20 Craziest Things People Did To Make Ends Meet

Money, as they say, makes the world go round, and sometimes it spins people right into a whirlwind of craziness. Now, let’s get one thing straight- we’ve all been in a tight spot, staring at our empty wallets and wondering if we should resort to doing something crazy to fill them up.

One Redditor asked, “What’s the most desperate thing you’ve ever done for money?” Now, this thread received thousands of comments, and we have listed the most interesting ones for you!

1. Handmade Jewelry 

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Someone commented, “I pawned some handmade jewelry that was passed to me by my mom. When I got paid less than 2 weeks later, my items were “missing” from the pawn shop. It broke my heart and I have never gotten over it. It still makes me sad that I never even got to wear her jewelry to something special.”

Another person tried to help: “You can sue the pawn shop. Legal requirement to keep the items for X amount of time otherwise they have to pay legal fines, re-apply for a pawn licence AND pay compensatory damages.”

When that paycheck barely covers your Netflix subscription, some people decide to take matters into their own hands, literally. They start threading beads and creating masterpieces that can outshine those store-bought baubles any day.

2. Paper Boy

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The paper boy hustle can be tough. Rain or shine, snow or sleet, you have to deliver those papers. And if you mess up someone’s crossword puzzle or smudge the comics section, you better be ready for some angry phone calls. 

Someone on Reddit said, “Lived through my own “on a very special episode of” Moments. When I was a kid I had a paper route. One dude on my route was a young guy, somehow very rich, and had everything a kid would want…pool, pool table, video game, punching bags, TVs…it was awesome. 

He let me do whatever whenever ever’d collect. I’d save his house for last and stay a long time. Eventually offered me money to pose for him and do things, and I wanted money. Went on for two years til paperbys weren’t needed anymore. Bad dude, bad time.”

Another user consoled: “You were a child. My heart breaks for what you went through. Every kid wants to swim in a pool, and play with cool toys. You were groomed. It is not your fault.”

3. Military 

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One Redditor stated, “Joined the military at 17 to stop being homeless.”

Someone else replied, “Sad that one needs to join the military to keep from being homeless. It’s like “Don’t want to live in the streets? We can help you to an extent. But if you sing up for life trauma, we’ll pay for almost everything.”

Sure, there’s discipline and all that jazz, but it’s also a steady paycheck. When you’re struggling to make ends meet or drowning in student loan debt, that regular military paycheck can look like a lifeline.

4. College Books

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When the rent’s due, your wallet’s emptier than a vacuum, and you’re eyeing that ramen noodle aisle with suspicion, you start thinking outside the box, or in this case, the donation bin. 

A Reddit user wrote, “In college, during move-out week, I went around the dorms and picked up books in the donate bin and sold them back to the bookstore. Most of them weren’t worth anything, but I made a few bucks and put the ones not worth anything back into a donate bin.”

Another responded, “College bookstores have notoriously high prices and collude with publishers to make higher profits off of poor college students. Don’t feel bad.”

5. Bank Accounts 

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Someone commented, “Wrote an IOU on a piece of paper and deposited it into my bank, then immediately withdrew $300 I didn’t have. It no longer works now because ATMs automatically scan checks and cash, but it worked back when we had to put it in envelopes.”

Another added, “These were the days! I put in a Savings Bond worth $50 in the drop box and withdrew $50. Got a call the next day I was in the negative lol”

When you’re in a financial jam, it’s better to face the situation head-on. After all, there are no shortcuts when it comes to money, and trying to DIY your way out of trouble can lead to some seriously cringe-worthy moments.

6. Selling Comic Books

Japanese Manga One piece - comic book published in Weekly Shonen Jump Magazine.
Image Credit: Rizky Rahmat/Shutterstock.

Someone on Reddit said, “Sold my vintage comic book collection, broke my heart but saved my wallet. Tough times, man.”

Someone else replied, “I feel ya. Paid a month’s rent selling my Sandman #1, the next 9 or 10 paid a few more months.”

Selling comics isn’t just about finding a buyer; it’s about letting go of a piece of your childhood. And that’s a tough pill to swallow!

7. Being With a Gang

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Being with a gang isn’t all hugs and high-fives. It’s a risky business where danger lurks around every corner.

A Reddit user wrote, “DJed a gang party. It was the 90s. I was a teen who had a small rep as a club DJ. I took a gig for some guys I knew were deep. I told myself it was just a quick $200. Even though I knew the neighborhood it was being held in was hot. It was terrifying. 

Nothing but oldies and the worst, local gangster rap you could imagine. They were waving guns on the dance floor. I couldn’t wait for my set to end and get outta there. The was a shooting 2 blocks away at a different party that night. Never again.”

Another responded, “This is a story that could be told in a movie or TV episode. It’s actually rather compelling, even as anxious as you might have been.”

8. Prostitution 

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One Redditor stated, “I was a prostitute for several years while applying for disability. Couldn’t afford both food and rent on welfare and disability and kept denying it, I filed appeals, rinse, and repeat. I finally retired from that work when my disability was approved.”

Another added, “People with disabilities have to become these workers to afford food and people still say god exists”

Why do people do it? Well, when bills are stacking up, and you’re trying to keep the lights on, desperation can make you do things you never thought you would. It’s like a last resort, a way to put food on the table when you’re out of options.

9. Food Challenges

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Image Credit: Cast Of Thousands/Shutterstock.

Don’t get us wrong; we love a good food challenge video as much as the next person. But let’s be real here: when you’re resorting to eating a mountain of burgers or a bathtub of ice cream to make some cash, you might be in a bit of a pickle.

Someone commented, “I finished 12 cups of school lunch pineapple for 20 dollars. My stomach was messed up for weeks afterward.”

Another said, “I had a guy in a workgroup snort a line of salt and then slam 3 shots of maple syrup for about $40. Thing was we all just got paid that day, and we were at a Denny where the bill was covered by the shift manager. He said he needed the money and would do anything. It was the safest for an after-work, but still with coworkers thing we could come up with.”

10. Donating Plasma

Blood Plasma Donation process, hand squeezing a rubber ball
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Someone on Reddit said, “I used to donate plasma for drinking money in college. It was a double benefit of getting paid and being light-headed before getting to the bar.”

Another responded, “Me too. But the spot up there also had a deal where if you had an empty gallon jug (like for milk), they would fill it for $3 from the beer tap. College was a blur.”Used my days off to sell plasma for groceries. Did that for years while I was supporting my sister.”

Someone else replied, “Used my days off to sell plasma for groceries. Did that for years while I was supporting my sister.”

Now, let’s get one thing straight- it’s not exactly the most glamorous way to earn cash. But when you’re feeling the financial squeeze, a little extra money in your pocket can be a lifesaver.

11. Working

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A Reddit user wrote, “Go to work 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week. Worked for the Federal government, lol.”

Another added, “This should be the top answer with the most upvotes. Worked at GEICO. And their night shift.”

So, while working might seem like a desperate move when the cash flow is slow, it’s also a reminder that we’re all in this together, grinding our way through life’s challenges.

12. Toxic Partners

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One Redditor stated, “Stayed with my emotionally abusive ex for two years longer than I should have for the sake of financial stability. I wanted to leave him the whole time…”

Another responded, “Same. For ~25~ years. Emotionally, mentally, verbally. Can’t work bc my body started going to ykw, after 4 kids & beatings from my ex, & after 25 years of it, my mind is so messed-up it’s a wonder I can function at all, let alone work. Knowing I wasted my life doesn’t help my mental health one tiny bit. 

(I AM finally divorced); however, after I escaped, before I could get everything out of the apartment, he, my SON & son’s psychotic now ex-gf, STOLE & PAWNED some of my jewelry, she helped herself to my clothes, makeup, anything she wanted. And it continues. No wonder I’m ALONE literally ALL the time, I don’t KNOW HOW to “be normal” anymore. Let me serve as a cautionary tale, please everyone. :/”

But here’s the thing: is it really worth it? Living in a toxic relationship can mess with your mental and emotional well-being. It’s like you’re sacrificing your peace of mind for a few extra bucks. Is that really what life is all about?

13. Smooth Talker

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Someone on Reddit said, “True story. While interviewing for a job, the interviewer asked, “How are you doing?” I answered great. I could tell right away I was about to lose that job offer, so I asked, “How about you? How are you doing?” I can tell the interviewer relaxed right away. 

Whether you’re interviewing for a tech position or not doesn’t matter. They all wanted a smooth talker. Instead of being yourself and able to perform the job, they wanted a canned interaction.”

Another added, “Basically selling my identity for the possibility of a paycheck. Many of us are doing it day to day. Ever smile at your boss when you don’t feel like it? I was interviewing for a cook position at a restaurant once. He asked what’s the most important thing I can do when greeting a customer. He said, “Smile”.”

And here’s the kicker: smooth talkers often know they’re selling you a load of baloney. They know that the magic blender won’t change your life and that investment club? Well, it might be more exclusive than you think!

14. Funds

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Image Credit: file404/Shutterstock.

Someone commented, “Created a GoFundMe when I was at the worst times and needed help with getting at least a hotel for a few nights with my kid.”

Someone else replied, “Yeah, just ask big companies for funds and show how poor you are. They will spare you some money for sure.”

The thing about begging is that it’s a last resort, a cry for help when all other doors have slammed shut. Nobody grows up dreaming of becoming a professional beggar, right?

15. Telemarketing

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Someone on Reddit said, “Telemarketing. Worked 3 places. Two were legal but a bit shady. One of them was just straight-up scamming.”

Another responded, “Telemarketing. Oh my god, the shame and the misery of telemarketing. So much rejection. And the managers trying to motivate us: “If you get one on the board in the next fifteen minutes you can come up and play our mini golf game for a chance to win…” ugh.”

So, why do people dive headfirst into the telemarketing game? Money, plain and simple. When the bills are piling up like a mountain, and your bank account is emptier than a desert, you might find yourself answering the siren call of telemarketing.

16. Stealing

Greedy young man hiding money on light blue background.
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You see, stealing isn’t just about swiping someone’s purse or shoplifting at the mall. It can take many forms- like embezzlement, identity theft, or even that co-worker who sneaks office supplies home.

A Reddit user wrote, “Run a black market pot plant business. Stole the pot plants from nice neighborhoods at night and sold them to another nice neighborhood the next days. I was sixteen and am totally against theft now.”

Someone else replied, “Those who steal to save their lives do so because their lives are in danger, and stealing (food, medicine, or anything like that) would save them. It is as easy as that. Now, if we get into the ethics or morals of the act, it becomes complicated.”

17. Donating Bone Marrow

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Before we jump in, let’s get one thing straight: bone marrow donation is a big deal. It saves lives, and it’s an incredible act of selflessness. But sometimes, people find themselves in situations where they’re so strapped for cash, they consider selling a piece of themselves. 

One Redditor stated, “Donated bone marrow for research purposes. 500 euro in return for agony and a panic attack afterward.”

Another responded, “In college, my crush agreed to come over and watch a movie; it was our first date. I had zero cash and no food or drink to offer. The day of our date, I was in panic mode. I ended up spending a couple of hours in the clinic donating bone marrow for cash. It worked. I bought a cheap 12-pack and we ended up dating for three years.”

18. Participating in Studies

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Participating in studies isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s like a social experiment, and you get to be part of it! But when those dollar signs start dancing in your eyes, things can get a tad out of control. 

Someone on Reddit said, “I did volunteer myself for a study at Yale. It entailed administering an “A-Line” to my left wrist and then injecting me with not one but two different radiotracers that went to my brain. Y’know, typical CAT scan stuff. They wanted to see how many of the two specific receptors were in my brain. Got paid really well for it, though – but it’s not like they’ll take anyone. Gotta have a certain neurological profile.

EDIT: The hardest part was waiting for the actual CAT scan to finish, as well as keeping my left wrist completely dry for about a week afterwards. The A-Line was literally painless, thanks to an injection of lidocaine.”

Another cautioned, “Careful cause cat scans are highly radioactive.”

19. The Fountain Money

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Someone commented, “In college, me and a friend rolled up our pants at 4 a.m. and collected change out of the huge fountain on campus. We needed money for cigarettes. Definitely a cringe moment when I think back on that.”

Another added, “Went to all the fountains on campus to look for change. Found $3, and used it to buy a sandwich”

Collecting fountain money might seem like a desperate move, but in a world where the rent is due, the fridge is empty, and the piggy bank’s coughing up dust, people get creative.

20. Drinking Games

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One Redditor stated, “Shot battles. The local pub would have what they grandly titled the World Cup of drinking. The prize was 500 pounds. I did 10 shots in 10 minutes 3 times in one night.”

Another responded, “‘For some people, the desire to earn extra money or gambling addiction can drive them to participate in drinking games for cash prizes. They may see it as a way to make quick money.’”

So, is playing drinking games for money a desperate way to earn some cash? Well, in a way, yeah. It’s a sign that you’re in dire straits when you’re willing to trade your sobriety and dignity for a few extra bucks.

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.