Schemes active/complete: 35
Money made: £30.03
It is with no small sense of relief I can report I have finally butchered and eaten my ReceiptHog. For the first quarter of 2017 I have been scavenging receipts from every available source to upload to this app as part of Scheme #71: Scan your shopping (my coworker Geoff deserves a special shout out here as every morning when I arrived at work I’d find a little care package of receipts on my desk that he had saved for me), and now, finally, that hard work has paid off, for the dizzying sum of £5.
Now comes the part of the blog where I have to determine whether I could earnestly recommend this scheme, and I’m unsure where my opinion lies. Be in no doubt that Scheme #71: Scan your shopping – WORKS; the £5 was in my PayPal within 24 hours and the scheme didn’t cost me a penny, but the whole operation is something of a pain. Whilst not necessarily time consuming to spend 10 seconds here and there taking a snapshot of your shopping bill, it’s a daily niggle which you may not want to add to your life if, like me, your days are comprised almost solidly of niggles anyway. Add to that further inconveniences like the fact the app logs you out every time you enter a WiFi zone and only some receipts actually generate coins while others will reward you solely with useless sweepstake entries, and the entire exercise seems fruitless.
That said, receipts are things which you’re naturally going to accumulate anyway so it almost seems silly not to be making money from them if you can. Answering pleb’s online questions about the Triassic Period (Scheme #31) or reviewing plush dog beds (Scheme #23) aren’t activities which will crop up in your daily routine regardless, but if you’re going to be making a transaction you may as well sell that data for 0.005p. There’s even a slot machine minigame that certain receipts will earn you pulls on which has the potential to win you a cool £66 if three of the eponymous Hog faces are spun, not that I ever had any luck on it.
If you’re a person who finds themselves garnering an unnaturally high number of receipts or you work in a supermarket and have access to the droves of receipts discarded by shoppers I’d say there are certainly worse apps you could have on your phone, the Double Dog dare app for instance (Scheme #125). Don’t expect to make anything fast though – it took me three months of pledging at least a dozen receipts a day to get my paws on that fiver.
Sticking with the concept of divulging your shopping habits for cash my ShopandScan clicker arrived through the post the other day:
This was a lot less bulky than I’d assumed, certainly smaller than the cordless telephone-sized contraptions cashiers use to scan barcodes. I’d also incorrectly presumed you were supposed to take your clicker with you wherever you went to scan your shopping on the go, but I learned from the incredibly dull manifesto the scanner arrived with that your Opticon device is meant to remain as a household appliance.
I spent a while using the bright red scanner light to blind Rowena with whilst she was on the phone before testing it on all the barcodes in the house which it registered with a satisfying ‘boop’ noise each time. Next it was a simple case of downloading the ShopandScan app to my laptop and plugging the clicker in, which promptly went mental and started beeping fifty times a second until all the barcodes had been uploaded. For that painless little task I was awarded a £10 Amazon gift card – not every scan is going to be so generous but this is the sweetener you’re presented with for your first successful upload. One of my self-imposed rules is that only bonafide cash money can be added to the total so as soon as that voucher arrives it’s going straight on eBay to maybe get me £7 if I’m lucky.
Speaking of eBay that’s where my AA01 £5 note is currently sat, with an £8 starting price, 31 hours left at time of typing, and absolutely 0 bids. I genuinely thought these first batch fivers would sell like Glastonbury tickets but I’m starting to realize this might not be the case. Some are struggling to be sold on eBay for less than £5!!
To be honest I don’t hold out much hope for my other eBayable commodity as part of Scheme #126: Collect and sell empty toilet roll tubes. These are sold either for their use as craft materials or just to strange fetishists but rarely for more than a couple quid. Recently my pile of tubes has really grown as I’ve discovered an empty kitchen roll can be cut into three facsimile toilet roll ones, and I’ve just taken stock of my disgusting collection for the first time to find I’ve amassed precisely fifty tubes so I think it’s high time to get these on the electronic Bay too.
In other news I was strolling past an arcade the other sunny day and thought such a place would be precisely where cack-handed holidaymakers might fumble some change so I could cash in on Scheme #61: Look down when you walk. My instincts paid off to the value of 5 pence, and a penny was also to be mine in the local Wetherspoons which is why my total project earnings are the neatly palindromic £30.03.
Two new schemes to add to the rota – I signed up for Scheme #60: Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, an Amazon-associated programme based on the automated Turkish chess player of the 1700s. It comprises of myriad brainless human tasks such as copying lines of code and filling out CAPTCHA tests but the corners of Reddit dedicated to money making methods seem to extol becoming a Turk, so my application to become one has been sent.
The other new scheme I commenced on the back of Apple declaring they were unceremoniously dumping Imagination Technologies to spend some time discovering themselves, sending the shares of the graphics chip creators plummeting into the abyss. Despite having never heard of the company until last week I have confidence they’ll pick themselves up and get through this messy breakup so what better time to invest in some of their stocks?
That’s right, Scheme #4 is Play the stock market – unfortunately when you have a project which revolves around a topic as dry as earning money sometimes we have to tackle dreary subjects such as company shares and moving averages and dividend yields, it’s not all going to be skateboard stunts and tattooed arses. Anyway as it transpires buying stocks in a company is massively more complex than I gave it credit for so for the time being I’ve just created a practice account with The Share Centre to see how I get on with pretend money before I commit any real collateral.
Finally, to try to pick this post up and make it at least semi-interesting I returned to the good folks at Demonical intending to sell my soul again (Scheme #49). It’s been over 2 months since I signed a handwritten contract proffering my well-weathered soul for auction and I’ve heard nothing back, so I settled on the quick-sell option available on the site which promises “$5.00 CASH NOW” for just a couple clicks and a piddly little eternity of torture.
I landed on ‘Drunkenness’ as my favourite sin from the long list the site provides which vary from ‘Criticism’ and ‘Lack of compassion’ to ‘Murder’ and ‘Sex with animals’, and within seconds my application was off to the devil’s admin team. No sign of any satanic fivers my way yet, but if this works I don’t see why I couldn’t create a load of email addresses and milk these demons for $5 a time. There is small-print which politely requests you only sell your own soul but it’s odd a site of this ilk relies on a conscientious honour system. I’d quite enjoy being able to gloat I was corrupt enough to swindle an exchange site based on pure corruption.
Schemes active/complete: 27
Money made: £15.77
Over the past month I’ve offered plenty of services for cash but little in the way of good ol’ physical goods. This is understandable as I don’t own a great deal and what I do I want to keep, however there’s one lanky, beer-bellied, naturally-replenishing resource which I don’t mind sticking up for sale. That’s right, let’s see how much I can shift various elements of this tired, beaten, booze-bloated body for. My 27th birthday upcoming this week is yet another irrevocable reminder along with the clicks of my joints increasing in volume that time stops for no man, death is inevitable, and much like selling fresh fruit if I expect any retail value for my supple body I should hurry up and get it on offer.
Let me quickly reassure anyone concerned that this isn’t my graceless slide into prostitution. Rather I’m going through a list of my body’s constituents and researching if there’s anyone who will pay to take them off my hands, or out my veins, or wrung from my gall bladder. I’m less than 30 years old, I don’t smoke and I have no illnesses I’m aware of so my body’s in adequate nick, even if my principal diet of alcohol and sugar means what my heart pumps is basically port.
Straight to the immoral of the story – Scheme #49: Sell your soul. We’ll deal with this first as it’s the only part of my body I’m looking to sell which doesn’t actually exist. I’m a firm atheist with no such pseudo-scientific sympathies as to even pretend to acknowledge the presence of a soul so if it makes a guilty idolatrous Catholic feel better to have a scrap of paper with “Mat Roses’s soUl” written on it then they can be my guest, cash or cheque please, good luck sneaking into Heaven.
Like all pieces of worn tat you’re never going to use you’d think you could post your soul on eBay, however I know from experience it’s not that easy. My housemates at University once listed my mortal soul on said site, without my consent of course, but it was removed before anyone could bid as the item was intangible. You could try purging your soul from yourself and transferring it to, say, a baby bird, then killing the bird, and selling its corpse, but then you’d find yourself bogged down in even more eBay jurisdiction. It’s an existential administrative nightmare.
Thankfully there’s sites like Demonical which make such a transaction devilishly easy.
The webpage is entirely dedicated to the buying and selling of human souls – “over ten thousand souls bought and sold since our inception” it boasts. This scheme is the first one which has evoked a little wary disapproval from Rowena, who branded it “a silly idea”. I explained it’s actually uncharacteristically unsilly: I’m trading something I logically and scientifically don’t own for real currency which actually exists, and even if a soul is real, do buyers think they’re suddenly instilled with mine just because I said so? Because of the pact on demonical.com, a cringe-worthily maudlin site which hasn’t updated its blog since 2005?? In the infamous words of Bart Simpson following the sale of his soul to Milhouse, “well if you think he got such a good deal, I’ll sell you my conscience for $4.50. I’ll throw in my sense of decency too. It’s a Bart sales event! Everything about me must go!”
There are two ways of cashing your spirit in on Demonical, either a quick sale for $5 which only requires a couple clicks and strokes, or an auction process which involves a little more work but for greater dividends. A quick scroll down the latest souls being auctioned indicates they shift for around $30 on average, but like eBay bids can escalate and go mad – the soul of Constantina Kacavas is currently up to $1,269 and that’s from a quick, arbitrary bit of recon, there’s likely ones even more coveted out there.
To present your soul to auction you’re tasked with transcribing a contract “in your own handwriting, on a plain piece of paper with no lines”, and then emailing across a photo of you holding it. The legalese is very lugubrious with mentions of “the Black Book of Death” and other such doleful platitudes which sound like the names of some of the bands I’m having to review on Slicethepie, and it also insisted I date it the 6th of January for no reason at all.
Even as a cold-hearted atheist it felt a little unsettling to jot down how I “relinquish the ownership of my mortal soul upon death for eternity,” but I certainly wasn’t going to back down now and have Rowena say “told you it was a silly idea,” so I zipped the photo across under the necessary subject line ‘I wish to auction my soul to the highest bidder’ and considered my eternal damnation confirmed.
Sadly the email bounced back almost instantly with a complaint that the email@example.com address couldn’t be found, a rather apt statement from a return-to-sender program calling itself Mailer-Daemon. Thankfully Demonical’s regular contact email address seems to be in service so I’ve asked them what a guy has to do to get his soul sold these days, updates to follow.
Moving on to bodily components not fabricated by religions to create an omnipresent feeling of guilt and subservience, Scheme #190: Sell blood. A bit galling to discover this is a viable scheme now as I’ve donated before in my life like 3 times for bloody nothing. Thrice I’ve walked out with a smiley face sticker and a shit cup of tea whereas I could have been turning my aorta into an earner, a literal blood bank!
The selling of blood to clinics is more prolific in America but there are still some UK-based centres which will pay – I signed up with trials4us who cough up £100 for a pint of the red stuff. There are some pretty draconian rules to adhere to if you’re selected to participate; no cigarettes for 3 months prior to donation, and no energy drinks or “foot powders” from a fortnight beforehand, but these are sacrifices I’m willing to make to bleed trials4us dry.
From red to brown, and I apologize in advance, Scheme #108: Sell your shit. Your literal human shit. Stool donations are generally less required than blood, which is why you don’t see poop drives temporarily set up in community centres with volunteers straining into plastic cups, alongside slightly pale donors who’ve just finished and are now nibbling sugary biscuits to recover, all beneath the inspirational chestnut-coloured banner “Do something amazing. Give a shit.” However the Taymount Clinic near Luton will actually pay to rummage through your excrement for medical data, and I chirpily sent off an email enquiry ready to start my fecal fortune.
What is a bit shit, besides the entire literal premise of this scheme, is that donors are expected to squeeze out a sample “a minimum of three times per week” and therefore they “advise that all donors who apply live within a 15 mile radius of Letchworth Garden City in Hertfordshire.” Now I don’t live 15 miles away, I live 137 miles away, and whilst I could probably afford to head up on the coach of a weekend for a one-off, no-strings cash-for-crap job I certainly couldn’t be doing so several times a week. I suggested in my email that I could perhaps go up once and make a big weekend of it, let’s see what they say.
It’s irritating that Taymount is the only clinic in the UK to offer this service, as in the States this fad is more widespread. Likewise with selling plasma, mentioned in the very first post of this blog, which is a simple money maker in the USA with plasma centres paying $40 per donation, yet completely blacklisted in the UK due to our fears of Mad Cow Disease. And although getting paid to donate sperm is a viable scheme here (coming into money by this method won’t be appearing on my list because it’s not something you want to read me blog about), our transatlantic cousins are paid much more on average for every little pot of baby-juice they produce.
Throughout my projects it’s been a current trend that things would be easier if I lived in America. There are hundreds and hundreds of U.S gameshows and 25% of Americans have competed on a show at one point or another so I’d have had a better chance winning one of those than on the paltry handful offered up by BBC, ITV and Channel 4, and as for eating all the meats the gastronomic gulf between the two countries is ludicrous. In the UK I struggled getting a plate of goat, when over in the States there’s websites such as this one which casually serve up iguana, coyote, flamingo and dove! And it’s much the same with my money project where no-one will accept my plasma and barely anyone wants my poo, and yet American companies such as Lee Bio are paying out for earwax, snot and spit, queerly not for medical research but to sell on! Look at their mark-up on piss and tears!:
I did send an email to Lee Bio hesitantly asking if there’s anything I could be paid to donate whilst this side of the pond but it’s doubtful I’ll get a positive reply. This makes me sad, but I’m not going to cry about it, not for free anyway!
Back on UK soil I put some feelers out for Scheme #13: Endure clinical trials, filling out pertinent questionnaires for Bio Trax and People for Research to hopefully be called upon for my use as a human guinea pig.
This scheme’s included on a lot of online sources as well as featuring in what few actual paper books I purchased on the topic, and is also one of the few schemes I’ve attempted previously as a genuine way of scraping some extra cash together. About 4 years ago I applied for Flu Camp in London which quarantines you in a perfectly comfortable albeit eerily sterile room for 2 weeks, infects you with a flu or cold or sometimes nothing if you’re lucky enough to be a control subject, then lets you wander out with £3,750 in your back pocket. I had a blood test at Queen Mary University, London, and unfortunately was informed I could not take part as my pathogen levels were either too low or too high (they didn’t specify). I can only hope I’ll be offered other trials just as lucrative.
Finally, I thought it would remiss of me not to at least try to distort my face to some degree for this blog post so there’s Scheme #121: Beardvertising.
I sent off a polite mail asking how to join the network of Beardvertising, perhaps overstating the richness of the beard I am able to produce. Really I can only force out a coarse, patchy layer of facial hair and certainly not the hirsute bush needed to sustain an advert, but we’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it.
So there’s a lot of new schemes in play and I don’t feel my body wallet’s even empty yet. Scheme #18 is Sell some hair which I’m still pondering how to achieve – there’s no shortage of websites through which you can flog your locks (Hairsellon has the cleverest wordplay of them thus far so is my most trusted at present), however they all specify your hair must be over 6 inches long and mine hasn’t been since rocking curtains back at University which still makes me shudder just thinking about. Still, I’m having my haircut tomorrow morning, and may have to nonchalantly probe exactly where they throw out all the hair trimmings each day. Scavenging through my barber’s bins in the dead of night to create a Frankenstein’s monster of a hairball from various off-cuts is currently my best and only plan. All worth it if it helps create a wig for a cancer patient though, eh? And some people say I don’t have a soul…