ScoreCard Research Steve Gillman - The Penny Hoarder

My wife and I were camping at a hot spring in Arizona when a small camper van pulled in. We watched a man get out and remove many large plastic bags, which he piled on the roof. He was making room, so he could spend the night in his home on the road.

Later, around a campfire, we asked him about the bags.

They were full of used stuffed animals he bought at thrift stores, and he said he made about $4,000 per month selling them alongside various highways and roads as he traveled.

It may be an unusual way to make a living, but many people live in and work from motor homes, trailers, truck campers and conversion vans.

“Workampers are adventurous individuals, couples and families who have chosen a wonderful lifestyle that combines ANY kind of part-time or full-time work with RV camping,” explains Workamper News, a website dedicated to people who make money from the road.

Are you ready to hit the road and make money while living in an RV?

What Kind of Work Can You Do While Living in an RV?

Many campers get seasonal jobs working in campgrounds or parks, Workamper editor Steve Anderson told CBS News.

He notes businesses are also common. “We have literally hundreds of members running businesses out of their RVs and living in multiple places every year."

Anderson mentions the following examples of businesses his subscribers operate while traveling in their recreational vehicles:

  • Sales of RV-related products
  • Consulting services
  • Dating services
  • Law practices
  • Contract nursing
  • Business consulting
  • RV repair tutoring

“With the advent of the internet and especially now with the tools for bandwidth to connect to the internet, the door is open to do multiple things from an RV,” he explains.

Not even selling bulky items is out of the question, because you can drop ship them or carry them in a trailer behind a motorhome.

Who Is Living in an RV, and How Much Can They Earn?

Many people who live in their RVs are retirees who supplement their retirement or Social Security income with jobs or businesses. But Anderson says, “We have people in their 30s and 40s who are successfully living the RV lifestyle and running businesses.”

And your income may not be as limited as you might think. For example, Steve McMahon told Entrepreneur he sold about 5,000 “high-gain cellular-telephone antennas” for $70 while traveling the country in his 37-foot motorhome. That’s $350,000 in total sales.

The same article says Richard Dahl made and sold more than 1,300 RV water filters at $30 each while traveling for a couple years.

He expanded his business to include hundreds of items, and started The RV Water Filter Store website, shipping items from any post office he passed as he traveled. In addition to covering his living and traveling expenses, the profits allow him to save $30,000 per year.

Terry Cooper was a college instructor before hitting the road with his Mobile RV Academy. Now he runs five-day courses teaching people how to maintain and repair RVs.

Attendees pay $1,644 in tuition, and Cooper had courses scheduled in 10 locations around the country in 2015.

Not every job or business on the road has to be RV-related. Your RV can be just a way to move from job to job or move where you like if you have a business. Software developer and author Bill Myers says he’s talked to many people living in an RV, including:

  • Internet entrepreneurs
  • Construction workers
  • Tourist area workers (They move with the seasons.)
  • Aerospace engineers (working on a spaceport in New Mexico)

Michelle Brunner runs ReMiks Jewelry from her motorhome. “I crisscross the country full time in my RV in search of natural and organic elements, as well as recycled treasures,” she explains.

How to Work While Living in an RV

Selling everything and starting a vagabond lifestyle is a big transition, but it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Myers offers the example of a couple who bought a $5,000 used motorhome and cut their cost of living from $6,000 per month to about $400 per month. He also says he bought a 26-foot travel trailer for $4,000 and ran his newsletter business from it.

How do you learn what you need to know? Try hanging out in the Workamper forums for a while.

Where to Find Work on the Road

Talk to others who are living and working from their RVs, or start with these resources:

  • American Crystal Sugar Company: This company needs RV campers for the sugar beet harvest, which starts around the end of September in Montana and North Dakota. “Sugar Beet Employees can make up to $2,500 in a two-week time frame,” the company says.
  • Look for campground host positions on this job board.
  • You’ll find various job postings here. Examples include park management jobs, front desk positions and sales work.
  • Workamper News: A subscription is $47 per year, but you can see featured companies for free. Under “Job Resources” click “Featured Employers” to find a list of companies and organizations that hire RVers.

Of course, jobs are not your only options. In fact, starting a business will give you the most freedom to go where you like. If you look over my list of 103 ways you can make money from home, you’ll find dozens of businesses you could operate from an RV.

Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).

Suppose you're helping a friend or relative with some deep cleaning and you come upon stacks of ancient newspapers. What do you do?

Don't throw them away! You might be able to sell them just as they are or use them to make creative and profitable products. In fact, old newspapers can be worth a lot of cash if you know what to do with them.

Curious about earning money with something you’d normally just recycle? Here’s how to make money from newspaper.

Where to Find Old Newspapers

First, you'll need a supply of old papers. There are several places to find them, including:

  • Basements
  • Garages
  • Attics
  • Family members' houses
  • From "old newspapers wanted" ads on Craigslist

The newspapers don't have to be ancient -- just old enough to evoke nostalgic feelings in some people. Look for newspapers from at least 30 years ago, but experiment with newer ones if that's what you have.

3 Ways to Make Money Using Old Newspapers

Once you’ve found some old newspapers, here’s how you can use them to make extra cash.

1. Sell Vintage Ads

Everything from my previous post on how to make money with old magazine ads applies to newspapers as well. Just cut out any ads that are likely to trigger a bit of nostalgia. These might include advertisements for classic cars, favorite foods and cigarettes.

Sell the ads on an as-is basis on eBay, or frame them if you’re selling at a flea market or antique booth and want to get a higher price. The market for newspaper ads is not nearly as active as it is for magazines, but of the more than 7,100 results that came up when searching "newspaper ads" on eBay, these examples had active bidding:

  • Large 1962 newspaper ad for Chevrolet, Pick Pack & Go, 4 Sun ‘n Fun models. High bid: $4.25.
  • 1930 Mickey Mouse Club original full-page newspaper ad. High bid: $16.50.
  • 1981 “American Pop” cult classic film movie opening day ad. High bid: $77.

Buyers also typically pay $3 to $4 for shipping, which is enough to send the ad and have some extra profit left over.

2. Sell Birthdate Newspapers

Ah, nostalgia! It makes for so many ways to cash in on old stuff. There are even companies that sell birthdate newspapers for up to $50 each. For example, a visitor to can enter a friend's date of birth and have an original newspaper from that date sent to him as a gift for $49.99 plus $9.50 shipping.

Of course, you aren't likely to have tens of thousands of papers "carefully stored in a climate-controlled environment" like has, so you might not be able to copy its business model. What do you do if you just have a dozen old newspapers you want to sell?

Open an account on eBay if you don't already have one, and list your papers for sale. I searched "newspaper" plus my date of birth and found just one result listed, for $22.34 with shipping. Most dates I randomly searched yielded prices between $10 and $20, plus shipping. Many dates had zero results -- which means that if you have a newspaper from one of those dates, you have no competition when someone searches for it.

You might also have some luck selling old newspapers at an antique consignment shop, but you could wait for years for someone with a particular date of birth to see any given paper and buy it.

You could also combine this strategy and the first one. Frame the front pages to sell as birthdate nostalgia, and then clip out and sell the ads inside the paper.

3. Sell Newspaper Creations

A post about newspaper crafts on shows just how creative you can get with old news. Origami bows, pop art and hanging triangle banners are among the 35 creations featured. Some of them could even earn you some money.

On, Holly Anne Mitchell sells necklaces, earrings, bracelets and many other artistic creations made from newspaper. She has had exhibitions in Newseum, The Museum of Art and Design and The Renwick Gallery.

Mitchell does not specifically use old newspapers, but it seems likely that you can cash in on nostalgia here as well. Who wouldn't prefer their paper bracelet to be made from a newspaper published the day they were born?

Other possibilities? A search on led to "Vintage Newspaper Background Placemats" for sale for $16.05 each, plus shipping. It appeared to be a roughly cut laminated chuck of any random page of an old paper. Ah nostalgia… what a money-maker.

Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).

We’ve talked before about selling wine bottles and corks to make money, but what about soft drink and beer cans and bottles? Yes, you can make money with those as well! Let me tell you a true story.

When I worked in a Michigan casino, we had a soda machine in the break room. Blackjack dealers get a 15-minute break every hour, so it was a well-used machine.

Every hour on my break, I gathered the empty cans and plastic bottles left on the tables and plucked them from the top of the trash can. I rinsed them in the break room sink and put them in plastic grocery bags, 25 in each bag. I took home three to five bags after each shift.

Why? In Michigan, all carbonated beverage containers can be returned for a 10-cent deposit, so I was walking out of that break room with $7 to $13 every shift. By the time the casino management removed the soda machine a year later, I had made an extra $1,500 collecting cans and bottles on my breaks. And that's in addition to the returnable drink containers I gathered from other sources.

I did well enough, but not as well as another man I met -- he paid his entire rent from the empties he collected.

Here’s how to make money with all those cans and bottles.

Aluminum Can Prices at Scrapyards and Recycling Centers

If you live in one of the states without a deposit law, the only drink containers worth bothering with are aluminum cans. Even those aren't worth much, especially since the aluminum content has been reduced in soda and beer cans.

Aluminum can prices at scrapyards and recycling centers around the country vary, but not much. A recycling center in Fairfield, Ohio, is paying 45 cents per pound for anything 50 pounds and over, and a scrap metal buyer in Salt Lake City is paying 45 cents per pound. Prices go up and down but are usually similar throughout the country at any given time. With approximately a half-ounce of aluminum per can, or 32 cans per pound, that makes each one worth about 1.7 cents.

Although there are some people making a living collecting cans in the streets, it isn't a good living. When my wife and I lived in Tucson, we saw people with garbage bags full of hundreds of cans they had collected from parks and garbage bins, but at less than 2 cents each, even a thousand cans is nothing to get excited about.

The Best Prices: Bottle Deposits

For most of us to get motivated to collect cans and bottles, they have to be worth substantially more than a penny or two. That's why the best opportunities are in states with "bottle bills," laws requiring a deposit. Michigan has the highest standard deposit at 10 cents. Most other states with such laws have a 5-cent deposit, although some require higher deposits on larger cans or liquor bottles. According to the Bottle Bill Resource Guide, 10 states and one U.S. territory have deposit laws as of this writing:

  1. California
  2. Connecticut
  3. Hawaii
  4. Iowa
  5. Maine
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Michigan
  8. New York
  9. Oregon
  10. Vermont
  11. Guam

If you live in an area with deposit laws, you probably already know the routine. In Michigan, stores have to redeem your empties for the deposit if they carry that brand, even if that particular can or bottle wasn't purchased there. Most of the larger stores now have can and bottle sorting machines that you load yourself (though this can be sticky work). Once you run your empties through the machine, you get a ticket to cash in at any register.

So is there really much money in this? Well, there was that man I met who paid his rent by collecting empties in the streets. And apparently, 10 cents each is enticing enough that people still smuggle empty cans into Michigan like “Seinfeld” characters Kramer and Newman.

But for most of us, returnable beverage containers are just a way to make a little extra cash.

Where to Search for Extra Cans

Want to do it without resorting to digging through trash cans in parks? Try these places to look for extra cans.


At outdoor music venues, people toss their empties left and right while partying in the parking lot. In northern Michigan, I spoke to a couple who said they made more than $100 in a couple of hours by driving their pickup truck into the parking lot of a concert and loading up the back with all of the empty beer and soda cans there. Of course, it probably took another hour to run all those empties through the sorting machines at the grocery store. Any outdoor concert venue might be worth checking out.


In Traverse City, Michigan, I spoke with can collectors who come from out of town just to make money during the National Cherry Festival each summer. With half a million visitors in one week, it isn't surprising that there are a lot of empties to pluck off the grass and picnic tables. It might be worth looking into nearby festivals if you live in a state with a deposit on beverage cans and bottles.

Friends and Family

Your friends and family are another good source of returnable empties. I once returned 700 cans for a friend who didn't want to deal with the pile in his garage; we agreed to split the proceeds, and I kept $35 of the $70.

If family members or friends don't like to return their empties, you might drive a route to a few homes every two weeks to pick them up. It's a very earth-friendly thing to do, and a few dollars in cans at each stop might add up to enough money for your time.

Antique Cans

If you happen to be collecting empties in a garage or barn that has been around for a while, keep an eye out for certain old cans. Some antique collectible beer cans are worth $35 to $1,000. Regular aluminum can prices range from 1.7 to 10 cents each.

Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).

When I was a repo man, one of my more unusual assignments was repossessing a Cadillac from a recent $1 million lottery winner.

While investigating to determine where the vehicle was hidden, I learned that when the annual lottery checks arrived she quickly spent them partying, leaving her without enough to make her car payments. One night, I drove her car away while she slept.

It's tough to say how often lottery wins have happier endings. Given the many national lotteries around the world and the 44 state lotteries in the U.S., there have probably been thousands of $1 million-plus winners, and some of them must responsibly manage their winnings.

But sadly, some lottery winners lose it all very quickly.

It's too easy to find one tragic real-life case after another. Here are 21 of the worst. And what if you win big in the lottery someday? What mistakes should you avoid? The lessons are pretty clear, and they’re right there in the stories if you pay attention.

1. A Typical Story?

Lisa Arcand won $1 million in the Massachusetts lottery in 2004. She bought a house and went on vacations like many winners.

Of course, a million dollars isn't much after taxes, so she also opened a restaurant to make some additional income. Sadly, within a few years she ran out of money and closed the failing restaurant. In 2007, she said of her lottery experience, "Actually, it’s been very depressing."

2. From Millionaire to Factory Worker

Michael Carroll was a garbage man in England when, at age 19, he won £9.7 million (about $14.4 million at the time) in the lottery in 2002. A mansion, drugs and gold jewelry ate up the money quickly.

By 2012, Carroll was broke and living off unemployment checks. Now he works in a slaughterhouse, making £400 (about $511) per week.

3. Party Down... and Down, and Down

Gerald Muswagon, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, won $10 million in 1998. He bought cars for friends and family, and made his new house into a "party pad."

Eventually, he’d spent all his money and he took a minimum-wage job to support his six children and his girlfriend. In 2005, just seven years after his big win, he took his own life.

4. Generous to a Fault

Janite Lee won $18 million in 1993. Although her gambling habit reportedly cost her more than $300,000 per year, she may have spent more on charitable and political donations. Her generosity included $1 million for Washington University to build a new library. In 2001, she filed for bankruptcy.

5. Millionaire or Murderer?

Willie Hurt won $3.1 million in the Michigan lottery in 1989. The money didn't last long. Within two years Hurt wrecked his marriage, lost custody of his kids and was charged with attempted murder. He spent his winnings on his divorce and drugs, according to his attorney.

6. Big Winner Goes Deep in Debt

Suzanne Mullins won $4.2 million in 1993 in the Virginia lottery. She split the prize with her husband and was supposed to receive 20 annual after-tax payments of $47,778.

But when money got tight, she borrowed from a company that lends cash to lottery winners. In 2000, the lottery rules changed, allowing Mullins to collect the rest of her money all at once. She apparently spent the money rather than pay back what she owed to the lottery lender, and in 2004 a court ruled she still owed the company $154,147.

7. $31 Million Gone in Two Years

Billie Bob Harrell Jr. won $31 million in the Lotto Texas game in 1997, and he no longer had to stock shelves at Home Depot.

He bought a ranch and a few homes, gave money to his church and made loans to friends. Everyone wanted a piece of his money, and soon his marriage was in trouble as he lent and spent all of his winnings. In 1999, less than two years after his big win, Harrell took his own life.

8. Big Spending

Sharon Tirabassi, of Hamilton, Ontario, won $10.5 million in 2004. She treated friends to vacations in Cancun, Las Vegas, California, Florida and the Caribbean. She got married and bought a house for $515,000 -- and got a $360,000 mortgage loan rather than paying all cash. She bought numerous cars, including one that cost more than $200,000, and gave millions of dollars to family and friends.

By 2007, half of her money was gone. By 2008, with her husband in jail for a DUI, Tiribassi lost their home. Now, to pay the rent and support her kids, she takes the bus to her part-time job.

9. Living for the Moment

Lou Eisenberg won $5 million in 1981, which at the time was the largest lottery win ever. After taxes, he received payments of $120,000 annually for 20 years. He bought a condo in Florida, took trips to Europe and Hawaii, and gambled. He also gave cash to whoever he figured needed it. Of his spending, he says, "I lived for the day."

Shortly after cashing his last check in 2001, Eisenberg was broke. Now 81 years old, he lives in a mobile home on social security and pension income that amounts to about $1,000 a month.

10. Elderly Lottery Winner Looking for a Job

Vivian Nicholson, of Castleford, England, won £152,300 in 1961, the equivalent of about £3 million today ($3.5 million). She famously vowed to "spend, spend, spend!" She bought expensive designer dresses, vacations, and a new car every six months.

By the 1970s, Nicholson was broke. In 1998, she received money from "Spend, Spend, Spend," a musical about her life, and spent it all quickly. By 2007, at age 71, she was living on a pension of £87 weekly ($102), and was looking for a job. After sending out 25 resumes, she still hadn't found one. She died in 2015.

11. Karmic Lottery Loss

Denise Rossi won $1.3 million in the California Lottery in 1996. But instead of telling her husband of 25 years -- who thought they were happily married -- she asked for a divorce, and said she wanted it done quickly.

Soon after the divorce, Rossi’s ex-husband discovered her deception. In 1999, a judge determined that she had broken asset disclosure laws, and he awarded her husband every penny of her winnings.

12. “Nightmares”

William "Bud" Post won $16.2 million in 1993, and five years later said, "Everybody dreams of winning money, but nobody realizes the nightmares that come out of the woodwork, or the problems."

Post’s brother tried to hire someone to kill him and his wife. A landlady forced him to give her a third of his winnings. He was convicted of assault for firing a shotgun at a bill collector, and for passing bad checks. He declared bankruptcy. When Post died in 2006, he left behind little or nothing for his seventh wife and the nine children he had with his sixth wife.

13. Killed for His Money?

Urooj Khan won $1 million in the Illinois lottery in 2012, and opted for the lump-sum payout of $424,500 instead of annual payments. He planned to use the money to expand his dry-cleaning business.

Sadly, Khan died less than a month after winning, the day after his check was mailed. While his death was ruled natural at first, a test later revealed that he had been poisoned with cyanide. The police have not named a suspect, and a subsequent autopsy revealed nothing more.

14. Another Lottery Winner Poisoned

Ibi Roncailoli won a $5 million Lotto prize in 1991, in Ontario, Canada. Soon afterward, she gave $2 million of her winnings to a child she had secretly had with a man who was not her husband.

When her husband, gynecologist Joseph Roncailoli, discovered the truth, he poisoned his wife. He went to jail for manslaughter, but not before reportedly asking Ibi's family for help in paying for her funeral.

15. Two Lottery Wins, Very Little Money

Evelyn Adams won the New Jersey lottery twice, in 2005 and 2006, collecting $5.4 million in total. Spending sprees, bad investments, gifts to family and a gambling habit all helped her get rid of the money quickly.

16. Defrauded by a Friend

Marva Wilson won $2 million in the Missouri lottery in 2012. Freya Pearson, whom Marva considered a friend, tricked her into giving Pearson unrestricted access to her bank account.

Pearson used the money to travel, gamble and buy cars and an apartment, spending more than $640,000 of Wilson's winnings. Just two years after cashing in her winning ticket, Wilson was broke.

17. Tax Fraud and Other Problems

Alex Toth won $13 million in the Florida lottery in 1990. He lived well for a few years, then went broke, split up with his wife, got in trouble for filing false tax returns and spent some time in a mental institution. He avoided going to trial for the tax fraud charges by dying, penniless, at age 60 in 2008.

18. Yet Another Lottery Divorce

Lara and Robert Griffith won £1.8 million ($2.1 million today) in the Lotto in 2005. They bought a home for £670,000 ($790,000), along with a Lexus 4x4 and a Porsche convertible. Robert paid for his band to have a record made, and Lara splurged on designer handbags. They set up a beauty salon business.

Then, six years later, Roger disappeared with the Porsche and Lara discovered suspicious emails on his computer. He denied having an affair, but the marriage ended, the money was gone and now Lara is an employee at the salon they used to own.

19. Too Young to Win?

Callie Rogers is perhaps the youngest big lottery winner. At age 16, she won £1.9 million ($2.2 million) in 2003. Her winnings went toward cosmetic surgery, drugs and partying. She says she attempted suicide three times.

Now married and a mother of three, she has only £2,000 ($2,359) left in the bank, but says she is finally happy. She says of the experience, "I was too young to win the lottery -- I don’t think 16-year-olds should be eligible."

20. A $27 Million Spending Spree

David Lee Edwards split a $280 million Powerball jackpot with three others, a win that came while he was unemployed and living in his parents’ basement. After taxes, he received a lump sum of $27 million. He bought a $600,000 house, a $1 million fleet of cars, a $78,000 watch, a $1.9 million jet, 200 swords and other medieval weapons, and a $4.5 million fiber-optics installation company. He also married a woman 19 years younger than he was.

Within a year, he had spent $12 million. The house was soon lost to foreclosure, his wife was arrested for stabbing a boyfriend, and David died at age 58 in 2013.

21. A Millionaire Wins the Lottery

Jack Whittaker was already a millionaire when, on Christmas of 2002, he won $314.9 million, the biggest single-person lottery win in history. He opted for a lump-sum payment, which after taxes, left him with $93 million. His contracting business, which employed over 100 people, provided a great living, but his humble lifestyle meant few people knew how much he made. The lottery winnings were apparently a different kind of income.

Whittaker spent money at strip clubs and casinos. He gave millions to charities. His habit of leaving cash in his car resulted in thefts of $545,000 one time and $100,000 another, and his house was robbed. He showered gifts and cash on his beloved 16-year-old granddaughter, who spent much of the money on drugs. A year later, she was found, apparently murdered.

Whittaker rarely speaks to the press now, and some reports say he is broke. When asked if life was easier before his big win, he said, "Yeah, it was a lot easier then."

Steve Gillman is the author of, “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of Of the more than 100 ways he has personally made money, writing is his favorite (so far).

When you think of mystery shopping, you probably imagine going to a restaurant and quietly checking out the environment, service and food. You’ll get a free meal, maybe a few bucks and that's it.

But you might be surprised by many of the other niches in mystery shopping, some of which are more interesting and more profitable.

For example, I recently reported on being a "mystery worshipper" for $45 per church service. You secretly rate the church, and it uses the information to improve its services and attract new members.

Sometimes a mystery shopping company specializes in one niche, while other times they have several departments. Here’s a look at some of the more unusual mystery shopping opportunities.

1. Get Paid to Enjoy Spa Treatments

Coyle Hospitality evaluates companies in travel-related niches, and one of its specialties is spa mystery shopping. These assignments are all over the world, so this could be a good one if you want some freebies and extra income while you travel.

The company also offers hotel and restaurant assignments, but if you just want the spa treatments, don't worry. The sign-up page says evaluators "may request assignments at their discretion."

As for potential earnings, the page says "All mystery shopping assignments pay a fee plus reimbursable expenses as directed by the client."

2. Make Money Going to the Movies

[caption id="attachment_65272" align="alignnone" width="1200"]People eat popcorn while watching a movie in the movie theater. Jacob Ammentorp Lund/Getty Images[/caption]

As a "certified field associate" for Market Force, you go to theaters to watch movies and trailers, to count patrons and sometimes to set up movie posters. Some visits are traditional mystery shopping assignments, while at other times the management knows you're there and your task might be something like, "Watch and record all advertisements shown prior to the feature."

The Penny Hoarder founder Kyle Taylor says he was paid $30 to attend a Harry Potter premiere, but the pay varies and can be lower than that. Of course, getting to watch movies for free in exchange for counting ads or patrons isn't such a bad deal.

3. Get Free Beer

The "Bar Integrity Mystery Shop" is one of MSP Services’ specialties. As a mystery shopper, you'll pose as a regular customer while secretly rating each bar on speed of service, friendliness, accuracy, cleanliness and other factors.

MSP Services does other types of mystery shops, but the application page makes it clear "you can choose the shops that best fit your schedule." That means you can skip the restaurant assignments if you just want to go to bars.

4. Ride Roller Coasters for Free

Riding roller coasters is just one of the possible duties you'll have working as an amusement park mystery shopper for Amusement Advantage. The company works strictly in the amusement industry, a niche that "includes theme parks, amusement parks, water parks and family entertainment centers.” In other words you could have some fun assignments.

The company says it often pays only expenses, but that "includes reimbursement for reasonable expenses associated with completing the assignment such as parking and purchases you need to make at the facility such as tickets, food, merchandise and games or attractions charges."

In other words, you (and sometimes a partner) get a free day of fun, and sometimes additional pay, including a $5 bonus for quickly submitting your evaluation.

5. Get Paid to Go to the Doctor

The Baird Group does medical mystery shopping.

As a medical mystery shopper, you'll "pose as patients on the phone to hospitals and clinics, or observe on-site interactions to help us create more positive patient experiences and stronger provider/patient relationships," according to their careers page.

Sometimes, "mystery patients will present as patients with symptoms of a non-threatening matter," similar to working as a standardized patient. The website does not mention what you'll be paid, but as with many mystery shopping companies, you'll need a PayPal account to collect.

6. Make Money Test Driving Cars

[caption id="attachment_65274" align="alignnone" width="1200"]A man drives to work in his car. Geber86/Getty Images[/caption]

BestMark is one company that does automotive mystery shopping. You go to car lots and pose as a potential buyer, which means you test drive a car and listen to a sales pitch, and so on.

Kyle Taylor says he made $60 for each dealership he visited when he was doing automotive mystery shopping.

7. Mystery Shop Banks

Customer Impact does financial institution mystery shopping. As a shopper, you evaluate banks, credit unions, and investment companies for their service, facilities and more. Assignments are both for in-person visits and phone call shops.

8. Evaluate Apartments

Jancyn has a division focused on apartment mystery shopping. You pose as a potential tenant and go through the process of looking at apartments.

Don't be sloppy filling out the shopper application. Jancyn says, "Our mystery shoppers are evaluated for their integrity, writing skills and attention to detail before becoming independent contractors with us."

9. Mystery Shop Real Estate Agents

You can be paid to look at houses and rate the agent who shows them to you by working with AdvancedFeedback.

You might do phone call shops or become an "Advanced Undercover Video Specialist" and work in the field. The latter position requires you to get a couple of certifications first, and the application page notes that you must own your own equipment to apply.

10. Paid to Gamble

OK, they're not really going to cover your losses if you gamble, but both Imyst and BestMark have casino mystery shopping opportunities. You might be evaluating the slot attendants, the table games or the casino's restaurants and bars.

11. Mystery Shop the Government

Shopper Confidential does mystery shopping of government agencies and services. As a shopper, you might use websites, make phone calls and visit offices of municipal, provincial and federal governments in Canada and the US.

The website FAQ says, "Typically, Shoppers receive payments of $15-$20 per assignment, plus any expenses incurred are reimbursed."

12. Get Paid to Go to Concerts

[caption id="attachment_65277" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Sleigh Bells perform for fans during a concert. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

BestMark has been targeting the producers of "Sporting events, concerts, conventions, plays and many other public events" for its mystery shopping service.

"If you're fortunate enough to snag an assignment where you get to cover a concert, football game or another public event, you'll be tasked with making note of how facilities are operated from the perspective of a patron,” the company says.

Have Fun but Be Careful

Mystery shopping scams do exist, so be careful. It's usually a good idea to stick with companies that are members of the MSPA (Mystery Shopping Providers Association).

In any case, here are some simple rules you can follow to avoid being scammed:

  • Never pay to become a mystery shopper
  • Never pay to see a list of mystery shopping jobs
  • Never agree to cash a check and send money back

You generally don't make much money as a mystery shopper. Kyle Taylor made $5,000 per month auditing liquor stores (and got free beer), but most gigs pay very little for your time. For most shoppers, it's not a way to pay the bills, but a fun way to generate some extra income and get some freebies.

Steve Gillman is the author of "101 Weird Ways to Make Money" and creator of He's been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).

I’m writing this article at home. No surprise there — writers can work anywhere, and I prefer to work right here in my sweatpants.

I know from the response to my post on companies that hire remote workers — and the popularity of job listings at The Penny Hoarder — that many of you would also love to make a living from the comfort of your home.

When you look over a list of common work-from-home opportunities, you might think you’re out of luck. You’ll see positions like medical coder, systems analyst, consultant, virtual assistant and customer service representative — and maybe they don’t fit your skills or income needs.

Don’t give up! Work-from-home jobs come in more varieties than you realize.

For example, did you know you could be a fish biologist and stay home much of the time? Or how about a full-time job as a physical education (P.E.) teacher — working from home?

Those are just two of the many surprising work-from-home jobs I found in a search of online job sites. Let’s take a look at some of the others.

This Site Lists Unusual Flexible and Work-From-Home Jobs

The job-search site FlexJobs says it will “help you find the best flexible jobs available.”

That flexibility can mean you work when you like or work only part time. It can also mean you get to work from home some or all of the time.

Searching “telecommuting” (another term that means working from home) on the site turns up some interesting results.

This is where I found the fish biologist and high school P.E. teacher jobs. The biologist has to travel, but much of the work involves “maintaining a database of statistics,” which can be done from home. The P.E. teacher gets to stay home all the time, teaching online P.E. and health classes.

Here are some of the other surprising work-from-home job titles I’ve seen on the site:

  • Speech scientist.
  • Sports analyst.
  • Social worker.
  • Psychologist.
  • Historian.
  • Beer ambassador.
  • Litigation attorney.
  • Regional gift advisor.
  • Animal relocation manager.

When a job allows you to work from home, FlexJobs lists the degree of telecommuting ranging from “some” to “mostly” to “all telecommuting.”

The positions I’ve mentioned will likely be filled by the time you read this, but my search produced 1,400 jobs that offered at least some telecommuting, so you’ll probably still find enough variety.

You’ll have to register to view full listings on FlexJobs, which costs between $14.95 a month to $49.95 a year.

How to Find Work-From-Home Jobs on General Job Sites

You can find many surprising work-from-home jobs on other job-posting websites, too. Here are a few of the top job-search sites:

Enter specific positions into the search fields, and read through the descriptions of the resulting jobs to see if they offer the option of working from home.

Or you can simply enter keywords like these when you search:

  • Work at home.
  • Work from home.
  • Telecommute.
  • Telecommuting.
  • Home based.
  • Home workers.

Right away you’ll see the expected results — listings for customer service reps, web developers and technical writers. To find less common work-from-home jobs, scroll through several pages of results and watch for titles that catch your attention.

For example, after searching “telecommute” at SnagAJob, I had to search through five pages of ordinary results before finding the more interesting position of fraud analyst. Your job would be to “design advanced analytical strategies that enhance fraud detection capabilities and recovery efforts.”

Play around with different ways of searching, because each website has its own idiosyncrasies.

For example, some sites — including Indeed and SnagAJob — automatically put your ZIP code in the search, which may exclude all of the available telecommuting jobs if none of those listings mentions your location. Fortunately, you can delete the ZIP code and search without it.

This Site Helps You Find Work-From-Home Government Jobs

For federal government jobs, check out USAJOBS.

A search using the keyword “work from home,” gave me 1,890 results.

Many of these positions allow you to work “from home,” but not necessarily at home. For example, they’re hiring nurses and physical therapists to work from a home base and travel to patients’ homes.

Other positions allow most of your work to be done in your home. A listing for a motor carrier safety specialist said, “This position may be a telecommute position working from home.”

Find Work-From-Home Jobs From The Penny Hoarder

Finally, don’t forget to check back right here!

The Penny Hoarder will continue to report on unusual work-from-home jobs and other opportunities to make money without leaving the house. You can keep up with the latest jobs by following The Penny Hoarder Jobs on Facebook.

Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).

I was on Western Union’s website trying to send $350 to a friend. I knew the “money in minutes” online option would be expensive, but I was still shocked by the $35 charge.

Just before I clicked the button to pay, I saw the little box that said “Promo Code.” That’s when I remembered you can save a lot of money with online coupon codes.

I opened another window, searched for “Western Union discount codes,” and tried the codes from several websites. The first five didn’t work — no surprise there.

Then I found a four-letter, four-digit code from RetailMeNot. I entered that and updated the payment page.

Bingo! The deal was even better than a discount — it eliminated the fee completely! I didn’t really believe I could send the money for free until I completed the transaction, but it was true.

What Kinds of Discounts Can You Get With Online Coupon Codes?

What are you looking for? If you’re shopping online with a major retailer, chances are good there’s a coupon code available.

Just a few I’ve seen…

Renting a car? Some online coupon codes can save you 20% or more.

Buying lawn furniture? Save 10% at several different stores, and if you want, you can pay online and pick up your items locally.

Renewing a domain name? I recently saved 20% by finding discount codes.

Ordering food from a restaurant? I once saw a 25% discount code for online delivery orders from Papa John’s Pizza.

Where to Find Online Coupon Codes

You can find coupons for most of what you buy — and no need to clip and carry them. Just get the codes online.

Here are a few popular websites to check:

This Sounds Too Easy. What’s the Catch?

The problem with all of these sites is, often, the codes just don’t work.

My experience is around one coupon code in 10 actually gives you the promised discount.

Sometimes the retailer won’t honor the coupon code for sale items, or certain products are excluded. Often the code is just expired and hasn’t been removed from the coupon website.

This isn’t as much of a problem as you might think, though. The solution is simple: Just keep trying new codes until you find the ones that work.

Some couponing sites show a success rate for their codes, based on user feedback. I often see a 40% or 50% success rate.

Note that these rates are not necessarily accurate or scientific. They’re based on user feedback, so the results could be skewed like any review site. But they’re probably better than nothing, so look for coupon codes with a high success rate.

How to Make the Most of Online Coupon Codes

As much as coupon websites would like your loyalty as a user, don’t bother to go directly to them when you want a discount. They’re not always easy to use, and each has different offers.

Instead, shop first. When you’re ready to check out, open a new browser window to search for online coupon codes.

Search the name of the company and “coupons,” “coupon codes” or “discount codes.” I used the latter when looking for that Western Union code.

In the search results, you’ll often find websites that have a dozen or more codes to try. Try the ones offering the biggest discounts and with the highest success rates.

Yes, you’ll find a lot of codes that don’t work. But you can test a bunch of them quickly, and you might save a few dollars — or even $35 like I did. That’s not bad for a few minutes of effort.

To make your life even easier, you can automate your savings by adding these browser extensions to find discounts for you while you shop.

Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).

If you’re like me, you love to learn -- but find college a tedious and boring way to do it.

And perhaps you don't want to wait years to start making a living. Then there’s the average student debt to consider, now above $35,000.

College isn't the right choice for everyone.

What if instead of expensive classes, years of waiting and starting work under a mountain of debt, you could get a paycheck now, while having interesting experiences and learning new things?

If that sounds good to you, keep reading. Here are six ways to get paid to learn valuable skills.

1. Be a Paid Apprentice

The Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship funds various apprenticeship programs at companies across the country, including CVS and UPS.

"Registered Apprenticeships are innovative work-based learning and postsecondary earn-and-learn models that meet national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor (or federally recognized State Apprenticeship Agencies)," the DOL website explains.

You’re paid from day one, making an average $15 per hour, with "incremental wage increases" as you become more proficient.

The DOL estimates you can make an annual $50,000 once you complete an apprenticeship.

You receive a nationally recognized credential from the DOL, and you might even get college credit, depending on the program.

There are over 1,000 potential career areas accessible through the DOL's Registered Apprenticeship program, but these are their top occupations:

  • Able seaman
  • Carpenter
  • Chef
  • Child care development specialist
  • Construction craft laborer
  • Dental assistant
  • Electrician
  • Elevator constructor
  • Fire medic
  • Law enforcement agent
  • Over-the-road truck driver
  • Pipefitter

You may apprentice for up to six years, but most people complete programs in four.

In addition to 2,000 hours of work each year, you'll typically spend at least 144 hours in a classroom -- though this may be unpaid time.

2. Serve and Learn

Want to help people and learn new skills while earning a modest stipend?

Consider one of these volunteer service options:

The Peace Corps

As previously explained on The Penny Hoarder, you’ll get training, a living expense stipend, health benefits and a payment (currently $8,000) upon completion of a 27-month assignment.

Then you get job placement help and preference applying for any federal position.

What are the qualifications?

The Peace Corps website says 90% of positions go to volunteers with a bachelor's degree, but they also consider an applicant's "work, hobbies and volunteer experiences."


Sometimes referred to as the "Domestic Peace Corps," AmeriCorps is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

As a volunteer, you work on projects in the U.S., first receiving general training and then assignment-specific training.

The CNCS FAQ page makes it clear your "pay" is minimal. You get a living expense stipend, and possibly housing.

But once you complete a term of service (10-12 months), you also receive an AmeriCorps Education Award to help pay for college.

AmeriCorps is actually a "national network of hundreds of programs throughout the U.S.," and you’ll need special skills or a bachelor's degree for some assignments.

For other programs, you don't even need a high school diploma. But, you do have to be between 18-24 years old when you start your service.

Volunteering for service organizations is an opportunity to do some good, learn new skills and make some money -- plus it looks good on your resume.

3. Be an Intern

Serving as an intern is a common way to learn skills and get job experience.

You can even search for paid internships on websites like For many of these positions you need to be a college student, but not necessarily a graduate.

Kristen Pope's recent post lists a dozen internships that pay more than $5,400 per month, so enrolling in college for a while might make sense if that's what it takes to qualify.

4. Use a Job as Business Training

One of the most effective ways to get paid to learn valuable skills is finding employment in the industry in which you’d like to do business.

For more on this idea, see my post on how to use a job as training to start your own business.

5. Get Selected for the Thiel Fellowship

Yes, you can still get paid $100,000 to drop out of college.

Billionaire Peter Thiel's foundation has been offering the Thiel Fellowships for years.

If qualified, you’ll get $100,000 over the course of two years -- if you're willing to leave school and work on something visionary and/or entrepreneurial.

Past fellows include Eden Full, who invented a tool that uses solar energy to provide clean water to off-grid communities, and Paul Gu, who created online lending platform Upstart.

6. Look for On-the-Job Training Opportunities

Almost all jobs involve some on-the-job training, so you might want to look at job prospects related to what you want to learn.

For example, as part of a job working with adults with developmental disabilities, I was paid to learn how to de-escalate situations and restrain people without harming them.

I received certification, just as I did when I was trained as a highway flagger by a temp agency, and when I learned CPR as a security officer.

To find jobs that offer valuable skills training, use the big job websites.

On Indeed, a search for "paid training" (no location specified) turns up more than 100,000 jobs.

For Sarasota, Florida (near me), the results included Red Cross positions, a company willing to train you to add captions to videos and no-experience-necessary cable installation jobs.

Steve Gillman is the author of "101 Weird Ways to Make Money" and creator of He's been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).

After burning through dozens of jobs in my life, I consider myself a job-quitting expert.

I've written about how to make more money at work and what to do before you decide to quit, but my favorite is how to quit your job.

So when I saw a WiseBread article titled "The 4 Jobs People Quit the Most," I was curious.

Here's its list:

  1. Most jobs at Amazon
  2. Jobs in the life insurance industry
  3. Registered Nurses (RNs)
  4. Jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry

How Bad Are These Jobs?

An Amazon worker told the New York Times employees regularly cry at their desks because of the stress.

Selling life insurance, like other commission-based jobs, can be tough.

Nurses face long hours and stressful situations.

And jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry often come with low wages.

But if you work in any of these fields, don’t put in your two-week notice just yet: The data doesn't really back up the "quit the most" claim.

The first two jobs were plucked from a list of "most and least loyal employees” based on "median employee tenure." Amazon's is one year, making it number 464 out of 466 companies. Several insurance companies also show up near the bottom of the list.

But is that a fair measurement of how often employees quit, of "loyalty" or of how bad a job is?

After all, if a company with amazing jobs had launched six months before the survey and hired 1,000 employees, it would be at the bottom of the list due to its median employee tenure.

A more relevant example: Amazon hired 120,000 employees for the holiday season, which shortened its median employee tenure in a major way.

Some companies routinely hire temporary workers and then lay them off. It's not about "quitting," nor does it say much about loyalty or work conditions.

And consider this interesting fact: Eastman Kodak tops the loyalty list (median employee tenure of 20 years) but only 45% of its employees report high job satisfaction.

Meanwhile, Amazon and many others near the bottom of the list get high job satisfaction ratings from more than 70% of employees.

Clearly, data can tell a lot of different stories. The high turnover rate for nurses probably is due to stress and working conditions, but the list doesn’t address how or why.

And those leisure and hospitality industry jobs may be staffed largely by young workers who quit even good jobs more often -- or work temporarily while they’re in school.

Which Jobs Are Really the Worst?

Which jobs are so bad you should quit, or never consider in the first place?

You can’t always trust lists and ratings, and any company can get bad reviews.

Consider Amazon, which has a bad reputation and a poor showing on the "employee loyalty" list. But Leena Rao's investigation turned up many workers who loved their jobs, despite the high-pressure atmosphere.

If you've ever had a job you hated, you can probably recall a few employees who loved the work and the workplace. And if you've ever had a job you really loved, someone else probably hated it.

How you feel about your job is personal.

For example, if you hate stressful work, like I do, you'll probably want to avoid the careers on this list of the most stressful jobs.

This post on the lowest paying jobs also has some positions you may want to avoid, like day laborer and fast food worker. Of course, the former may give you experience you need for a better job -- and the latter can offer fast advancement.

Then there’s our list of careers with the highest divorce rates. If you have one of those jobs, your spouse might want you to quit.

If you have a hard time dealing with supervisors, you should probably avoid working for anyone on the New York Post's list of the "worst bosses of all time.”

Theater and film producer Scott Rudin apparently screams at and throws things at employees, while Dish Network co-founder Charlie Ergen is said to have created a "culture of horror."

Finally, there are the truly dirty jobs. No matter how excellent your employer, you might consider quitting if you work as a sheep castrator or septic tank cleaner. But then again, you might love that work.

Steve Gillman is the author of "101 Weird Ways to Make Money" and creator of He's been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).

Driving up to a construction zone one day, I watched a worker listen to music and drink some Gatorade.

After a couple cars passed, he casually turned the sign from "Stop" to "Slow," so I could proceed. “Now there's an easy, low-stress job,” I thought.

I needed an occasional job, so I spent two hours getting certified as a flagger and went to work. This was 26 years ago.

But I didn't get the quiet, six-cars-per-hour highway I’d hoped for. I was assigned to the busiest intersection in the county, directing non-stop lines of traffic through chaotic road work.

Correction: Trying to direct traffic.

My lack of experience made it difficult, but the unexplainable (and inexcusable) lack of two-way radios made it nearly impossible.

The other flaggers were a mile away in three directions, so they couldn't tell me which car they let through last. So I never knew for sure when to let traffic flow the other way.

I spent eight hours watching near-accidents and tolerating obscenities and honking horns directed at me. That was my first loooong day as a highway flagger. It was also my last.

How Stressful is Your Job?

You can't always predict how stressful a job will be. It depends on the particular assignment, and also on your employer’s decisions (seriously, no radios?!).

But some jobs are more predictable, and we can rate them according to how stressful they are.

CareerCast uses various "stress factors" for their ratings. The site says work demands like deadlines, competitiveness and being responsible for other people's lives "can reasonably be expected to evoke stress."

If these are a big part of the job, they contribute more points to the stress score. Based on this methodology, CareerCast put together a list of the most and least stressful jobs.

The 10 Most Stressful Jobs

Here are CareerCast's 10 most stressful jobs, starting with the highest stress score, and including the median annual salary -- your reward for putting up with all that stress:

  1. Enlisted Military Personnel ($27,936)
  2. Firefighter ($48,030)
  3. Airline Pilot ($105,720)
  4. Police Officer ($61,600)
  5. Event Coordinator ($47,350)
  6. Newspaper Reporter ($37,820)
  7. Senior Corporate Executive ($102,690)
  8. Public Relations Executive ($107,320)
  9. Taxi Driver ($24,300)
  10. Broadcaster ($38,870)

The 10 Least Stressful Jobs

Here are CareerCast's least stressful jobs, including the median annual salary, starting with the job that got the lowest stress score:

  1. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer ($64,280)
  2. Compliance Officer ($66,278)
  3. Hair Stylist ($23,710)
  4. Audiologist ($75,222)
  5. University Professor ($72,416)
  6. Medical Records Technician ($37,254)
  7. Jeweler ($37,060)
  8. Operations research analyst ($78,630)
  9. Pharmacy Technician ($30,410)
  10. Medical Laboratory Technician ($61,200)

The ratings are based on reasonable assumptions, which may not be applicable in all cases.

And with so many different jobs out there (the BLS tracks more than 800 occupations), there is the question of which ones to include in the ratings.

For example, how did "event coordinator" make the most-stressful list, but not "air traffic controller"?

It seems the latter employees “coordinate events" with much more frequency, and always with potential life-and-death consequences. Now that's stressful!

And, regardless of holding the top spot as least stressful, I would find cutting people's hair very stressful, which brings us to...

What Makes a Job Stressful: Personal Factors

I was totally stressed out as a real estate agent.

I hated having any responsibility for the biggest financial decision of people's lives. But some of my fellow agents were the most relaxed people I knew.

We're all different, so it makes sense to consider your own personality when determining which jobs might be more or less stressful.

Maybe you're at ease making decisions alone, but stressed out when making decisions as part of a group. You might love working with numbers or be completely uncomfortable with them.

The physical requirements of some jobs are refreshing exercise for some and stressful for others.

When considering a job, list all the tasks and situations that are a regular part of the workday (as far as you can tell). Then consider how each will make you feel.

And before you get tempted to take a stressful job just because it pays well, consider...

The Health Effects of Job-Related Stress

"Problems at work are more strongly associated with health complaints than are any other life stressor -- more so than even financial problems or family problems," says a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health report on stress at work.

They list these "early warning signs" of work-related stress:

  • Headache
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Short temper
  • Upset stomach
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Low morale

The report also says research shows stress at work may increase the risk of...

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Psychological disorders
  • Workplace injuries
  • Suicide
  • Cancer
  • Ulcers
  • Impaired immune function

The NIOSH report doesn’t mention an increased risk of divorce due to work-related stress, but it seems like a reasonable assumption. We’ve previously reported on careers with the highest divorce rates, and the list includes some pretty stressful jobs.

Create Your Own Stress Ratings for Jobs

A list of stressful or less-stressful jobs is interesting, but it’s just a starting point.

When considering a job, you have to look at its working conditions, including your supervisors.

Then you have to take those personal factors into account.

Finally, you have to consider how much stress you'll tolerate for how much pay.

I get stressed just thinking about the whole process, so I think I'll stay home and continue to avoid jobs.

Steve Gillman is the author of "101 Weird Ways to Make Money" and creator of He's been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).

America currently has more than $1.3 trillion of student loan debt.

Louisiana’s Grambling State University tops the list of colleges where graduates have the most debt. The average there is more than $50,000! Who wants to start their work years with that kind of a burden?

A degree can be expensive! But help is here.

The Penny Hoarder has previously explained how Starbucks gives free college tuition to workers, and how to go to college free overseas. You also might be eligible for some of these 100 awesome scholarships.

What if none of those options fit your plans?

Fortunately, you can get a free college education without slinging coffee, leaving the country or applying for a Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship.

Here are nine colleges that will automatically cover your tuition once you enroll.

1. Berea College

Located in Kentucky, Berea College offers the Tuition Promise Scholarship to every student admitted.

The amount is adjusted according to other aid you receive, so that, "The actual cost to students and their families is $0."

With tuition costing more than $25,000 per year, that saves you almost $100,000 over four years.

2. Deep Springs College

An accredited two-year liberal arts college located on a cattle ranch and alfalfa farm in the high desert of California is unusual enough.

But this financial arrangement is even more uncommon.

Every student accepted by Deep Springs College receives a full scholarship worth over $50,000, along with room and board. You’re required to do 20 hours of labor each week, and the school only accepts about a dozen new students each year.

3. Curtis Institute of Music

Located in Philadelphia, the Curtis Institute of Music "provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its students, ensuring that admissions are based solely on artistic promise."

You're expected to first apply for aid from other sources, and then Curtis covers the remaining tuition.

This scholarship is valued at more than $41,087 for undergraduate students and more than $51,924 for graduate students.

4. U.S. Service Academies

There are five U.S. service academies associated with the various military branches.

They all offer a bachelor of science and cover your tuition, explains, but with a catch: You have to serve at least five years in the military upon graduation.

Of course, not many other colleges offer free tuition and a guarantee of a job for five years.

5. Barclay College

Located in Kansas, Barclay College has undergraduate and graduate programs for Christian students from "all evangelical faith traditions."

Resident students "automatically receive a $14,000 full-tuition scholarship upon acceptance."

Most degrees are in Christian-related fields (example: master of arts in spiritual formation), but the school also offers business management and psychology degrees.

6. Webb Institute

A small New York college with about 90 students, the Webb Institute offers a bachelor of science program in naval architecture and marine engineering.

It also offers U.S. citizens and permanent residents full-tuition scholarships, valued at $48,350 as of this academic year.

7. College of the Ozarks

Missouri Christian liberal arts school College of the Ozarks advertises on its homepage, "Don't Pay Tuition" and "Work for an Education."

You have to put in 15 hours of weekly work, plus two 40-hour work weeks each school year.

You might be outdoors doing landscaping, or in the kitchen, or another of the "over 80 diverse and fulfilling work areas."

8. Macaulay Honors College

Although the competition for admission is fierce, if you make it into Macaulay Honors College in New York City (part of CUNY), your tuition is covered -- and it'll even give you a laptop and some help with housing.

The college offers 475 majors across eight campuses. But you have to be a New York resident to qualify.

9. Alice Lloyd College

Alice Lloyd College guarantees it'll cover your tuition if you live in one of the 108 counties it serves in the central Appalachian mountains (in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia) -- and you're a full-time student.

The school offers bachelor of arts and science degrees.

Steve Gillman is the author of "101 Weird Ways to Make Money" and creator of He's been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).

Have you seen kids at carnivals and similar events with flowers, mermaids and other designs painted on their faces?

If so -- and especially if some of them were your children -- you know getting these temporary tattoos applied costs a couple of dollars. But did you know you can buy them for less than 10 cents each?

You’ll pay closer to a dollar for the materials needed to apply airbrush tattoos, but they sell for $5 to $20, and they’re more popular with adults. Clearly, a temporary tattoo business would have high profit margins.

Selling and applying temporary tattoos is primarily a weekend business, since most application opportunities will be at community events. That makes tattooing a good part-time business if your weekdays are full.

Curious about this potential side business? Let's look at the two most common types of temporary tattoos, as well as each one’s business advantages.

Stick-On Tattoos

It's easiest to start with stick-on or "wet-and-press" tattoos. Many YouTube videos demonstrate how to apply them, and it's a skill you can learn in minutes.

The other big advantage with stick-on tattoos is this business costs very little to start. You don’t need any special equipment; a wet cloth and a spray bottle are enough for most brands. Some tattoo varieties require isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), which costs about a dollar per bottle. Of course, you'll also need a table and a sign, or you can use your own face to advertise your service.

Supplies are inexpensive as well. You can start with tattoos from dollar stores, but buying in bulk online will substantially lower your cost. For example, has tattoos for less than 7 cents each when you buy in bulk. It carries pirates, flowers, monsters and hundreds of other designs. has more elaborate designs starting at 35 cents each, with a $125 minimum order.

If your target market is kids (which is common with these easy-to-apply tattoos), set up a table or booth at school functions, street markets and any other events that are full of families. You’ll probably want to price your tattoos between $1 and $3, and you can offer a discount for more than one, since it takes very little extra time to apply a second or third tattoo.

Go to events and note which temporary tattoo sellers are busy, and see what they do to get noticed. If you bring your own kids when you set up, put tattoos on their faces to make them walking billboards.

The simple wet-and-press tattoos are not just for kids, and you can get creative with them if you design your own. At, you can upload an image to make custom temporary tattoos. Use your imagination! One woman created a temporary tattoo of a music festival schedule, reported Buyers put it on their forearms so they didn't lose track of which band was playing at a particular time and stage.

If you buy into a franchise, you get support and a name to use. For example, sells a starter kit for as little as $129, which includes 250 tattoos and the one-year franchise fee. Its website says: "Some of our franchisees are earning over $100,000 in just six months!"

Airbrush Tattoos

Airbrush tattoos look more like real tattoos. They’re often more elaborate than wet-and-press types, so they sell for more money. Prices average around $10, and the materials cost from 14 cents to about a dollar, according to The business claims you can make $300 per hour over an eight-hour day. The higher price and profit margin is the biggest advantage to doing this type of tattoo.

The biggest drawback to airbrushing is that it costs more to get started. You need an airbrush, a compressor (get the silent studio type), a tank, hoses, couplers, paint and tools for unclogging the brush tip. Starting an airbrush tattoo business could cost you thousands of dollars.

It takes more time to learn the techniques as well. Fortunately, you can turn to airbrush tattoo YouTube videos to get your basic training.

If you want to start quickly and more easily, buy a kit. For example, sells a starter kit for a regular price of $1,299. When you buy a complete kit, sellers usually provide support by phone if you run into problems.

How Much Can You Make Selling Temporary Tattoos?

If you're willing to invest the additional money and time to get started, airbrush tattoos are probably the way to go, because they're more profitable. Actual figures for temporary tattoo businesses of either type are hard to come by, which is common with cash operations of any sort. But apart from the claims of the suppliers, you can find some information in tattoo-selling forums.

In one forum in 2015, those in the temporary tattoo business described a range of experiences. One said he averages $850 per day at fairs and festivals. He also reported working 10 to 12 hours, and on bad weather days his take would drop to $200. Another said he made $1,600 on a typical Saturday, but he had employees to pay. Yet another said his event income ranged wildly from $50 to $700 per day.

One contributor said that after six years of doing temporary tattoos part time, he grossed over $100,000 in a year, for a profit of about $62,000 after paying for an employee and other expenses. That's not bad for a part-time business.

Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of He’s been a repo man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror and roulette croupier; but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).