Penny for your thoughts

The 7 deadly sins have always interested me. Something about how base and atavistic they are, how all seven are just as viable today in our world of Just Eat and Instagram as they were when we all lived in caves stuffing mammoth into our mouths and seeing who could build the biggest fire. As an atheist, and an evil little shit, I’ve taken much glee and fascination in the past from exploring these vices, holding each up to the light for examination and fully losing myself in them whilst viscerally documenting my experiences.

My first real experiment was on gluttony at the age of 21 where I attempted to eat one of every animal in a year, which you can read here if you’d like. I felt truly piggish over-consumption had to be aimed at living creatures – I wouldn’t truly feel a glutton if I, say, ate one of every root vegetable on Earth – and as these projects demand maximum immersion these weren’t just living creatures restrained to your average menu. I had a list of all 172 species known to man pinned on my bedroom wall and I’ll be damned if I didn’t behead, skin, gut, skewer, roast and eat a frozen rat I bought as snake grub from a pet food store just to tick a single one of those off.


Next, just one year later (having abandoned the gluttony project after digesting 46 different species in 3 months), was pride. A few generations ago a fair project to evaluate this would be to see how many pieces of fine prose I could get published at a printing press, but in our abhorrent modern era the closest substitute was obvious: apply for every single show on television and try to win one.

Again a snippet can be read here if you’d like to continue distracting yourself from this blog itself, but essentially after 6 months of submersion into the gameshow culture I felt this sin sufficiently explored as well. I’d almost poisoned the MasterChef judges, been laughed off Countdown, had Ed Byrne drive a motorcycle into me, irritated Ann Widdecombe to a full blown tantrum, brought my girlfriend onto Eggheads only to get her breasts trending on Twitter and experienced to date the most sphincter-puckeringly awkward 5 minutes of my life stood before the glower of Simon Cowell on stage at Britain’s Got Talent.


Now the next sin I want to have as my companion for a short while is avarice, rapacity, pleonexia – greed. Much like the past two expeditions I plan to work through an exhaustive list of challenging tasks to fully become one with the sin in question, and whilst we’ve had animals and gameshows for gluttony and pride, greed will have me take on a mass of get-rich-quick schemes. And not just your average money-making methods either – I didn’t curb the past two projects at meat that was safe for me or shows I was eligible for, that’s why I vomited up an actual cricket and why the first time I baked anything ever was on the Channel 4 show ‘Baking Mad’, and likewise why I’ll be attempting every investment scheme I can from finding and selling crashed meteorites (number 103 on the list) to winning a gurning competition (number 223).

There are a handful of these ideas I literally cannot action, I can’t offer an Uber service as I don’t have a car for instance, which also negates the chance of me selling the side of my motor for advertising space. Similarly a lot of State-side references suggest selling your plasma for quick bucks, but disappointingly an enquiry email I sent to the NHS proffering my plasma this side of the pond was curtly refused “due to the theoretical risk of passing vCJD” (vCJD is the technical name for Mad Cow Disease which I hadn’t heard of for over a decade.) However these few impossibilities aside anything that’s even remotely feasible is penned on my to-do list – I have no clue how I’m going to, for example, harvest and sell celebrity hair to fans (#217) or start a cult/religion to accept donations (#66), but we’ll confront these individual issues when we come to them.

It’s been half a decade since I’ve embarked on one of these big projects. I’m older and a bit fatter now and somehow even less financially solvent ironically, but I would like to think wiser, and with better hair and faster Internet speeds, so I remain confident.

Some caveats; the bad news for you, the expectant and hard-to-please reader, is that I will not be attempting anything illegal, so no cons or scams, no fishing coins out of public fountains, no selling my clean urine to junkies. The good news is that conversely I will not be venturing into the dull, tried-and-tested ways of lining ones pocket such as saving, selling possessions, gambling or taking on second jobs. Not only has there already been comprehensively enough research done on these without my two cents being required, but they don’t fall within the proper hare-brained making-money-on-the-side scheme remit. Whilst I could get a Saturday job as a waiter or sell my PS4 games on musicMagpie my role is only to test the more imaginative, off-the-wall entrepreneurial ventures, plus I already have a full-time job which pays sufficiently, and I like my PS4 games.

At this time of writing my list of get-rich ploys sits at 227, and is still growing. I have compiled this personally and every candidate on the list is a genuine stratagem offered straight-faced by a reliable source either online or in print. You read that right, I have actually purchased and consumed print text media like the antiquarian I am, and currently trudging through the third of these tomes on the subject:


So the plan is to perform and review each and every get-rich-quick scheme I can find. They may not transpire to be get-rich-quick schemes, they may indeed be get-poor-slowly ones, the proof will be in where I ultimately stand financially, of which I will keep a running tally.

Whilst like all past sin ventures I’m prepared to sink a fair amount of my own money into proceedings, hopefully this time I might stand to gain some of it back. This is good not only because the two previous experiments I had to quit due to monetary bulimia – all those palettes of rodent and train journeys to ‘The Chase’ auditions didn’t come free you know – but also because being poor is truly awful. It’s not pleasant to live in ones overdraft, reside in a one-bed flat speckled with black mould spores, and browse booze in supermarkets trying simply to espy the cheapest £ per litre. 90-something % of my list of schemes are sure to be duds, but all it would take is a couple of profitable ideas coming to fruition and just maybe there’ll be a pot of gold waiting for me at the end of this tiresome and painful rainbow.

Speaking of which it’s almost laughable that someone as financially dopey as I should be undertaking this quest. I’m terrible with money; I am a sucker for impulse purchases, I have never saved any form of nest egg, I pay into a pension by sweet accident, I have no idea what my credit score is nor any desire to view it, I’ve been mugged thrice and I spent all my economics lessons at school sat at the back of class playing knife games with a compass. In fact the most concerned I’ve ever been about money is when I ran a project vandalising notes to see what you had to do to currency to make it unacceptable, which culminated in me scrawling across two genuine £20 bills and trying to deposit this into my bank:


Another skill which eludes me along with financial shrewdness is, in the traditional sense at least, blogging. I understand this isn’t too encouraging to read in the first post of a blog about money, but it’s true and for the best that I admit it openly: the thought of diligently updating this WordPress every day or so is almost as daunting as the project itself. Normally during one of these self-inflicted tours of duty, take gameshows for instance, I would keep daily notes but on a word document meant for my eyes only, more a stream of consciousness offload and nothing polished enough for public consumption (especially not the furious, foul-mouthed two page diatribe I let spill following my blunt rejection at the Total Wipeout auditions.)

However with my greed assignment I have to keep a blog as it’s a money making method, I’ve even put it as number one on my otherwise randomly ordered list to ensure it gets done. Be it affiliate marketing, selling ads or sponsored reviews, a healthy blog is a natural revenue machine hence it would be remiss of me not to keep one. So I’ll try to blog about once a day, candidly reporting on and rating these schemes as I go, but I can’t promise it’ll be written well or that it will be interesting. Indeed some posts will surely be crushingly dull – I can’t imagine reading a review of a dozen paid review sites will be riveting – but there’s plenty of terrifyingly bizarre wallet-galvanizing ideas too to hopefully maintain your interest. Plus a form of documenting is good to keep me on track and makes me feel less insane than if I’m selling my used pants online to gay fetishists or scouring beaches for valuable whale vomit ambergris whilst trying to keep all this inhuman madness pent up to myself.

In summary it’s time for me to utterly sacrifice my life to hundreds of these enterprises, all of which have been reported by one source or another to infallibly work. I’m also curious to study those others who use these esoteric schemes, the fellow wistful metal detectorists and dead-eyed clinical trial guinea pigs I’m sure to encounter over the coming weeks and months, to see what makes them tick. Why can’t/don’t they get by on a normal job like us regular Joes? What makes them different?

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time poring over websites and forums dedicated to ways of generating extra money (“side-hustles” is the phrase for those in the know) in order to assemble my big bad list of schemes, and in all my research it seems that no trustworthy informant has ever comprehensively tested all of these before. There are countless online posts aimlessly extolling some ideas and damning others, but never an ordinary cash-strapped human being ready to represent the everyman and see if any of these seemingly fatuous ideas are worth the effort. Because if they are, if even just one of these is a bonafide endeavour, let’s all do it shall we? I mean, why not? At the very least, I hope the contents of this blog make for more useful reading than a taste-test of canned snails or directions to your nearest Big Brother audition.


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