John Preston - The Penny Hoarder

Define the perfect family vacation.

Could it be soaking in scenic landscapes from America’s streams and rivers? Maybe it’s learning about an historic piece of the American experience? Certainly, striking it rich and pulling out a 17 pound chunk of gold worth millions would be an enticing bonus!

For centuries Americans have taken to rivers and streams in search of the ultimate riches and at many historic claims, you still can.

Here are 7 places in America that will let you pan for gold...

Reed Gold Mine, NC

The Reed Gold Mine is the place that started it all.

In 1799, Conrad Reed was walking along Little Meadow Creek when he noticed a shiny, gold substance gleaming in the water. That glint was found to be a 17-pound gold nugget. The event is documented as the first authentic gold claim in the US and you can still pull gold out of the water to this day.

The Reed Gold Mine is about twenty miles outside of Charlotte, NC. The site offers free admission and tours of the gold mines. Panning is only $2 per person, pan included.

Big Thunder Gold Mine, SD

Mount Rushmore, Black Hills Forest and gold panning; these are the things worth doing while in South Dakota.

In 1876, the gold rush swept across the Black Hills of South Dakota after deposits were found in Deadwood Creek. People have been panning for gold ever since. Much of the Black Hills are encompassed by public land and panning is available to whoever feels like wading through the waters.

Costs depend on where you plan on panning. A trip to Custer State Park is $15 per vehicle. You will need to rent or bring your own panning equipment.

Jamestown, CA

The problem with gold panning in California is deciding on where to pan for gold in California. The state is rich with gold mining history and remarkable finds. Although Sutter’s claim is the more well known, consider heading south to Jamestown, CA.

The town isn’t far from Yosemite National Park. Plus, there are numerous panning tours available. Jamestown Gold Panning offers access to 5 different claims, equipment and instruction. Pricing will vary on your needs. You can go on a 5 hour excursion for $25 or $50 if you want access to rental equipment. For the amateur family, you can get instruction, equipment and a 5 hour excursion for $160.

Dahlonega, GA

Perhaps you are familiar with the phrase "Thar's Gold in Them Thar Hills." It comes from a famous advertisement for gold mining in Georgia.

The Appalachian region of North Georgia was the site of an American gold rush in 1928. Although people have been hunting for gold on the land for nearly 200 hundred years, places like the Consolidated Gold Mine offer you a fair shot at finding your own fortune. Costs vary from $6 to $11 per pan.

Crow Creek, AK

If you are in Alaska and want to look for more than incredible scenery and wildlife, you might want to try your hand at panning for gold.

Crow Creek Gold Mine was recently featured on the show "America's Toughest Jobs." If you want to really go all out, you can go for a weekend mining excursion complete with tents and lanterns. If you're just looking to pan the creek, however, children seven and under are $10, seniors are $15 and everyone else is $20 per day. Can't make it all the way to the creek? They have a panning shed close by so you can experience the fun without the walk.

Alabama Gold Camp, AL

Perhaps gold alone isn't enough for you. If you're looking to add the possibility of finding garnet, citrine or fossils into the mix, you should head to the Alabama Gold Camp.

For a mere $5 per person, you can get admission with panning and sluicing included. Children 11 and under are free with an adult. Camping is also available, for only $5/day for "primitive" camping or $30/day for RV hookups. You may bring your own equipment, with costs varying from $15-$60, depending on the size of your dredge (6-inch maximum).

Colorado Gold Adventures, CO

Colorado is about so much more than just skiing. Why not add the chance to find something valuable?

Colorado Gold Adventures plans a guided field trip for you with all the trimmings, and practically guarantees that you'll make a little find. You can choose one of several beautiful, historic locations for your excursion and keep what you find. These guided tours run $100/day for an adult ($75/half day) and $50 for children up to age 14. Trips are available year round.

Americans have been searching for gold for centuries. Now you and your family can be part of the history. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get rich doing it, too.

Good luck Penny Hoarders!

For Sale: Luxurious, seaside bungalow. We guarantee that the structure will never need re-shingling, re-siding, a new furnace, a new water heater or foundation repair. Appliances will never break; you’ll die before they do. Property’s unique arrangement makes it so that you will never need homeowner’s insurance, gas and electric, garbage pickup, property taxes or water.

Best of all this real estate is so cheap, there's no need to start Googling refinance rates and mortgage brokers. So, who’s ready to buy?

This is not a deal that is too good to be true. Anyone can go out and make a real estate purchase like the one listed. Although, did I forget to mention that the house doesn’t technically exist except in a computer game that you play online?

I’ll stop my sales pitch, because I just lost many of you. While you may not be interested in spending money on virtual real estate, there are hundreds of thousands who play online video games and would jump at the opportunity.

Today’s weird business might be about pretend products, but the money earned is very spendable and just as green as any bills found in physical cash registers.

Anshe Chung, the First Virtual Real Estate Tycoon

For Ailin Graef, the game Second Life wasn’t just a virtual world where she’d escape the doldrums of reality through an alter ego. The game was a place for her to use her computer and design talents to build and develop virtual real estate for other players. Those talents were worth millions.

The game Second Life created a complete virtual world for players. Kind of like a more realistic and open-ended Sims game. One of the game’s features was the use of an online currency called Linden Dollars that could be converted into actual money. Since the game currency had real value, astute players could use their unique game talents to earn real income.

With a mere $10, Ailin Graef created an avatar named Anshe Chung who came to control 36 square kilometers of virtual land in Second Life, worth over a million in real dollars. Chung’s empire started with small virtual real estate purchases which were subdivided and redesigned with chic landscaping and architecture, then sold to other resident avatars. Virtual real estate success gave birth to a real company staffed with 20 to 25 employees. (Source)

What We Can Learn from Ailin Graef

Lesson #1: Your Talents are Worth Money

You might have goofy talents, but those talents can be worth millions. For Ailin Graef, she was proficient in her use of the Second Life platform and had an artistic eye for virtual architecture. I’m confident that neither of these talents would have impressed a crowd at any given cocktail party, but who cares? Technology opened a worldwide market for her talents.

Since the beginning of time, entrepreneurs have battled basic business constraints: how do I reach my market and how will my market reach me. Technology is reducing the difficulty of both these constraints. When you think about these basics you can see how traditional commerce made selling your talents difficult.

If you had really amazing Rubik’s Cube skills and wanted to give lessons, how would you reach the thousands of interested trainees spread across the world 30 years ago? You might be able to write a book if you could find a publisher. Today, there is any number of ways to sell your talent. You can create You Tube videos with advertising, a virtual class, an eBook, etc.

Lesson #2: Solving a Consumer Problem is All the Reality You Need

Although Ailin Graef’s talents were virtual, she fulfilled a vital role for Second Life players. Building your own property in Second Life required a great deal of time and effort from new players. Players could spend a small amount of money and receive a pre-built virtual home instantly.

Consumers have an endless supply of problems and they are just waiting to pay someone to arrive at a reasonable solution. It’s your mission as penny hoarders to find those answers. Succeed in this process and earning money won’t just be a dream, but a reality.

Good luck Penny Hoarders!

Modern technology has made our time the age of the Penny Hoarder. Only ten years ago, companies paid large chunks of change to one massive advertising agency to get the word out on products and build a brand. Today, companies pay masses of individuals to do the marketer’s job and my how the pennies are rolling into the personal stash every day because of it.

You can make money for watching TV. You can make money while shopping. Now you can make money sharing pictures of the things you want to buy with friends and all you need is a free account with Fancy.

What is Fancy?

You’ve heard of Pintrest; you simply post a cool looking picture on a social wall. When your friends click the picture, they are taken to the corner on web that the picture was lifted from. A picture of a man stranded on his roof might take you to a news update on a massive flood. The photo of strawberry rhubarb pie leads you to the blessed pie recipe.

Fancy has a similar interface, but it has a shopping focus. Users post pictures of the items that they have shopped and bought or want to buy on the internet. Clicking the photo sends your friends to the site where you can buy the item. Other users can also see the things you’ve fancied and post on their pages as well. It also links up to your twitter and facebook accounts so you can spread the word with more of your social network.

It’s like sharing your shopping list or gift wish list with your friends and family.

How Can You Earn Money with Fancy?

Are you constantly shopping online? Then it should be easy for you to get started with Fancy.

All you need to do is register for an account. Once you are set up, you’ll need to go out and find things that you fancy: a new watch, shoes or the vintage Atari game from 1982. With your dream purchase selected, post the link to the item on your Fancy page.

The Fancy will create a unique link through your post that will record traffic from your tweets, shares or posts. If anyone purchases through your unique link, you’ll earn a commission on the sale.

What’s the Payout Like?

Commissions on purchases are 2 percent of the total sale for anyone buying through your referral. For example, last night I posted a picture of a samurai sword that got 20 views from my friends and family. The sword cost $350, so if 10 of my friends had made a purchase, I would collect a check for $70.

You also get 5 credits for every new user that you refer.

If you are an avid social media user, you are probably already sharing the things you fancy with friends and family. However, setting up a The Fancy account will be your ticket to hoarding pennies while you do it.

If I’m lost in thought, odds are I’m thinking about how I can hoard a few extra pennies.

I try and monetize my whole day. I want to make money on my drive to work, while I’m brushing my teeth and even as I shop at the grocery store. I even try and find ways to make money while paying bills - and if there is one bill where there is money to be made, it’s with your college tuition.

Put it on a Rewards Card

Don’t use cash or a check this coming college semester. Instead, make sure you are paying with your rewards card. The average cost for public college tuition is $12,804. By using a credit card with 1% back, you’d earn nearly $130 every semester.

Even if you don’t have the money in your wallet to cover tuition, you can still take advantage of this opportunity. Most federal loan programs will refund tuition fees, even after you’ve paid them.

Pay Through a 529 Plan

529 plans are state-run investment plans that allow you to save money for college. Most states provide a tax advantage for participation by allowing you to deduct contributions from your state income taxes. They are a great way to save for college. However, you can also use them to make money while paying for your college tuition.

If you have money to pay your tuition, but have no 529 plan, it’s not too late to benefit. Simply open the account with your tuition payment and then make a withdrawal to pay tuition. By contributing any amount of money for any length of time - even a day - you should be able to claim the tax benefit and pocket the tax savings.

Sell Back Those Textbooks

We all know that trying to sell your books back to the bookstore is a horrible adventure, so try selling back your textbooks online this year. Websites like BookScouter.com will help you compare all of the buyback sites to help you get the best rate for your books. Plus, you won't have to go through the hassle of standing in the buyback line each year. Andy truthfully, college bookstores seems to buy back fewer and fewer books each semester as many of the textbook companies have begun to churn out new additions on a yearly basis.

Most of these sites also offer prepaid shipping, so there aren't any fees to send your books back at the end of the semester.

Take a Federal Tax Credit

The American Opportunity tax credit was established in 2008 to help offset some of the high costs of attending college. It provides a reimbursement of up to $2,500 on your tax bill. It is even 40 percent refundable, should you owe no taxes. That translates into a potential to earn $1,000 for paying your tuition bill.

You don’t have to pay your bill out-of-pocket to claim the credit. Utilizing student loans, a 529 or plan or your rewards card will all qualify you to receive the credit.

There are a number of other Federal credits and deductions that may be taken instead of the American Opportunity tax credit. You can directly deduct up to $4,000 in tuition expenses from your taxable income. Also, there is the Lifetime Learning credit which reduces your tax bill by $2,000 to $4,000 so long as tuition is paid.

Use Student Loans and Invest Your College Savings

This option has plenty of risks of potential loss, so please consider cautiously before following this option. Given the low interest cost of government student loans, there is the opportunity to take advantage of interest arbitrage by investing your tuition savings in the stock market.

Government loans are currently set at 3.8 percent and interest is tax deductible, which lowers your interest rate by your tax rate.  The stock market traditionally earns far more in capital gains. If you have money to pay your tuition bill, you can make money by putting that money in the stock market and paying your tuition with student loans. If you could earn 7 percent in the stock market and loans cost 3.8 percent, you can earn 3.2 percent in interest by investing, instead of paying your college tuition.

By going to college you stand to earn a much higher starting salary, but there’s no reason why you can’t start earning more money while paying for tuition.

You have two choices in this life: grow your own food or head to the grocery store. It turns out that food is one of those things you have to spend money on, because you can’t live without it. So if you are like me and many millions of other Americans who don’t farm, you are going to spend a few hours every week shopping at the grocery store. Since you have to be there, why not use the time as an opportunity to make money?

Traditionally, making money shopping has meant mystery shopping. However, we are now into the second decade of the 21st century. We have iphones and data plans. Surely there is an app for making money at the grocery store? As it turns out, there is such an app and it’s called EasyShift.

Why is EasyShift Paying Users?

As the consumer, you are a very important person for manufacturers. Companies spend billions researching you and learning what displays will get your attention and for what price so that you’ll make a purchase at the store. However, all that money spending is useless if the retailers overprice products or have poor product displays.

EasyShift allows manufacturers and distributors to hire consumers to conduct an audit of retail outlets for them. They are looking for you to verify price and prices of competing items. They may need you to count the number of items in a display or verify the construction of a display.

It’s a win-win proposition. You get a little extra money and retailers don’t have to send a salesman earning $30/hour to verify product promotions.

How Does EasyShift Works?

After downloading the app, you’ll have access to a dashboard that shows you a number of potential jobs. These jobs involve finding certain products at a particular store location. You then report on how the product is displayed by survey or by taking a photo. Once you’ve completed the instructions you get paid.

How Much Do They Pay?

Each job is priced differently depending on the wholesaler paying the commission. In general, jobs range from $2 to $20. However, you don’t have to make any purchases at the store. If you live in a major city it’s easy to find multiple locations to audit. Payments arrive on the same day to your Paypal account.

Get Rated and Earn More...

Easy Shift also has its own rating system. With each job you complete you are given points towards your rating. The higher you rate, the more benefits you can get. Those with high ratings can reserve jobs in a work queue, get first crack at new jobs and expand their work assignments.

If you’ve ever wanted to make money while you shop. Here’s your chance Penny Hoarders.

Batter up!

Most baseball enthusiasts are armchair umpires. If you love the sport of baseball and have some free time, there’s no reason you can’t be an umpire for real. There are many little league, high school and college leagues that hire umpires part-time and with a little training, hard work and the right availability, you can be the one calling the shots on the field.

Doesn't that sound like more fun then screaming at the television?

How Much Do Umpires Make?

As with any part-time job, your pay is going to be tied to how much you can work. Generally, umpires are paid per game that they officiate. Thanks to the structure of baseball tournaments, especially for little league, it means that you might be able to call several games in a single day.

The pay scale depends on the level of play that you are umpping.  Little league pays between $25 and $50 per game. High school starts at around $50 or more. College ball pays over $100 per game.

Availability is also an essential element to earning more money as a part-time umpire. While little league usually runs concurrent with a normal work schedule, high school and college games can occur in the middle of the day. If you have a flexible schedule, you will likely be called to ref more games.

Requirements for Becoming an Umpire

Rules are going to vary from state to state and league to league. However, at minimum you will need to take a test to demonstrate your knowledge of baseball rules.

Other common requirements include:

  • Certification: especially for high school umpires
  • Umpire classes and clinics
  • Background check
  • Registration and fees for membership in a regional or national umpire association

In addition to meeting all the knowledge and background requirements, you also need to be able to meet the physical demands of being an umpire. You must have good vision and quick reflexes. You must be able to make quick decisions and maintain an authoritative presence in public. Often, you need to be able to handle tense situations.

Where to Start

Have I sold you already? If you think you are ready to make a little extra money officiating baseball games, you probably want to know where to start.
Little league is the best place. As you gain experience and network, you’ll find opportunities to expand into high school and college.

Most little leagues run through a local town or county athletic department. You will want to speak with a program director. For high school and college levels, there is usually a head umpire, known as the Umpire in Charge, that handles assigning games.

There are a number of umpire associations that are relatively inexpensive and offer resources for finding jobs. One of the largest is the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO). There is also the Amateur Baseball Umpires’ Association (ABUA). These groups offer certifications, trainings and a connection to other umpires in your area.

Game on! Would you umpire a baseball game for extra money?

Long, long ago, before the turn of the century, before smart phones, there was a TV show called Mystery Science Theater 3000. The show featured three guys (well, two of the guys voiced-over robots) who are forced to watch poorly made movies. The bulk of the show was dedicating to screening those wretched films while the show’s cast shouted out random comments to make viewership laugh.

While the show has been off the air for over a decade, the cast is still making fun of movies and amusing viewing audiences. These days they offer a site called Rifftrax, where they sell MP3s that you can play along with your own DVDs. I’m a big fan of their show and Rifftrax MP3s (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King is one of my personal favorites), but the best part of the site is that you too can make money by making fun of movies.

What is a Riff, Exactly?

Have you ever watched a bad movie with your friends? Since the movie doesn’t grab your attention, you talk throughout the movie, you make fun of the cheesy parts and crack jokes with your friends.

Now create an audio recording of that very experience and you have a riff...

How Does iRiffs Work?

The idea is pretty straight forward. The former Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast has a library of MP3s that are to be played while viewing your DVDs. Those files, riffs, are sold on their website rifftrax.com. Given the cult nature of the show, the site gets thousands of hits from potential riff shoppers.

Since the three-man group can only cover so many movies, they decided to let fans upload their own riffs and sell them on a segment of their site called iRiffs. All you need to do is make an MP3 of yourself making fun of a movie as the movie plays, upload it and set your own price. You are paid for every purchase of your MP3 library and the rifftrax owners take a percentage of the sale.

Recording & Selling Your Riff

The good news is that it is simple to record a riff. All you need is a computer microphone and an audio recording program. Creating a riff is a lot of fun, but it is also time consuming.

Any movie is going to be a few hours long. If you want to sell your audio files, you need to be good at making fun of movies. It may even take a couple of movie views to write up a script. Also, your audio recording needs to sync up and correspond with the action going on in the movie. It doesn’t make for easy editing, if editing is even possible.

Riffs are usually sold for $1 - $2 on the site and you'll continuously earn money every time one of your riffs is sold.

Having tried to make my own riff, I speak from experience that the work is hard, but enjoyable. If you are good at making fun of movies, this is an opportunity for you to make some money from it.

Good luck Penny Hoarders!

The John Edwards trial is wrapping up this week, so we thought we'd take a look at one of the more salacious part of being a mistress - the payout.

Legal Disclaimer: Everything in this article is alleged (Should be read as: please don't sue us).

And since we here at The Penny Hoarder don't pass judgement on how people make extra money (that's also alleged), I thought'd we share some tips on how to become a political mistress should you decide to throw your caution and morality to the wind.

Without further ado, the 7 highest paid political mistresses...
 

1.    Monica Lewinsky (Bill Clinton) – at least $1.5 Million

Lesson #1: So long as your activities fit within the definition of sexual relations, you can earn big bucks stimulating a president’s package.

Bill Clinton & Monica LewinskyFrom 1995 to 1997, Monica Lewinsky worked as an unpaid intern for President Bill Clinton. Unfortunately, her service to the President also involved lipstick, cigars and stained blue dresses. The details still leave me and my fellow Americans nauseated over 15 years later.

Unlike most political mistresses, Monica never did extract any money from the first wallet. However, the affair catapulted Lewinsky to celebrity status.

She raked in $1 million in Jenny Craig endorsements and $500,000 for a book advance.

 

2.    Rielle Hunter (John Edwards) - $1 Million

Lesson #2: The sleazier the adulterer, the more money you can make.

Yes, John Edwards’ wife had terminal cancer while he engaged in a year and a half long extramarital affair. Yes, John Edwards fathered a love-child that he initially disavowed. Based on rule #1, it seems fitting that Rielle Hunter take the crown as best paid political mistress.

Rielle Hunter was a freelance videographer for the John Edwards’ campaign. Can you see where this is going? Politician plus subordinate female staffer plus camera equals…I’ll let you do the math. Surprisingly, it is one video you can’t find on the internet.

Thanks to the nature of political sex scandals, it’s hard to arrive at an exact payout figure, but estimates in the news have Hunter receiving over a million in payments for living expenses!


3.    Carrie Fulton Phillips (Warren Harding)- $540,000 in today’s dollars

Warren Harding & Carrie Fulton Phillips Lesson #3: Political parties tend to have more money to extort.

President Harding was more than living up to the innuendo derived from his name. He carried on a 15 year affair with Carrie Fulton Phillips.

When the Republican National Committee feared a scandal in the middle of the 1920 elections, they paid Phillips $50,000 and ushered her out to Asia for a long vacation. $50,000 may not seem like much, but in today’s dollars it’s nearly $540,000.

Not only is Carrie Fulton Phillips #3, she also held the record for highest paid mistress for more than 80 years. If you want a big payout, political parties are the group to extort.

4.    Ashley Dupre (Elliot Spitzer) - $1,720/hour

Elliot Spitzer & Ashley DupreLesson #4: Earn a better hourly rate by becoming a “professional.”

Not only did high-class prostitute Ashley Dupre end the presidential political aspirations of NY Governor Elliot Spitzer - by hourly standards, she was likely the best paid mistress of all.

In 2008, Feds caught client number nine, more commonly known as Elliot Spitzer, paying prostitute Ashley Dupre $4,300 for her services to the state of NY. That works out to an impressive $1,720 per hour.

If Ashley had spent 40 hours/week for 18 months (18 months was the duration of the Edwards/Hunter affair) “working” for Spitzer, she’d have pulled in over $5.3 million dollars.

5.    Stephen Gobie (Barney Frank) - $80 for Fun, a Shrink, a Job and a Place to Run a Prostitution Ring

Barney Frank & Stephen GobieLesson #5: Even guys can be mistresses, thanks to politics.

This is definitely the type of affair that is hard to put a price tag on. We do know that former congressman Barney Frank met up with Stephen Gobie in 1985 and paid $80 for service(s). Over the next two years, Frank shelled out several thousands to pay income and expenses for Gobie.

Gobie was hired as a driver and an aid. Frank paid for Stephen to see a court-ordered shrink. He also let Gobie run a prostitution ring out of the congressional apartment.

6.    Cynthia Hampton (John Ensign)– about $30,000 for the entire Hampton Family

John Ensign & Cynthia HamptonLesson #6: As a mistress, you are entitled to spread payments and favors to the whole family.

2008 was a very good year for politicians and their mistresses. While Rielle Hunter and Ashley Dupre were busy working on their own political ambitions, Cynthia Hampton was improving her family’s income.

Throughout the beginning of 2008, Cynthia Hampton and her immediate family received a number of large payouts from Ensign. Cynthia received double her normal paycheck for three months. Her son earned a $5,400 payout. Cynthia’s husband banked nearly $20,000.

All-in-all, the Hampton family made over $30,000 in just a few months.

 

7.    Ginger White (Herman Cain) – various living expenses for 13 years

Herman Cain & Ginger WhiteLesson #7: Sometimes, it’s about how long the affair can last.

Last fall, Herman Cain was rapidly ascending the ranks of the Republican primary field. Discovery of his mistress, Ginger White, would send Cain home limping.

For 13 years, Herman Cain flew Mistress Ginger White out to hotels while he was out speaking or on business. In return, Cain admits to paying various living expenses according to news reports.

 

Seriously, is Being a Mistress Worth It?

I’d venture a guess and say that most of the women above lead less happy lives today. Exposure of their affairs has ruined many careers and reputations. While some have enjoyed celebrity status, that celebrity has a price. In 2005, Monica Lewinsky even moved to the UK to escape her notoriety.

One thing is clear though, if your going to become a mistress, politics is an industry worth focusing your efforts. Let’s face it. Politicians and paramours are more common than peanut butter and jelly. Most importantly, political offices are filled with millionaires. Millionaires who have access to trust funds, cushy jobs, taxpayer money, donor money and organizations looking to protect a legislative meal ticket.

Sure, these are also powerful people who control the CIA, FBI, DHS and every other three letter acronym ever dreamed. However, successful mistresses have not only lived to tell the tale, they’ve also made some significant gains in their net worth in the process. "Success" can be a bitter pill though.

Do you have a large stash of photos? Are you an accomplished photographer with an eye for excellent, quality photographs?

Dust off your family photo albums and start digging through your old photo boxes; it’s time to make some cash.

Fotokoi is an online market that allows people to exchange photos. The best part is, people interested in your work will pay you for rights to your photo.

Need the Perfect Picture?

Since online publishing has become more prevalent, there is a great need for stock photos. While databases can be extensive, they don’t always have what you are looking for; or, at least, it’s not always easy to find.

This is where the Fotokoi business model comes in...

How Fotokoi Works...

There are two types of people in the Fotokoi world: those that have photos and those trying to find the perfect image. Those looking for images make a request on Fotokoi and include a description of the type of photo they are looking for and the amount of money they are willing to pay for the photo. For example, there is a request for a picture of grandparents for $5. While $5 is fairly standard, there are requests that pay even more.

If a photographer has a suitable picture, he can load the image to Fotokoi and respond to the request. Since the whole marketplace can respond, there are usually multiple submissions. The person making the photo request can then select the winning photo from the pool of submissions and send payment.

What Kinds of Requests Will You See?

There are plenty of photo requests for you to submit and potentially earn a little money. Some requests are basic, like a happy mom and her kids. On the other hand, some requests are pretty weird- like UFOs. Here's a list of 12 requests we found in the last few days:

  • Grandparents
  • Lego toys
  • Times Square celebration
  • Unhappy women
  • Metal surface
  • Money
  • Secretary
  • African American graduation
  • Public transit station
  • Vintage tractor
  • Despair
  • Photos of Sarasota, FL

Caveats to using Fotokoi

While Fotokoi does create an excellent platform for image users and photographers to get together and buy/sell pictures, there are a few caveats to be aware of.

You can’t earn the full commission offered by photo seekers. Fotokoi receives a 15% commission on any transaction.

Also, you submit photos for the requestor to view. Once the requestor has those submissions, nothing prevents them from taking your photo without payment. The exchange is done completely on the honor system. Of course, you could later go after them for a copyright violation, but that can be very time consuming and expensive.

No one’s getting rich from submitting photos on Fotokoi. Well, not yet anyways. However, most requests are basic enough for anyone to submit a high-quality photo. Who knows, you might walk away five or ten dollars richer.

Good luck Penny Hoarders!

Ever sit next to someone on an airplane that you’d love to send hurtling to the ground miles below?

Believe it or not, there is job where people are paid to do just that. There is a downside, though. You have to strap yourself to the person and jump out of the plane with them. The good news is that you get paid for each passenger launched out of the plane, and you are given a canopy to slow your fall.

The job? Skydiving instructor!

How Much Do Skydiving Instructors Make?

I know it’s hard to believe, but skydiving instructors earn money to fall dangerously fast to the ground and teach others how to fall too. Pay can vary since work is dependent on good weather. Also, instructors are paid per jump.

According to Bankrate, instructors will earn on average between $18,000 and $30,000 per year.

What Do You Need To Become a Skydiving Instructor?

I always thought that the greatest challenge to becoming a skydiving instructor would be working up the nerve to fling yourself out of a plane two and a half miles above the ground, twelve times a day. But no, skydiving instructors also need to be well trained.

While skydiving companies may have their own qualifications for hiring skydiving instructors, the minimum, legal requirements from the FAA are that you:

  • Have a minimum of three years parachuting experience
  • Completed over 500 jumps
  • Are a certified parachutist with a recognized organization like USPA parachute
  • Finished a course from the parachute manufacturer on how to operate its tandem parachute
  • Received a certification from the manufacturer of the tandem parachute

Additional talents such as an ability to pull a rip cord and fall through the sky like a stone are also necessities. Luckily, the rules of gravity apply to all human beings.

How To Meet The Qualifications

I hope you like to jump out of planes because you’ll need to do a lot of skydiving to meet minimum qualifications. The good news is that there are excellent programs available to help get you started. Many skydiving schools offer courses to help you get a USPA class A license. A class A license includes a number of solo dives, hopefully successful dives and a total of 25 jumps.

Ultimately, you’ll need a class D license to become a skydiving instructor. Requirements for a class D mirror FAA regulations, which is a total of 500 rapid descents to earth.

Have you ever gone skydiving?
Would You Ever Consider Becoming a skydiving instructor?


Good luck Penny Hoarders!

Let’s take a moment and count all the reasons why people hate jury duty.

  1. You don’t have a choice
  2. Cramped in a stuffy courthouse
  3. Stuck with eleven other strangers who are just as miserable  as you
  4. You don’t know how long you are going to be in jury duty
  5. At most, you can expect a mere $50 per day
  6. You can be fined or jailed for being late
  7. Hours and hours of legal argument

With a list like that, it’s pretty hard to get excited about jury duty. However, I wonder if jury duty could be fun - or at least, tolerable. What if you could:

  1. Wear your pajamas while on jury duty?
  2. Attend from the comfort of your bedroom?
  3. Turn down cases you aren’t interested in?
  4. Get paid roughly $10 to $20 per hour?

If that’s the kind of jury duty you would sign up for, then there’s good news. There are plenty of online sites, that will pay you to do just that...

What is Online Jury Duty?

Many trials have millions of dollars at stake and winning or losing is all hinged on an attorney making a compelling argument in front of a jury. The problem most lawyers have is that they don’t always know how a jury will receive their arguments. How disposed is one individual when two sides of an argument is presented? Picking the best legal argument is not as easy as it might seem.

Online jury duty is an effective way to help lawyers prepare for trial by offering them the opportunity to have a jury audience hear their case and get feedback from people who could potentially sit on a jury. Your input could mean be a critical ingredient to legal success.

How Online Jury Duty Works

Online jury duty is also easy to participate in and most online jury sites work the same way. Once you register, your information goes into a jury pool, where you are either selected at random or for your particular location or criteria.

Once selected, you are sent files with text or audio so that you hear arguments from both sides of a case. Once you’ve finished with the case materials, you fill out a questionnaire about the case.

What Online Jury Sites are Available?


Trial Juries – They pay roughly $30 a case, more if you are selected for a more complicated case.

Online Verdict – Pays between $20 and $60 dollars a case depending on complexity.

eJury – Pays $5 - $10 per case, depending on length

You may not be able to avoid listening to legal arguments, online juries do allow you to earn a little extra money and you never have to step foot in a courtroom.

So, would you participate in an online jury? Or does it seem as much as a nightmare as the real thing? :)

Good luck Penny Hoarders!

Good Idea: use your talents to sell a product and earn a little extra money.

Big Problem: you don’t think you have any marketable talents.

Didn’t you know that everyone has a talent? It’s true and I can prove it. Do you know how to speak your native language? You do? Great! You can earn money teaching it.

Globalization is flattening the world so that cultures all over the world can communicate with each other and share ideas. However, if you want to be a part of it, language is still barrier.

There’s a world full of people looking to break into the opportunity of globalization, but they’ll need a language teacher first. If you know how to speak a language, you qualify for this freelance job...

Becoming a Language Teacher is Easy

There are plenty of ways to become a language teacher, but not all ways are preferable.

English speakers are in high demand in Asia. Traditionally, Asian companies transplant teachers from their native countries and install them in Asia for face-to-face instruction. It’s expensive for Asian companies and makes recruiting teachers more complicated. However, the internet offers the opportunity for virtual classrooms and instruction. That’s the idea behind italki.

Italki is an online language marketplace that offers virtual classroom space for freelance teachers and students. Anyone can offer lessons or take classes. The best part is that teachers can earn income and students can find low-cost lessons.

How Teaching Through italki Works

It couldn’t be easier:

  1. You register through the site for free
  2. Set up a curriculum
  3. Set your own teaching rate
  4. Kick back and wait for students

Italki not only puts teachers and students together, they also have a vast number of online language resources. It helps get consumer traffic to the marketplace for you and all for free.

But, I Only Speak English!

The good news for language entrepreneurs is that you often don’t need to speak a second language, just a native language. Any beginning student would need someone that is bilingual, but advanced students simply need a native speaker to work on correct word usage, accent and cultural understanding. Advanced students can already understand your language. They just need a native speaker to listen to or help explain complex intricacies of language. It may sound simple to you, but pluralizing goose and geese isn’t as easy for a foreign speaker.

A quick look at most teaching prices show that many charge about $12/half hour. Not a bad rate of pay for talking to someone for 30 minutes. I may never talk for free again!

Good luck Penny Hoarders!