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I came to a conclusion while being shamelessly dressed liked a cow to get a free meal at Chick-Fil-A recently: sometimes you have to be creative to make or save a buck. Am I right? I began reflecting on the interesting, weird and bizarre things I have done all in the name of earning or saving some extra money.
Can you top mine?
1. Becoming a fraternity house parent
I bet I’ll never be able to beat the square footage and free rent! This was a short opportunity for my wife and I, but since then three of our good friends have decided to live in a fraternity or sorority and serve as a live-in sponsor. For us, it was about investing in young men and women’s lives while not paying a dime for rent, internet, or utilities (most fraternities have an apartment built in for a sponsor). Oh, and most fraternity and sororities provide a stipend on top!
Worth it? If you’re sound sleeper like us, yep!
2. YouTube playlists
In a surge or rebellion against paying $1.29 per iTunes song, I decided to look up all of the songs on YouTube and put the videos of the lyrics in different playlists.
Worth it? Heck no. Consider Spotify and Pandora.
3. De-tasseling corn
I stumbled upon a gig that sounds awful but turns out to be awfully fun and rewarding. Each July, I drive a school bus of 50 teenagers every morning to a cornfield to spend the day pulling the tassels off female corn. It’s hot, wet, sweaty, and grueling work, but pays great for kids and sponsors alike!
Worth it? You bet!
4. Hunting down bank bonuses
Maybe this is a weird hobby, but I like reading the small print of promotions that offer cash or rewards to open an account to see if it’s worth the effort. My favorite has been Capital One 360’s periodic promotions that give great incentives for opening an account, no hassle when you want to close them and solid rewards for referring friends to do the same.
Worth it? Most of the time.
5. Medical research
A few years ago a friend introduced me to being a member of a clinical research study that tests a certain drug or dosage on patients. When I tell this to people, three things always happen: they laugh, say that it sounds sketchy, then tell me good luck with that third ear I’m going to grow. No third ear yet, just a good paycheck for a couple of shots and blood draws. Getting married to a physician’s daughter kind of put the kabosh on that. Donating plasma is also a quick 50-70 dollars.
Worth it? No third ear yet…
6. Teaching freshmen algebra
My profession is pretty weird now that I think about it. Taking a clan of hormone crazy, immature, awkward, hilarious, growing, Twitter-dependent teenagers and trying to channel that towards solving equations? Crazy.
Worth it? Absolutely!
What about you? Any stories of stepping out of your comfort zone to earn some cash?