Saturday, July 31, 2010

Make Money by Scalping Sports Tickets

People in the U.S. love attending championship sports events, but tickets are usually impossible to find, and are always bought up early by big corporations that use them as gifts to clients. This makes it really hard for average fans to get their tickets. 

Playoff tickets are hard to buy ahead of time because nobody knows which teams will be advancing to the playoffs until the last few days of the season. Well, Major League Baseball has created a program for buying ticket reservations ahead of time, before the actual events. You can reserve some tickets for your team right now, before they even qualify for the playoffs. Then, if they do qualify, you can buy the tickets at their regular price. This system enables ordinary fans to buy tickets for their favorite team before the tickets are snatched up by others. Of course, the reservation costs money, so you probably don't need to bother reserving tickets for the Orioles or the Royals right now, but it would probably be worthwhile for teams that are well in front of their divisions like Rangers, or maybe the Braves. 

Once you get your ticket you can either use it to attend the game, or stand around outside the event and scalp it to some sucker who didn't know about the reservation system

Friday, July 30, 2010

Roanoke Diamond Dash!

Occasionally companies do crazy things to get people interested in their stores and generate a bunch of buzz about themselves.  One way a company can do this is to give away a $15,000 diamond ring!  That is exactly what Fink's Jewelers is doing in Roanoke, Virginia this weekend.  You can sign up and check out all of the details at!  Basically you sign up, get selected to participate, show up, do a good job in the scavenger hunt, and win a $15,000 diamond ring!  Simple as that.

Howtomakeadollar is participating in this extravaganza this weekend.  We will let you know how it goes and put up a picture of our diamond ring grand prize!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Make Money by Enrolling Yourself in a Medical Test

Drug companies always have to go through a really long testing phase before they are approved to sell their drugs to patients. This process usually takes 10 to 20 years to complete, and drug companies spend significant time and money looking for people who qualify to enroll in a clinical trial. Most of these trials require the person to already have a certain disease or condition, but others are simply tests for vitamin supplements, and others are for common problems like colds, allergies, or the flu.

So, if you don't mind submitting yourself to needles, pills, and medical exams, you can go to and look for an active clinical trial and enroll yourself in it as a human guinea pig. Pretty much all of these trials will pay you to be tested. go have a look. There may be something going on in your region, and you can pick up decent cash this way. The only risk is that these drugs have not been adequately tested yet, and they might come with ridiculous side effects. Thats why they are testing them.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Make Money by Selling Low Priced Products

You may have heard about the $35 computer by now. If not, you can read up on it here. A company in India has created a computer that costs only $35 dollars. It is extremely basic, and only provides a screen with a touch screen keyboard, and an Internet browser. But at that price, it is going to be available to the population of India of over 1 billion people. India, you probably know, is developing its economy very quickly, but it still has an enormous population of poor people, probably about 900 million. This population is educated, but very poor. They can't afford an ordinary computer, but they would know what to do with one if they had one.

Well, now this population is about to be exposed to a computer that costs $35. They will be able to do almost all the things you and I do on our computers. The only real difference is that they will have to save everything online, using programs like google docs to save their work. They don't really have cameras or iPods, so they aren't worried about storing pictures and music and videos, but they will be able to get work done. In a developing economy, getting work into the hands of 900 million people is going to be a major benefit to India and will pull a lot of people out of poverty.

This is an example of capitalism free from high government restrictions, regulations, and taxes. In its purest form, capitalism lowers prices and pulls people out of poverty on a massive scale. Not by raising prices and gobbling up profits, but by lowering prices and getting products into the hands of consumers who need them.

You may have also heard about the Tata Nano, a $2000 car built by Tata Motors in India. Its a small little car, but brand new it only costs $2,000. Its perfect for a developing country. Right now India is positioning itself for major economic growth going forward. They have business-friendly government policies, and they are not bogged down by lots of restrictions, regulations, fees, permits and taxes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Make Money in the Third World Part 6: The Crime Syndicate Taxi

This is the sixth part in a series on real-life businesses that operate in third world nations. You can read the whole series here. So far each of our businesses that we've highlighted has been relatively harmless. Yes, there was the flaming roadblock, and the snake charmers, but in general even these are relatively benign for a tourist to witness. However, travel to the third world is not all fun and games and wacky businesses. There is a darker side to travelling in these countries.

Today we highlight the crime syndicate taxi in La Paz, Bolivia

Western Bolivia is a major tourist destination in South America. The city of La Paz sits in a valley surrounded by 20,000 foot mountains that are snow capped year round. It is the primary hub from which tourists visit Lake Titicaca, and is relatively close to the world's largest salt flat (sounds boring, but is awesome).

For this reason, there are gazillions of tourists running around at all times, and foreign money is one of the primary sources of revenue for the city, which is surrounded by inhospitable mountains and the arid Altiplano, on which nothing can grow. There are lots of legitimate tourist services in La Paz, but there are at least as many swindlers and thugs.

La Paz has a robust taxi system, and all legitimate taxis are registered with the city government. These taxis are always white with a green stripe, and always have a telephone number printed prominently on both sides of the side of the car. However, there are other illegitimate taxis all over the city. If you walk down a main street, you will probably see three or four of them drive past you. They are everywhere. A very common crime in La Paz is for one of these rogue taxis to wait around by the La Paz airport, or one of the major bus hubs, and pick up a tourist or two. The driver will be friendly and offer a good deal, but will promptly drive them to a spot where a gang of thugs are waiting. The thugs will drag the tourists out of the car, strip them naked, and take all of their stuff. Sometimes they murder their victims, sometimes they just beat them up. Its very common.

I was aware of this practice during my time in La Paz, and it probably saved me on at least one occasion. I had just returned from a bus trip to Titicaca, and a rogue taxi pulled up to pick me up. A passenger got out and grabbed my backpack and tried to load it into the taxi.  Both he and the driver were extremely pushy about getting me to get in the car, but I shoved the "helper," grabbed my backpack, and hailed another legit cab. A group of onlookers took up my defense and yelled at the rogue driver. I don't know. Maybe they were just being helpful, but I doubt it.

In any case, this kind of thing is pretty common in large third world cities. La Paz has a reputation for it, but if you do any travelling to poverty stricken nations, you should be aware of your travel arrangements and be careful what cars you get into.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Make Money in the Third World Part 5: Selling Junk

This is the fifth part in a series on real world businesses that Howtomakeadollar has witnessed operating in third world nations. You can read the whole series here.

I spent a few months living in the Maghreb several years ago, and every single morning I was awakened at around 5:30 AM by a guy riding an old bike through my neighborhood. Every two or three seconds he would shout "REEEEEEEEP," and he would pedal around extremely slowly, weaving around like a drunk. Attached to the front of his bike was a tray covered with all kinds of items. Sometimes he would have tin cans, or glass bottles. Other times it would be rusty nails, a shoe, and some old sunglasses.

Throughout the day I would encounter the guy all over the place, often several miles from my neighborhood. I have no idea what "REEEEEEEEEEP" means, or even what language it is. I suspect it is Berber, and I suspect it means something like "Buy my stuff."

I doubt he made much money off his stuff, but he seemed to have something different every day, so he must have had some amount of turnover. On a few occasions I saw people buying stuff from him. His business consisted of riding around, picking up any item he found on the street, and selling the stuff he found to anyone who happened to want or need it.

Like I said, there is no way he was making a lot of money off this, but he was definitely surviving. This kind of thing is very common in the third world, but I remember this guy because he woke me up every day, and I never figured out what "REEEEEEEP" means.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Make Money in the Third World Part 4: Snake Charming

Howtomakeadollar is running a series of blogs about real-life businesses that we've encountered in poverty stricken nations around the world. In these countries people are very innovative and find all kinds of unique ways to make money. To read the whole series, click here.

The snake chamer - In the U.S. we have very few open markets. Occasionally a farmers market may open in a town, but this is usually only for a few weekends per year, and it is limited to locally grown foods. In the third world there are enormous markets full of individual stands selling pretty much anything you can imagine, not just food. India and many Arab countries are particularly famous for their open markets where you can test your bartering skills and hunt for good deals on stuff.
One cool thing that you can find in most open markets in India, the Middle East, and North Africa are snake charmers. Real-life snake charming is a high risk job. Its a guy with a little flute instrument who will sit down in front of a basket with a cobra or two in it. As he plays, the cobra will slowly come out and stare at him playing, and will eventually start to sway with the music... If he's lucky.
In reality, the cobras will sometimes just slither out of the bag and try to get away. Occasionally they attack the charmer, or onlookers. Its not exactly a safe job. But if you have good snake handling skills and a net with a long pole you can usually scoop your cobra back up before it gets away or eats a little kid. Charmers who try to do more than one cobra at a time are really cool to watch, but you should stay back a good distance, because cobras can spit their poison pretty far, and they aim for your eyes, which will blind you, or at least cause major damage to your eyes. This is why most snake charmers have such weird looking eyes, or keep them closed. Many of them are blind in at least one eye.

Usually these snake charmers will just sit down in the middle of the market, and once people see what is going on, they clear out of the way, leaving a nice open area around the snake and the charmer. The snake charmer always has an assistant or two who stand around scanning the crowd of onlookers. They will approach anyone who looks at the snake charmer and charge them money for watching. If you are walking past and even glance at the spectacle, you can bet that someone is going to run after you and demand money. They are extremely pushy, and will grab you by the arm and yell at you to pay up. You should pay them about 1/4 of what they ask, but you should pay them, because thats how they make a living. Also, they have cobras that may or may not attack you if they play a certain note. In any case, its really cool to watch, and once you've paid they will leave you alone.

If you take a picture they will charge you more money, or they will grab your camera and delete it. (really). I don't know what they would do if you have a film camera, but you should pay them and not worry about it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Make Money in the Third World Part 3: The Toll Road

This is the third part in a series on ways to make money in the Third World. All anecdotes in this series are true. You can read the entire series here.

The "toll" road - In lots of third world countries there are only a few main "roads" that connect one region to another. This makes these roads extremely important, and since these nations are poor, the roads are often in terrible condition. If a mudslide or storm washes out the road (common in the tropics), it can create a major problem for the cities along that road. I've seen potato prices go up by a factor of 10 in just a few weeks when a storm washed out the only road in the region. Truckers loaded with potatoes and sugar cane were stopped for over six weeks waiting for a road to open. During that time the only food they had was their cargo. So the truck drivers stranded in the mudslide ate good while the city starved. Such is life in the third world.

Well, in these kinds of societies there are lots of opportunistic people. On more than one occasion I've seen roadblocks set up at key junctions leading into major cities. These aren't just ordinary North American roadblocks either, with a few red cones. Cones don't stop truckers. No. These people would cut down several enormous trees and lay them across the road and set them on fire. I'm talking about a bonfire with 20 foot high flames. They would throw tires on top. One time they dug up the road and used it to create a mound of blacktop, rubble, and dirt. They dug all the way across the road, about a 10-15 foot deep trench, the entire width of the road, and about as wide as it was deep. With all the rubble they collected, they erected a large mound. On top of the mound were flaming tires. This particular roadblock was set up so that a narrow passage around the road was just barely possible to drive through. The roadblock served to slow traffic down to about 1 mph. As the vehicles slowed down, people would jump in front of them and demand money. If you didn't pay you got flaming tires rolled in front of you and you had to back out. If you did pay, you went on through. They only charged about the equivalent of .50 cents per car, but traffic was backed up in both directions for over a mile, and I'm sure they made a lot of money. After about a week they put the fires out, dragged the trees off the road, and shoveled the rubble back into their trench and went away. I guess they had made enough money. This kind of thing is pretty common, and is not regarded as criminal. Its considered to be a legitimate way of doing things. Usually police will come and stand around in case violence breaks out, but they don't stop the actual blockage.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Make Money in the Third World Part 2: Toilet Paper Partnership

This is the second part of a series that Howtomakeadollar is running for business ideas that we've witnessed in action in various third world nations. You can read the whole series here.

The toilet paper partnership - While travelling by bus on a 15 hour trek across the Andes, my bus stopped at a single little town in the middle of nowhere. The town consisted of a bunch of stray dogs and a house with a "bathroom" in it. There may have been a few other homes there too, but it was an extremely small town. The bathroom was free to all travelers, but a guy stood outside of it with toilet paper, which cost the equivalent of .10 cents per sheet. Thats per sheet. You know, the little 5 square inch sheets of toilet paper that are perforated. Well, to get a good wipe you need more than one sheet, and the whole bus was full of people who's last meal had been some kind of "roasted" "chicken" that the bus had stopped to pick up a few hours before. So pretty much everyone on the bus had to use this guy's jiffy, and he was making loads of cash. He paid the bus driver a considerable portion of it before the bus left. It was a partnership. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Make Money in the Third World Part 1: Selling "Turkey" to Muslims

I've lived in a few poverty stricken nations in my day, and I've seen people scratching out a living using all kinds of ridiculous techniques. Howtomakeadollar is going to run a series over the next few days of true examples of Third World business models. To read the whole series, click here.

The "turkey" sandwich - I spent some time living in a Muslim theocracy several years ago. In these nations it is illegal to eat pork, or to have pigs, or anything related to pigs. There are lots of rules in these countries, and they are enforced strictly. They don't just give you a fine or something. They cut out your tongue (to punish you for tasting forbidden food) and cut off your right hand (just because) and then they put you in a prison for long time, and then they fine you. That type of thing. Not only are the laws strict, but there are so many of them that they are constantly creating Catch-22 situations in which it is impossible to obey all of them. Thats just the way it works over there.
Well one time I stumbled upon a little shack-restaurant that constantly had a long line of customers. Over a few weeks I noticed that this place was popular, and I asked people what it served. They all said essentially "this is the best turkey sandwich in the world." So I gave it a try. But it wasn't turkey. It was ham. It was obviously ham. It was dark pink, and tasted like ham. There was no turkey in the sandwich at all. Now remember. Everyone in this country is a Muslim. Ham is illegal. Nobody in this country has ever even tasted ham or seen a pig. So the guy running this shack was telling everyone that it was turkey so that he wouldn't get arrested for selling it, and all the customers were calling it turkey so that they wouldn't get arrested for eating it. In fact, I honestly believe that most of his customers actually thought it was turkey. Ham is completely foreign there. Its not that they've never eaten it. Its that they don't even know it exists. But I know it exists. After biting into it I winked at the owner. He glared at me. It was our secret.* I don't know where this guy was getting his ham. I have no idea. He was hundreds of miles away from the nearest country where pigs could be legally raised. But he was selling it like crazy, and nobody could turn him in for it.

If someone did try to turn him in, the cops would ask how the person knew it was ham. If the person said it looks or tastes like ham, the cops would ask them how they know what ham looks like, or tastes like. At this point any answer they give would land them in prison with their tongue cut off. Best to just call it turkey.

*He could have glared at me because a man winking at another man might be illegal there, or he may have glared at me because its illegal not to glare. Someone will have to ask an imam to sort this out. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Make Money by Trading Stuff for Other Stuff

Howtomakeadollar is a frequent practitioner of an idea known as "Trade Up," or sometimes called "Bigger and Better." The premise of this idea is that you start with something relatively small and common, like a tater tot, and you go around and trade it to someone for something else. Then you trade that item for something else, and so on. Eventually you work your way up to something decent that you actually need, like beef jerky. I pretty much always stop when I've successfully traded up to beef jerky. But it needs to be BEEF jerky, not any of that turkey jerky. That stuff is ok, but if you're going to get jerky, you want it to be beef. Thats just my opinion. 

Well, you don't have to stop at beef jerky. You can keep going. In fact, one time when Howtomakeadollar did this, we started out with a bic pen and within about an hour we had traded up to a treadmill and two one-day golf cart rentals. We only had the golf carts for the day, but we got to keep the treadmill. No kidding. We probably made six or seven trades total in that hour. But that was a long time ago in the middle of Maine , and I don't really like Maine anymore. If you're going to go to New England (not recommended) you may as well go to New Hampshire. Its way better in New Hampshire, and there are fewer lobsters.

I don't know what Howtomakeadollar did with the treadmill. We probably left it in the back of one of the golf carts by accident.

NOTE TO OTHER MEMBERS OF HOWTOMAKEADOLLAR: Which one of you guys was supposed to get the treadmill? Think of all the ways we could have used that!

But we didn't need to stop there either. In fact, there is a guy in Canada who started with nothing but a paperclip, and over a series of trades, wound up with a house. It was in Canada , which is worse than Maine , and all his neighbors are probably really into curling, but it was a free house. Thats pretty amazing. Another guy started with an old cell phone and traded up to a Porsche. I guess some people just don't like beef jerky.

In any case, Trading Up is a very good way to get something for nothing, and if you are willing to work for it and put a lot of effort into it, you can get some pretty valuable things this way.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Make Money by Cleaning out your car

Today's blog is just a re-posting of a blog we wrote several months ago. I recently endeavored to clean out my car and was pleased to make over $5 in the process, so this is definitely a proven business strategy. 

This business is actually a pretty easy one to run. All you need is a car.

Business Description: If you've owned a car for very long, chances are it has gotten kind of messy. There are probably broken pieces of doritos all around the drivers seat. Usually you can find a french fry or two, and sometimes you can even find a bag of groceries. In addition to food related trash, you will probably find a few receipts, napkins, and used condoms. Its a good idea to clean and vacuum your car a few times a year, and most people do this anyway. But what if I told you that you could make money while you did this? You'd be interested right?

Well you can.

You see, in addition to all the trash that you find in your car, you will probably also find a few pennies, nickels and dimes. If you are lucky you may even find some quarters. This can add up to a dollar or more.

Go ahead, scoff.

But why stop with a there? If you clean your car once a day every day of the year, you would make $365.00. If you clean it twice a day you would make $730.00

Now who is scoffing?

Related Business Ideas: Try on an old coat that you haven't worn since last winter, and check the pockets. Do this every year.

Ultra-Related Business Ideas: Clean out other people's cars for a small fee, keep the change as a tip.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Make Money by Giving Stuff Away for Free

It seems like a bad business model to give stuff away for free right? Well, thats because in most situations it is a bad business model. But in some cases, you can actually do better by giving something away, so long as you do it right.

Think of Google. When Google's original search algorithm was created, the founders intended to sell it to Stanford University as an internal search engine that the university could use to improve its research capabilities. Well, what would have happened if they had sold their algorithm? They probably wouldn't have created the Google we know today would they? Nope. It would have been named something like "UniSearch," and the only people who used it would be nerdy grad students at Stanford. Instead, after they realized how good their engine was, they decided to run it for free on the Internet for all users. By opening up a superior product for free to everyone in the world, they ensured a massive base of users, and figured that they could find a way to make money off of this base. Google has been selling ads on its searches almost since the very beginning. These ads provide the revenue Google needs in order to continue operations. But in order to ensure it keeps its enormous consumer base, Google has to continually offer improved services for free. Thats why they now offer blogging software, Youtube, maps, and Google Earth (not to mention hundreds of other services). They give all of this away for free just to ensure that they keep their users happy.

Hewlett-Packard also follows a similar concept. They sell their printers at a loss - a significant loss. But they know that if consumers buy their low-priced printers, these consumers will have to come back to buy ink and toner from HP. By being willing to sell one product at a loss, they ensure that they will have a large customer base that buys their other products at a profit. This keeps HP profitable, and puts tremendous pressure on their competitors to sell low-priced printers. The customer doesn't mind either.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Make Money by Adding Sugar to Water

A proven strategy for making big money is taking water, sugar, and food coloring, and adding them together. A few artificial flavors mixed in doesn't hurt either. Here is a list of just a few of the companies that have profited from sugar water

Coca-Cola - Last year's revenue - $31 billion
Arizona Beverage Co. - Last year's revenue - 2.5 billion
Pepsi - Last year's revenue - 44.3 billion
Dr Pepper Snapple Group - Last year's revenue - $5.531 billion
Hansen Natural Corp. - Last year's revenue - 1.14 billion
Red Bull GMBH - Last year's revenue - 3.3 billion

There you have it. Between these six sugar-water companies you have an annual revenue of $84.471 billion. Or, written out, you have a revenue of $84,471,000,000.00. I did not add the Red Bull GMBH revenue to this figure because it is European, and I have no idea how many dollars 3.3 billion is. I don't even know what that symbol means. It could be play money for all I know.

I have not included several major sugar-water brands like Lipton, Kool-Aid, and Hawaiian Punch because they are brands owned by large conglomerates such as Unilever and Kraft, not actual companies. Obviously there are tons of smaller brands of sugar water, and 10 different generic brands for every major brand. I think its safe to say that the sugar water industry is worth at least $100 billion annually, probably closer to $200 billion. 

There is nothing stopping you from getting into this market. Just think up a flavor, then dump it in a bottle full of sugar water.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Get a Better Job and Better Pay by Enhancing Your Resume

I'm sure you have heard that unemployment is getting to be a pretty big problem around the world. Everybody seems to have a solution for how to solve it, but so far none of the ideas have worked. Well, you've come to the right place, because Howtomakeadollar has a lot of experience at getting jobs using one simple trick.

Most people apply for jobs by sending a resume and cover letter to the company they want to work for. The problem with this technique is that most businesses get overwhelmed with resumes and it is hard to make yourself stand out from all the other people who are applying for the job. You need to make yourself look better than all of these people if you want to get a job. The best way to do this is to make stuff up. Let me explain

You probably think that making spelling and grammatical errors on your resume will hurt you. But this is not necessarily true. It all depends on what kinds of mistakes you make.

For example, lets say that the job you are looking for requires a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, but you don't have one. This is very simple. Just write "I have an MBA degree" on your resume. Is this a lie? No. Its a mistake. You meant to write "I don't have an MBA degree," but you messed up, and spell check didn't catch it. Spell check is useless. It never catches anything. Spell check is about as effective as a blind guy trying to drive a car at night. I don't know what difference it makes that its night time. Just forget I mentioned it. 

Howtomakeadollar can vouch that this is a reliable way to stand out from other job applicants, and is a good way to get a raise at your current job as well. If everybody in the country did this, the unemployment rate would go down to zero and everybody would have a job.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Make Money with Psychic Animals

You may have heard, during the World Cup, of a German octopus named Paul who was able to accurately predict the winner of all the soccer matches. People would put the flags of various nations into his tank, and he would swim over to the flag of the nation that would win the match and try to eat it. Apparently he was right 100% of the time, which is better than most of the soccer experts on TV. Wikipedia says the odds of this happening by chance are about 255 to 1.

What is that calamari doing on a Spanish flag? 

I was peripherally aware of this ongoing event, but did not take a strong interest in it because, frankly, its just another fortune telling octopus, and is not really a big deal. Get me an octopus that can predict the weather, stock market movements, or lottery numbers, and then I'll pay attention. Paul the Octopus is just a reliable guesser of soccer outcomes, which is only marginally more interesting than being a reliable guesser of how fast paint will dry.*

Anyway, Paul the Octopus somehow established an international following of believers. Believers. 

And if you can get millions of people around the world to believe in the prognostications of an internationally acclaimed cephalopod, then you can pretty much get anything you want. This is how Paul the Octopus's owners plan to make their millions. Several marketing consultants have suggested that Paul could be worth about $4.5 million as a product "spokesman," and could also charge significant fees for public appearances. Even if he loses his abilities, I'm sure you could turn him into calamari and sell him to a good restaurant for about $40 per pound.

*Actually, I'm going to take that back. An octopus that could definitively tell me how long it will take to get my stairwell painted would be quite useful to me. There, I said it. Soccer matches are less interesting than painting a stairwell. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Make money by standing really really still

One way to make money is to stand in a crowded area really really still.  Seriously, people do it all the time and make good money.

Stepy by step plan to make money standing really still

Step 1.  Get a goofy looking outfit.  It doesn't really have to be as elaborate as the picture above.

Step 2.  Find a really crowded place.  Place a bucket in front of you

Step 3.  Stand really really still for a long time.

Step 4.  Repeat step 3 over and over again.

Step 5.  Collect money.  Seriously, people will just open up their wallets and give you their hard earned money.

Step 6.  To make extra money, charge people to take pictures with you.  The extra creepy you are, the more you charge them.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Save Money by Never Paying for a Haircut

Seriously, how much do haircuts cost nowadays? Last time I went to happy hair the lady charged me $15.00 for a 10 minute clear cut. Then she had the nerve to say "How much would you like to put on your card?" This is the haircutter's way of saying "You need to tip me because your hair is gross." So, all told, a basic haircut costs almost $20 nowadays.
Well, Howtomakeadollar will not stand for this any longer. We aren't going to pay for anymore haircuts.

Why pay for a haircut when you can do it yourself?

A good way to get free haircuts is to get married and have your spouse do it. My wife has been giving me haircuts for almost two years now, and she's pretty good at it. All you need is a hair trimmer and a bunch of attachments that cut your hair at various lengths. I always get a size two attachments for the sides of my head, and then a 7 or 8 on top. A two blade cuts my hair very short, which is the way I like it. I would ordinarily get like eight or nine haircuts per year. At $15 each, this comes to about $120 that I am saving. Fortunately my wife does not make me tip her, so I come out ahead in that regard as well. 

Plan B, if your spouse refuses to cut your hair, is just let it grow out forever. This will be good for your marriage because it will promote healthy competition between you over who can hold out the longest. Ultimately, they are the ones that have to look at you every day, so I think you will win eventually. You just have to be willing to let your hair get really goofy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Naomi!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NAOMI!!!! Congratulations... your husband Andrew loves you so much he has dedicated this blog to you for the entire day!

Thanks for being so wonderful.  I love you so much and I am so grateful you are my wife and best friend!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Thanks for being the best mommy in the world!

Happy birthday to the my wonderful wife
you are definitely the best part of my life
you are so wonderful and cool
I'm so glad we met in school

You are my very best friend
I know you will be with me until the end
You are so very cute
and very good at playing the flute

This poem is just for you
the time spent with you is too few
You are so great
everyday with you is like being on a date

I'm glad you are the one for me
you make me into the man I want to be
thank you for being my soul mate
you are so very great!

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Start a Business Training Skilled Dogs

Everybody knows about Seeing Eye dogs right? And I'm sure you've heard of drug sniffing dogs and bomb sniffing dogs too. These are dogs that are trained from birth to reliably perform complex tasks that help make life better for their owners. I think Seeing Eye dogs are incredibly fascinating. The other dogs are just sniffers. Thats a tough skill that requires a lot of training, but a Seeing Eye Dog has to learn to think and see like a human. They are amazing. Other dogs are trained to identify peanuts for people with severe allergies. When I came back from an undisclosed South American nation there were fruit sniffing beagles all over the Miami airport, sniffing for fruit. I don't really know why the customs people were so concerned with fruit, but, those beagles were finding it everywhere. These dogs cost thousands of dollars. The people who train them can make big money.

Well, enough about all of that. You probably don't know the first thing about how to train these kinds of expert dogs. What you need to do is get dogs who can find stuff without any training whatsoever. To do that you need to specialize in a select variety of people. For example, some people are afraid of heights. Well, most dogs are afraid of heights too. Put 100 dogs on the edge of a cliff and every single one of them will get off the edge and back to safety. There. Now you have a "Heights Finding Dog." You can sell it to people who are afraid of heights, and it will save their lives and you will be a hero and a millionaire.

There are lots of bizarre fears that people have, and dogs can solve most of them. I've posted a list below

Felinophobia- Fear of cats
All dogs would be good at this one. If the dog finds a cat, not only will he alert the owner by barking and going crazy, but he will even chase the cat from the premises. Most of these dogs will also perform complementary squirrel elimination as well. This is a value added service. Most bomb sniffing dogs will simply identify the problem, not eliminate it. A cat sniffer goes the extra mile. I actually know a woman who is afraid of cats. No joke. She is terrified of them.

Helminthophobia- Fear of being infested with worms.
No kidding. This is a real phobia that people have. I had never thought of being infested with worms until I heard of this phobia, but now that I think about it, its actually quite terrifying. I don't really know how dogs could eliminate the threat of a worm infestation, but I bet they would bark a lot, and alert you that a herd of worms were coming your way.

Hypengyophobia - Fear of responsibility
Again, dogs wouldn't necessarily be able to eliminate all responsibility from your life, but dogs are extremely lazy, so they would at least commiserate with you about it. Again, this is a real fear that some people have. Not made up.

Russophobia- Fear of Russians- I don't know how to get a dog to detect Russians, but man, this would have been really useful back when Russian spies were a big deal.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Make money by kidnapping things

Kidnapping can be a very lucrative business.  Howtomakeadollar does not support kidnapping people.  Well, actually thinking back on it... we have written a post on how to make money kidnapping a terrorist... so I take back my last statement.  Howtomakeadollar does support the kidnapping of people... at least terrorists.  The problem with most kidnappers is they expect too much in return for their business.  Seriously... do you really need $37,000,000 ransom?  No.

Howtomakeadollar's step by step kidnapping business plan:

1.  Kidnap something (objects are much easier to kidnap then people).  We recommend the object meets the following criteria: be of some value, absence of this item will be an inconvenience to the person it is taken from, easy to kidnap.  Examples of good items to kidnap: car keys, reading glasses, shoes, cell phones, tennis rackets, metal detectors.

2.  Inform the person their item has been kidnapped

3.  Ask Demand ransom.  This is the crucial step... do you ask for $37,000,000.   Ask for a reasonable number... say $1.  Most people will give you the dollar because they are really annoyed with you and want their item back... and well it is simply easier for them to give you $1 then to call the FBI to come investigate the kidnapping of their cell phone.

4.  Collect money

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Save money by refinancing all your debt

If you pay attention to the financial markets you probably heard that interest rates reached a 50 year low this week. I will leave it to the economists to discuss whether this is good for the economy or not, but for the average individual, this is a great news.

Most people in the U.S. owe money on their houses, and many people owe money on cars, credit cards, and school loans. For the purpose of this blog I'll primarily discuss why you should refinance your house right now, but almost any debt can be refinanced if you find the right lender.
Most people who are paying a 30 year mortgage on their house are paying about a 6.5% interest rate. This rate is usually a fixed rate that will remain exactly the same for the entire 30 year period. The exact rate you have will vary depending on what it was when you bought the house, but it won't change over time. Howtomakeadollar owns a house with a 5.875% interest rate. This was considered to be an historic low when the house was purchased, and Howtomakeadollar felt very good about the rate. However, this week the average rates are down below 4.5%, which is outrageously, astoundingly low, and some discount lenders are as low as 4.1%, which has never happened before in the history of the world. (seriously)

Lets say you owe $300,000 on your house. If you are paying this on a 30 year loan at a 6.5% rate, then your monthly payment will be 1896.20. Of course, when you factor in taxes and insurance, your payment will actually be significantly higher than this, but you don't have much control over those costs.

You do have control over your interest rate. Right now, if you refinance the same amount and qualify for a 4.1% rate, your payment will be 1449.60. So if you have a 6.5% rate you will pay 1896.20 per month, and if you refinance right now, you will pay 1449.60 per month. Thats $446.5 in monthly savings. It will take about a 30 min phone call, and some paperwork, but this rate will be fixed for the life of the loan, meaning you save $446.5 every single month for 360 months. Thats $160,776. Its definitely worth a phone call and some paperwork. Howtomakeadollar is in the process of refinancing its house today, and I recommend you do the same. 

There are a few caveats of course. Lets say you have already made payments on your house for 5 years, so you only have 25 years left. By refinancing you will now be back to 30 years, which means that you will be paying interest for a total of 35 years (5 already paid, plus 30 more) This means that the total interest paid over the 35 years may be higher than what you would pay on the current plan over the next 25 years. If this is the case, then I recommend refinancing down to a 20 year or a 15 year loan. This will give you an even lower interest rate, and will pay off your loan in a shorter period of time. It may not save you money every month, but you will get an even lower interest rate (probably in the low 3s), so you will be paying the same amount you currently pay, but for fewer years.

If you decide to refinance you should shop around for the lowest rate that you qualify for. All lenders that I have dealt with require the same four things, so you may as well have everything ready.
you will need:
1. A copy of your last monthly mortgage statement
2. W2 forms from 2009 and 2008
3. Proof that the house is insured
4. Two recent pay stubs
I could talk for hours about the logistics of this and how to calculate your costs, but Its getting late.

Here is a helpful mortgage calculator that lets you experiment with interest rates

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Liban!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIBAN!  Congratulations... your friend Andrew likes you so much he has dedicated this website to you for the entire day in celebration of your birth.  He was so thoughtful that he hired a group of professional writers to write you a poem just for you to celebrate your birthday.  Hope you enjoy!

Happy birthday to the greatest Ethiopain I know
I am glad you are my friend and not my foe
I hope you have a wonderful day
Maybe you'll even get a new duvet

It's sad that you moved away
hope your having fun in sunny CA
It seems like yesterday we were playing pool
and hanging out in the hallways at school

I am glad that we are friends
even one day when we have to wear depends
You are so kind and fun
don't worry, this poem is almost done

Thank you for being my bud
all of the ladies think you're a stud
Eat a lot of yummy cake
and maybe even go for a swim in the lake

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Make money by finding treasure!

Howtomakeadollar is ecstatic to announce we have entered into a new world.  A world of hope, excitement, mystery, and fulfillment all rolled into a nice little package wrapped in rainbow colored bacon!  The wold of Treasure Hunting!

Howtomakeadollar is a proud owner of a brand new Bounty Hunter Quick Draw 2!  This exquisite metal detector is the key to our future fortune.

People loose things all of the time.  That is a scientifically proven fact.  Everyone reading this has lost something in their life time.  Most likely it is something of value.  The best way to measure the value of something is based on its metal content.  The more metal something is made out of, the more valuable it is.  Also a scientific fact.  And the best way to find lost metal is by using a metal detector!

Howtomakeadollar is also proud to announce that we did not go into debt to buy this tool of investment. This tool of investment (aka our metal detector) was purchased from funds obtained through howtomakeadollars numerous and very profitable ventures.  

Howtomakeadollar is going on a special treasure hunting trip next week to an exotic tropical location to do some serious metal detecting.  We will keep you updated on the treasures we uncover!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Make Money Solving Math Problems

Have you ever heard of Grigory Perelman? He's an unemployed Russian guy who supposedly solved a math problem called the "Poincare Conjecture," and was offered a one million dollar reward for doing so. I don't know who the people are who offered this money. I assume they are extremely rich people who have nothing better to do. But the story doesn't end there. No. This supposed genius decided he didn't want the million dollar prize, and has refused to accept it.

Ok, well, he's a wealthy guy who decided to pass the money to some charity right? Well, no. Actually he lives on welfare in a tiny apartment in St. Petersburg with his elderly mom, and hasn't had a job in several years. Also, he looks like a homeless serial killer.
This man is a genius

The Poincare Conjecture is a somewhat difficult math problem dreamed up by a crazy guy named Poincare back in 1904, before calculators were invented, and before anybody found out that math was important. A few people tried to solve it, but they all got busy with family responsibilities and fixing mowers and stuff, and after a while everybody more or less forgot about Poincare and his conjecture. So for 99 years the whole thing was forgotten. Then, in 2003, Grigory Perelman posted a solution on the Internet. It took mathematicians seven years to resolve his solution and verify that it was correct. Then, in early 2010, they announced that he would be given the million dollar prize. 

For the past several months he has been "thinking about it," and just now decided that he doesn't want it. This does not seem like a genius move. 

But it does open a door for anyone who likes doing math. I don't know what they are going to do with this prize money. My guess, since the whole thing seems to be happening in Russia, is that the government will come and get him and nobody will ever see him or the money again, and eventually he will build a nuclear reactor. So this money is a lost cause. 

However, there are other math problems out there that no one has solved yet, and which have serious money associated with them. I spent several years studying math in high school, so I am a world class mathematician. There is a wikipedia page that lists six unsolved problems that have million dollar prizes attached. The way I see it, I could probably solve all six of these in a few hours, but I would like to partner with another skilled mathematician just in case I run into trouble with the train that left Chicago at 4:00 pm. I always have trouble with those train problems, and I assume, since these problems are hard, that they include LOTS of trains. I will gladly split the money with you 60/40. 

If you are a world class mathematician, and would like to partner with me to solve these problems, please email me, and we will work out a time to get together. Tuesdays are usually good. I hope we don't need to show our work.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Start a Business Selling Toads

One of the founding principles of Howtomakeadollar is that any time you can get something for free, you should get as much of it as possible, no matter what it is. This is different from hoarding because hoarders take stuff and keep it, while we take stuff and sell it.

I was thinking of this the other day while I was out hiking and saw like 50 toads. I don't know what the market is like for toads nowadays. I suspect it is fairly flat, but a flat market is still a market, and toads are free. So you may as well wrangle a bunch of them together and try to sell them off. A good rule of thumb is that if someone offers you 50 of something for free, then there has to be a way to make money off it. It doesn't really matter what it is. 50 of anything is a good deal.

Toads: Somewhere in the world there is a person who wants one

I'm sure there is some sort of National Toad Enthusiasts Coalition or toad collectors group out there that would love to buy toads off you. Let me check. Yep. After a quick scan of the Internet I have found this to be true. There is a group called "Save the Toads" here:, and there is also a group called "Stop the toads" Both of these groups appear to be legitimate, and either one would be a good place to start hawking your toads. The first group would pay you not to kill them, and the second group seems willing to pay you to kill them. This is a perfect storm for a bidding war. All you need is a bunch of toads. Let me explain how to get them.

I did not stop to collect the toads I encountered because I was going hiking and had not brought a proper toad receptacle with me. However, if you want to pursue this opportunity, I will tell you how to do it. First, I was hiking a trail in New Hampshire known as the Pemigewassett Loop, so you will need to go there if you want toads. Secondly, you should know that the Pemi Loop is considered to be the 2nd most difficult day hike in North America. It is about 32 miles, and climbs 11 mountains, so its not going to be easy. But it is worth it because of all the toads you can get.

All you need to do is hike the loop and bring a large bag or box or something. Everytime you find a toad just grab it and drop it in the bag. I promise you will see at least 50 of them if you do this whole trail. After that its just a matter of finding a buyer. Even if you sell all 50 of them for two cents each, you still make a dollar, and I think a two cent toad is a great deal.

I've even thought of a few selling points for to make.
1. Toads are immortal. On my hike, I accidentally stepped on one, but it didn't die. It just hopped away. A few years ago I ran one over with a mower, and it hopped out the other side totally fine. (seriously). No blood, no guts, no sign of any trauma. This is because toads, like Elvis, never actually die. If this fact doesn't get you a toad sale, I don't know what will. Toads are immortal and indestructible.
2. Toads eat lots of insects. If you get toads, you will never get an ant or termite problem. Just get a bunch of toads and let them roam freely around your house. I recommend at least five toads per room. You will probably need to keep your rooms dark and damp at all times, and maybe get some rotten logs, because that is what toads like.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Howtomakeadollar was right!

About a month ago Howtomakeadollar published a groundbreaking idea* in a blog titled "Large Pool of Crude Oil Available on First Come First Serve Basis." If you have not read this blog, you need to go read it right now, because of how groundbreakingly groundbreaking it was.

*Howtomakeadollar publishes groundbreaking ideas every single day

Ok, so I assume you've gone over and read that blog now. Its a good idea right? Just go out and start collecting the oil. Its floating right there on the surface, available to anyone, so we suggested going out in a boat and filling up buckets with oil. We also suggested getting extremely large boats and filling them up.

Well, thats exactly what a bunch of people are doing now. In fact, an enormous ship called an oil skimmer has just been released into the Gulf of Mexico. It is almost four football fields long, and is capable of collecting 500,000 gallons per day. This is exactly what Howtomakeadollar suggested on May 16, 2010 (50 days ago). If some guy had followed our advice then, the big skimmer could have sucked up approximately 25,000,000 gallons by now.

Now, this is crude oil and you will get a lot of seawater in the skimmer, so lets assume that after the water is removed and the oil is refined, that there would only be about 5,000,000 gallons of actual oil left over. At $2.50 per gallon of gas, you would make $12,500,000. Aside from that, you could feel good about yourself for saving a bunch of manatees and mermaids and other happy sea creatures. Of course, while sucking 500,000 gallons per day, you would probably suck up a lot of them too, but there is nothing you can do about that.

You can see a video about this skimmer here:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

How to make money on Fourth of July


Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our countries independence... but most importantly, like all other holidays, it is a great time to make money!

Howtomakeadollar has determined taking advantage of peoples emotions is a great way to make money.  To take it a step further, an even better way to make money is to take advantage of children's emotions.

Step by step plan for making money on Fourth of July by taking advantage of children's emotions:
1.  Celebrate 4th of July in the United States*,**,***

2.  Go to a place where there is a large group of people and fireworks

3.  Find a group of kids playing with sparklers

4.  Inform the happy children that the sparklers they are using are a fire hazard that causes over 170 deaths per year (completely made up).  Ask them if they are okay with knowingly contributing to these deaths.

5.  Inform the children that sparklers contain potassium nitrate, dextrin, sulfur, and charcoal all known components that are scientifically proven to contribute to global warming.  Ask them if they like to make mother earth cry.  Also ask them if they are okay with killing all of the polar bears in the world.  Also ask them if they are okay with the fact that if they continue to burn their sparklers every fourth of July the earth will be destroyed in exactly 7.5 years.

6.  Inform the children that the fumes from the sparklers is the leading cause of lung cancer.  Ask them if they are okay with slowly killing everyone around them.

7.  Continue to tell the children how dangerous, irresponsible, and harmful to the environment their sparklers are.  Continue this process until at least 63% of the children are in tears.

8.  At this point tell the children you are are a member of EAACUS (Ethical Adults Against Children Using Sparklers)**** and you need to confiscate the remaining sparklers and they must pay the $.50 sparkler reform tax for each sparkler they have burned.

9.  Most likely all of the children will run to their parents, get all of the extra sparklers and money and hurry back to give them to you.

10.  Thank the children for doing the right thing and assure them their grandchildren will thank them for making the right decision.

11.  Take the sparklers to the other side of the large group of people celebrating their independence and sell the sparklers to a group of underprivileged-non-sparkler-wielding children.

*The plan can be carried out in other countries on other days besides 4th of July, but may not be as  profitable. 
**4th of July may not be celebrated anymore in a couple of years, so take advantage of it while you can. 
***Once 4th of July is outlawed you can adapt the plan in the UK to Guy Fawks Night on November 5th
****Along with our Ride Shotgun for Life cards, howtomakeadollar sells EAACUS cards.  Having an EAACUS card will definitely make your story more believable.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Make Money by Being a Wardrobe Consultant

Today I saw one of those public bulletin boards where people can advertise various things like lost pets, businesses, and whatnot, and I found a business card for a wardrobe consulting business. I have heard of wardrobe consultants, but I'm a little bit unclear about what exactly they do, and who pays them. Nonetheless, I am absolutely certain that this is a high paying and important job. Why? Because the word "Consultant" is a prominent part of the business name. I mean, what if the person was just a wardrobe? I would never even think of hiring them. But a consultant? Well, thats a totally different thing that I would never think to hire.

Like I said, I don't really know what exactly a wardrobe consultant does, nor do I have any desire to hire one. My wardrobe, such as it is, does not need any consultations. If I did hire a wardrobe consultant, probably the first thing they would say is "you need more socks and all your t-shirts are stupid." So like I said, I'm not really the kind of guy who is likely to hire a wardrobe consultant.

But that doesn't mean wardrobe consulting is a bad idea. On the contrary, I think its a great idea that you, or someone else, other than me, should do.  I imagine it is pretty easy. Just show up and ask to see your client's wardrobe. Most people, if they are like me, will say "Do you mean the closet?" If they say this, you should inform them that you are not a closet consultant, and walk away. Closet consulting is beneath you, and it is a rather ambiguous job title. Does it mean that you are a consultant, but only in secret, and you don't want anyone to know about it?

Somewhere in there you should get paid handsomely.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Make money by providing a quality product

Howtomakeadollar is not always the most ethical in our business practices and the claims we make.  But that's okay, because we have an Official Fact Check Guy and an Official Accountant to keep us straight (i.e. take the blame for all of our unscrupulous business practices).  If you are trying to be a good business person; however, howtomakeadollar feels it is important to sell a quality product.  Selling a quality product is a better business practice than selling a poor quality product.  Its true.

Howtomakeadollar is proud to announce that we create quality products!  We have a lot of people who hate us (you can see a list of them on the right column of our blog)... but we also have several people who like us because we produce a quality product.  The quality product I am referring to is our custom laptop sleeve protector.  Specifically our superman laptop sleeve protectors.

Here are some of the rave reviews...

"It's AWESOME!  Thanks." - Dustin B.

"This product was made for my husband and he is a very hard man to shop for...he is all about functionality. I thought the Superman logo would be cute since he was a fan of the comics as a child. I gave him the gift when he started a new job and he really liked it. He uses it allll the time and has made comments about how perfect it is in size. I didn't know it at the time but he was planning on investing in an expensive one from a computer store. Now he has one with sentimental value and is also completely functional." -Leila H.

"Hands down the coolest think I have ever seen in my entire life!" -Andrew G.

So if you want to be successful selling a product, the key is to make a good product.  If you would like to order your own super high quality custom laptop sleeve protector, email us and we will start on it as soon as possible.  Please note that we currently have a slight backlog from all of our custom ipad sleeve protector orders that are coming in.  But your order is extremely important to us and will be processed in the order it was received.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Looking for good auto insurance quotes?

The auto insurance industry is a good business model.  Howtomakeadollar does not currently have the funds or resources at our disposal to start an auto insurance company.  We do however have the ability to refer you to a website that gives you information about auto insurance.  Check out this website on auto insurance. is a website that offers CHEAP, INEXPENSIVE, and AFFORDABLE vehicle insurance quotes.  The website has a lot of useful information about all of the complex terminology related to obtaining auto insurance.  The website also has a great overview of all of the basic information you need about autoinsurance.

So, if you are looking for a website that will give you an affordable insurance quote... is the place to go.  They also have a good summary of all of the following car insurance companies: Allstate, progressive, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, and State Farm.  Good luck!  Let us know how it goes.

This blog is another in our blogsvertise posts.  This blog post is supported by advertising that is on a per click basis.  Enjoy.  We will keep you updated as to how our blogsvertise experience turns out and if we recommend this method as a viable option on getting money for blogging from sources other then Google's AdSense.

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