Passive income are income sources that require very little work once you set it up and put things in motion. Although there are many different ways to make money, we will try to focus on money making ideas that doesn’t require as much ongoing effort (i.e., it is not a job or a business). If you want to start earning $100, $1000 — or even more — by doing very little, this is the right list for you.
While compiling this list, I did my best to avoid scams, and stick with practical ideas that work. I have tried many (but not all) of these ideas. Some of these helped me earned a few dollars here and there, but there are some that helped me earn extra money on the side every single day! Note that not all ideas will fit your skills and abilities. What works for you depends on your abilities and your current financial situation.
Photo by ErRbBbiiIE via Flickr
Passive Income Ideas
The following money making ideas are mostly passive, and are proven to work.
1. Earn Higher Interest on Your Savings
One of the easiest ways to increase your passive income is to shift your savings to a bank that pays a higher yield on your savings — some of the banks on our list pays as high as 2.5% which is way higher than a typical savings account. Although it doesn’t sound like much (especially in this low interest environment), little things do add up and eventually interest rates will rise.
2. Build a CD Ladder
For a slightly higher yield, build a CD ladder. Break your money into smaller chunks and buy a series of 1-year high yield certificates of deposit. To learn more about this, take a look at How to Create a CD Ladder.
3. Use Cash Back Reward Credit Cards
You buy stuff every day…why not make the most of your purchases? Look for a credit card that pays cash back on your purchases. When you make your day-to-day purchases, use a reward card and get money back. Some cards offer as high as 5% on selected category or merchants on a rotating basis (and some will have limit on the amount of cash back you can earn) so you might want to have several cards to maximize the cash back.
My family gets several hundred dollars a year from using these cards.
4. Get Cash Rebates When Buying Online
When you shop online, go through Ebates by Rakuten (get $10 right now just for signing up!) This web site provides you with extra cash back (on top of your credit card cash back) when you buy through them. You can install the browser toolbar or extension for even a better result. As a bonus, you also get extra money when you refer Ebates to your friends.
5. Take Advantage of 401(k) Matching
This one is a deferred gratification, however, you’ll be missing out on a lot of money if you don’t take advantage of this free money. If you company offers matches your 401(k) contribution, you should at the minimum, contribute enough to get all of the matching money. That money and yours will grow in your retirement account and be there for you once you reached retirement age.
6. Invest in Dividend Paying Stocks or Funds
If you’re looking for current income, investing in the dividend paying stocks (or better yet…dividend ETFs) is a good way to earn money regularly. Pay particular attention to the S&P Dividend Aristocrats; these are companies that have long histories of increasing their dividend payouts each year.
7. Invest in Bonds or Bond Funds
As part of a healthy investment diversification, you want to have some bonds to go with your stock investments. You don’t want to have too much early in your investing career, but as you reach retirement age, your bond investments will become an important income generator.
8. Real Estate Investing
This is mostly passive once you have it all set up, but it does take a lot of work at the beginning. Real estate investing also requires occasional maintenance. Currently, we invest in a couple of rental properties and earn about $500 profit from each per month. You can read more about my rental properties at MoneySmartLife.com: How and Why I Became a Landlord.
If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can gain exposure to real estate investing through Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). REITs invest in real estate and mortgage, and pay out 90% of the taxable income to shareholders annually. REITs trade like stocks and funds, so it is very easy to get into.
There are also other options such as Real Estate Crowd Funding and Real Estate Syndication, but these are a little bit more advanced for our current discussion.
9. Lend Money via Social Lending Network
Lending Club is a platform where you can lend your money to other people. You’re the bank. Each note is only $25, so you can invest $1,000 and lend money to 40 people. There are many grades of loan (from safest to riskiest) and investors earn, on average, between 5% and 7% annualized returns. For more information, check out Investing and Making Money with Lending Club Peer-to-Peer Lending.
10. Earn Money When You Search
You probably do a couple of web searches each day. If you do all your web searches through Swagbucks.com (instead of Google or Bing), you can collect points called SwagBucks. Trade your SwagBucks for a variety of prizes, including gift cards for Amazon.com, Walmart, PayPal, and more.
Ways to Make Extra Money (Side Hustles)!
In addition to the passive income ideas listed above, here are additional money making ideas you can try. Most of these are not passive income ideas, and will require ongoing work to maintain the income. Spend an hour or two each day working on ideas that are practical for you, and you can build alternative income sources to help you improve your finances:
- Make money with YouTube.
- Make money on Twitch.
- Make money blogging. This blog has been providing me with daily income since 2007. You can learn more about blogging and start start your own blog. Use the following articles to learn more about starting a blog:
- How to Start a Blog for Fun or Profit – Introduction to a Series at Cash Money Life.
- 28 Ways to Make Money with Your Website at Daily Blog Tips.
- Set up online niche store.
- Driver for Uber and/or Lyft — or any of the new delivery services that are popping up daily.
- Offer basic services, including babysitting, housekeeping, gardening, dog walking, painting, snow removal, and other similar “odd jobs.” These basic services can provide income for motivated teenagers — and most of these can be done right in your neighborhood. Here are some sites:
- Offer skilled services such as tutoring, resume writing, business consulting, blog development, and logo design.
- Rent Your Stuff
- Rent out space in your home.
- A room or two in your house
- Your garage
- Your basement
- Your parking space
- Rent out your car
- Rent out space in your home.
- College students: Sell your used books and textbooks at the end of the semester.
- Sign up for Cash Crate, complete surveys, and refer your friends.
- Freelance using UpWork, Guru, Freelancer, Amazon Mechanical Turk and other similar sites for leads
- Write for money using a platform site like HubPages.
- You can also write for TextBroker and Constant Content. Apply to write for various websites that hire freelance staff writers.
- Ghostwriting. This is very similar to the idea above, but you write anonymously and the assignments are usually longer. You can ghostwrite articles, blog posts, and even books.
- Turn your hobbies into income streams. Many hobbies, like photography, videography, quilting, gardening, and woodwork are ideal revenue generators.
- Sell handmade products on Etsy.
- Write and sell eBooks. This is easier than ever with the help of Amazon and the Kindle.
- Enter contests and giveaways (use Google Alerts) and sell the prizes.
- Search for freebies and sign up bonuses. For example, you can typically get a $100 bonus from a credit card or bank account sign up.
- Turn your everyday spending into college savings with Upromise.
- Become an Amazon Associate, and ask your friends to use your affiliate link when they make purchases.
- Sell unused items on eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace. You can also buy bulk items and resell them individually.
- Sell your collectibles.
- Mystery shopping.
- Find missing money using sites like MissingMoney, Where’s My Refund, PBGC database, and GovBenefits.gov.
- Create and sell CafePress T-shirts.
- Participate in paid focus group studies.
- Sell your body parts and fluids.
- Collect cans and bottles for recycling.
In general you can find some ideas just by search “making money” plus a keyword of your choice. For example,
- Make money cooking
- Make money knitting
- Make money listening to music
More Income Resources
- 19 Great Passive Income Ideas That You Can Build Now at Wealth Pilgrim
- 65 Home Business Ideas You Can Do From Your Kitchen Table at Good Financial Cents
- 15 ways to make $200 quick at Christian PF
- 10 Unusual Ways to Get Money Fast at Cash Money Life
- 25 Ways to Make Money Today at WiseBread
- Multiple Income Streams: 10 Ways to Earn Extra Income at The Dough Roller
- 5 Ways To Make Some Extra Money at Bible Money Matters
- 52 Ways to Make Extra Money at Prime Time Money
- Everyman’s Guide to $30 / Month in Passive Income at Money Smarts Blog
- Spend less than you earn – the wrong way to think at Brip Blap
- 20+ Free Passive Income Resources at Life Optimizer
- Passive Income: How to Earn More and Work Less at About.com
- 8 Ways To Earn Passive Income Online at iSiteBuild.com
- Automate Your Income to Simplify Your Life at Zen Habits
- Passive Income is the Key to Freedom and Retirement at All Financial Matters
- Defining Alternative Income at Lazy Man and Money
- 40 Ways to Make Money on the Internet at Dumb Little Man
- 102 Ways To Generate Extra Cash at Savings Advice
If you like this article, be sure to check out my Extra Income Guide.
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance and a Realtor® licensed in Virginia and Maryland. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, financial literacy author, and Realtor®.