Ever wonder how to make money doing nothing? Passive income is money you get paid doing nothing, and it’s entirely possible. Whether you earn cash or free gift cards, you get paid to do nothing. So if you’re looking for ways to increase your income, here are 34 fun ways to make reaching your financial goals easier.
The Appeal of Making Money Doing Nothing
Who wouldn’t love to learn how to make money doing nothing, right? We really mean that you can make passive income or income for not actively working for it. There might be a little work upfront, but typically you can make money while you sleep.
Everyone has a different definition of what they want passive income jobs and streams to look like. Some ways we found to make money passively do include some ‘work,’ but we wouldn’t exactly call it work. You aren’t sitting at a desk from 9 to 5 to make money. You might do some work from your computer or phone, but it’s nothing that would cause you stress.
If you’re looking for ways to make extra money or earn money passively, keep reading to see how easy it can be to make extra money.
34 Smart Ways to Make Money Doing Nothing
We’ve discovered the top 34 ways to make passive income doing nothing online, on your phone, or in-person but with little work involved.
If you shop online, you can use cashback apps to make money doing what you already do – shop! Apps like Rakuten pay you a percentage of your purchase back by shopping at specific stores. Of course, the offers change all the time, and you must shop through the app’s dashboard to earn money, but it’s an easy way to get what Rakuten calls ‘a big fat check’ in return.
There are many other cashback apps, too, like Fetch Rewards and Ibotta. Each app has different requirements and pays in different frequencies. Download your favorites and take advantage of the opportunities to earn cashback and make money online.
Sell Unwanted Items
Chances are, if you took a quick look around your house, you’d find items you no longer need or use. So why not make money by selling them?
You never know when someone might be looking for what is sitting around your house. It’s easy to sell your items on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for free. However, if you want a larger audience and the item can be shipped, you can list the items on eBay. Just watch out for the fees. eBay charges listing fees and fees to finalize the sale. If there’s enough profit in the price, it can be an excellent way to earn even money.
Stream Video Games
It sounds crazy, but people will pay to watch you play video games. Twitch is the most popular platform for this, but many others too. Like Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, some people are worth $60 million just for playing video games.
Of course, you have to be really good and have a lot of viewers to make that kind of money, but if you enjoy playing video games and are good at it, it’s a great way to start making money.
Check out our post on how to earn money playing video games!
Build Up Credit Card Rewards
You can make money by shopping with your credit cards. While it’s important to be responsible with your spending, you can earn rewards just for buying the items you need.
Find rewards credit cards that pay the highest rewards in the categories you spend the most, such as groceries or gas. If you’re an avid traveler, you can start earning miles or cash back to use toward your travels.
Just make sure whatever you charge that you can pay back in full, so you don’t incur interest charges and deplete your rewards.
Rent Out Parking Space
Like people need to rent rooms while traveling, some people need to rent a parking space. This works best if you live near a popular area with limited parking and have a parking space you don’t use.
This works great for people who live near a large corporation or a place that often hosts events. You can rent your space for $10 – $20 at a time, depending on the reason for its use, making extra money for doing nothing but giving up your parking space that’s sitting empty.
Making money in your sleep is possible if you can score a gig as a bed tester. Yes, it’s a real thing to sleep and get paid for it!
Now, we will say that it’s a bit competitive to get the gigs because who wouldn’t want to get paid to sleep, right? But if you can score a gig, it can be some of the easiest money you’ve made in a long time.
To find bed testing opportunities, check with bed manufacturers, large hotels, and other companies that have a use for a lot of beds. Some companies have as many as 10,000 – 20,000 beds they need tested, which means an opportunity for many people to earn passive income.
Did you know you can make money making referrals without being a true ‘influencer?’ An influencer is someone that works online and shares their opinion or excitement about a product. You’ve likely seen celebrities do it, or you might even follow ‘everyday people’ that companies have chosen as influencers to share their brand.
But, you can make money just like they do without having a blog or social media platform with thousands of followers. In addition, many small, local companies pay referral fees if you refer someone to them.
Take, for example, your local plumber or landscaper. They often operate by word-of-mouth. If you send them a new customer, they may reward you with a gift card or even cash. It doesn’t hurt to ask companies if they offer referral credits. It can be a great way to earn free money just by referring someone to a business that you think does a good job.
Secret Shopper/Ghost Shopping
Secret shoppers (or ghost shoppers) don’t earn a passive income because you have to do a little work to get paid, but it’s mindless and can even be fun.
Companies hire secret shoppers to go into their stores, restaurants, or other businesses to report back on how they’re doing. You’re typically given a specific task or things to look for and report back to the company.
You might have to spend money when you are a secret shopper, but the company will reimburse you for the costs. Just save your receipts. On top of the shopping you have to do, you may have to write a quick report to let the company know how the store or restaurant performed based on the expectations.
Shopping apps are one of our favorite ways to earn free money. With shopping apps like Shopkick or Ibotta, you get paid to shop. You set up a free account and then look for offers in your dashboard that you can activate and earn money.
Each time you shop at an eligible store or buy eligible products, you get a kickback or a percentage of your purchase back. So, for example, if
The offers change often. Check back often to see what the apps are offering so you can put more money in your bank account doing what you do already!
You can earn residual income by signing up for affiliate programs and promoting affiliate links. This works best if you have a blog, vlog, or social media account with many followers.
With affiliate marketing, you promote a product or service and provide the link to it. If your followers like what they see, they might click the link and make a purchase. You’ll earn a small commission for every purchase made from your link.
The requirements for affiliate programs vary by program. Some are easy to qualify for, and others require a certain number of followers or have other specific requirements. It’s usually free to create a new account with affiliate marketers but shop around to find companies offering the best commissions.
Peer to Peer Lending
Peer-to-peer lending is like you acting like the bank. You lend money to the borrowers, and they pay interest. But, in reality, you invest money in the borrower, hoping that they will make the payments on time.
You earn interest during the loan’s term and your entire principal back when the loan is paid in full. You earn interest based on the amount you invest, but many platforms have low minimum investment requirements, as low as $25.
Each platform shares information about the loan’s risk level, aka how likely it is for the borrower to default. Of course, the riskier loans have higher interest rates, but with any investment, your risk for a loss increases.
Sell Unused Giftcards
If you have gift cards you were given and don’t see yourself using them, sell them on sites like CardPool. You won’t make the face value of the card, most companies pay a fraction of the full cost, but it’s a way to make money doing absolutely nothing.
Participate in Focus Groups
If you love to share your opinion about products and services, consider signing up for focus groups in your area or online. When you join a focus group, you agree to share your opinion about a product or service. Then, the leader will ask questions and engage everyone in conversation about it.
Manufacturers pay marketing companies to get the public’s opinion either before they release a new product or after when they want to see what users think of it. Then, they use the gathered information to learn how they could improve the product or service to keep their target audience happy.
Be a Test Subject
You can be a test subject and give companies your opinion about their products too. The most common companies that pay you to be a test subject are makeup companies like L’Oreal. They pay you to come into their facility and try new products, and of course, all the products are free.
Typically you have to do these sessions at the company’s location so they can keep an eye on you if you have a reaction since it’s usually products that go on your body.
Sell Your Photos to Stock Sites
This can be a great way to start making money as a photographer without quitting your full-time job yet. You take a picture once and can sell it as many times as people want to buy it. Typically, you sell a digital version of the photo, so the buyer is responsible for printing it.
The only work you put in upfront is taking the picture, which, if it’s something you enjoy doing, won’t feel like work at all.
Walking with Sweatcoin
You can get paid to walk, but it won’t be in standard currency. With Sweatcoin, you permit them to track your steps and GPS, and they pay you in exchange for it. However, the way they pay you is in products, cryptocurrency, or the opportunity to donate to charity.
If you need the motivation to get in more steps each day, the fact that you can make money walking may be a great motivator. Who wouldn’t love earning high-tech shoes, subscriptions to top-rated apps, or even technology products?
Rent Out Rooms in Your Home
If you have a spare room in your home, consider renting it out on sites like Airbnb. You set the terms and the price, including when the room is available. You’re responsible for an accurate listing of the room available, including what amenities the renter has access to.
If you don’t mind someone in your home, this can be a great way to earn a few hundred dollars a month. It works even better if you have a spare room that’s separate from your home, such as an in-law’s apartment.
Rent Out Your Car
If you have a spare car or don’t use your vehicle often, you can list it with sites like GetAround or Turo and rent it to people who need it. Turo does the advertising for you. The only work you have to do is list the details about your car and make sure your vehicle meets Turo’s requirements.
Join Websites with Sign-Up Bonuses
Many websites have sign-up bonuses for trying out their service. However, most bonuses require you to be a member for a specific amount of time, so always read the fine print to see what it takes to earn it. If you have to give a credit card number, make sure you cancel the membership after meeting the bonus requirements and receiving your bonus.
Teachers- Sell Print Resources and Online Materials
Teachers are always on the lookout for great material other teachers use. If you have worksheets or other printables you can share with teachers that you think will make a difference in their teachings, you can sell printables on the web.
There are many sites you can sell your printables on, but Teachers Pay Teachers is one of the most popular sites. You get paid each time a teacher buys your printables, and you only had to create them one time. So if you use them for your own classroom, it’s almost like getting paid to do nothing.
Web Analytic Extensions
Install web analytic extensions like Swagbucks and Survey Junkie and let them track your searches. You can make money online using these sites in other ways too. They offer surveys, you can play games, and even shop online and make money.
House sitting isn’t 100% passive income, but you get a place to stay for a while and earn money doing it, so it’s almost passive. While you spend time at the house, you also make sure it’s safe. You might have to do things like get the mail, water the plants, or tend to the garden, but if you’re staying at a great house, it won’t feel like work.
Sell School Notes
If you’re a great notes taker at school, you may be able to earn money selling your notes on the web. Many people Google ‘school notes’ on specific topics, but they might be willing to pay you for your notes if they come up empty-handed.
“Rent a Friend”
It sounds crazy, but you can make money being a friend. Some people just need someone to accompany them to events, want someone to hang with them at the movies, or have other favors they need.
It seems strange to get paid to be a friend, but many people need it. You earn the rewards of being a friend by getting paid and knowing that you’re helping someone who might be in a difficult situation.
Watching TV with the Neilson Company
If you don’t mind sharing what you watch on TV or listen to on the radio, the Nielsen computer company may pay you to track what you watch or listen to. Then, they use this information to come up with the TV and radio ratings that help producers decide which shows will continue.
Interest-Earning Savings Account
You won’t earn much money on interest, but some money is better than nothing. Look for a high-interest online savings account to maximize the interest you earn. Pay close attention to the requirements, though. Some bank accounts require higher balances than others for you to earn the best interest rates.
Cut Bills With Truebill
Sometimes you can make money just by cutting your bills. Truebill is an easy-to-use app that will find places you can cut back and save money. Whether you cut out subscriptions or lower existing bills, you essentially make money by cutting your bills down.
Standing in Line
Standing in line is one of the easiest ways to learn how to make money doing nothing. People will pay you to stand in their place, so they don’t have to. You’ll likely stand in line for new releases, hot concert tickets, or other important events.
You can charge per event, per hour, or however, you think is best to get paid to stand in line for someone.
Investing is a great way to earn income for doing nothing. You can invest in the stock market, real estate, index funds, crowdfunding, or REITs. The sky’s the limit. Just make sure you understand the risk involved in the investments and the requirements, such as the minimum investment requirement, timeline, or fees.
Create Online Course
If you’re an expert at something, chances are people will pay you to teach them about it. So rather than teaching the same thing repeatedly, you can create an online course once and sell it to as many people as possible.
Sites like Udemy make it easy to upload your course and market to their large audience, allowing you to earn passive income doing what you love.
Invest Your Change With Acorns
Acorns is an investment app that allows you to round up your purchases and invest your ‘spare change.’ You set the threshold, but it defaults to rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar. Acorns sweeps the change into your investment account, and once you have at least $5 in it, they’ll invest the money in ETFs.
If you consider yourself a foodie, get paid to test food. Like a focus group, you’ll provide your feedback about the foods. Companies use this information to determine what they should change or keep before releasing the product to the general public.
Listen To (and Review) Music
If you have a good ear for music and don’t mind writing quick reviews, you can get paid to listen to and review music. SlicethePie is a company that pays you to review new music. While it won’t pay any bills, you can make some spare change and help aspiring musicians get their music out there.
Wait For Deliveries
Just like standing in line, waiting for deliveries is another way how to make easy money. Essentially, you wait at someone’s house for a delivery that they couldn’t wait for. It’s usually something large like furniture or an appliance. Like house sitting, you get to use the person’s house while you wait and make money doing it.
The Bottom Line
If you wonder how to make money doing nothing, there are plenty of ways. You just have to think outside the box. Think about what you love to do and what would make you feel happy and not even more stressed than your current job already creates.
You can have fun making money while reaching your financial goals even faster by doing things you love.
Samantha uses her BS in Finance and MBA to help others control their finances through budgeting, saving, investing, side hustles, and travel hacking. Due to following the FIRE Movement’s principles, she was able to quit her high-stress job in the financial services industry in July 2019 to pursue her side hustles. She is now a full-time entrepreneur, freelancing coach, and blogger.