Street money
November 5, 2006 3:11 AM   Subscribe

If I'm nearly shameless and have a lot of free time, how can I make a few hundred dollars during December in a snow-covered urban area, or surrounding suburbs?

I've thought of panhandling and shoveling driveways. Take it from there. I already have a job, and I'm not doing this to pay off a debt or fund college or anything like that. I'm just looking for something to do with some of my free time. A guarantee of money is not necessary, so feel free to be more creative than my shoveling idea. Or not.
posted by punishinglemur to Work & Money (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Pulling folk around on sledges. Threatening to snowball someone unless they hand over the readies. Selling mulled wine, hot chestnuts, scarves or other things that will brighten (warmen) people's day?
posted by Gratishades at 3:54 AM on November 5, 2006

Two words:
Snow porn.
posted by disillusioned at 4:20 AM on November 5, 2006

Shoveling snow only works if it actually snows in December. Panhandling gets old very quickly without a gig. Can you play an instrument, do magic tricks, freestyle raps, wrap presents neatly, sing Christmas carols, do something unusual? Something, anything, other than just standing there, begging for money, because you have nothing better to do.

If you are simply bored, try volunteering at a soup kitchen/shelter/salvation army for the holidays.
posted by sophist at 4:25 AM on November 5, 2006

Good point, sophist. Snow-covered may simply mean chilly, depending on the weather.
posted by punishinglemur at 4:34 AM on November 5, 2006

Folks he said he was only NEARLY shameless. So obviously he has to find work in a WalMart. I think there is need for someone like pushinglemur in the toy dept. Goading kids into pulling full blown tantrums unless Santa brings them the most expensive toy on the shelf.
posted by Gungho at 6:03 AM on November 5, 2006

Department store elf a la David Sedaris' SantaLand Diaries?
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:30 AM on November 5, 2006

Install clear plastic window insulation, the kind that you shrink to fit with a hairdryer.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:54 AM on November 5, 2006

If/when it does snow, and if you feel quite benevolent, just find a large parking lot and start brushing the snow off of people's cars. They will love you for it, and you will be doing something that is quite nice - and will contribute to safe driving.
posted by davidmsc at 7:22 AM on November 5, 2006

If you do decide to do the snow shovelling/installing window insulation/whatever route, make business cards and hand them out to people.

The only people who ever knock on my door offering services like that generally look like crackheads. I bet a lot of families would hire you on the spot if you seemed more like a trustworthy, upstanding citizen who clearly quotes rates and would take responsibility for being on time, answering phone messages, etc.
posted by bcwinters at 7:38 AM on November 5, 2006

Temporary christmas season retail job. They've probably started hiring - so get your local mall and start filling out applications.
posted by Kololo at 10:05 AM on November 5, 2006

Charge to hang up exterior holiday decorations? Last year we looked everywhere to find someone to install hooks and hang lights outlining the outside our house (you would need some pretty professional equipment for some roofs).
posted by GaelFC at 10:09 AM on November 5, 2006

There will be an organization in your area that helps the elderly. Shovel walkways, do insulation and winter-readiness tasks. The Holiday-light hanging is a great idea, too. Dog-walking is good exercise and pays well, and if you like dogs, it's fun.
posted by theora55 at 10:38 AM on November 5, 2006

Buy misspelled stuff or poorly advertised stuff on ebay. Take a nice picture or two, repost it, and bring in the bucks.
posted by chrisamiller at 11:12 AM on November 5, 2006

I can't tell you how disappointed I am that you're in fact not a cute girl. 'cause that would have made naughty snowangels all the better.
posted by krautland at 11:34 AM on November 5, 2006

Rent a snowblower / snowclearer and offer your services.

Buy a truckload of road salt when it's not in demand. When black ice hits, re-sell it or even offer to salt people's driveways.

Offer to examine and purge a house's outside pipes to prevent bursting due to freezing.

The key is to take advantage of people's tendency not to think ahead. If you approach them early on cold, weekday mornings when they need you most (especially in the 'burbs), you could make a killing.

Unfortunately it rarely goes below freezing around my parts, and I have a day job.
posted by randomstriker at 12:42 PM on November 5, 2006

One funny story -- in highschool a friend of mine thought it would be smart to sell buckets of hots water to melt frost off windshields. It worked great a few times (splash, gone), until he cracked the windshield on a Jaguar. The cost of repair ate up all his revenue and then some.
posted by randomstriker at 12:46 PM on November 5, 2006

Seconding the xmas time retail job, but also adding that warehouses usually need all-hours help around the holidays too. They usually only require citizenship and ability to speak english, and bam, you've got a part time seasonal job that pays decently well.
posted by np312 at 2:30 PM on November 5, 2006

I would totally hire someone to put plastic over my windows. I do it every year alone and I HATE it. I would probably pay up to $15 Canadian an hour / $45 for my house.
posted by arcticwoman at 4:34 PM on November 5, 2006

Roasting chestnuts on a street corner would be a great idea. I'm sure you would need a permit to do it but from what I see in most US cities is that this type of sales is nonexistant. Last winter in Madrid they were all over the place and doing great business. They taste fantastic too.
posted by JJ86 at 8:22 AM on November 6, 2006

Do the salvation army ring-a-bell-and-collect-change thing, but wear an Easter bunny suit instead of a Santa suit. If anyone asks what you're doing, say "ho ho ho" and give them an egg.
posted by ook at 10:11 PM on November 7, 2006

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