If someone told you it’s possible to make money doing nothing, you might think they’re trying to trick you.
However, it’s completely realistic to build several passive income sources that pay you without having to lift a finger. And some of these ideas don’t require any upfront work either other than just a few minutes of your time.
Now, I’ve been experimenting with passive income ideas ever since college. And I’ve actually created a few myself that I still use to this day to earn.
So today, I’m covering some legit ways to make money doing nothing that you can use to expand your own income streams.
Let’s get to it.
How To Make Money Doing Nothing
One quick note before I dive into some ideas to make money doing nothing.
A few of the ideas in this article require some upfront work before they become completely hands off. But some ideas are truly 100% passive after you spend a few minutes setting everything up.
Decide on how much effort you want to spend, and then pick one or more of the following ideas to start earning!
1. Use Passive Income Apps
One of my favorite ways to make money doing nothing is to use passive income apps. In fact, this is what I’ve been doing consistently since college and my phone farming days, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop!
Passive income apps work by paying you with gift cards or cash for your data. So, you can turn your phone into an income stream without lifting a finger.
Some of my all-time favorite passive income apps and websites include:
- Nielsen Panel: Earn up to $50+ per year by sharing your data with Nielsen’s Computer & Mobile Panel.
- MobileXpression: Earn free gift cards every month for sharing your data.
- Mobile Performance Meter: Earn $0.10 per day for sharing your data.
- Cash Magnet: Earn up to $15 per phone, per month, with this autosurfing app.
- S’more Lockscreen: Earn $0.10 per day with this leading money lockscreen app.
I’ve probably made hundreds of dollars with these apps and others over the years, and they’re an easy way to make money on autopilot.
Just make sure you’re comfortable with sharing your data if you use this method!
2. Invest In Real Estate
While it might surprise you, another way to make money doing nothing is to invest in income-generating real estate. And no, you don’t have to be a millionaire to get started!
Thanks to real estate investing companies, you can actually invest in real estate without much starting capital.
For example, platforms like Arrived let you invest in income-generating real estate properties starting with just $100. From there, you earn quarterly dividends from the rental income properties generate.
And what’s nice about Arrived is that you can also earn from properties appreciating. Overall, it provides an easy way to diversify your portfolio. And it’s a way to earn money doing nothing since the properties are fully managed, so it’s all passive.
You can also explore plenty of other real estate investing options like:
- Fundrise: Lets you invest in individual rental properties with only $10. Note, this is a Fundrise endorsement and I receive compensation if you sign up with my link.
- RealtyMogul: Provides access to exclusive commerical real estate deals.
- Streitwise: A popular dividend income option that also invests in real estate.
- HappyNest: A beginner-friendly investing app for Android and iOS that also has a low $10 minimum.
As long as you consider your income goals and have a game plan, there’s no reason you can’t find success through real estate investing.
Learn more about investing with Arrived!
3. Watch Ads For Money
If you’re still wondering how to make money from nothing, one easy digital side hustle you can try is to use websites that pay you to watch ads.
There’s actually lots of companies out there that pay people small amounts of money to watch videos and ads. In fact, this is one of the first ways I started earning passive income during school since I’d play these reward videos in the background with my phone farm.
Some of the most popular platforms in this space include:
- Swagbucks: A leading gpt site that lets you make money by watching ads, playing games, shopping, and playing trivia for money.
- PrizeRebel: Another rewards website that has a passive ads section.
- Grindabuck: This is the main rewards site I earned over $100 with by doing nothing.
- Inboxdollars: Another popular website with a free $5 sign up bonus and numerous ways to earn.
- Cointiply: One more reliable site that has plenty of ways to make quick money by watching ads.
These websites won’t make you rich, of course. But they’re reliable ways to make money doing nothing that pretty much anyone can start.
And, some of them, like Swagbucks, have some pretty nice sign up bonuses that new members can take advantage of.
4. Use Micro-Investing Apps
If you want to build good habits and earn money doing nothing, then using micro-investing apps is one option you can consider.
And, out of all the apps in this space, Acorns is certainly the most popular.
With Acorns, you can round-up your spare change from purchases and then invest the extra money automatically into a portfolio of ETFs and bonds that match your investing goals.
For example, if you spend $9.50 on lunch one day, Acorns can round-up that purchase to $10, investing the additional $0.50 on your behalf without you having to think.
In the long-run, this helps people build good habits and grow their wealth through compound interest. And Acorns has several portfolios you can choose from depending on your goals.
The app also has other ways to earn, like a cash-back rewards platform. And there’s often a $10 sign up bonus for new members as well!
5. Use Reward Apps
Like using passive income apps, another idea for making money doing nothing is to use reward apps that automatically pay you when shopping.
There are so many apps that pay you to shop, turning your daily spending into a very small source of passive income.
Some of my favorite reward apps that I personally use to earn rewards include:
- Rakuten: A leading cash-back website that pays you for shopping at thousands of merchants.
- Upside: Lets you earn up to $0.25 per gallon at thousands of gas stations.
- Drop: A leading reward app that pays you for shopping, answering paid surveys, and playing games.
- Fetch Rewards: Lets you earn free gift cards for grocery shopping.
- Capital One Shopping: This shopping extension automatically applies coupon codes at checkout to help you save money.
Once you download these apps or extensions, you’re truly making money doing nothing since you’re getting paid to buy products you’d want to purchase anyway.
For example, I’ve earned $1,200 from Rakuten, and its extension finds me cash back automatically when I shop online at eligible merchants. Pretty easy if you ask me!
Note: Capital One Shopping compensates us when you sign up with the provided links.
6. Invest In Dividend Stocks
Another way to make money doing nothing is to invest in dividend stocks. This is also something I’ve been doing for the last few years, and I’ve invested in an assortment of banks, energy companies, and dividend ETFs.
Dividend income is nice because it’s generally very reliable if you’re investing in companies with a long track record of paying dividends to shareholders.
And, you can start investing commission-free with pretty much any online broker or your bank. Plus, some brokers like M1 and others support fractional shares, so you can start investing even if you don’t have much starting cash.
Researching what stocks to invest in is really the most time-consuming part. This is why many investors just stick with various ETFs and index funds to keep things simple.
But whatever your investing style, dividend income can be an excellent way to make money while doing nothing. And you don’t need to be a professional trader to get started.
Extra Reading – How To Invest And Make Money Daily.
7. Use High-Yield Savings Accounts
One of my favorite ways to make money out of nothing is to simply park some idle cash into a high-yield savings account.
This option is nice because it doesn’t lock-up your money, so you can access funds if you need to. But you still earn meaningful interest on your money.
There are also lots of companies out there you can use. For example, Current, a digital banking solution, pays you 4% APY on up to $6,000 of your savings!
I also like Current since it has a $50 sign up bonus. Plus, members can earn cash back by shopping at a variety of online and local partners.
You can also explore other options, like Go2Bank, which currently pays 4.50% APY on up to $5,000 of cash.
The bottom line is that there are plenty of no or low-fee banks out there with decent interest rates. And this is a very easy, flexible way to get paid for doing nothing.
8. Make Money House Sitting
Throughout college, I had a friend who would sometimes get housesitting gigs or dog sitting gigs from a few families in Toronto. All she had to do was stay at these houses while the owners were out of town, water plants, and keep things tidy.
She was able to earn thousands of dollars throughout the four years with this college side hustle. And again, all she had to do was check in on these houses or stay there overnight sometimes.
I think she found the first job on Kijiji, which is the Canadian version of Craigslist.
However, you can use websites like HouseSitter.com to find local house sitting gigs to get your start. Some people charge $50 to $100 a night, so this could be super easy money!
9. Rent Out Storage Space
Another excellent way to make money doing nothing is to rent out your spare storage space.
With companies like Neighbor, you can turn an empty portion of your home or some extra storage space into an income stream. It’s basically like Airbnb, just for storage!
As a Neighbor host, you can rent out all sorts of spaces like:
- Parking spaces
- Spare rooms
Creating a listing is free, and you set your monthly rental rate. You can also set rules for when renters are allowed to drop by to access their stuff, and Neighbor also provides insurance coverage for everyone.
Realistically, you’re probably looking at $5o to $150 per month in extra income depending on the size of your storage space.
However, this is a super simple way to make extra cash, and you don’t have to lift a finger!
You can read our Neighbor review for all the details.
10. Use Mystery Shopping Apps
I’ve already covered passive income apps and cash-back reward apps as a way to get money doing nothing. But you can also use various mystery shopping apps to easily earn cash and gift cards without changing your daily habits.
For example, apps like Shopkick pay you with small amounts of points just for walking near or into various stores. So, you might be able to wrack up some free gift cards just for going about your daily shopping trips.
Similar apps like Premise and Pogo can also pay you with cash for sharing your location data. And if you actually complete short mystery shopping gigs, you earn even more.
I personally like Premise since it lets you cash out for PayPal cash or Bitcoin, and some of the short gigs pay $5 to $10 or more.
These apps won’t make you rich of course. But if you share your data and frequently shop, you can probably make a quick $10 to $20 a month through these apps without much effort.
Our post on the best apps like Shopkick covers even more mystery shopping apps you can explore.
11. Stand In Line
Did you know you can get paid to stand in line for people? Now if this isn’t a way to get paid to do nothing, I don’t know what is.
Odd job apps like TaskRabbit let you sign up to run errands for people. And one sub-category of this side hustle is to stand in line for people for a certain amount of time.
People hire people to do this on opening-day events for new product releases, or even on sale days like Black Friday.
Granted, you still have to wait around to get paid. But this doesn’t involve any skill or experience, so you might be able to make a quick $50 to $100 or more without having to try.
12. Rent Out Other Assets
I already mentioned renting out spare storage space with Neighbor to make money doing nothing. But did you know there’s plenty of other things you can rent out for money?
And I’m not just talking about Airbnb here. There are plenty of other things you can rent out to people for some easy, passive income like:
- Your unused internet bandwidth
- Your car with platforms like Turo
- An RV with companies like RVShare
- Renting out your truck with Fetch Truck
- Equipment like cameras, tools, and even instruments on websites like Fat Llama
Even renting out something like a camera or drone on a marketplace like Fat Llama could be a couple hundred dollars a month in additional income. And since renters come to you to pick up their rental, you don’t have to put in any work.
The only time-consuming part is managing your listings and responding to rental requests. But this is still a pretty passive business you can start.
13. Start A YouTube Channel
I started my YouTube channel back in 2020 to promote This Online World and try something new.
Since then, it’s grown to over 16,000 subscribers and now makes about $1,500 per month, or $50 a day, in very passive income.
Now, the reason I think YouTube can be a way to make money doing nothing is because videos from years ago still have the potential to bring in regular income.
In fact, some of my highest earning videos are from 2020; they still consistently bring in thousands of dollars a year in advertisement revenue.
Of course, YouTube takes a lot of work to get up and running. But I truly think it has some of the highest semi-passive income potential once you get the ball rolling.
And if you like filming and creative projects, it’s also a very fun side hustle idea to tackle.
14. Get Paid To Listen To Music
If you’re like me, you probably spend a decent amount of time listening to music every day. But did you know it’s possible to get paid to listen to music so you can earn while you blast your tunes?
For example, Android apps like Current Music pay you for listening to music, playing games, and answering short surveys.
All you have to do is download the free app, listen to its various radio stations, and you’ll slowly earn points for your time.
Surveys and game offers help you earn faster, but this is still a nifty way to make some extra cash without having to work.
You can cash out your points for free PayPal cash or gift cards to various retailers, so there’s plenty of rewards to choose from.
15. Use Fitness Apps That Pay You
One final idea for how to make money doing nothing is to use different apps that pay you to workout.
Like passive income apps, there’s a niche category of apps that pay you for your data and for getting in shape. If you already like to exercise, this provides a way to get paid while you’re already doing one of your hobbies.
Some popular fitness apps you can consider include:
- StepBet: Lets you wager on yourself to complete certain weekly step challenges, and you can win cash prizes.
- Evidation: Pays you with PayPal cash for walking, biking, swimming, and logging your daily fitness-related activities.
- HealthyWage: Lets you place weight loss bets on yourself and then workout to earn cash.
- Cash For Steps: A fun way to earn cash and Amazon gift cards for walking.
- Sweatcoin: Pays you with an in-app cryptocurrency for your steps and then lets you redeem merchandise for prizes.
- Miles: Another popular app like Sweatcoin that pays you for walking.
Again, you still need to workout for these apps to work. But if you workout a few times a week anyway, you can earn money at the same time.
You could also take this a step further and try ideas like making money on a bike by delivering for gig jobs like Uber Eats or DoorDash. But that’s getting into the side gig territory and actually requires some work.
Tips For Making Money Doing Nothing
Now that I’ve covered some ways to make money doing nothing, here are a few tips you can consider while hustling to increase your odds of success!
- Test Several Ideas: Testing a few hustles is a good way to find out what you like and what works best for you. This could mean investing with Arrived or Fundrise, using several passive income apps, and trying gigs like house sitting.
- Set An Income Goal: How much money do you want to make without having to work? Some ideas are a great source of beermoney, while others can turn into more serious, passive businesses if you put in upfront effort.
- Mix In Active Income: I personally like putting in active income upfront to then build a more passive income source. This is what I did for blogging and YouTube. So, aim to make money doing nothing, but don’t be afraid to mix in active income when it makes sense.
I hope my guide on how to make money doing nothing helps you create multiple streams of income that serve you well for years to come.
Again, I think some of the best passive side hustles and businesses start out as active ones. But you can always build these up on the side while exploring other easy, passive methods as well.
Ultimately, it’s possible to make money doing nothing if you build the right systems. How much you earn is really up to you and how creative you get!
Looking for even more unique money-making ideas? Checkout:
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
If you’re interested in freelance writing services or want to partner with This Online World, please use our contact page to get in touch!
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