How to Earn A Million Dollars - in 20 steps

Would life be easier if money wasn't part of the problem? I'm going to try and find out by earning one million dollars, legally, in 20 steps or less, while still holding down my job and keeping up with house chores, children and a marriage.

I heard about this idea from my father who heard about it during a presentation at work 30 years ago.  The presenter had an 18-year-old daughter who he claimed had already earned $18,000 using this plan. I've tried it half-heartedly before and stopped at $250 but am trying again and will document my experience.

How it works

The premise is incredibly simple: buy something for $1. Sell it for $2. Buy something for $2 and sell it for $4. If you keep doubling your money in this way, after 20 steps, you will reach a million bucks.

Don't believe me?  Here's the breakdown

4096 <------- Here's where I am now! ($4,130.39 as of 2/18/2013)

Looking at the list, you're probably thinking what I'm thinking; it's not that hard to buy something for $2 and sell it for $4, but how are you going to double your money when you buy something for $131,000? 

The answer: I don't know. But even if I get there in 40 steps instead of 20, that's still a million dollars I'll have at the end of this experiment that I don't have now. 

So, let the games begin.

Note: This is a reverse-order blog: the newest updates are at the end. Click "Older Posts" at the bottom for the newest stuff!

In my first attempt at this about 4 years ago, I had the project in the back of my mind but wasn't scanning the market in earnest. Then one day, while passing a thrift store, I saw a sign that said, "Today Only: Everything is $1!" It was a sign. I pulled in, scanned the shelves and found, in the back, on the top shelf of a closet, a large white box. Inside were hundreds of unused, though not pristine greeting cards. There were graduation cards, wedding cards, thank you's and birthday wishes. When I brought it up to the counter, the lady said, "Oh, you want the whole box? Well, I guess the sign said $1." 

I took the box home and put it on Ebay for a 4 day auction. Remember that step one of this program only requires selling something for $2 (plus shipping if using an online auction). After 2 days, I couldn't believe I had a high bid of $11. At the end of the auction, some excited greeting card fan won the lot with a high bid of $27.58

I was ecstatic! In my first attempt at this program, on the first level, I had jumped from Step 1 to Step 4.5 At this rate, I would be sitting on my million bills by the end of the month.  The next items I bought and sold were wreath type items that sold well seasonally and I quickly climbed up to $75. I took that money and bought a complete Yakima Roof Rack System: cross bars, towers, and four bike racks - all for one price. I boxed up each item and sold them individually on Ebay for around $75 each. I was now looking at near $400. As my profits increased, so did my stress. That was a lot of money to blow on one item. Even more, I was leaving the territory of price range I knew and was comfortable with and now had to take more chances. It was just a taste of what I expected to deal with when I got into the thousands of dollars. 

I decided to scale back and keep it small. I bought a Thule Rooftop cargo carrier. They can go for $400. I bought one for $60, thinking I'd make a killing on it. Unfortunately, it was Thule's lesser-known brand Karrite, and it took me a year to sell it for $80. That's about the time that money got tight for my family and we needed all of our available cash. I used the money for bills and had to start over. It's been several years now and I'm working part time, and have decided to give it another go.  

Wish me luck. 


  1. Keep on keeping on. The way you started with the greeting cards should have given you the right idea. No need to buy one single item at 256 and make 512, rather buy up a small lot equivalent to 256 and figure out the math to get 512.

  2. great comment. I'll give that some thought.

  3. it too nice to earn money here

  4. you can earn while learn


  6. This is inspirational! I'm at step 6/7 ($56). I just spent my balance on a drafting table that I'm looking to sell for $100 plus. Anyone interested?

  7. I sold my drafting table for $115 so I'm nearing step 8. Looking for something new to buy now.

  8. on step 8/9 now. $166 total profit.

  9. I'm on step 10/11, total profit of $682

  10. Step 2/3

  11. Hello, I'm now on step 3/4 great tip

  12. Hello. Let's start Doubling!! Please continue again. Do not give up. We support you.

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  14. The last time I buy wedding dress and sell it. This is a really nice way to grow your money. Double, Double your money, There are many great websites for that. Sucsess -

  15. Ha cool or? for affiliates

  16. Well it took a while but I've moved past step 10 and working my way to step 11 as I now have a profit of $1117. I've been selling tvs on CL for a nice little profit margin, about 25-50% each. The only issue is time! It's taken over a year to get to this point. Any suggestions on turning my $1100 into $2200 a little quicker?

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  19. You need to see how this kid is able to make
    over $2000 a month selling pictures he took
    with his camera!

    He lays out exactly how you can do it too!
    This page might not be up for much longer
    so you need to check it out right now.