Day 11: Another day another bottle

Income: 7.58$

It is Sunday and with another 47 bottles and cans in my trunk, I drove to Hannaford again to get some dollars.  My business relations to the Hudson River Coffee House seem to be strong enough to ensure a weekly supply of cans and bottles to significantly increase my income. Respectively, on average I collect 4 cans per day. The Coffeehouse supports me on average with 9 cans and bottles per day woohoo! Thanks for the support, I hope I can increase my daily can-collecting-rate to 5 over the next weeks. This steady bottle supply increased my income from 0.45$ to 2,35$ for today and boosts my overall income to over 7,50$! However I need to start other project to not fall behind to my Swiss and German competitors.
And then there is the voting.... I am not sure yet who to blame for making "charging for compliments" win (in around 6 hours) , but well... I will do this during the coming week and hope to earn at least 1,50$ !!!   I´ll give more details about where and when this will happen during the coming days. As the voting was very close until yesterday, I am going to do both, garage sale investments and charging strangers for friendly comments.

From now on I am looking for reasonable small investments on the local garage sales, craigslist, maybe also on ebay. I plan to repair, improve, beautify (and more) my investments and resell them again.  My goal ist to reach 50$ until August 20, which will be a lot of work and equals to 5-6$ a week...  If someone has a great deal or investment in mind, please right a comment.


Day 9: Payday with a trunk full of cans!

Income: 5.23$

It is 11 am and I already exceeded my goal to have 5$ within the coming week. During the last days I solely gathered all the bottles and cans I found inbottles and cans the trunk of my car. This morning I was planning to return all the bottles and cans at Hannaford and just stopped by at the Hudson River Coffee House to buy my daily "Good Morning Hazelnut + Almond Iced Coffee". I received some cans from there earlier this week and was not expecting any cans before Sunday. However, I received a bag full of cans and bottles (I guess around...35) even without asking! My trunk was then filled with 87 cans and bottles and I had to do reposition my belongings from the trunk to the backseats.
After receiving this donation I drove straight to Hannaford and spent quite a while returning cans, plastic and glass bottles and sorting out all the evil ice tea and juice cans (no refund)! Anyway, I received 3,35$ for what I gathered during the past days, which equals to 67 cans and bottles.
My plans for the coming days are: Continue collecting cans, but finding new ways to earn some cents. In 3 days I will additionally do whatever the majority of votes decides. I already thought I am on the safe side and would have to invest on the garage sales, but "charging for compliments" is catching up... scary.

Here the proof of income, my car is finally not smelling like a brewery anymore!

Refund at Hannaford


Day 8: Payday is coming closer!

Income: 1.88$
Short update for today:
During the last blogs I didn t change my income bar as I didn t return the bottles I collected. However, the next payday will be tomorrow or Saturday and I expect a lot: Everything over a dollar is a success, 2 dollars would be great, but lets see. In my trunk there is a garbage bag full of cans waiting to get exchanged to some dollars.
Today, despite heavy rain, I decided to have at least a short look around the block and along the campus. I was able to find some more bottles and later in the evening some soda bottles and cans (not in the picture).

As soon as I have 5 $, I will start to invest my little fortune in valuable projects to gain higher income, I hope I will achieve this during the coming week. And at the end:  A last call for my voting on the right!  It is unbelievable close! Please Vote everybody!


Day 7: Pennies everywhere!

Income: 1.88$
Yesterday night, my former housemate Anton and me cleaned our apartment a little and looked for pennies of former tenants, as they are changing quite frequently. The most promising place was under the seat cushions of our old couch, but there was nothing but dust and little baseball bat (!?).

PenniesAfterwards we checked the decorative strips (hight: ~ 6,5") in my livingroom and indeed, 3 pennies were hiding on top of it. I wonder how they got there..
Next we checked the closet and floor of an empty room in the back of the apartment, where I found 10 cent.  What a success!
Surprisingly, there was no money to find under the old heaters, but when standing next to them I found two homeless pennies on top of them and 1 penny from 2011 in the doorway next to it. The search operation was overall a great success, 21 cents more in my bank!


Day 6: The bottle network grows!

Income: 1.67$
What a weather! It is 3pm and 84 °F (29°c) outside. I´m done for today, as it is just too hot to walk around. This morning I received a generous sponsorship of 14 bottles/cans which will help to boost my income at the next payday. I also found two more cans at the university parking lot, when walking towards the library. Overall, a very successful day!
Thanks everybody for the votings, apparently it will be a very close race! If you still haven´t voted yet, take the chance (on the right)!

bottles and cans

Tomorrow I will blog the first time about my budgetcut plans. I tracked all my expenses in detail and already see a lot of potential for savings! It is quite shocking to see how much I spend over time for small things, such as a bottle of water, a muffin or some small lunch at stores at the university..

And now: Let´s go out, it is summer!


Day 5: Part 2 - At least something..

Income: 1.67$
Not such a high income today. Interestingly, I found more money on the street than bottles or cans. Note to myself: Pennies are attracted by parkinglots!  I was not even looking too much for them, but they were lying directly in front of me. Anyway, 1 bottle, a penny and a nickel are what I found today.

Thanks everybody for the votings, those of you who haven´t voted yet, you can find it on the right side, go for it, it just takes about 3 seconds!

Here my respectable income of today, lets hope I am more lucky tomorrow.

Day 5: You need a safe bank!

Income: 1.61$
Monday mornings...I will have a look for empty cans later today. My personal goal is 5 cans per day, which is quite a lot as there are not many lying around.
After bringing my "hard-earned" money home yesterday afternoon, I was confronted with a serious problem. How to keep my little fortune safe from pickpockets. The solution: My own piggy bank (a.k.a. Peanut box)! No interest, but it will definetily keep me motivated!

I thought about some other ways to get some cents and also received a lot of great ideas from readers of this blog. Two ideas are very practical and I would like you to decide which one I should use.
  1. The first idea is to invest my dollar(s) on a garage sale in some valuable object, to work/repair/improve it and then two sell it again..somehow..somewhere. There are many garage sales during the coming weeks, so there is definetily potential for hidden treasures!
  2. The other possibility is to charge people for compliments. I would make a respectable sized sign and sit and wait in my favourite place, the Hudson River Coffeehouse to charge a nickel or dime for a commpliment.
 I created a survey (on the right),  PLEASE MAKE A CHOICE!
 (for non Germans: "Abstimmen" means "Vote")
Piggy bank


Day 4: PAYDAY!

Income: 1.61$

Unbelievable, I octupled my income! After the slow start, I experienced some serious support from my girlfriend yesterday. This increased my bottle counter from 11 to 18! Thanks for your help and I will work on my recycling skills in the future :).

bottles and cansTwo hours ago, I got up and went to the nearby Hudson River Coffeehouse. I was allowed to take all cans/bottles from the past days: 22 cans and bottles! On the right, you can see a pic of my accumulated wealth: I am indeed quite proud! -> click the pic for a detailed view of my fortune!

Full of recycling energy, I instantly went to Hannaford, a local supermarket with several bottle refund machines. Sadly, I had to throw several cans and bottles away, as the machine did not accept them. I wrote down the brands and know for what to look during my next "Bottlechase". Ice-tea did not bring any money at all, beer and water cans are the bestseller. Even though I just got 1,40$, I feel as if it would be a little fortune!

Thanks Hannaford for your generous support!

bottle deposit



Day 3: How and where to find the right bottles?

Income: 0.21$

I started this morning at 6am to have a walk along my block and collect some bottles. As I live in an area with several bars close by, I thought I might find some bottles in front of them. Well, I found two, but only the Corona bottle does definetily give me some refund. I expected to find many more, but the semester break might cause the disappointing numbers as many local students drove home.

It was much more profitable to check the public garbage bins. I guess the city was emptying them the night or day before, as they were surprisingly empty. However, I was still able to find 3 other bottles in there! If I can find out the time when the garbage trucks arrive, I can check the bins some minutes earlier...  ...great idea.

Today or tomorrow is payday!

bottle deposit

As you can see on the picture, I am still not sure which bottles do really give refund. I found out too, that the "bottle refund machine" sometimes declines bottles at first, but accepts them after some more tries...how mean!

I´ ll keep you up to date!

PS: If you have any good ideas where to find bottles, cans  or other ways to earn some cents with "nothing", let me know :)


Day 2: Lucky Day!

Income: 0.21$

This morning, when leaving my house at 8 am, I found a penny and a dime in the doorway. This means, my bankroll has more than doubled! Well, that is a good start in the day! Here are the two slackers:



Project 1: How to get the first Dollar?

Income: 0.10$
It is 0:12 am and I just returned from my favourite coffeehouse. On my way home I found 2 Coors cans and tried whether I could get a refund at Price Chopper for them. It worked and my bankroll is now at 10 cents.

In addition to that I found some more bottles and cans in the trash outside which I will return during the coming days. But here comes the first problem: In Germany every bottle is clearly marked and it is mostly obvious whether you will get some money for it or not. However, in the U.S. every state has its own laws for bottle refunds and on each can or bottle it is marked which state will give you what kind of refund.
These notes on each can seem to be sometimes incorrect, as some bottles with the marks apparently did not give me any refund, but for others, even without the NYS note, the supermarket gave refund.
I will have to learn in more detail about this, as it is a lot to carry, if I don t know whether a bottle/can brings me some cents.

bottle depositbottle deposit

Toby, who is that and what is he going to do?

Hello, I am Tobias, 25 years old, study and live in Albany, about 2 hours in the north of New York City. I was inspired to start this blog by a poker player planned to earn a little fortune out of nothing. He sold used items, opened a bank account with high interest rate and did other things to increase his bankroll. However, he did not start with nothing, as he had paid for his used items before.
I´ll go a different way!
I will start with a true bankroll of 0,00$. I won´t earn my first dollars by selling what I already possess, but try to earn some cents and dollars with other things, ideas or whatever comes to my mind. More about this in my first project, called The Challenge.

Additionally I will try to track all my expenses with a standard excel budgetplan. After doing this for one month I will analyse and hopefully significantly decrease my expenses. You can find all information about this 2nd project, called The Budget Plan! here.

During my journey I will post pictures of my achievements and keep all readers uptodate as often as possible.

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