Category Archives: Money Experiments

Speeding Ticket Experiment

I’ve spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on speeding tickets, parking tickets, defensive driving, deferred adjudication etc. over the years…pretty much wasted money.

I’ve heard a million different people tell me about ways to weasel out of a ticket, and with the latest ticket I got this week, I’m going to give it a try.

I was caught doing 15 mph over the limit in a speed trap, meaning one officer clocked my speed, then another one pulled me over.

What I’ve heard over and over but without any FIRST PERSON EVIDENCE is that you contest the ticket, and if the officers don’t show, the ticket is dismissed. I’ve heard this is typically what lawyers do to get tickets dismissed…if the officer shows up for the hearing, they reschedule up to three times until the officer is unavailable on one of the three occasions. I figure

I could give this a try instead of immediately having to pay $300+ for the deferred adjudication process. If I’m not completely mistaken, this is the way I think the Texas traffic system works:

I’ll test my luck with this because there were TWO officers involved….meaning if both don’t show up, the ticket gets dismissed……I think.

I’ve already taken defensive driving once this year, so my only option is doing deferred adjudication which means not getting a ticket for 6-12 months….or else you pay for BOTH tickets. You still have to pay a fee for the “privilege” of going on D.A. and another fee when you complete it.

One of my concerns is knowing how the officers have shown up. Do I wait in the courtroom, wait till I see them both, then just leave? The court isn’t far from me, so I might go do a little recon work first and sit in on some trials, maybe speak to a few lawyers about their methods.

I want to find out once and for all if this is actually a viable (although time consuming) method of getting a ticket dismissed!

Painting Address Numbers on Curbs

I’ve seen people do this all day, charge up to $40 per painting and do whole neighborhoods:
Re-painting the address numbers on curbs of houses.

I always thought this was a cool and easy way to make some extra money. So in some spare time this week I bought some plastic stencils (About $8) and some black/white outdoor spray paint (About $10) and decided to see how hard it could be.

I took the materials outside and gave it a rough shot on some newspaper:

It was a little messy, and I had to end up cutting the stencils apart, but my first painting came out alright. Not perfect, but alright.

I then started using tape to seal any loose areas of the stencils together, and I successfully made a semi-neat spray of the numbers. This isn’t hard stuff, but it takes a little trial and error testing.

I’ve seen lots of neighborhoods around Austin where I couldn’t find a house because of the lack of address numbers, think of what would happen if a police car or ambulance couldn’t find your house number.

Perhaps in the next few weeks I’ll give this a shot. I tried it out on some old curbage at my apartment complex, and it turned out decent….very rough….but nothing a little practice won’t clean up.

This would be an awesome way to make a good $100+ a day for a couple of high school kids or Boy Scouts. Actually, anyone could setup this little curb painting business for themselves and make a quick income!  It involves an easy service you can sell door-to-door that people will gladly pay for.

It seems everyone nowadays is talking about “Making money doing nothing” …..which is great….but making money from good old manual labor is sometimes very rewarding!

My first tries of the curb painting were a little rough, and I wanted to actually DO this door-to-door, so I bought new materials and made my own custom curb border out of cardboard I had laying around the house.  I was surprised how cheap everything was!  Altogether my total at Home Depot came out to less than……

GO TO PART 2 –> of the experiment (I did a much better job on my second tries)!

Google Experiment 2 – Herb Kelleher

Over the years I’ve become pretty good at search engine optimization.

I proved this in my last google experiment where I successfully dominated the keyword “Starbucks Liquor.” To get where I am, I continously do Google Experiments…just to stay up-to-date.

The challenge is to get ranked high on common and saught-after keywords such as “Business”. I’ve become an expert at ranking #1 in less common keywords, thanks to this I’ve never had to pay for advertising on some of my businesses. That has always been a HUGE money saver.

To further hone my knowledge of how Google works, I am doing another experiment. For some reason I want to pick on Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines. I met the guy as seen here:

I detailed how I met him in this post about a corporate governance conference.

My goal for this experiment is to see if NevBlog can place #1 when someone Googles in the keyword “Herb Kelleher” or “Founder of Southwest Airlines

I’ll be timing this experiment, and hopefully I will learn something new along the way.
-Nev

Traffic Experiment

Traffic has been such a problematic phenomenon in this country, but there have been few steps to prevent it. I want to change that.

I have long been interested in a project to get rid of useless traffic buildup on a stretch of I-35 that causes all the traffic by Downtown Austin. I’ve had a proposal and demonstration ready for years, but never carried through with it. I’m not doing this as a money-making venture just yet, it’s just something that interests me. If it works, who knows what may follow.

A quick synopsis of the experiment:

Traffic is usually “stop and go” during rush hour, causing slowdowns, unnecessary gas usage and frustration. It generally looks something like:

The Solution:
As one car stops, the car behind it stops and so forth, creating a “Traffic Wave.” To “eat” this traffic wave, simply place a slower moving vehicle that leaves plenty of space in front of it in all lanes, much like large trucks do. This effectively regulates the speed of traffic and eliminates the “stop and go” action. It also allows time for the traffic wave to be eaten. The regulating cars should theoretically create smoothly flowing lines of traffic behind them.

I got permission to take a couple of pictures and observe I-35 from three adjacent buildings: The Marriott, the Austin Municipal Water Works building and The Crowne Plaza Hotel.

All three buildings had great views of I-35, but the Marriot and Crowne Plaza offered the best view of the particular sections that cause the most buildup:

The best part about this little trip was the free stuff. Both the Crowne Plaza and Marriott were hosting business events, so I walked in like I belonged, grabbed some free food and a bottle of Sprite and walked out. I had a free lunch that day.

You can view a more complete proposal at:
http://www.nevblog.com/images/traffic/i35.html
Credit must be given to William Beaty for research and animations. Original Work

I will further pursue this experiment in my spare time. I’ve already done the experiment with friends and IT WORKS. Now I have to videotape it in action and convince law makers to pass legislation on it.
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On a more financial note,
I’ve started trying to build up my spending account for next week as it will be pretty expensive. I plan to do a lot of wining/dining, boating, 6th-Streeting, 4th-Streeting and traveling that weekend. I’ve gone into super-cheap mode in order to have sufficient funds available for the weekend.

Alamo Apprentice Results

The Alamo Apprentice event held by my Texas Entrepreneurs team, the Profiteers, went even better than expected.

We sold out the entire theater in no time and maxed it out till the fire code allowed, and set a RECORD IN FOOD/DRINK sales! We also sold movie prop bags for $8 each which sold out in no time also. The SouthPark Singalong was a HUGE success thanks to our great team.

The entire point of the Alamo Apprentice competition was to maximize our revenue, and we did that with flying colors over the opposing team. The lowest grossing waiter at our event sold 1/3rd MORE food and drink than the ENTIRE staff at the opposing teams event held yesterday!

Needless to say, I think our team won. We also had a very vibrant team which provided tons of great footage for the Alamo Apprentice movie being shown on April 30th. I turned myself into a walking billboard to advertise the event, and wore an afro wig just to gain more attention, but in the end it didn’t matter since we already had a sold out show.

This event provided real life experience (and tons of fun) that cannot be taught in a classroom. Texas Entrepreneurs will get 50% of the revenue generated from our event. The other team has to wash dishes.

Checkout a small video of our event. (Download Here. 2.4 MB). Warning: There is some foul language in the video. You had to be there to understand how much fun the audience was having!

Alamo Apprentice

I’m involved with a group called Texas Entrepreneurs which is hosting an event: The Alamo Apprentice.

The owner of the Alamo Drafthouse (A highly successful chain of movie theaters that serve food/drinks during movies), Tim League, is acting as “The Donald” and each team is overlooked by either “Caryn” or “George

Texas Entrepreneurs has split up into two groups, each with the goal of making more money in one night than the other. All meetings, events, boardroom meetings and shows are filmed at all times. There will be a movie made out of this and will show at the Alamo Drafthouse on April 30th.

I am on the team: The Profiteers

Our event is tomorrow. We will be hosting a SouthPark Movie Singalong (the craziest things make the most money at the Alamo Drafthouse). We are expecting a full house. Profits will come from ticket sales, props sales(for use during the movie), drink sales and food sales.

Yesterday, the opposing team (Dishwasher Productions) held their event which featured live music, comedians and a movie. We decided to sabotage them.
We scored 20 free pizzas from Gumby’s Pizza, 250 wings from Plucker’s, and gave out all the free food any ticket-holder could eat! This effectively reduced their food sales. Ruthless.

Today is our big event!

Bottled Water Experiment

Purpose of Experiment: To prove my make money with no money business ideas can work.

Hypothesis: It is possible to take less than $10 in startup capital and make money.

Experiment: Buy a 24-pack of bottled water and sell it on the side of the road. Possibly utilize the labor of pan-handlers.

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Step 1:
I went to my local H.E.B. grocery store the previous night of the experiment and purchased a 24-pack of Dasani water for $5.99.

I put the water in the fridge overnight to let it chill.

Step 2:
Quick Research.
On the way to a party, I stopped to ask a bum what would happen if I sold water by the highway alongside other bums, and it didn’t seem like a pretty picture. He told me, “You are a rich college student, and the guy at the corner is trying to get a meal, the hungry guy won’t be too happy with you.”

To get around this, I wanted to partner with one of the regular bums who knows the in’s and out’s of panhandling. I made an agreement to meet at 3:00pm with this guy, William Austin to sell bottled water with me. I told him whether we sold all the water or not, I would give him $10 for his help.

The picture didn’t come out so well, but in person he was all smiles and very jovial.

I also didn’t want to get arrested or fined. A few nights ago I stopped to ask two very courteous police officers what they would do if they saw me selling water without a permit. One replied, “I can’t speak for every officer, but personally I wouldn’t bother you unless you start causing problems.”

So I now had a partner and no real threat of legal action. The experiment was on for 3:00pm on Sunday Afternoon!

Step 3:
An hour before the experiment I bought two bags of ice for $1.29 each. I packed the ice and water into a cooler.

I could only fit 15 bottles in my cooler, so I improvised and put the remaining 8 bottles directly into the ice bags with ice. I then double wrapped them with clean garbage bags for easy carrying.

Step 4:
Withdrew $20 in case I needed change and to pay my partner.

Step 5:
I made this nifty “Water $1″ t-shirt by taking on old shirt, turning it inside out (it had a logo on the front) and using a permanent marker to write on it.

I had a feeling this little gimmick would work very well.

Step 6:
Went out to go SELL SOME WATER. I went to look for William Austin at 3:00pm by the local Blockbuster like we agreed. When he didn’t show up I asked another bum to show me where he lived. I found him under a bridge, red-eyed and looking extremely tired. He hardly remembered who I was and said he had to cancel on me.

Step 7:
A bit disappointed, I went alone to the highly trafficked intersection of I-35 and Riverside Drive. There I met a bum named Barry:

I’ve seen Barry before. He is one of the bums that holds funny signs like, “I gave up caviar for Lent” and “I need new wheels for my limo”

I told Barry about my water experiment, and promised to give him $10 for an hour of his time/expertise, regardless of how many bottles he sold. He was more than happy to help. We shook on the deal and became instant business partners!

Step 8:
START SELLING. Barry knew a little about water selling. He told me to hold three bottles at once and start walking down the idle lanes of traffic yelling “Water Water!” Barry put the “Water $1″ shirt on and started selling water like a champ! I stood on a different corner in my plain clothes and started selling. My first sale came within 6 seconds of starting (and it was a $2.00 sale!)


In less than 30 mintues we sold all 24 bottles.

Click HERE to see a video of Barry in action. (1 MB video)

Click HERE to see our progress after about 25 minutes. (1.5 MB video)

Step 9:
Tabulate results:

BOTTLES SOLD:
Me: 14 Bottles
Barry: 10 Bottles

So to make a better profit, one would need to: Preferably perform the experiment by themselves, buy cheaper water, buy only one bag of ice instead of two, buy more than 24 bottles.

CONCLUSION: Selling bottled water can be much more lucrative than sitting on your couch on a lazy afternoon!

UPDATE: Bottled Water Experiment Part 2

Ebay Update and Water

My two monitors on Ebay sold:

  • 18.1″ Atec – Fetched $340 in cash. I will deliver it to buyer as they live only 2 miles away from me.
  • 17″ Samsung – Got $218 + $25 in shipping via PayPal.

+ =

On a different note, I will still be carrying through with my bottled water experiment this weekend. One thing that is driving me to do this is a consensus of all my successful family friends. They all have completely different methods to their success…BUT…in conversation, every single one of them has at one point said, “I can sell anything.”

Can I sell anything? We’ll see.

I tried to get a partner for this experiment, but I got no takers. I will be standing at an intersection with bums that over 13,000 University of Texas students pass by everyday. This doesn’t exactly do wonders for your social life.

But hey, embarassment is in your head and money is green. (Tasteless Joke: I guess that’s what strippers say all the time!)

Water Selling Experiment

I enjoyed doing my lottery experiment, now it’s time to venture out and do something more practical. I took a look at some of my Make Money with No Money ideas, and I want to back my advice by actually doing them (I’ve done most, but not all).

The one I am leaning towards: Selling bottled water. I will NOT be obtaining a license for this, therefore I am limited to low-regulated areas. There happens to be an intersection right near my apartment which is relatively lowly-regulated (and in turn has lots of bums no matter what time of the day).

I will speak to some officers in the area, asking them about the legality of my experiment. I don’t want to be fined or arrested (although that would provide for some interesting journalism!)

I will try to turn about $5 into $24 by selling individual bottles of water on the side of the road. Some call this being a bum, some call it desperate, I call it learning.

It would actually be easier to make more money by increasing the hours I work, but this experiment is to prove that you can make money without a job or much startup capital.

If anyone has ever done this, drop me some recommendations for effective selling!

**Update: I performed this bottled water experiment already.

Lottery Experiment – An Itch to Scratch

Observation: Popularity of scratch-off lottery tickets remains high despite their low odds of winning. The attraction of exponentially increasing an “investment” of $1 with no skill involved draws people to these games.

Hypotheses: If a $1 scratch-off lottery game is played 100 times, the player is likely to lose money in the end. Most people playing the game will eventually lose money, only a few will gain.

Variations: A player can potentially win a large sum of money on the first play with some “luck” on their side.

Experiment: 100 Texas Lottery scratch-off “Amazing 8′s” games costing $1 each will be purchased. 20 games will be purchased from 5 seperate establishments. Amazing 8′s have odds of 1 in 4.65 games at least break even.
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Step 1
I withdrew $100 in cash from an ATM and bought 20 Amazing 8′s from each of these five establishments: Albertson’s, Chevron, Diamond Shamrock and Exxon. The whole process took me an hour as some places I visited did not have Amazing 8′s.

Step 2
Counted and verified that I had exactly 100 Amazing 8′s scratch-off lottery tickets.

Step 3
Got my trusty tools ready: Two quarters. One is an American quarter and the other is a Canadian Quarter. I’ve found that Canadian quarters are much better for scratching mass amounts of lotto tickets!

Step 4
Start scratching! I would scratch and scratch until I found a winner, which would then be placed inside the “Winner$” basket.

Scratching 100 lottery tickets is NOT as exciting as I thought. It felt more like a boring job. Next time I do gambling experiments, I’m goin’ ta Vagas.

The “Winner$” basket.

Winner$ basket starting to fill up with $1 and $2 wins.

The real gem of the lot was this ticket which won $60! The chances of getting this are 1 in 1,500.

Step 5
Tabulate each amount won.

Losers were placed on the table, and the proud winners were put higher up on the stool (Just for a more dramatic metaphorical effect)

Step 6
Report the totals. I came out ahead with $102! A 2% return.

The proud winners in all their glory, especially our champion: Mr. $60!

After the experiment was completed, I went to the grocery store to cash in my $102. I then proceeded to the Bank of America ATM and deposited the cash directly back into my investment account. So I performed this experiment and MADE $2 and learned a little too!

Step 7
Conclusion. This “investment” of $100 was more of an experiment and should not be used as investment advice. Anyone who invests their money in the lottery for purposes other than mild thrills and entertainment is (according to the odds) just dreaming. The odds prove that if you play long enough, you will lose 75% or more of your money. Of course you can also win a lot of money, but it’s highly doubtful. I just happened to buy the right tickets at the right time for this particular experiment, but if I repeated the experiment again, I would most likely not make a profit or break even.

Hope you enjoyed the experiment, I sure did!