Panning For Gold
For $10 you can buy a gold pan, and start prospecting. It's easier to see the gold in the green plastic ones. Most federal lands are open to prospectors without a permit. I've only seen gold in my pan in Canada (there isn't much gold in Michigan), but people have better luck in the mountain streams of the southeast and southwest. It's a nice way to spend an afternoon in any case.
Treasure Hunting With A Metal Detector
Metal detectors start under $200. I've found a few hundred coins, but none of them have been valuable ones. When the city tore up old sidewalks, a woman in our town used her detector to find coins . She sold one to a local coin shop for $700. A friend tells me that her husband and her have found many pieces of gold jewelry at the beach with their detector. It's also common to use metal detectors to find gold nuggets in the southwest.
Treasure Hunting In The Streets
Collecting cans for 37 cents a pound is a tough way to make a living. Here in Michigan and other states, however, there's a 10 cent deposit on every beverage container. During festivals I see people with bags of hundreds of cans they collected in the parks and garbage containers. Some travel here every year during the Cherry Festival, just to collect returnable bottles and cans that week.
I spoke to a man who went to the big concerts to collect beer and pop cans in the parking areas. He said he makes over $100 in a few hours (plus the time to take them to the store). Collecting "returnables" can be an unpleasant way to make money, but an old guy in town here tells me he pays the rent doing this.
Treasure hunting is about having the right frame of mind. There are treasures to be found everywhere. I once found a chest with foreign notes and coins in the crawl space under our house. Hotel owners report that visitors tuck money in the bedside bible, and forget to take it with them. Sometimes you just have to look.
Steve Gillman has been studying every aspect of money for thirty years. You can find more treasure hunting ideas, and more interesting and useful information on his website; http://www.UnusualWaysToMakeMoney.com
Project Metal Detecting
Beach Hunter Metal Detecting Guide
Oak Island Treasure Mystery
The Poor Treasure Hunter
True Treasure Books
Start Your Own Gemstone Business