How to Panhandle

In case you haven’t heard, you won’t get a job after graduation. Odds are, you’ll have to choose between your parents’ basement and the streets. Yeah, we’re taking the homeless route too. But don’t worry — some panhandlers, despite their physical appearance, make mad dough. So pick yourself up off that corner stoop and learn the biz. By Talia Pollack

sign saying bet you can't hit me with a quarterEstablish Your Image Put yourself on the map. Exhibit A: New York City’s Naked Cowboy. He’s got women fawning over him from across the country, all because he branded himself with a cheap guitar and a pair of undies. So write a clever slogan, create a unique costume, and mark your territory. Heck, find a piece of cardboard and walk around with a “need $ for alcohol research” sign. You’ll be the top charity case on the block in no time.

pregnant girl outside of cvsNetwork Like any successful business, it’s all about who you know. Start with shelters and build a solid posse. Then stop by the train station and rally your troops. If you don’t do well in groups, make friends one at a time. Spend an afternoon with the man living under the bridge and bond over your misfortune. Make eyes with Miss Preggers outside CVS. When you’re broke, you can never have too many friends.

hobo jumping on Oprah's couchBroadcast Your Broke Ass Find a receipt on the ground, steal a pen from the bank, and write a memoir. Once it’s picked up, go on Oprah’s show to kick off the book tour. Promise your friends steaks on national TV in return for their faith and commitment. Create a list of possible actors to star in your Lifetime movie. No, wait. Crumple up that list. A tried and true panhandler would rather be on the streets than the subject of a Lifetime movie.

The Change MachineKeep It Real Even if you hit it rich, don’t turn your back on friends. Make it a point to visit the old begging grounds. Don’t toss out your stained T-shirt and ripped jeans. Sleep on your favorite park bench a couple nights a week. Frequent change machines in order to pay for everything in nickels and dimes — quarters might spark suspicion. Just stay true to your roots and don’t let the Benjamins go to your head.

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