Best Passive Income Side Hustles [2024]: Make Money with Little Work

MAKE MONEY - SIDE HUSTLES
Rent out your extra space or your car, get shopping rewards on your everyday spending, and earn interest on your savings.
Updated Oct. 4, 2023
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Money going into a piggy bank

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Not every side hustle requires your time. Passive income sources such as renting out your car or extra spaces in your home, getting shopping rewards when you make purchases, earning interest on savings, and investing in bonds or real estate can all get you money with little work.

If you’re hoping to create a passive cash flow that can help you reach your financial goals, you might find your fit in these best passive income side hustles.

In this article

Key takeaways

  • Passive income side hustles offer you ways to make extra money with minimal effort.
  • Most passive income side hustles require some upfront effort or investment to get started.
  • Some passive income opportunities use your existing assets, like a car you might not be using all the time or garage space you can rent out.
  • There are apps and platforms that enable you to earn cash back on the everyday purchases you already make, providing you with some extra money.
  • Passive income opportunities related to investing come with the possibility of making money but also carry an inherent level of risk and loss potential.

The 7 best passive income side hustles

  1. Rent out extra rooms or spaces in your home
  2. Get shopping rewards for your purchases
  3. Invest in bonds
  4. Earn interest on your bank savings
  5. Rent out your car
  6. Make money from dividends
  7. Invest in real estate or REITs

Comparison of the best passive income side hustles

What to do Who it is for Where to get started
Rent out extra rooms or spaces Someone who has extra rooms or an empty garage in their house and doesn’t mind letting others make use of it
Get shopping rewards for your purchases Everyone who makes regular shopping trips and wants to get shopping rewards on their purchases with little to no extra effort
Invest in bonds Someone who has extra money they can use to invest and wants to earn a regular return from the interest paid on bonds
  • Stash
  • TD Ameritrade
Earn interest on your bank savings People who have savings and want to boost the interest they earn using a high-yield savings account
Rent out your car Someone who doesn’t use their vehicle that often and wants to produce income by renting it out
Make money from dividends People who have money to put in dividend-paying stocks without minding the inherent investment risks
  • SoFi Invest
  • Public
Invest in real estate or REITs Someone who wants cash flow or dividends from real estate projects, along with the potential for asset appreciation
  • Fundrise
  • Crowdstreet
  • Ark7

Rent out extra rooms or spaces

Pros Cons
  • Use spaces that you already have
  • May provide fairly regular payments, depending on how many people use the space
  • Requires minimal upkeep
  • May require some availability to deal with potential issues
  • Presents privacy concerns as other people would have access to your space

If you have extra rooms or empty storage spaces in your home, you might be able to rent them out to produce a passive income stream. There are a couple of ways you can use your spaces to figure out how to make money with relatively little effort.

  • Rent storage space: You might be able to make money by helping people store their stuff in your home. If you have room in a garage, spare room, attic, or basement, someone might be willing to pay you for it. You can receive monthly storage fees by letting them put their things in your spaces.
  • Rent a room: If you have an extra room in your home that you’re not using, you could make money by renting it out to others. You can offer short-term rentals to those who plan to stay for a few days or a couple of weeks or medium-term or long-term rentals to those who might need a room for months or even years.

Be aware
Letting people access your spaces might raise some privacy concerns, so make sure you’d be okay with the person or people who will rent your space.

Where to get started

Neighbor.com: This platform allows you to rent extra space to people who want to store their things. Neighbor.com lets you list your space for rent in exchange for a storage fee. If you can provide shelf storage, RV and boat storage, and other storage options, you can list these spaces on the platform.

Visit Neighbor.com

… Or learn more in our Neighbor.com review.

Airbnb: List your room on Airbnb to find vacationers looking for short-term stays. Even if you have an RV, you can put it out there to rent on Airbnb for a short term. It’s even possible to do monthly rentals using Airbnb. For best results, be clear about what you’re offering and the amenities you provide.

Visit Airbnb

Get shopping rewards for your purchases

Pros Cons
  • Allows you to earn money back each time you make a purchase
  • Requires little to no effort
  • May offer more earnings by using more than one cashback app
  • May entice spending more money than usual
  • May not provide high earning amounts

One passive income idea that can help you add a little extra cash to your pocket is to use apps that offer shopping rewards for regular purchases. To use these apps, you may need to go through specific websites to get your rewards when you shop or download an app and snap a picture of your receipt after shopping.

No matter how you do it, getting shopping rewards can be one way to use your regular shopping to get a little passive income. The key is using these cashback apps to only buy what you planned to purchase in the first place. Overspending to get cash rewards can easily lead to spending more than you planned, which offsets the benefit of receiving shopping rewards .

Stack and earn more
Some cashback apps may enable you to stack your earnings. This means you can use multiple apps to get shopping rewards from each. However, you should make sure that the apps you use allow stacking your rewards.

Where to get started

Capital One Shopping1: Add the Capital One Shopping extension to your browser or download its app to get notified of lower prices and chances for shopping rewards. You can then redeem your shopping rewards for gift cards from many retailers and marketplaces, including eBay, Columbia, Lowe’s, and more. It’s one way to get shopping rewards for regular online shopping without taking extra steps.

Visit Capital One Shopping

… Or learn more in our Capital One Shopping review.

Stop Overpaying When You Shop Online

Learn More

Ibotta: This cashback app offers you the option of using a mobile app or a browser extension. You get special offers from retailers, including discounts and shopping rewards in the form of cash back, as long as you activate your shopping when you begin. Then, you can get your cash back via Paypal, bank deposit, or gift cards.

Visit Ibotta

… Or learn more in our Ibotta review.

Fetch Rewards: You can earn shopping rewards by downloading the Fetch Rewards app and taking pictures of your receipts from grocery shopping, dining out, and other transactions. These shopping rewards come in the form of points, and the number of points you earn is based on where you shop and the brands you purchase. You can then redeem points for gift cards with different retailers.

Visit Fetch Rewards

… Or learn more in our Fetch Rewards review.

Invest in bonds

Pros Cons
  • Can be a relatively stable investment, especially with U.S. government bonds, known as Treasury bonds
  • Often offers periodic earnings in the form of interest payments
  • Typically offer higher interest rates than bank accounts
  • Carries a level of risk like all investments
  • May offer lower returns than some other assets

Bonds are essentially loans to another entity. This can be a business or government. You buy a bond, which represents a portion of the organization’s debt, and the organization makes regular interest payments to you. At the end of the bond term, you get back the original amount you placed into the bond.

Treasury bonds, which are issued by the U.S. government, are considered one of the safest investments since they’re backed by the U.S. Treasury. These Treasury bonds allow you to earn some interest on the money you invest, helping you put your money to work.

Warning
Like all investments, you take on some risk when you invest in bonds. For example, you may lose some or all of your money if the company or organization that issued the bond bankrupts.

You can also invest in bond mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These are funds that group several bonds together and enable you to invest in all of them by investing in the fund. These funds typically pay dividends instead of direct interest payments.

Where to get started

Stash23: This investment platform offers access to bond ETFs4 that group together similar bonds. For example, the iShares Treasury Floating Rate Bond ETF (NYSE Arca:TFLO) or the iShares Long-Term Corporate Bond ETF (NYSE Arca:IGLB) enable you to invest in U.S. Treasury bonds or large corporate bonds, respectively. You can set up automatic investments to purchase shares of bond ETFs and even reinvest the dividends you receive to purchase more ETF shares.

Visit Stash

… Or learn more in our Stash review.

4.6

Get $20 to start investing. Invest in stocks, bonds, ETFs and fractional shares.

Learn More

TD Ameritrade: This is one of the oldest and most established discounted brokerage firms. TD Ameritrade gives you access to actual bonds, as well as bond mutual funds and ETFs. It offers a sophisticated trading platform available on desktop and mobile devices. Keep in mind that TD Ameritrade is in the process of merging with Charles Schwab, but you can still open a TD Ameritrade account.

Visit TD Ameritrade

… Or learn more in our TD Ameritrade review.

Earn interest on your bank savings

Pros Cons
  • Offers the safest method of earning interest by using FDIC-insured accounts
  • Keeps your money liquid and easy to access
  • Gives you a decent return in periods of high federal funds rate
  • Responds quickly to reductions in the federal funds rate
  • Adds tax liability for annual interest earnings above $10

Keeping your savings in a bank account that offers a high annual percentage yield (APY) gives you the opportunity to earn more money on your savings. You can find high annual percentage yield, which is a form of interest payments, on checking and savings accounts.

These accounts keep your money liquid and easy to access while providing you a way to earn extra money. Many bank accounts in the U.S. are also insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which protects your money up to $250,000.

High-yield bank accounts can be an attractive place to put your money during times of high federal funds rate, which is an interest rate set by the Federal Reserve. However, these accounts often respond quickly when the Federal Reserve lowers its funds rate.

Keep in mind
Your bank typically sends you Form 1099-INT during the tax season when you earn more than $10 in annual interest.

Where to get started

The State Exchange Bank: This regional bank offers competitive rates on its high-yield savings account. You can earn 5.25% to grow your money with minimal effort. Your money is also FDIC-insured, and the bank uses top cybersecurity measures to keep your account safe.

Visit The State Exchange Bank

The State Exchange Bank - 5.05% APY5

High Yield Savings Account. $100 minimum deposit. FDIC Insured.

Open Account

Wealthfront: This investment company offers a banking product called Wealthfront Cash Account. A WealthFront Cash Account functions as a bank account by keeping your money at partner banks. This account offers 5.00%, well above the national average of 0.47% (as of Feb. 8, 2024).

Visit Wealthfront

… Or learn more in our Wealthfront Cash Account review.

Wealthfront Cash Account - 5.00% APY6

High Yield Cash Management Account. $1 minimum deposit. FDIC Insured.

Open Account

Rent out your car

Pros Cons
  • Allows you to earn money when you aren’t using your car
  • Can be an alternative to rideshare services that saves you time
  • Uses existing platforms to simplify the renting process
  • Increases the risk of damage to your car
  • Introduces more wear and tear and potentially higher maintenance costs

If you own a vehicle that you don’t use all the time, you can rent it out to others and make extra money with little effort. Rather than getting a traditional car rental, some travelers prefer the personal experience of renting directly from a car owner.

Various platforms allow you to list your vehicle and include its condition and rental details. If you don’t have enough free time on your hand to join a rideshare service, this can be a great alternative.

Just be aware that as people use your car, they will increase the rate of wear and tear. There’s also a potential for the person driving your car to damage it. Make sure your insurance policy covers you and that you’re prepared to rent out your car.

Where to get started

Turo: This car rental platform connects you with travelers or people who want to get around in a new area. According to Turo, you can earn several thousand dollars a year by signing up and listing your car. However, actual earnings will depend on several factors, including your car's year, make, and model, as well as how often it’s rented.

Visit Turo

… Or learn more in our Turo review.

HyreCar: This car rental service lets people rent and use cars for various purposes. For example, people may rent a car from you to use it for business, personal use, or a rideshare service. This allows you to rent your car and let others drive it, having it make money on your behalf.

Visit HyreCar

… Or learn more in our HyreCar review.

Getaround: This car-sharing marketplace is designed to help people find cars for rent. If you’re willing to share your car, you could list it to help locals get out of town or enable tourists to get around your area.

Visit Getaround

… Or learn more in our Getaround review.

Make money from dividends

Pros Cons
  • Helps you receive regular payouts for the shares you own
  • Requires little effort after your initial investment
  • Offers potential for investment value appreciation
  • Involves investing in stocks, which exposes you to changes in their prices
  • Includes a level of risk that some people may not feel comfortable with
  • Can introduce capital gains tax liability

Learning how to invest money gives you access to one of the wealth-building and income-generation methods. This can be especially true if you look for dividend-paying stocks, such as preferred stocks.

Learn the difference between preferred versus common stocks.

A dividend is a payout of a portion of profits to shareholders. Companies that pay dividends typically do it at regular intervals. Your share of the profits is based on the number of company shares you own.

There are risks to investing, though. For example, changes in the stock market can affect the value of your investment. Additionally, it can take time and money to build a decent level of income with dividend-paying stocks.

Keep in mind
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires you to pay capital gains taxes after selling an asset that increased in value. This includes preferred and common stocks.

Where to get started

SoFi Invest: This investment platform gives you access to active and automated investing. You can invest in individual stocks or ETFs that group several stocks in a single fund. SoFi offers access to ETFs that have exposure to preferred stocks, allowing you to benefit from the dividends they pay.

Visit SoFi Invest

… Or learn more in our SoFi Invest review.

4.3

Get up to $1,000 in stock when you fund a new Active Invest account

Learn More

Public7: This investing app allows you to buy, sell, and trade stocks and ETFs. It has a simple interface that works well for beginners and advanced investors alike. You can see updates and follow analysts for ideas. Plus, you can buy dividend stocks and invest in funds that can help you build an income portfolio.

Visit Public

… Or learn more in our Public review.

4.4

Invest in Stocks, ETFs, Crypto, Art, Collectibles, and More—All in One Place

Learn More

Invest in real estate or REITs

Pros Cons
  • Allows you to invest in physical assets
  • May provide you with regular rental income or dividends
  • Can have a small initial investment requirement, depending on the platform you use
  • May not be as easy to liquidate as other assets
  • May require you to be an accredited investor, depending on the platform

Real estate investment has long been touted as a way to receive passive income. While you can invest in real estate on your own, you might need a large chunk of capital to get started or the ability to finance a purchase.

Another option for those who might not be interested in managing real estate or might not have the capital to get started is to invest in real estate investment trusts (REITs). These are privately or publicly traded companies that have real estate holdings and pay dividends to their investors.

Investing in REITs gives you the benefit of real estate investing without needing a lot of money. However, real estate investments and REITs might not be as easy to liquidate or sell as popular stocks.

Additionally, depending on the platform you use, you may be required to hold an asset for a specific length of time or be an accredited investor, meaning that you meet certain net worth, income, and/or professional criteria.

Learn more in our guide to starting real estate investing.

Where to get started

Fundrise: This real estate investment platform allows you to invest in its portfolio of properties through REITs and real estate funds. Anyone in the U.S. over the age of 18 can use the platform, so you don’t need to be an accredited investor to get started. The minimum investment on Fundrise is $10.

Visit Fundrise

… Or learn more in our Fundrise review.

CrowdStreet8: You can get access to commercial real estate deals with this real estate crowdfunding platform. CrowdStreet enables you to buy a share in a real estate venture such as multiple-family housing or warehouses. However, it’s important to note that you must be an accredited investor to use the platform.

Visit CrowdStreet

… Or learn more in our CrowdStreet review.

Invest Like a Real Estate Mogul

Learn More

Ark7: This platform allows you to invest in shares of rental properties. You can start your investment with a minimum of $20 and gradually build a portfolio that offers regular income. Some of the offerings don’t require investor accreditation, while other rentals will require you to show that you’re an accredited investor.

Visit Ark7

… Or learn more in our Ark7 review.

Build passive income with shares of rental homes

Learn More

How to choose the best passive income side hustles

In general, the best passive-income side hustle is one that works for you without requiring much of your time or effort.

Many small-business ideas can help you passively make money online or in person in exchange for some upfront work. However, once you get used to it, you’re likely to see regular income from your passive-income side hustle.

Consider these factors when deciding what side hustle might be a good fit for producing passive income:

  • Time and effort: Take into account the amount of time and effort you're willing to invest in starting and running your side hustle. Some passive-income side hustles demand more labor upfront than others.
  • Initial investment: In order to get started, several side hustles require an upfront investment. Make sure you feel at ease investing the amount of money required.
  • Potential earnings: Do some research on the prospective earnings from your passive-income side hustle. Make sure your time and work will be worthwhile.
  • Risk: Consider the level of risk involved in your side hustle and make sure you’re comfortable with the potential loss of money or time if things don’t work out.

FAQs about passive income side hustles

Can you make passive income from stocks?

Yes, you might be able to make passive income from stocks by investing in stocks that pay dividends. Most preferred stocks and some common stocks pay dividends based on how many stocks you own. The more you own, the more you might receive in dividends. With a large enough dividend portfolio, you could receive regular passive income.

Is passive income taxable?

Generally, passive income is taxable, and the IRS expects you to report it on your annual tax return. Depending on the exact nature of the income, it may be taxed as self-employment, capital gains, or something else.

That said, there are a few income types that might be exempt from certain taxes. It’s a good idea to check with a tax professional to make sure that you understand your tax liability.

How do you earn passive income from Treasury bonds?

When you invest in Treasury bonds, you receive regular interest payments based on the rate these bonds pay. This provides you with regular passive income from an asset that’s backed by the U.S. government. One of the easiest ways to buy Treasury bonds is through the TreasuryDirect website. Some brokerage firms and investment apps also give you access to Treasury bonds.

Best passive income side hustles: bottom line

While nothing is completely passive, there are some income streams that may not require a lot of work or time while allowing you to improve your personal finance. Consider what’s available to you and how much free time you have, especially if you already work a full-time job.

Your initial income from these side hustle ideas is likely to be small. However, as you continue building wealth and re-investing the income you receive, you may see steady income growth.

Explore more income opportunities in our list of the best side hustles. You can also learn more in our comparison between active versus passive income.

Methodology

To determine the best passive income side hustles, we started by compiling a list of common side gigs and opportunities that can provide passive income based on online research, personal experience, and subject-matter expert knowledge.

Next, we evaluated each opportunity based on key criteria, such as potential earnings, required time investment, level of risk involved, and scalability. We also considered factors such as ease of entry and accessibility to a broad audience.

It is important to note that our list is not exhaustive, and there may be other passive income opportunities that we did not consider. Our recommendations aim to provide an educational resource for readers to begin their research into passive income side hustles.

Author Details

Miranda Marquit Miranda Marquit has covered personal finance for more than a decade and is a nationally-recognized financial expert and journalist, appearing on CNBC, NPR, Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, FOX Business, and numerous other outlets.

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