20 Dumbest Ways People Have Made Money

We’ve all heard the saying, “Money makes the world go round.” But sometimes, the ways people make money are so dumb that they make the world spin in the opposite direction. And trust us when we tell you about some of the most ridiculous ideas that actually paid off!

One Redditor asked, “What is the dumbest way you’ve ever made money?” Now many users commented to share their experience, but we have picked the most upvoted responses for you.

1. Giving Directions 

Excited young brunette woman girl in casual white clothes, eyeglasses posing isolated on pastel blue background.
Image Credit: ViDI Studio/Shutterstock.

Back in the day, you’d ask someone for directions out of sheer desperation, and maybe they’d help you out of the goodness of their heart. But now, in the age of GPS and smartphones, giving directions has taken on a whole new meaning.

A discerning Reddit user commented, “An American gentleman asked me for directions and gave me a 1 dollar bill as a souvenir. This was in post-communist Hungary, and I was maybe 10. I thought I won the lottery.”

Another added, “I had someone in Puerto Rico give me directions even though I didn’t inquire about needing it and then asked for money.”

2. The Drug Test

man wearing red tshirt looking upset
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One said, “Sold my urine on the job site to guys who knew they were going to be tested.”

Another replied, “Hah, I was gonna post the same. They were good dudes, and I ended up even hiring one a year later when I opened up my own business. MFer smoked weed like a chimney but was the best employee ever (I eventually sold the business to him).

I also got paid from the other end as a stool donor for fecal microbiota transplant research. Good money got a free bidet attachment for my toilet, and they were right next to a Long John Silver’s / Taco Bell. Maaan, I wish that could have been a full-time gig.”

For some reason, drug tests can’t seem to tell the difference between your bladder’s finest and someone else’s!

3. Working For Your Neighbor 

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Image Credit: dabyki.nadya/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “Reading books to my neighbor’s parrot. He was depressed and needed company, apparently. I was 10; I enjoyed that work very much.”

Someone else added, “A Redditor said that at 8 years old, his dad paid his neighbors to let his sons paint the neighbor’s fence so they could earn their money. I’m getting that vibe from this story. You sound like you had great parents, or an incredibly quirky neighbor, or both!”

But what makes this whole neighborly gig even dumber is that sometimes you’re getting paid for things you’d gladly do for free. You might be fixing a leaky faucet, mowing a lawn, or assembling IKEA furniture- things you’d tackle just to be a good neighbor. And yet, you’re pocketing some cash in the process.

4. Book Models

Happy woman with urban styled attire
Portrait of stylish pretty girl on colored background – Happy woman with urban styled attire, concepts about lifestyle and youth

Someone commented, “I got a job as a ‘fantasy model with long flowing hair’ where I modeled for B-grade American fantasy novels. Paid OKish, not well. I also signed away my rights, so I occasionally turn up riding a horse or casting a spell. 

Also, once turned up on a book cover with ‘a lady,’ and my GF went, ‘Who is that!’?! Photoshop, my dear. Photoshop. I tried to read one of the books, and it started, ‘He was not traditionally handsome’. Ouch.”

Another replied, “Growing up, I was obsessed with the Heartland series which was about a girl working at a horse ranch; she had a love interest that occasionally appeared on the covers as well. Anyway, I learned later on that the male model was Scott Disick lmfao.”

Now, let’s get one thing straight. You don’t have to look like a supermodel or a Hollywood heartthrob. In fact, they prefer real people with real faces and real personalities. It’s all about bringing relatable characters to life on those covers.

5. Gaming Accounts

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Image Credit: belchonock via DepositPhotos.com.

One said, “About 10 years ago, I downloaded one of those Clash of Clans style app games. This was before the “pay to win” model had arisen, so I played the game for about a year and was actually pretty good at it and managed to get into one of the top clans. After a year or so though, the pay-to-win model began to rear its ugly head and ruin the game. I saw the writing on the wall and decided it was time to hang it up.

Now, I had never spent a dime on this game, but I knew that a lot of the big spenders would sell their accounts when they quit in an attempt to recoup some of their losses. I knew my account wasn’t at that level, but I figured it was worth a try. I figured if I could get even $10 I would be happy. 

I was in no rush to sell it, though, so I figured I would start very unrealistically high and then slowly go down on my list price. I ended up listing it on a third-party site starting at $500. Within 12 hours, I had a guy “counter offer” at $350. I was blown away. I wasn’t about to negotiate with that and jumped all over it. To this day I still can’t believe that I had fun playing a free game for a year and then sold my account for $350.”

Someone else added, “I sold an account on a game one for like 150. I was selling it because it was clear the game wasn’t going to be up much longer. 6 months later, the game servers were killed.”

So, you decide to put that character up for sale. Maybe it’s a Fortnite account loaded with rare skins, a World of Warcraft character bursting with legendary gear, or a League of Legends account packed with high Elo rankings. It doesn’t matter; there’s a buyer for almost everything in the gaming world.

6. Taxes

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A discerning Reddit user commented, “Forgot to submit my self-assessment tax return for a year I owed £0 tax. Got fined £100. Appealed it, was successful, and got paid £100.10 back. Thanks HMRC x”

Another replied, “I once received an underpayment of taxes from the state for something like a few dollars. Which in receiving the payment, I owed a few pennies in taxes. Which I didn’t know, and then the state tried to fine me $50 for not paying the taxes. It was amazing. Luckily, they just cleared it.. but owing a fee on taxes because they underpaid me just blew my mind.”

Underpayment of taxes might be a dumb idea in the long run, but some people out there see it as a strangely effective way to make money, at least temporarily.

7. Tutoring 

Portrait of black teacher giving math lesson on chalkboard.
Image Credit: Rocketclips, Inc./Shutterstock.

One said, “Tutoring a kid in math who was far smarter in math than his mother thought. He didn’t do the homework because he wanted to play video games. He aced all the tests and quizzes, but homework was 50% of the grade so he was getting a C in math. Mother basically paid me $20 an hour to make sure he did his homework, which he finished in about 5 min. 

We then played video games for the next 55 minutes, and whenever the mother would check on us, I would say something “mathematical,” then he would say something “mathematical,” and I would say, “Exactly, now you’ve got it.” I felt bad taking the money from the mom, but as a poor college kid, $20 is $20.”

Another added, “As a former “smart kid” whose face is still a little flat from hitting the real world like a brick wall, learning time management for when it is just tedious “adulting” you can’t smart your way out of is absolutely worth it.”

And the best part? Parents are willing to pay good money for your wisdom.

8. Converting Currencies

Beautiful young woman in glasses with dollars in her hands
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Here’s how it goes down: Let’s say you’ve got some cash in your home currency, like dollars or euros. You notice that the exchange rate with another currency, let’s say yen or rupees, is pretty favorable at the moment. That means you can buy more of the foreign currency for less of your own.

A Reddit user wrote, “In the 90’s I had some money spare, and the British Government was attempting to stop the £ falling below a certain level against the US$. On the radio in the mornings, day after day, serious experts were saying it couldn’t hold out against the markets.

I converted all my cash into US$. Two weeks later, I converted it all back into £’s and made £10k. I literally did nothing except change some currency. To be honest, I wasn’t the big winner. George Soros made $1billion!”

Someone else added, “I did the same with Turkish lira right before and after Erdogan’s re-election. No way he will not get re-elected No way he will change his monetary policy. Easy cash almost overnight.”

9. Freeway Accidents

18 wheeler truck on highway
Image Credit: 5m3photos/Shutterstock.

Someone commented, “I once crashed my truck on the freeway (due to a faulty road, I got a big payout, don’t worry guys), and when I was all shaken and like holy crap and pulling over into the grass on the side of the road, I stepped out of the truck on shaky legs, and there was just… a 20 dollar bill. Crisp and new. Just sitting there. 

I thought I must have imagined it, but I took it as a good sign, and then insurance inexcusably overpaid what my truck was worth, and I got a much better truck for free and 20 bucks. Effective.”

Another replied, “I can’t believe we had this method of extorting insurance companies all along and never noticed. Just crash your vehicle on the freeway, and everything will get better.”

Of course, we’re not advocating for anyone to cause accidents or scam their way to riches. That’s just plain wrong, and it’ll come back to bite you in the end. We’re talking about using your knowledge and savvy to navigate the insurance system in your favor.

10. Finding Money

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One said, “I once pulled into a gas station late at night, and it was closed, so I would have to use the cash machine, But I didn’t have any small bills…….and didn’t want to insert the whole $50 as I wasn’t expecting to pass back that way to cash in the remainder of the receipt.

I didn’t have a lot of options, so I got out of the car to use the $50, and right there, on the ground, right in front of me…..was a $20 bill. Cool………free fill-up……… and I kept my $50.”

Another added, “I can relate to this story as I just found 20 bucks right at the foot of my car door as I was opening the door. I know I didn’t drop it, as I had no cash on me!”

Now, we know what you’re thinking. How often does this kind of thing happen, right? Believe it or not, it happens more often than you’d think. People drop money without realizing it. Maybe they’re in a hurry or just plain clumsy, but their loss can be your gain.

11. Getting Your Head Shaved

Young man in blue t-shirt shouting oh my god with open mouth.
Image Credit: hozard
via DepositPhotos.com.

A Reddit user wrote, “Answered an ad on Craigslist. A dude shaved my head and filmed it. Paid me $600.”

Someone else added, “You’re getting paid to shave your head? Here, I am doing it for free. I’ve been so dumb.”

But here’s the kicker- you’re not just doing this for the thrill of it (although the adrenaline rush is real). You’re doing it for cash. People are willing to bid on the opportunity to watch you go from Fabio to Mr. Buzz in a matter of minutes.

12. Craigslist Fetish

Rheinbach, Germany 26 February 2023, The brand logo of the advertising website
Image Credit: David Esser/Shutterstock.

Do you have a unique skill or hobby that others might find fascinating or valuable? Maybe you’re a whiz at fixing bicycles, or you’re a master at crafting costumes. Well, guess what? There are people out there willing to pay for your expertise.

A discerning Reddit user commented, “Craigslist had some bizarre ads back in the day. I answered an ad to do some weird stuff too. A guy wanted me to pee in a diaper and give it to him. So we’d meet up. I’d get in his car. Put on a diaper, pee in it, take it off, give it to him, and he’d pay me $100.”

Another replied, “There’s some unusual kinks out there. I once went down a YouTube hole and found a whole bunch of videos of barefoot women getting stuck in giant glue traps. That was fun.”

13. HR Mistakes 

Man in Office Looking for Help
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HR is run by humans, and humans, as we all know, make mistakes. Sometimes, they goof up when calculating bonuses or incentives.

Someone commented, “My offer letter was wrong. I asked for a one-time sign-on bonus since I was leaving my match at my previous job. HR agreed, but then, instead of doing it as a bonus, they added it to my salary. I didn’t say anything. 2 years later, during an audit, they caught it. The CEO finds out and says, “Well, even with his raise last year, he still is worth it.” Never had to pay it back since it was an HR mistake, and I’m good at my job.”

Another added, “I had a similar thing happen at my first real job. I didn’t really know what was happening but was pleasantly surprised when my take-home pay was higher than I anticipated. About 6 months into working there, it turned out that they were paying me at a rate about $5,000 per year higher than what I was supposed to get. 

I almost cried when the HR lady told me they were going to have to take it out of my future checks because I was living paycheck to paycheck. Then the CEO came to me and said it was their mistake and I could keep it. He said my boss thought I was doing a great job, and they would just continue it.”

14. Road Accidents

Angry man driving a car. Male driver gesturing and shouting behind the wheel of the car.
Image Credit: Gleb Usovich/Shutterstock.

Now, here’s where the money-making magic begins. When you’re involved in a road accident that’s not your fault, you’re entitled to compensation from the responsible party’s insurance. 

One said, “Some dude hit my friend with his car while we were crossing the sidewalk in front of a 7-11. We were 12ish at the time, and my friend wasn’t hurt except for a bruise that came later. He gave us each $20 to not say anything about it. We bought SO much candy.”

Someone else added, “A friend of mine was hit by a car; he was riding a bike. The man gave him 120€ because he broke his bike that probably wasn’t worth 50.”

15. Reading Palms

Woman look at starry sky night astrological concept
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Palmistry is all about studying those lines and creases in your palm to reveal your life’s secrets. And guess what? People are willing to pay good money for that kind of insight.

A discerning Reddit user commented, “I used to get paid to read palms at parties. Despite my “entertainment purposes only” disclaimer, people always took it too seriously. Even when they had seen me doing magic shows. Apparently, watching me do card tricks for an hour wasn’t enough to convince people that maybe – just maybe – I wasn’t actually a psychic.

I started feeling guilty about spreading nonsense, so I had to quit. It was such easy money, too. Useless parents raising me with stupid ethics.”

Another replied, “You’d be surprised at how many people still put full stock into psychics/mediums/palm readers/tarot cards/horoscopes/signs/other nonsense. And it’s not just uneducated people either; most people I know way into this nonsense are middle-class and decently educated people.”

Someone commented, “I watch these stupid dating shows on YouTube, and half the people there are well-educated and judging each other on their signs and stuff  like that.”

16. T-shirt Designs

Woman drawing black stars on a white t-shirt. Handcraft talent and a little magic.
Image Credit: Yuriy Golub/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “I spent about an hour 12 years ago making a simple t-shirt design and posted it on Cafepress. I still get $100-150 a couple of times a year from it. It ain’t much, but it’s always a fun surprise to receive the check.”

Another added, “I did a similar thing about 5 years ago. I designed a few t-shirts, mostly as an exercise to try to learn graphic design. They sold okay, but very quickly, dozens of copycats sprung up. I figured I had already made more sales than I ever expected to, so I just retired from the t-shirt business.

Cut to today: I still get occasional emails letting me know I’ve sold shirts, stickers, pins, etc. Last I checked, I’m still earning good coffee money every month, which is mind-blowing to me.”

When people buy your T-shirt designs, you get a cut of the profits. And if your design goes viral or catches the eye of a big brand, well, you could be looking at some serious cash.

17. Voting 

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Image Credit: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock.

In this world, sometimes it’s all about survival. People vote for money because they’re just trying to make ends meet.

One said, “Local wannabe mayor paid me to vote for him when I was, like, 18 😂”

Another replied, “This guy in our town ran for mayor. Decided that he would pay a couple hundred people in weed to vote for him. Barely got 10 votes, lol.”

18. Working at the Wrong Place

Side View Of Business People Quarreling At Desk In Office
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A Reddit user wrote, “Once turned up to an office for an interview, however, they gave me a pass, desk, and access to a laptop and archives after I walked in the door. They kept calling me by my name, so I never thought anything of it.

I was there for a couple of weeks indexing and digitizing old documents, and once I’d finished the allocation of work, my temp contract was up as it was only 2 weeks. On leaving, they were going to cut me a cheque and asked, “How do you spell < random surname >?” I said how would I know I’m called…”

The shock on their face as they realized they had given a job to the wrong guy and had called me for the job instead of the knockback. Easiest but the dumbest way of making money every time.”

Someone else added, “Been there, done that. Was not accepted at a company, and walked in to know the reason. They thought I was the new guy, and so I started working. Lol”

Of course, there’s always the inevitable day of reckoning. Eventually, someone figures out that you’re the accidental employee, and the jig is up. But by then, you might have pocketed a pretty penny and gained some bizarre work experience.

19. Selling Magazines

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A discerning Reddit user commented, “My dad had like a 1,000 playboys, and I brought them to middle school and sold $10 a mag.”

Another replied, “My dad was a newsagent, and back in the 80’s the way sale or return on magazines worked was that you ripped off the front cover of the magazine and returned it. The remainder would be bailed up and disposed of. I would grab a collection of mags and sell them at school. 

I soon discovered that people would pay in free school meal tokens, which were notionally worth more than I was charging, so I’d accept these and then save my lunch money. After a while, I had more free lunch tokens than I could ever use, so I started selling these as well.”

And the best part? You often get a fat commission for every magazine subscription you sell. The more magazines you convince people to buy, the more you earn. It’s a simple equation: Magazines Sold = Cha-Ching!

20. Shoveling Snow

Man in winter storm
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Now, we know what you’re thinking. Who in their right mind would pay someone to move snow around? See, when it’s freezing outside, and you’re all cozied up in your warm home, the last thing you want to do is battle the snowdrifts. So, you’re willing to part with some green to make the problem disappear.

A Reddit user wrote, “Shoveling snow. Yeah, I know how it sounds, but I was at my grandma’s house, and she had this shovel that was curved, so if you held it right, the snow would curl up and move just like a snowplow. I was like 6 or 7 years old. I thought it was so cool, so I just went around her block, clearing the sidewalks and having a blast cause it’s just like the big snowplows. Before I know it, people are coming out of the houses and giving me money.”

Another added, “Straight up, shoveling snow as a Southerner, I’ve never had more fun working. Learned quickly how to move and shovel snow efficiently and fast without sweating in sub 20 temps, it turns out I love hard work when I don’t have to sweat.”

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Image Credit: morrowlight/Shutterstock.

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via DepositPhotos.com.

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.