Tagged: calvin

Tax breaks

Schemes active/complete: 33
Money made: £24.97

Well, fuck. That’s any pretence of regularly updating this blog neatly dismissed. It’s been over a month since I’ve posted anything, not because I’ve completely given up on this project but neither as I’ve been labouring so hard at it that I simply haven’t had a spare evening out of the last 36 to get to a device and upload my inner monologue.

What happened is that I had a stag do, which gracefully slid into a bout of the flu, that in turn naturally led into an unplanned hiatus and a step back to reassess, to see which schemes were working and the considerably larger quantity of schemes that weren’t. That is an element of this project which I’m grateful for, in that it’s simple to drop for a stretch of time and then swiftly resume – it’s for this reason that I’ve decided to lose the day counter which prefaced each post, as such a measure isn’t all that necessary when it transpires I’m going to sporadically spend a month here and there uninterested in £5 note serial numbers and police auctions but rather PS4 games and rum.

Now I’ve had a chance to work through my video game backlog, and with the deposit for a new flat an imminent expenditure, I thought I’d again gingerly lower myself into the cold, cold ocean of money-making ideas. There’s not a massive amount to catch up on since last throwing a tantrum and deleting my dare app back in February. My knee has now healed following Scheme #125 and the yen is doing rather well to cast a happy light onto Scheme #164. Thanks to Scheme #61 I’m teasingly close to the total £25 mark, having found a penny on the floor in Wetherspoons, a 2p coin in Burger King, a 10p in a car park, and to my astonishment a shiny whole £1 coin sat flagrant and unabashed right in the middle of the entrance to a busy Tesco!

Before this project even commenced I always picked up spare change if I saw it in the street, even if doing so had me dancing perilously between oncoming cars just to scrape up a penny so obfuscatingly caked in gunk it was no longer recognizable as a coin; this is almost certainly a trait of being raised by an accountant father who not only stoops down to pick up every bit of loose change he finds but genuinely keeps a record of them all in an Excel spreadsheet. This said, I can totally understand and respect your decision to not pick up every speck of shrapnel you spy, after all a penny is only good for taking up space in your pocket and really isn’t worth the energy extended to bend down. But a quid! The second most valuable coin in our currency! Surely that’s worth anyone’s trip to the ground and back, yet there were seas of shoppers obliviously stepping over this free money, and only as I’ve now been conditioned to walk around staring at my own feet did it end up in my possession!

In more dour news not a single other scheme has contributed anything in the entire month of March. Some have been my fault – I’ve spent a lot of weekends bedridden with a hangover so my Bounts score has barely moved (Scheme #117: Walk yourself wealthy), indeed on one idle Sunday I registered a record low of zero steps all day – whilst other schemes have died all on their own – TaskRabbit (Scheme #77) has found absolutely no errands to run in my local area and is now threatening to cancel my account should this inactivity continue. Not only that but I’ve had no interest off Gumtree in any of my rare £5 notes (Scheme #144), not even my prized AA01 exhibit, so it looks like I’ll have to list those on eBay to get them sold.

Most galling of the misfortunes to befall me was the verdict of Scheme #173: Write a short story, after The Write Contest finally revealed the winner of its Horror Short Story contest. I entered this on the second day of the project, submitting a 350-word nail-biter focusing on a man named Calvin who gets murdered (or does he….???) while sat on a toilet. Calvin, that is, was sat on the toilet, in the story. I wasn’t on the toilet when I wrote it. Well not for much of it.

Clinching first place came with a $100 reward so obviously my heart soared when I opened my emails to find a message from The Write Contest with just the subject line “Congratulations”. I tore into the email, skimmed through the niceties they opened with, and I was three paragraphs deep with the taste of a hundred dollars on my tongue before I found the line “Congratulations for placing second”….

Those bastards. They included some cursory critique about my prose in the message but I think I needed to give them some sage advice instead, namely not to title a message “Congratulations” when you’ve ranked the recipient simply as the best loser and instead of sweet cash money they’ve only won a PDF of a tacky certificate!

The closest I am to my next chunk of get-rich-scheme revenue is from a method I’ve been labouring on since Day 8. For almost the last 3 months I have been asking for receipts from every single transaction I make, photographing them and uploading these to my ReceiptHog app for Scheme #71: Scan your shopping. Every single day I have been sure to do this, and not only that but I’ve been collecting every receipt I find on the ground, asking all my friends and coworkers to keep their receipts for me, and scooping the odd surreptitious handful from the receipt bins sat beneath self-service checkouts, swiftly darting out the door like I’ve stolen something of actual value. I have submitted literally thousands of receipts via this app, it’s been a daily bugbear for practically a quarter of the year, and I’m now on 1,338 points.

If you assume this to be the equivalent of £1,338 then I’d suggest you lower your expectations somewhat. You see 1,500 points is redeemable as… £5 (the minimum payout). 3 months of fishing wet receipts from puddles of muddy rainwater and I’m effectively on £4.46, and I can’t even withdraw that yet.

It is through utter stubbornness that I am persevering with ReceiptHog; much like Weegy and Slicethepie I cannot imagine any sane mammal possessing the patience to work so hard for such little reward, unless they too were embarking on a project which forced them to. At least I recently discovered ReceiptHog aren’t too finicky with the receipts they receive, as unbelievably this shredded receipt which I painstakingly stuck back together was accepted for another paltry 5 coins to the total:

There may be something to this scheme after all, however. On the same day I downloaded ReceiptHog and began that laborious hell I also applied for ShopandScan and The Nielsen Panel, two more shopping-data-farmers only these send out barcode scanners for their users to wield like shit pistols. Nielsen’s application I fumbled as I accidentally revealed my occupation was in advertising and thus was promptly informed I could not proceed, bizarrely told to me in French. Meanwhile my request to join ShopandScan had seemed equally improbable as you either had to be personally invited or join a gargantuan waiting list, and I’d expected to never hear anything back so was surprised to receive an email two weeks ago to say I had been accepted and my barcode “clicker” had been dispatched. I look forward to having a hefty unfashionable piece of technology create an unsightly bulge in my pocket like I’m a businessman who still uses a pager.

The only other gossip is a scheme which basically fell into my lap, although not literally, it’s important to stress that. A somewhat NSFW image below if your colleagues are prudish – look at the tattoo my friend Shan had inflicted upon himself a few weeks back:

That is a real tattoo. A real tattoo penned by the young artiste P.Mongey, who has signed his work top left. P.Mongey is not a tattoo artist, but did find himself in possession of a tattoo gun and thought the unblemished buttocks of a drunken Shan would make for a sublime canvas. The love-heart on the right cheek represents Shan’s eternal passion for the sesh, and everything sesh-related. I don’t know who S.Traynor is.

Although drunk enough to allow someone to permanently decorate him with this, Shan’s astute enough to recognize the foolishness of his actions and actively encouraged me to submit this to Lad Bible as a candidate for the most terrible tattoo of the year so far. This actually is a money making method found on my list (Scheme #19: Make a fail video/image), and while I’d always planned to star in my own viral fail video, opportunities like these don’t occur every day.

It’s been some time since I’ve tried to usher Shan’s ruined anus onto the esteemed Lad Bible pages and I’ve heard nothing back so the £100 they reward each successful submission with is looking unlikely. I’ll certainly revisit Scheme #19 though – from Jeremy Beadle routinely dishing out £250 for scratchy home videos of old ladies falling off deckchairs in the early 90’s, to today’s FailArmy YouTube channel paying for vines of near-fatal motorcycle crashes, schadenfreude is ingrained into the best of us and it seems there’ll always be someone willing to fling money at the funny fall down man.

March has been a quiet month it’s true, nothing but a literary silver medal, a fuckton of receipts and a small tattooed arse to remember it by. But April is a new month, potentially bursting with opportunity, and what sort of Bournemouth-based Horatio Alger could I claim to be if I didn’t at least try to chase some of those opportunities down?


Shitty story

Day 2
Schemes active/complete: 7
Money made: £0.11

Some swift groundskeeping following yesterday’s post. First, happily, my RentAFriend profile was accepted and is now live. I’d have been rather put out if it hadn’t been accepted really, seeing as having ticked that I was happy to partake in any activity from “Yoga” to “Casino” I should somewhat resemble the most sociable person ever.


A bit of a downer was that 118118 have been in contact after I pestered them to start getting paid to answer questions by text (Scheme #31). Their response was just a link to current job vacancies, and one of the project rules is that no scheme can simply be a second job, so 118118 will have to be discarded meaning for the time being I’m forced to stick to wanky Weegy.

Weegying though would have to wait until evening once I was back from work. In the meantime on my lunch hour, rather than have a stroll on the beach or a Wetherspoons burger, I visited my local police station.


This is Scheme #41: Take part in a police identity parade. Advertised on money-making databases such as this and this, just standing and holding a placard with a number written on it and looking slightly shady can bag you £15 a time. It’s not the most lucrative of schemes on a one-off basis, but according to these sources all it takes is to sign up at a police station and once you’re on their books there’s the chance of repeat gigs, particularly if you have a naturally criminal air about you, so it’s a good one to nail down early.

My girlfriend Rowena had voiced concerns when I told her of this plan that I could be falsely accused like in Shawshank Redemption, and that the lifetime erroneous incarceration risk wasn’t outweighed by the £15 reward. I was more unsettled by the thought of being stood shoulder-to-shoulder alongside an actual rapist. All these thoughts squirmed around my brain as I trekked through the drizzle to the station, looking down the whole time of course (#61).


I stood in a queuing area for quarter of an hour staring at an empty reception booth, I must have read the nearby poster about spousal abuse twenty times over. If I’d walked in to confess I’d committed a crime there was no way I would have hung around that long. Eventually a stern-faced ma’am summoned me, and when I explained why I was there, basically told me I’d wasted my time.

“No, we don’t do that here any more,” she barked, angry and confused. “Not just this police station either. Nowhere does that.”

I posited that surely police identity line-ups do still exist in some format, and the best she could offer, just trying to get rid of me at this point, was to continue to check their careers section online in case a parade role arose, so eventually I settled for that.

Upon returning home I thought I’d try a scheme that was more my bag, namely Scheme #173: Write a short story. The most recommended source of paid short story work were the contests at FreelanceWriting, which offers myriad competitions across every genre, from poetry to scripts to non-fiction. What sold it to me was the ease through which you could spool through comparing prize figures (it’s not uncommon for winning writers to waltz away with $1,000 plus) and seeing which contests demanded entrance fees and which didn’t. I quickly settled on:


I’m not the biggest patron of horror – I’ve read the odd Stephen King but most of his work’s bland now he’s not mad on cocaine – but this contest was nice and short and didn’t necessitate any submission fees so I nestled down with some beers and tried to think of something spooky.

Whilst I’m not impartial to a bit of fiction prose, even having spent 3 years dissecting the stuff at Uni, it’s never my first choice to write. I’ll always take concocting a gonzo journalism piece over a novella; the closest I came to the latter was writing a chapter of a story I conceived about a moth who falls in love with a lightbulb. It was going to be called ‘Light Hearted’ and I was a good thousand words deep before I realised what a stupid idea it was.

A rapid brainstorm later I decided to set my horror story on the toilet. Everyone feels vulnerable on the toilet, it’s the great equaliser of people, and lavatorial terror seemed a tempting gap in the market whilst on my fourth Budweiser.

What didn’t help was trying to write with Weegy constantly chiming in the background. I really do need to keep that site open as much as possible in order to hit the $20 minimum required before I can cash out, but just 2 days in and I’m impossibly sick of it. Questions on algebra, dementia, trees, Pythagoras, and someone simply asked the phrase “Olivia is on a swing in a playground”; I was truly being tested this evening and already Pavlovianally conditioned to shudder whenever I heard its little bell.

I was stuck on the third line of my story for half an hour. I’d written “Calvin grunted and wiggled his toes. He’d been sat on the toilet for 25 minutes now and the occasional fidget was necessary to avoid cramp.” and kept vapidly rereading my own shit opening. Every time a glimmer of inspiration would surface the Weegy bell would ring and I’d be distracted by a question about rocks, this happened time and time again.

Finally I spat out 350 words of my terrible toilet-based terror and hit ‘Submit’, only to be blindsided by a hidden £12 submission fee! My first instinct was to recoil and cancel the transaction, as if I was paying to enter I thought I should exhibit a piece that didn’t take just 2 hours to write whilst pounding back beers and answering Weegy questions about pyramids and principally not focused on a protagonist named Calvin whom we meet on the toilet. However ultimately I yielded and coughed up the £12, I’d spent most of my evening putting this yarn together and was reluctant to let it go to waste, plus part of me had grown attached to Calv and his restless toes.

I’m not going to include this outgoing, or any outgoings, in my overall total; that daily figure will consist solely of incoming cash, largely because I don’t want it to read -£11.89 when we’re only on day 2. What I will do is put together a grand debt/credit total right at the end once all these schemes are complete and have paid up everything they’re going to. I know I need to start getting used to investing my own capital into these schemes, besides you know what they say, you have to spend money to make money!

You do, also, at some point, have to make money to spend money. That has to happen. That’s the little known preface to that adage…

11 fucking pence, Jesus.