Evelyn Romans | 

16 Brilliant Ways to Earn Effortless Passive Income

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Who doesn’t want an income stream that makes money in a set-it-and-forget-it kind of way?

Well, most passive income doesn’t require much effort day to day, but it can require work and investment up front.

Some of my favorite ways to make passive income are through cashback apps and rewards programs, but I’ve also found some fun, interesting, and not crazy expensive ways to make money without the 9 to 5 grind.


1. Buy website domain names to make some easy passive income when they’re re-sold.

GoDaddy.com website domains page.

For less than $10 you can get into domain name investing through companies like GoDaddy.com.

What exactly is “domaining” (as it’s often called)? You buy inexpensive website addresses and hold on to them in the hopes of selling them at a later time for more than you paid. Here’s how cheap we’re talking:

.com ($19 for two years)

.biz (starts at $11.99 for the 1st year)

.shop (starts at $1.99 for the 1st year)

.app (starts at $16.99 for the 1st year)

The downside is you’ll have to pay annual fees to maintain ownership — if your ownership lapses, you run the risk of not selling them at all and losing your initial investment. Also, even if you’ve nabbed a great URL, there’s always a chance nobody will ever buy it.


2. Write ebooks to make some passive income on Amazon.

close up of a woman's hands holding a kindle reading

If you’re a writer, it’s never been easier to publish a book. Think about writing ebooks and then self-publish on Amazon so you can sit back, relax, and watch as royalties come in every time someone buys a copy.


3. Upload your pictures to Foap and earn $5 passive income when someone downloads one.

A person taking a picture of a lake with their phone.

Take a lot of cell phone pictures? Foap lets you upload your cell phone pictures to their marketplace to sell as stock photos.

You make $5 every time someone buys your pictures, plus pictures can be sold unlimited numbers of times.

If you’re a picture taker like me, download Foap and start making money on all those photos on your phone!

Here are a few other photo stock sites that pay you when someone uses your images:

  • Alamy
  • Adobe Stock
  • Dreamstime
  • Getty Images & iStock
  • Shutterstock


4. Generate passive income on your website or blog with affiliate links.

Two women sitting at a table looking at something on a laptop.

Do you have a website? Put it to work! Affiliate marketing lets you earn commission from another company when someone clicks that company’s link or uses the referral code you have displayed on your website, blog, podcast, or videos.

The risk for this type of passive income is low since you don’t have to invest anything other than some digital space.


5. Rent out a room or your entire home on Airbnb or Vrbo as a way to make passive income.

A sign for Airbnb.

Wanna make some serious side bank? Try renting out a room of your home or renting out your entire house on sites like Airbnb and Vrbo. How much can you make? Hosts make an average of $942 a month, or about $30 each night. Airbnb reports that the most profitable areas for new hosts with only one U.S. property listed during the first six months in 2021 were:

  • Atlanta
  • South Florida Gulf Coast
  • Phoenix
  • Los Angeles
  • North Carolina Coast
  • Smoky Mountains
  • Poconos
  • Houston
  • Catskills and Hudson Valley
  • Denver



6. Share your car or bicycle to earn profits on the side.

parked car

via Turo

Not interested in renting out your home? How about your car, bike, surfboard, or skis? Services like Getaround and Turo allow you to rent your vehicle out to those needing some wheels.

Turo says U.S.-based hosts earned an average of $10,516 between Jan. 2018 to March 2020. The hosts had two or more active vehicles valued between $25,000 and $34,999 each that recorded at least seven trips a month. Both of these companies cover your vehicles and drivers during every trip.

Bike rental and sharing service Spinlister claims on their website that hosts can make up to $500 a month by sharing things like:

  • Bicycle
  • Skis
  • Surfboard
  • Snowboard
  • Stand Up Paddle Board


7. Wrap your car with ads to earn passive income.

A person standing infront of a care on the Carvertise website.

Rolling billboards have been around for several years. If you own your car and want to earn some passive income without having to do anything but drive your typical routine, try putting a vinyl decal on your car for a specified amount of time. Here are a few companies that’ll connect you with advertisers (and how much they’ll pay you):

You can select a platform and campaign you like, from brands like Instacart, Alaska Airlines, Valvoline, and Quest Nutrition. Some require a certain amount of daily mileage or that you’re a delivery driver.

Don’t worry — the decal will come off at the end of your contract.


Use apps and services to make more passive income.

Not every passive income idea is going to rake you in the big bucks. But I say every penny counts, so here are some of my favorite ways to make some money.


8. Shop with Paribus to help you get price adjustments.

Paribus app on a cell phone

Get money back with little effort. Just let Paribus access your email account so they can track your online receipts and alert you when you’re eligible for an online price adjustment. Paribus sends an email to retailers to help you get some money back.

I tried Paribus and loved it. You can see how much I saved, or you can download Paribus and start watching for price adjustments.

Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.


9. Use Ibotta to make money on items you’re already buying.

someone holding a phone with the Ibotta app. in cvs

Ibotta gives you money back when you shop at certain stores, and/or for certain products. We have a LOT to say about how Ibotta works and why we love it, but at the end of the day, I love being able to scan receipts to earn rebates that’ll hit my PayPal account.

You were going to buy that box of mac ‘n’ cheese already. Might as well make an extra $0.75 back on the purchase! Get some money back on your groceries next time you shop: Download Ibotta.


10. Put cash back into your pocket with Checkout 51.

someone holding phone open with Checkout51

Checkout51 lets you earn money back on your grocery purchases. For example, get $1 cashback when you buy 2 Nabisco cookies or crackers, or $1.50 when you purchase Mentos Pure Fresh gum.

Like Ibotta, Checkout51 gives you money back on your grocery purchases just for scanning your receipt and choosing brands with rebates.



11. Make money online as you browse the web with Microsoft Rewards.

Woman with laptop with Microsoft Rewards on the screen

Earn money with Microsoft Rewards just by signing up and using Bing as your search engine. Each time you search through Bing, you’re earning points towards gift cards, just for web surfing that you’re already doing. Earn 5,000 points to get a $5 gift card by doing a number of activities, such as:

  • Participating in activities like playing quizzes ‘This or That’ for up to 50 points or 10 points for ‘Word for Word’ every day.
  • Searching Bing on your desktop for up to 50 points (5 points a search) every day.
  • Searching Bing through Microsoft Edge to earn an extra 5 points a day.

Sign up with Microsoft Rewards and let your web browsing earn you some gift cards.


12. Sign up for a credit card with a rewards program as a way to earn some passive income.

someone holding southwest credit card next to phone

Just spend as you usually would, and points accrue through your bank that can be cashed in for gift cards or travel rewards.

You can even fly your family to Disneyland for free using credit card rewards.

Find out which credit cards have the best rewards, and then make money when you spend money.


13. Shop through Swagbucks to make money from home.

hand holding cellphone with swagbucks

Do your web surfing through Swagbucks (SB), and you could earn cashback on your online purchases.

SB points are worth $0.01 apiece (100 SB = $1) and can be cashed out for gift cards at your favorite stores like Amazon, Walmart, and Starbucks. Prices for gift cards vary (check the Swagbucks gift cards store for the latest deals), but you’ll usually need a minimum of 140 – 300 SB to cash out (I saw a $1 Amazon gift card going for 140 SB).

If you want to be slightly less passive, you can also do a few quick surveys on Swagbucks’ site to earn points faster; completing one will get you 153 SB. We’ve got everything you need to know about how to use Swagbucks and get freebies.


14. Shop online and earn money back with TopCashback.

Women with her phone pulled out and the TopCashBack mobile app pulled up

Turn your web surfing into dollars when you sign up for TopCashback.

We are always looking for TopCashback deals at KCL, because it pays to shop through their sites. For real. All you have to do is shop through them next time you’re shopping online, and they give you a percentage kickback for example:


15. Make money online fast with purchases through Rakuten.

A person holding an iphone with the Rakuten app open on on it.

Earn money for making online purchases when you sign up for Rakuten.

Rakuten gives you a percentage of your purchase cashback if you shop through their site, usually between 4-10%. Just shop like you normally would, and see money come back to you. Plus, they offer a $10 welcome bonus gift card when you create a new account and start shopping.

Like these kinds of apps? We’ve got the ultimate guide to rebate apps primed for you.



16. Refer your friends to Walmart Grocery Pickup and make some extra money — $10 per referral.

Walmart pickup spot

Walmart Grocery Pickup is so great. You get to order your groceries and have them literally brought out to your car! (If you’re new to this, we’ve got the definitive guide on how to use Walmart Grocery Pickup.)

Even better, you get $10 off your order for each friend who uses your referral code. It’s like earning free groceries just for telling people how awesome it is!

Create a Grocery Pickup account and start referring friends to earn free groceries.

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