Become a Lab Rat with a Shaven Head ????
December 20, 2008 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Give me crazy (legal) ways to make money during this economic dowwwnturn.... Become a Lab Rat? Sell my Hair?


I'm looking for as many possible ways to make money during the recession.

Lab Rat
Sell your Hair

are two examples of nutty-to-most-people but legal and qucik ways to make some dough.

what others can you help me come up with?
posted by Izzmeister to Grab Bag (27 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sell blood.
If male, sell sperm. If female, sell eggs.
If female, rent out your uterus for 9 months of fun and profit.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:47 AM on December 20, 2008

Life model
posted by beerbajay at 11:54 AM on December 20, 2008

Best answer: My friend is making some much-needed cash by participating in health studies at a local hospital. She finds them on Craigslist. She's also a mystery shopper and gets free money to spend at restaurants, hotels, and stores. Sometimes she gets paid for the jobs.

Selling sperm isn't so easy. I tried once but was turned down. The "bank" only wanted deposits from men over six feet tall, ivy league educated, healthy BMI, no genetic diseases, psychologically healthy, higher-than-average IQ, etc. Accepted donors got $175 per donation.
posted by HotPatatta at 12:07 PM on December 20, 2008

Best answer: There was a piece in the New Yorker in the past year about people who participate in health studies for money. Some are very invasive and require a great deal of time, but those pay a handsome sum.

Do you have any skills? Post an ad on Craigslist to provide tutoring or services.

I met a guy who supports himself by buying and dumpster diving for items he can sell for profit on Ebay.
posted by HotPatatta at 12:11 PM on December 20, 2008

Part time work at a funeral home? Recession or not, folks die.
posted by jquinby at 12:20 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A tip on the "lab rat" suggestion...

Smoking studies (if you smoke) can be a great way of making a couple grand for a few weeks worth of controlled smoking (or not smoking). They'll normally require at least one overnight a week. The only catch is that the studies are generally targeted towards specific brands/types of cigarettes (usually they'll drop hints in the advert itself). When you call up, they'll ask you a few preliminary questions to determine qualified candidates, and the type/brand of cigarette will be one of them. If you say the wrong kind, they'll say "thanks, but no thanks," so if you're really strapped and need the cash, well... make sure you have the right answers beforehand.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:27 PM on December 20, 2008

PA on filmsets in LA, end up doing that work on porno sets in the valley.

do you happen to work for some cable tv production company?
posted by krautland at 12:42 PM on December 20, 2008

Best answer: If there's a university near you with a psychology department, there are often experiments running with a cash incentive for participants.

Of course, often it's a pretty small amount of money if you go to any expense to travel there.
posted by Mike1024 at 12:53 PM on December 20, 2008

Best answer: To most people, selling off all your possessions until you are down to the bare minimum would be pretty nutty. If you put everything up for sale as a lot, it could also be quick.

Getting free stuff via freecycle and then reselling it. Legal, but kind of against the spirit of freecycle, but I know people do it.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 1:24 PM on December 20, 2008

Vegas is full of billboards inviting women to "make $500 tonight!" as an "actress".

There's also often a lot of wacky shit in the "gigs" section on Craigslist.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:18 PM on December 20, 2008

Best answer: If you have an eye for good quality items and some cheap storage available to you, you can go to rummage sales, estate sales, yard sales and auctions, buy cheap items that you can then re-sell on ebay. Another good option is buying up books (again at places above you can get books for $.25 a peiece or lower NEVER pay more than that) and then selling them on

But the above requires knowledge of what will sell. My mom once picked up a pallet of 1970-80s specialty beer cans from Namibia or Nymibia or some place for $3.50 at a junk auction. She put 4 of the cans up on Ebay and sold them for $400 to some guy in Hungary.

Then again, she bought tons of other junk and books that never sold and just took up space in our basement.
posted by DetonatedManiac at 2:23 PM on December 20, 2008

Best answer: Provide a service such as:

Dog walking
Pet sitting
Yard work
Cleaning houses
posted by JujuB at 2:38 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Be handy and learn how to fix stuff. People will be more likely to repair and mend what they have, versus replacing and buying new items. Learn how to fix or mend clothes, bikes, cars, home appliances or learn some simple plumbing, like how to unclog toilets and whatnot. Gross but necessary, and you can charge by the hour.
posted by hooray at 2:57 PM on December 20, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you y'all.. keep it coming :D
posted by Izzmeister at 3:09 PM on December 20, 2008

Best answer: learn some crafts and sell them on Etsy or to local specialty shops. i also think i might get into gathering certain kinds of wild foods and selling them to upscale restaurants or grocers. (like ramps, for instance.)

don't do phone sex unless you're in it for the long-haul. it only gets lucrative if you're committed and can go independent.
posted by RedEmma at 3:29 PM on December 20, 2008

Best answer: Busking.

You don't need talent to do this. In fact, it might be better if you have no musical talent at all. Because then you could get people to pay you to stop playing.
posted by jason's_planet at 4:25 PM on December 20, 2008

Best answer: Making art or jewelry and selling it. I work at a small shop that sells local artists stuff on consignment. Also etsy, as RedEmma suggested.
posted by at 5:22 PM on December 20, 2008

Best answer: b1tr0t, I'm not sure if you are referring to prostitution or any and all income derived from 'selling your body', but if it is the latter I would have to disagree. I quit my job back in October and have been able to stay afloat and pay rent by signing up to be a healthy volunteer at different universities throughout the city.

Every single study coordinator has been polite to me and I have never felt that it was the 'lowest-value' thing that I could do. The pay is good for the amount of work put in and it allowed me a lot of time to research new opportunities without having to jump at the first job offered. I do not expect to be poor for life, and one can participate in studies without being poor.

Izzmeister, if you can arrange the time and live in an area where research studies are conducted, I recommend that you investigate this option.
posted by amicamentis at 5:52 PM on December 20, 2008

Best answer: Domestic service:

* Au pair (although arguably this should not be seen as a job)
* Butler, a senior employee, almost invariably a man, whose duties traditionally included overseeing the wine cellar, the silver, and some management of the other servants.
* Chauffeur (personal driver)
* Cook
* Dog walker
* Footman
* Gardener
* Governess
* Groundskeeper
* Handyman (household repairs)
* Horse trainer
* Housekeeper, a senior employee, usually female.
* Laundress
* Maid
* Masseuse
* Nanny (once known as a nurse)
* Nursemaid
* Personal shopper
* Personal trainer (fitness, swimming, sports)
* Pool person
* Secretary (social or corresponding)
* Security guard
* Stable boy
* Valet or gentleman's gentleman
* Wet nurse
* Yard crew

Tour guide

If you live in NYC you can sell cards, books and paintings on the street without a license but with a NY State tax number.

Teach English as a second language in America or in other countries.
posted by nickyskye at 7:29 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When I was in this position, I went and got a taxi driver's licence.

People are always warning you about the dangers of driving taxis, and indeed you do meet a few nutters. But I really enjoyed the four or five nights per month I had to drive to sustain my $100/week lifestyle of the time. If you enjoy driving, it's certainly worth being licensed to drive a taxi.

Never did get around to getting my forklift ticket. One day!
posted by flabdablet at 7:43 PM on December 20, 2008

Best answer: Depending on where you are, some pysch or health labrat studies are more lucrative than others. Sleep studies (which there are zillions of in Boston) feed you, house you, and pay a few thousand dollars... but you have to spend a few weeks living in the hospital and being intensely monitored, etc. Psych or neuroscience studies are often less lucrative - $10 per hour was the general going rate there, with higher fees if you qualified for fMRI studies. Still, even those won't take up that many of your hours; the longer, live-in studies are more lucrative in part because they have a harder time finding people willing to do them.

Some non-psych departments have reasonably well-paying labrat studies as well. The Research Lab of Electronics at MIT, for example, has a lab or two that do a lot of intensive hearing studies (you often have to go for 10 or so 2 hour blocks). Walking around local colleges and universities - particularly science buildings - is the best way to find these sort of opportunities.
posted by ubersturm at 9:39 PM on December 20, 2008

Best answer: Depending on where you live, teaching / tutoring afterschool can be a real lifesaver. It depends a lot on what you know (play up your qualifications, licenses, experiences, etc. etc. etc.), and where you live (New York vs. BFE), but inevitably there's someone willing to learn something and pay a price for it. I'm an English teacher in South Korea, and a recent report in a local newspaper read that English learning is skyrocketing BECAUSE of the recession (people need more skills to compete for new jobs).
posted by chrisinseoul at 6:22 AM on December 21, 2008

Getting free stuff via freecycle and then reselling it. Legal, but kind of against the spirit of freecycle, but I know people do it.

It's not "kind of against the spirit," it is explicitly against the rules.

I guess it would be hard to get caught, but way to take advantage of someone.
posted by Airhen at 11:32 AM on December 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A great recommendation I saw (here?) was window washer. Though businesses are probably doing less well & are less willing to pay for this service lately. Snow shoveler too.

Window Washer is great because you can do it on a subscription basis & then farm out the services to subcontractors while you go win new contracts in different neighborhoods, eventually building a window washing empire.

The same with maid services.

This has been done-to-death, but you could start a blog where you review stuff & use affiliate links. If you have some sort of expertise, this could be fairly lucrative long-term.

ChrisInSeoul points out that there are some businesses that boom during the recession - people looking to acquire skills & save money are just two of the areas that are booming right now.

If you have skills that can lead to marketable jobs, then by all means teach them. Any special certifications? Teach a course in how to get that certification. You can even study up on a test and if you ace it (even a simulated or old version), Kaplan & other tutoring places will hire you (provided you have some decent presentation skills).

Another business that's booming is the personal assistant business. Now, before you say "wow that's a luxury I didn't think would benefit from a recession" I don't mean full-fledged personal assistants, but scaled-back personal assistants that work for several people, each paying a lesser amount. These people pay bills, pick up groceries, and do all sorts of assistant type stuff, but at a fraction of the price of a full-time assistant since they each service several clients. This is a "build and subcontract" model just like window washing.
posted by Muffy at 2:05 PM on December 22, 2008

Best answer: Affiliate Marketing (If you don't know what it is just start here). There are tons of ways to make money from affiliate marketing. I do it full time, but occasionally my friends will ask how they can make some extra spending money and I'll show them a few simple things. You won't make much unless you put work and time into it, but it is a legitimate way to make some extra money in your free time.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 2:51 PM on December 22, 2008

Best answer: I hear locksmiths and repo men are making a killing these days...

(okay, okay, repo men always make a killing, but you'd be crazy to do that job...)
posted by friarjohn at 4:06 PM on December 22, 2008

Freecycle moderators do watch out for people who repeatedly snap up high value items.
posted by Idcoytco at 4:34 PM on January 4, 2009

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