Marcus Ciccarello, 18, has made over $3,200 just by asking for it.Marcus Ciccarello is one young man who truly understands the value of spare change. Now a senior in high school, Ciccarello established a business model several years ago that allowed him to essentially live on no income and yet eat like a king at school. Meet this money-savvy student who is teaching himself about business management and personal relationships, all while living as a self-proclaimed “moochaholic.”
To start off, you want to introduce yourself to the readers?
Hello, I’m Marcus Ciccarello, I’m a senior at Nathan Hale-Ray High School, and I am a moochaholic.
When and how did you first start mooching?
It’s been going on since half-way through seventh grade year. I would sit at the ends of tables in Middle School, and as people walked by I asked for their spare change. When I started getting a lot of spare change I realized, “Hey I don’t have to bring in money or lunch.”
So it wasn’t a lot at first?
They would just give me quarters or dimes - I would just buy a bread stick at first - milk or some ice cream.
About how much money have people given to you?
Just from lunches - it’s got to be around $3,200 by the end of this year. $3.00 a day times 180 days in a school year. Do the math - it's a lot!
What other things did you do to make money?
On days that were half-days - like during exams - some student groups would sell snacks in the hallway. Teachers would bring snacks in for the kids, and I would take the extras after class and sell them myself. This past week there was an AP review and I got a whole container of donuts and a case of danishes from the teacher. Then I turned around and sold the donuts for a $1.00 and half a danish for $0.50. I sold the danish and donut together for $1.25. I made $14 in like three hours, minus time for class.
So you seem pretty proud of being a mooch.
Absolutely, I get free money!
What do you think others think of you?
Well, there are different groups who feel differently. There are people who get mad because I make money. Another group who are completely aware and yet for some reason give me money. And others who hate me for what I do and refuse to talk to me. But I’m not a bully - I don’t bully people to give me money; I’m just persistent and persuasive. I’ve never physically or verbally threatened people for money.
So you don’t have a job?
No, I don’t.
How do you afford having a girlfriend and a car?
I don’t haha. No, I have some money saved up, but I am currently looking for a job. High school lunches will not be there forever.
Have you learned any skills from being a mooch that will help you in the future?
One great thing about doing this is that it teaches you to be persuasive and approach people you may not know. Even freshman year I would go up to seniors and other people some kids might be afraid of and asked for spare change. It will also help me in business. I have to learn to recognize people’s needs, help them get what they want and bring them to understand the benefits of signing on off on a good deal. In this case, the good deal is ridding them of the nuisance of spare change. It does have monetary purposes, but it will also help me down the road.
Why do you think people give you money?
I think the people who have been around me long enough who know that this is what I do. They know who I am and how I work, so they are comfortable doing it. A lot of people just have extra coins lying around after buying lunch. People don’t view having change as valuable as a dollar bill. They are much more inclined to give me $0.75 than a dollar bill. Most of my money comes from change rather than bills. I’m also strikingly handsome, which helps.
What do you think would help people understand the value of their extra change?
This is what I do: put your extra change in the car, and after a few days you will easily have $2.00 in change. Then I can go to Dunkin Donuts and buy a coffee! Once people see how much you can save just in coins, then I think people would stop just throwing it away. Basically, the little stuff really adds up!