photo credit: Graffiti By Numbers
How do I earn free Nike shoes by playing tennis? No, I’m not a ranked tour tennis professional or even a club player. I’m actually a weekend hack that has found a way to cover the cost of shoes while playing tennis. I received an email from a reader of TPD and basically thanked me for my articles and found them interesting. But they had an issue with how practical it is for an average person to invest in passive income opportunities such as real estate or dividend paying stocks. We exchanged emails and this family doesn’t have a lot of money to invest in stocks or purchase an investment condo as they are barely making ends meet. The reader went on to say that they could use a little extra money to pay for baseball cleats for a child’s little league program. I wanted to address her question about finding a source of extra income to cover baseball cleats and maybe a few extra dollars for pants and a uniform. The reader also shared that she was an ebay seller and has sold used clothing, books, and dvds in the past.
This was going to be a fun challenge because I wanted to address this readers question and also share how I have found a way to receive free Nike tennis shoes for the last 3 years. So, how do I earn free tennis shoes? I’ve shared before that I love playing tennis and enjoy the physical exercise it provides as well as being a frugal sport. When I play tennis I often times would find used tennis balls left on the court. One day when I was listing an item on ebay to sell and decided to do an ebay search for used tennis balls. I don’t know if you’ve ever searched for something out of the ordinary on ebay, but it can really be fun. Try it next time you’re on ebay. Any given day you will find 20 or more auctions for used tennis balls and they can range from 18 to 48 cents each. Yes, buyers actually will spend up to 48 cents per tennis ball. Amazing, considering that a can of 3 can cost $2.50 or 83 cents a ball. I’ve sold tennis balls as far away as Alaska. I don’t know the buyer, but I envisioned a group of sled dogs playing with the tennis balls.
I play tennis twice a week on average and in the summer I can get out as many as 4 times. On average I’ll find about 3 used tennis balls each time I play. Look for them under bushes, under tables, benches and under trees. You’d be surprised how many people leave behind tennis balls after they are done playing. Collect them and you could be on your way to a free pair of tennis shoes or some extra cash. You don’t even need to be a tennis player. Next time you’re at a park or see a tennis court, get out a look around for green gold.
For a free pair of tennis shoes I need to collect 200 tennis balls. If I average 3 used tennis balls it would take 67 tennis outings to collect 200. You can also visit different public tennis courts in your city to try and find more tennis balls too.
Once I have collected 200 used tennis balls I would create two separate ebay listings a week apart. Once the auctions close, I have about $42 left after ebay and paypal fees to cover the cost of my tennis shoes. The tennis shoes I’ve purchased the last two years are pretty basic and are the Nike city court shoes for $39.99. Yes, these are basic frugal tennis shoes. I purchase them from Sports Authority and I’ll show you how I save even more money later on.
Sports Authority has a website as well were you can purchase shoes and tennis gear that can be shipped to your house. Currently, they have a special if you spend $99 you’ll receive free shipping. Sports Authority always runs ads in the Sunday paper where you can find coupons for $10 and even $25 off your purchase. I use the $10 off a purchase of $50 or more frequently for my Nike tennis shoes and a case of Penn titanium tennis balls. The Nike tennis shoes are $39.99 and a case of Penn Titanium balls run $19.99 for a total of $59.98. With the $10 off coupon the total cost is only $49.98.
In this example you wouldn’t have to buy tennis shoes but could just keep the money in your paypal account and earn interest or use the money to pay monthly bills. I’m sure you have a $42 bill that you would love to have paid. This isn’t technically passive income because you are spending time and resources looking for the tennis balls. Even though it only takes a few minutes a day to look for used tennis balls, it still isn’t considered a source of passive income or residual income. If the used tennis balls appeared magically at your home, that would be passive. This is a creative way to earn extra money and can be fun to get your entire family involved in finding the green gold.
Let’s have some fun and figure out how many tennis balls you would need to make $100. At 25 cents each you would need to find 400 used tennis balls. You could also get lucky and have someone use the buy it now feature and pay up to 48 cents a ball making it necessary to old find 210 balls. Might sound impossible to collect 400 if you don’t play tennis, but next time you go to the park ask your kids to help you find Easter eggs. Look for fuzzy green Eater eggs and you can turn them into green gold.
What are some creative ways you are earning extra money? Do you have a hobby that pays for itself?