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Date: 27 March 2014. Unconventional Money Making.
Guest author Everywhere Man.

This article is for The Writer's Block. It's written by a website guest in response to the age-old quest of how to have enough cash to live this life. Comments are encouraged.

Everywhere Man is retired and traveling the United States in a land yacht.

Everywhere Man welcomes visitors to his place on the 'net:

This post is the result of a conversation I had with a guy this morning where I'm current camping in Tonto NF [National Forest]. I had been watching him while my coffee was brewing as he was going through the dumpsters. He had a big huge red bag, that looked to be about 48 to 60 inches in diameter that he had fixed up to hang on the side of the dumpster in an open position. He was using one of the mechanical hands used for reaching things on high shelves to go through the bags in the dumpster to remove the cans and bottles.


I gathered up a bunch of the plastic water bottles and took them over to him rather than just tossing them in there later after he'd left. He was driving a nice late model Dodge Ram pick-em-up truck and was dressed nicely which made be believe this wasn't his only source of income so in an effort to learn, I asked him how long he'd been doing it.

He said at that particular spot with it's 6 big dumpsters only about 4 years, but had done other spots for over 12 yrs. He and his wife began collecting cans and bottles to help their grandchildren pay for their college. Their grandkids were long done with college and his wife had since passed away, but he still did it, he said mostly as a motivation to force himself out of the house and while it also supplements his retirement, a lot of it goes to charity and his church.


I asked how many can/bottles he gets....he said when the weather's nice and people are out camping....it can be as many as 400 to 600 at that site alone....when it's not so good it's more like 300 to 400.

One of the most frequently asked questions in general I get in investing discussions is even when I mention it only takes a price of a Starbucks a day, is..."I don't have the price of a Starbucks to spare....I barely make it now. So, this is to relate some of the ways I've used myself over the years to save "extra" money, without sacrificing.

Some of these don't provide additional money, but only a simplified method of saving a little.

Spare Change.....I've always hated dealing with change. I don't like having to deal with it. When I'm checking out and the tab is say $326....I always pay with bills, going to the next highest dollar....then I toss the change in my pocket....by the time the end of the day comes, the change in my pocket is getting too heavy. I never take it out to pay that cents part of the next tab....it holds up the checkout line, you end up dropping a coin etc....so I just deal with the folding stuff. Then at night I toss it into a big coffee can. Usually every 90 days I roll it up and it ends up being about $300. This amounts to about $3.33/day I'm saving which is better than 8% more than the $2.75/day I used in an early example of saving.

I went ashore today and my change amounted to $1.11. Thanks Everywhere Man. (signed Janice)

Now I'm not a big coupon clipper and most end up expiring before I use them, but they do hold a lot of value. I tend to make a game of it. If I get a coupon for my cats food that is say $2.00 off, before I go to the store, I'll toss 2 dollar bills into my coffee can, or more commonly known as my sock. If I'm buying a new camera or lens and it has a $50 or $100 rebate, I do the same thing....when I get the rebate check, I just throw it in the coffee can with the change.

Treasure hunting.....
this can take many forms. In my case I enjoy using my metal detector. While I have found a couple of valuable things...a nice 4ct sapphire in a 14ct gold men's ring....mostly it's just lost change. I don't do it every day, or even every week, but when I do, I probably average around $4 during the couple hours I'll be out with it.

Some people can find deals in flea markets, swap meets and antique stores. My buddy collects antique radios etc., meaning he knows the values of them. He came across a Regency TR-1 pocket transistor radio, with case and original battery (no longer made) in the box NEW....he bought it for $11 sold it on Ebay a month later for $5,200. Most of us are at least closet experts on something. Whether it's Barbie's, railroad lanterns, or bolo ties. I know there's one van dweller that buys and sells hand printed silk scarves for a profit.

Hobbies can nearly always be turned into a profit. Maybe not something profitable enough to live off of, but profitable enough provide money to save and invest.

[My hobby is miniature oil paintings of nautical scenes inside seashells. J.]

Cans & Bottles....In states with the Redemption values of 5-cents a can or bottle, pickup 55 of them and turn them in and you have your $2.75. In those states without the CRV [the California Redemption Value is a deposit on soda and beer cans] program, you can sell them to the aluminum recyclers by the pound which fluctuates based on the price of aluminum.



Coin Roll Sorting....


You can buy rolls of coins from your bank from a single roll to boxes of rolls. Nickels, Dimes, Quarters and Halves. In sorting them, you're looking for the pre-1964 when they were still made of silver. This was far more lucrative several years ago than it is now, as more people have caught onto it. The banks handle them as face value, but the silver content makes them worth much more than face value.


As of Friday's [14 March 2014] close these are the values of the various denominations.

All considerable more than their face values. This only came to mind this morning as I was walking into a Home Depot and saw a dime on the ground and picked it up....it happened to be a 1954 "silver" Roosevelt making my 10-cent find worth $1.55.

  • Nickel 1942-1945 Face Value = .05
    Silver Value = $1.2076
  • Dime 1916-1964 Face Value = .10
    Silver Value = $1.5526
  • Quarter 1916-1964 Face Value .25
    Silver Value = $3.8814
  • Half Dollars 1916-1964
    Silver Value = $7.7629
  • Half Dollars 1965-1970
    Silver Value 40% = $3.1741

Collecting cardboard for those with a pickup can work but again, the price fluctuates widely. I had a guy picking up our cardboard every week when I still had my company. He began originally as a way of earning extra money to pay off $8,000 of credit card debt, but after that was done kept on to save money for his daughters college. He had a regular route he'd established that he hit on his way home from his regular job. He picked it up on his way home at night after work and dropped it at the recycling place on his way to work in the morning so he wasn't incurring any additional costs in his collection.

If you're a decent photographer you can sell select photos that are particularly good on various sites like smugmug or artists sites etc. Same with other crafts you may be handy at.

You're not attempting to make a living
or get rich at it....only to make a few EXTRA dollars.

I'm sure others who may read this will offer up their own suggestions for ways of saving money to grow.

Everywhere Man. His website is: http://americanathebeautiful.com/

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2014, 2023

Categories: Characters, Locations, Money, The Writer's Block

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