We all know how important passive income is to achieving financial freedom. Unfortunately, laying the groundwork for passive income streams is no small task. It takes time and plenty of hard work. Whether you are generating passive income or not, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also be on the lookout for easy ways to speed up your journey toward financial freedom. In fact, I’ve actually come across several ways to increase my income that require practically no effort at all.
As you’d probably guess, I’m a huge proponent of making money just for living my life – you know, getting paid to do the things I already do. I’m always looking for new ways to monetize my life. I figure, if I’m going to do it anyway, why not get paid for it?
Let’s be clear, this is not a list of ways to earn passive income. In general, passive income is derived from a source that, once established, is capable of making money without requiring a direct exchange of your time for that money.
How do you know if you’re making passive income? Ask yourself, “Could this make me money while I sleep?” If you answered “yes,” you’re either participating in a paid sleep study or you’ve probably established a passive income stream. Also, don’t forget to invest your earnings, read our Motley Fool Review to find out how.
In a sense, each of the ideas I’m about to share with you involves an exchange of time for money. But here’s the key – the time you are trading is time you were already going to spend on these activities. In my opinion, that’s the next best thing to creating passive income.
7 Ways to Monetize Your Life
So, without further ado, here are 7 things that you are probably already doing that you could be getting paid for.
1. Microsoft Rewards (previously Bing Rewards)
What You Are Already Doing: Using search engines to browse the Internet and search for information online.
How to Monetize that Activity: Sign up for Microsoft Rewards (it’s free and easy) and start using the Microsoft Edge browser and Bing search engine to accumulate reward points. You can use those points for gift cards to Amazon, Target, Chipotle, Walmart and other places.
How it Works: Although there are a number of ways to earn rewards points, I really only take advantage of the incentives for using the Microsoft Edge browser and Bing search engine. Those activities coincide with my daily activities, making it easy for me to rack up points effortlessly. But, in case you’re wondering, you can also earn more points when you use or buy Microsoft products or purchase movies or music through the Windows 10 Store App.
The reward system is pretty straightforward. Each day, users can earn a certain number of points for Bing searches made on their laptop/desktop computer and mobile devices. Users also receive points for each hour they browse the web using Microsoft Edge. You can also earn daily bonus points for completing other random activities.
I rarely earn the maximum points possible each day. But it still doesn’t take me very long to accumulate enough points to get a $5 gift card.
Annual Income: Although I don’t take advantage of all the opportunities to earn points, I’ve still made decent coin. I redeemed $105 in 2016 and have made $65 so far this year.
2. Digital Reflection Center
What You Are Already Doing: Using a wireless router to browse the internet at home.
How to Monetize that Activity: Sign up for Digital Reflection Panel (it’s completely free) and they’ll send you an internet meter to install on your wireless router. In exchange for allowing Digital Reflection Panel to collect information about your online activities and shopping habits, you’ll earn a $50 bonus when you get started plus another $10 each month that you can redeem for cash or gift cards.
How it Works: Basically, Digital Reflection Panel pays you to track your Internet use. All you need to do is answer a few simple questions to see if you qualify. If you do, they’ll ship you an internet meter at no cost to you. The meter is easy to install. You’ll receive $25 just for installing the meter and another $25 for completing your first “Device Update” (a brief questionnaire to identify which devices need to be registered) that takes less than 5 minutes to complete. That’s $50 right off the bat!
After that, you just need to keep the meter plugged in to earn $5 each month. You can also earn another $5 for completely your monthly Device Update. It only takes me about 3 minutes a month to earn $10.
Annual Income: I earned $170 during my first year.
What You Are Already Doing: Driving your car.
How to Monetize that Activity: Sign up to see if you qualify to become a Carvertise driver and get paid to place temporary advertisements on your car. To qualify you must be at least 21 years old, drive a 2005 model vehicle or newer, and drive at least 800 miles a month (26+ miles per day).
How it Works: Carvertise will pay you to drive like you normally do while creating exposure for certain brands by wrapping sections of your vehicle with company advertising. According to Carvertise, drivers are paid per campaign. Campaigns can run from 3 to 6 months and pay between $300 and $600 per campaign.
Annual Income: You can earn $600 a year by completing just two 3-month campaigns. You can easily approach $1k each year by qualifying for and completing longer campaigns.
4. Receipt Hog
What You Are Already Doing: Making purchases at grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and other retail stores.
How to Monetize that Activity: Sign up for Receipt Hog and get paid to upload pictures of your receipts from various stores and restaurants.
How it Works: Receipt Hog is a free mobile app that collects information about your purchases and spending habits for market research purposes. Essentially, Receipt Hog pays you to snap pictures of your receipts. When you upload your receipts, you’ll earn Coin Rewards that you can redeem for cash via Paypal or for Amazon gift cards. Certain receipts will also give you chances to win extra coins by playing the Hog Slot Machine. The app is easy to use and it only takes a few seconds to upload your receipts.
Annual Income: You won’t get rich with this app, but it’s an easy way to make $40 a year. In fact, I won $100 on the Hog Slots so I racked up $140 during my first year on the app!
What You Are Already Doing: Shopping online.
How to Monetize that Activity: Join Ebates for free and get cash back or rewards points when you go through their site before making certain purchases at at online stores.
Use this link to sign up for Ebates and get $10.
How it Works: Before you make an online purchase, go to Ebates and search for the store you want to shop at and click the link to visit that online merchant. When you click on one of their links and complete a purchase, Ebates will give you cash back or points. And don’t worry if you forget to go through their site before you start shopping – Ebates has a cash back button you can install on your browser that will notify you when you are visiting a site that may qualify for cash back.
Annual Income: Obviously this will depend on your online shopping habits. Considering the prevalence of online shopping these days, I’d say the average person can easily save $50 a year with one of these apps.
What You Are Already Doing: Using your cell phone.
How to Monetize that Activity: Android users (sorry iPhone folks) can sign up for Slidejoy and get paid for letting them display ads and study your preferences based on the way you interact with various advertisements.
How it Works: Each time you turn on your phone, you will see an advertisement on your lock screen. You have two options: (1) Slide right to ignore the ad and unlock your phone; or (2) Slide left to engage with the ad. Slidejoy will pay you the same amount, whether you engage with the ad or ignore it. The amount you can earn may vary from one day to the next because it is based on what Slidejoy’s advertisers are paying them. In any event, you can maximize your earnings by simply using your phone like you normally do. In fact, Slidejoy will lower your payment amount if they detect you are viewing an abnormally high number of ads.
Annual Income: According to Slidejoy, the monthly payout is between $2 and $9 depending on the user, with the average user making $3 a month. Slidejoy isn’t going to make you rich, but an extra $40 a year can certainly buy you a few more burritos!
7. Cash Back Credit Cards
What You Are Already Doing: Using credit cards for everyday transactions.
How to Monetize that Activity: Sign up for and use a cash back credit card to get cash back or statement credits for the purchases you’re already making.
How it Works: Cash back credit cards are extremely popular because they offer easy-to-understand benefits – use your cash back credit card to make purchases and get a credit on your monthly statement or actual cash deposited into your bank account. Of course, different cards offer different cash back rates – typically between 1% and 6%. Certain cards offer special rates for certain spending categories, such as gas or groceries. Others offer special sign up bonuses for hitting certain spending requirements within a specified period of time after opening an account.
Annual Income: Even if you don’t qualify for a sign-up bonus or maximize your cash back by taking advantage of rotating cash back categories, you can easily earn $50 cash back each year for credit card purchases. That’s extremely conservative. By qualifying for sign up bonuses and spending strategically to maximize my cash back rates, I probably save between $500 and $1,000 each year.
A Few Final Thoughts
What’s great about each of these options is that they are free to join, and in most cases, easy to qualify for. And better yet, once you’re started they don’t require much time or energy to maintain so you can continue generating income or savings effortlessly.
Some of these options might not be a good fit for your lifestyle. Maybe you’d find it tedious to snap a picture of each of your receipts. Or maybe you’d prefer not to share your online activity with research companies. That’s okay. But I’d encourage you to give at least one of these options a try. I think you’ll be happy you did.