Earn More and Work Less: 10 Proven Ways to Generate Passive Income

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There’s no one right way to make money, but some forms of income are a heck of a lot easier to earn than others! If you’re tired of busting your backside for a measly hourly rate, it’s time to step off the hamster wheel.

Passive income makes it possible to earn money while you sleep- literally. This type of “set it and forget it” strategy generates income month after month, all from work you’ve already done.

If you’re ready to leverage these proven ways to generate passive income, you can easily start making an additional $1,000 or $2,000 per month… or more!

Just imagine how a steady stream of passive income from these proven ideas could transform your life (and your bank account).

1. Get Paid in Gift Cards Just By Being Chill with Lock Screen Ads

The average person unlocks their phone 110 times per day – that’s a lot of time spent looking at a screen for free.

With S’more you get paid every day you unlock your phone. It’s even easier than it sounds, and since you can cash out with as little as $1 there’s no waiting around for your rewards!

They partner up with brands looking for more impressions (aka your eyeballs) and you don’t need to click on anything to get paid either.

S’mores pays in gift cards so you can redeem for:

  • Amazon.com
  • AMC Theaters
  • Best Buy
  • CVS
  • Target
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Starbucks and more!

Just use your phone normally, and your earnings will apply daily. Pretty much the easiest thing to do.

2. Just Leave This App On & Get Paid


Panel App is a loyalty incentive app that will give you points just by leaving the app running in the background. This is passive income at it’s best.

Because it gives you points on location, go ahead and enable location services. Then just turn the app on before you go about your day and head to school, work, gym, walk your dog, wherever.

After testing it we think it’s a great (lazy) app that rewards you for doing almost nothing. If you’re still skeptical, know this:

We snagged a $5 Amazon gift card via email after leaving the app on and forgetting about it. You can also choose VISA gift cards, MasterCard gift cards or sweepstakes entries.

Overall, a solid choice for earning a bit of money for literally just leaving the app running on your phone!

TIP: When you’re a new member, it’ll ask you if you want to keep the app running in the background. Just tap “Yes” to continue getting paid!

3. Make 1.61% Interest On Your Money with Fee-Free Banking

@obeyleesin / Adobe

Traditional banks may2 seem to take every opportunity they can to squeeze more money out of you. With everything from a monthly service fee to various hidden fees nibbling away at your account balance. Enter Varo which was founded to provide banking services without the hidden fees.

Yep, Varo has no monthly service fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no ATM withdrawal fees. On top of having no fees, Varo lets you make more money on your money. Varo provides a high-yield savings account that starts at 1.61% Annual Percentage Yield (APY)1 that can move up to 2.80% APY1 based on qualifying activity. To put this into perspective, the average APY of the 5 biggest national banks is 0.09%.*

Varo has a few sweet extra features too:

  • Get your paycheck up to 2 days earlier^
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Over 55,000+ AllPoint® ATMs worldwide to use your Varo Visa® debit card
  • Offers personal loans to pre-qualified customers who want to consolidate debt
  • Varo will send any paper check to anyone in the U.S. on your behalf
  • “Save the Change” rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and saves the difference to your Varo savings account

If you’re sick of being charged banking fees and want to make more out of your money, check out Varo. It takes less than 5 minutes to learn more and apply for free.

4. Extra Room = Extra Money

Chances are, you’ve heard of Airbnb or have used the service at least once before.

Their home-sharing marketplace makes a great option for travelers to live locally, save on hotel prices, and feel more culturally connected. For hosts, it’s extra income and an opportunity to meet people from around the world.

That spare room in your apartment or home? It could be paying for your next trip, rent, monthly expenses, student loans and more! 

How much can you make? You can find out what hosts in your area are making, and start imagining the possibilities. Your city, type of space, and the number of guests it can accommodate can provide your monthly earning potential.

Guests are charged when a reservation is made, and funds are typically released to hosts 24 hours after check-in. How you’re paid is up to you: You can set up direct deposit, PayPal, and other options.

Hosting isn’t for everybody but Airbnb is a great opportunity to try it out. If it doesn’t work for you, feel free to stop anytime. If it does work for you, then you’ve just discovered an extra stream of income, like millions of other hosts around the world!

5. Earn Up To $40,000 (!) A Year By Renting Out Your RV On the Most Trusted Platform

Hanson Lu

If you own an RV, you know this better than anyone else: it stays dormant almost all year. And it’s true, 80% of RVs go unused for 300 out of the 365 days.

While it’s great to have one ready for road-trip purposes, there are more productive (and profitable) ways to handle the sleeping beast.

With RVshare you can earn up to $40,000 a year by renting out your RV when you’re not using it. List for free on their marketplace and people looking to rent can connect with you. It’s kind of like an Airbnb but for RVs.

The marketplace is completely free to use, so you don’t have to worry about getting hit with a fee while your listing is active. RVshare only makes money when you do, so after your listing is booked they’ll take a small portion to keep the site up and running.

Your RV is protected. There’s nationwide (plus Canada) insurance for both parties along with 24/7 roadside assistance to ensure your RV is taken care of while on the road.

You could also list your RV as a stationary rental, meaning it can stay on your property. This works best if your RV is parked near potential travel destinations. (Sorry, HI residents are ineligible to list!)

So take that dormant RV and start turning it into cash! Since it’s free to list, just add your make and model and RVshare will show you how much you can earn this year.

6. Buy Stuff Normally = Get Gift Cards You Actually Want

If you have room for 1 more app on your phone, then it needs to be this.

Actually, delete another app to make room for this one. It’s that good.

It’s called Drop, a free app that gives you gift cards on stuff you already buy from your favorite stores and brands.

Your everyday purchases from Amazon, Target, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart? You’ll get points for that. Points translate to gift cards so the more you collect, the more you can redeem!

The only thing you need to do is link any credit or debit card you usually use for buying stuff and that’s it! Drop will automatically recognize when you buy from your activated offers to reward.

There’s literally no downside to using this free app to get more gift cards. Use it on top of your loyalty points and credit card points for even more rewards!

LIMITED TIME OFFER: Use promo code SMARTWALLET to unlock 5,000 points ($5) automatically when you link your first card on Drop!

7. Just Save Your Emails to Get Money Back (Avg Savings $240/Year)

If you never delete emails like me (unless it’s spam) and shop online, then you’ll always have a chance at getting some money back.

A free tool called Paribus gets you money back on select online purchases even after you’ve bought them.

Price changes happen all the time after checkout. And now you can get a refund of the price difference back at online stores that Paribus monitors! (For example, Target, Kohl’s, GAP, Best Buy, Walmart and more.)

They do this by checking your inbox for email receipts. (Don’t worry, they don’t open any other email and their tech logic only identifies emails that are receipts.) Once they’ve found a receipt that has at least a $3 price drop, they’ll alert you then contact the retailer on your behalf to get the money or tell you how to get the refund back.

Also? If your guaranteed shipment is late from Amazon Prime or Walmart, they’ll help you get compensated! Perfect for the upcoming holiday season when gifts in hand are important.

Your savings mileage will vary but Paribus is 100% free to use and all the savings are yours to keep. Your pair of shoes dropped $7? You get $7 back.

8. Invest with as Little as $5 From Your Phone

Office Manager Sarah investing with $5 / Daniel Giunta /*Photo for illustrative purposes only

If you feel a little clueless whenever there’s talk about investment portfolios, you’re not alone. It can sound overly complicated.

However, there’s an app that’s like an easy gateway to investing.

It’s called Stash, an investment app that only takes $5 to start and you’ll also get a $5 bonus after funding your first investment!

They curate from over 250 investments which include stocks and Exchange Traded Funds. (Learn more about ETFs here) You’ll get to choose where to put your money based on things like your personal beliefs, interests, and goals.

Finally, investing is no longer for the elite 1% with Stash helping to make it so easy for the rest of us.

9. Advertise on Your Car

If you drive around a lot, consider wrapping (or partially wrapping) your car with an advertisement. You probably have seen them on the road before, and normal people like us can actually get paid to drive around if you don’t mind a new look.

Companies like Carvertise, Wrapify, or StickerRide are solid options to look into.

The wraps are high quality and would be professionally installed on your car if you’re eligible to participate. Depending on the company, people could earn $300 – $1,200 per campaign or it’s based by month.

If you want to research other companies, make sure they fit these guidelines:

  • No money is asked of you (ignore the ones that charge)
  • They require you to have car insurance
  • They want to know about your car
  • They ask about your driving history
  • There is clear address/telephone contact info on the site

There’s no harm in applying to multiple companies to increase your chances but know that you would only be able to have on one wrap at a time.

10. Rent Out Your Driveway

If you have an open driveway or parking spot, someone will rent it. And if you don’t mind other cars using it, you could be making easy passive income with that space!

SPOT is available in a number of U.S. cities like Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, Philadephia, and Washington D.C. All you have to get started is fill in some information about your parking space, upload a photo, and name a price based on their guidelines.

JustPark is available in both the UK and the U.S. and lets users search for temporary parking spots or long term (up to a year). Similar to an AirBnB, you create a listing, upload photos, allow instant bookings or require reviews first. You’ll be able to set the rate (your choice by day, month, week, etc.) and JustPark will add a 25% service on top, which the driver pays. This means you’ll get your full rate whatever you set. San Francisco spots could be from $18-40 a day and other cities can vary.

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

*Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.

*0.09% national average APY: FDIC for the week of Feb 11, 2019- https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/resources/rates/#one

1 – Varo Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is accurate as of December 1, 2019. This rate is variable and may change. No minimum balance required to open account. Balance in Savings must be at least $0.01 to earn interest.

^Early access to direct deposit funds depends on timing of payer’s submission of deposits. We generally post such deposits on the day they are received which may be up to 2 days earlier than the payer’s scheduled payment date.

Some of the sponsored links that appear on this page are from companies that offer investment advisory services. They compensate us; for details on our compensation arrangements, please click here.