Avid 'binners' and recyclers sometimes keep a route by foot or bike along paths where there are a lot of discarded cans. They carry around plastic garbage bags and crush cans to save space. It helps if you have some place to store these and make one single run to the center to save time and gas.
Check your cities recycling dates. In many cities there are no laws regarding trash once it's put on the curb. You can collect beer and wine bottles for around 20 cents each in most places, and beer cans for 5. Apartment complexes work out great, as there are usually lots of bottles in their bins. Check with the by-laws of your city before you start though, because in some picking through trash is illegal. This doesn't mean you can't do it, just that you have to make sure you dont get caught.
As far as each commodity, each has it's own price. Paper seems to be the worst because the recycle plant usually has deals with the newspaper companies where you would have to have a truckload just for a few bucks. Aluminum is slightly better, but you need several trash bags full of crushed cans. Copper is currently in very high demand. Indeed, many homeless and chronic drug users raid construction sites and abandoned buildings only to pillage anything copper that they can reach. Check with the recycle center to see if selling after paying for the gas to get there is profitable. Prices for these things vary widely over time.
Old computer parts, cell phones, and electronics can also be recycled and do have a slight amount of gold, silver, and copper in them. Indeed, even old 286 and 386 processors have about 10 to 20 cents of gold in them. However, the process to extract the metal from them is expensive and requires elaborate set ups with gallons of toxic chemicals, specialized equipment, and access to tons of e-waste to be profitable. Most companies that recycle these are going to want you to "donate" your old electronics to you and will only pay you if you have something high in demand like a 1 year old I-phone that you could get repaired yourself.
It's common to keep your head up during hard times, but why not keep your eyes down, paying attention to whats before you! As people are generally wasteful and careless with money it is entirely possible to find dollar bills, quarters, pennies, cigarette packs tossed out of cars or strewn on the sidewalk. It probably won't pay the rent, but even pennies are accepted by the public bus system and merchants.
One great place to look is in suburban strip malls and mega malls where there is an outdoor ATM or automatic bank machine. We once made $120 in under an hour scouring the landscaped areas around these places scooping up $20 dollar bills that have apparently blown away and caught under the little bushes. It is important to scour before the landscaping service or litter patrol comes to spruce things grabbing your treasure.
If you drive on a toll road, make a quick look when you stop at the "Exact Change" lane to see if there's any stray change on the ground near the automated toll booth (It's best to do this when traffic is light, since impatient drivers honking their horns can draw attention). People who drop coins usually just toss out another quarter or so if they drop one. You might see enough change to pay for the toll itself!
If you have the time in an urban area, you could make a "route" to search for tossed cash. Any place the public has to fiddle with change is a good target. Check bus stops, convenience stores, fast food drive-thru right next to the window, and bar parking lots. You will typically find more on working class paydays when careless wage slaves have pockets full of money.
Also, do not be that wasteful person that tosses their pennies on the ground. You are never truly broke when you have change.
Even though most of the merchants and banks are happy to give out pennies, they sometimes balk at accepting them in bulk. Even banks may refuse to take pennies unless they are rolled and you have an account there. Cashiers hate being paid with pennies because it holds up the line, making them look inefficient to management, and they have to manually count any change they receive after their shift.
Some banks give rolls to account holders and dollar stores and supermarkets sell rolls in bulk. This defeats the point in us saving change as the rollers can cost 2 USD to 5 USD for packs. However, Coinstar machines will take your pennies, sort them, and give you a receipt you can either cash out or buy items with. While it does charge 8 pennies on a dollar, it can save you time or embarrassment trying to pay with a line behind you. Or, ask a store clerk or bank teller for an empty paper roll, which they often have in the register, and fill it by hand.
The International Yippie Currency Exchange (http://wiki.stealthiswiki.org/wiki/Ripoffs#The-International-Yippie-Currency-Exchange)