If you have some spare time and are looking for ways to make a little extra money, you could try filling out surveys for money. With survey companies paying out millions of dollars to users each year, it’s a legitimate way to earn an income online.
Or is it? There’s a natural skepticism whenever this topic is brought up in personal finance circles, and for good reason. For starters, far too many people have been burned by the claims of ‘scammy’ survey sites in the past, walking away with nothing more than a whole lot of wasted time. And, let’s face it, you’re never going to get rich filling out online surveys. Forget rich, you’re going to struggle just to get to minimum wage.
So why even bother? Survey sites are definitely not for everyone, yet they remain very popular. If you stick to the most reputable ones, there is money to be made. We’re not talking rent-erasing money, but it might cover the cost of your monthly Netflix subscription, or subsidize your coffee habit, which for some people is worth the effort.
Earlier this week, J.D. wrote about what he calls the biggest truth in personal finance: You can't get rich through frugality alone. As Liz at Frugalwoods says, "You can't frugalize income you don't earn." Income is one-half the fundamental personal-finance equation, and it's probably the most important half.
J.D. advocates a three-pronged attack for boosting income: becoming better educated, becoming a more valuable worker, and learning to negotiate salary. But I think he's missing a fourth important income source: the proverbial "passive income".
I know, I know. Passive income has a bad reputation. Actually, passive income has a terrible reputation. And deservedly so. The Land of Passive Income is populated by scammers, hucksters, and charlatans. "Hey, little boy, wanna buy my course?" (Sorry, no links. They're easy enough to find without us helping them.) That's too bad because legit sources of passive income can be a great way to make more money.
What is Passive Income?
First up, let's be clear: Actual passive "passive income" (as pitched by the scammers) is a lie. It doesn't exist. When we talk about passive income, we're talking about ways to make minimal money with minimal effort. Does that make sense? And it's a supplement to your main income, not the primary source.
To me, passive income is money that’s earned, usually on a recurring basis, without a significant time investment.
For example, if you own a rental property that brings in $1500 each month, but only requires two or three hours of time to manage, that's (mostly) passive income. Most nine-to-five jobs are the opposite of this. The income you earn is tied closely to the amount of time you spend at the office.
That’s not to say that passive income doesn’t require effort, though.
Often, there’s a lot of upfront work required before income can become passive. Using the same rental property example, before you can make any money, you have to purchase and renovate the property, and spend time advertising and interviewing potential tenants. All of that takes time and money.
Or, take J.D.'s book as an example. When I asked, he told me that he spent four months working full-time in 2009 and 2010 to write Your Money: The Missing Manual. That's not passive! But he hasn't touched the thing since then, and he continues to receive $50 checks every month. That is passive.
Passive Income Ideas You Can Try Today
Some degree of passive income is possible -- and without shyster shenanigans. In this article, I’ve compiled 40 passive income ideas for you to consider. Not all of these passive income ideas will be right for you. In fact, maybe none of them will fit you. That's okay. But I'm willing to bet that many GRS readers will find at least one source of inspiration here that they can use to help increase their income...even if it's only a few dollars per month.
Could you pay your mortgage, groceries, rent, insurance, medical expenses, and other bills on $2000/month? If you could, what kind of lifestyle might you lead?
Millions of retirees across America live it every day.
The Social Security Administration reports that 50% of elderly married beneficiaries and 70% of singles rely on Social Security for more than half of their monthly income. Considering that the average Social Security check is around $1361/month, this is a really tough place to be in for so many of these retirees.
And I’ve met them. Many of them.
Every year at my insurance agency, we meet thousands of baby boomers aging into Medicare at 65. We often see their shock, dismay, and confusion when they realize that the cost of their healthcare in retirement will easily eat up at least 20% to 30% of that Social Security check every month.
No matter how you slice it, even the best of the retiree budgeters out there are likely to have trouble making ends meet on Social Security income alone.
Sometimes when it comes to personal finance, budgeting isn’t the problem.
Sometimes income is the problem.
Fortunately, there's good news on that front, because we live in an age where there are more opportunities to earn extra money than ever before. Our digital world has made this possible, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
When you're on a fixed income and struggling to make ends meet, a side hustle that pays you even a few hundred dollars a month can be a tremendous help.
At Boomer Benefits, we polled our Facebook fans – largely baby boomers and seniors - to ask what kind of side-hustles they are rocking out there in the real world. What we learned is that there's a wide array of ways in which creative retirees are supplementing their Social Security income.
Today, I’ll share a few of their stories to give you some ideas for your own possible side-hustle that could potentially help to reduce financial worry and afford you a better lifestyle in retirement.
Let’s face it. Most of us, at one point or another, have been faced with a financial emergency, or a plain, old-fashioned cash crunch. It’s definitely not a fun spot to be in. While there are steps we can take to avoid such situations (more on that later), that’s often the last thing on our minds when we need to come up with money — quick.
To assist, I’ve compiled the following list of money-making ideas. While some of the items included are more lucrative than others (you’ll never get rich taking surveys, for example), they all share a common theme: making money fast. Ready? Let’s dive in.
And before anyone mentions it, yes we're aware of the irony of publishing an article about making money fast at a website called Get Rich Slowly.
With so many possible side hustles available in today's gig economy, how do you decide which to choose?
Today, I want to make the case that driving with for a rideshare company is a plausible choice for several reasons. But there are also some major distractions that you should be aware of before signing up.
My name is Josh Overmyer. I've completed over 2900 rides as an Uber/UberEats driver-partner since 2014. I know what you're thinking: "That's a lot of rides!" It is. And I've learned a lot in that time.
This guest post from Brian Winch is part of the "money stories" feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success -- or failure. These stories feature folks from all stages of financial maturity.
Today, Brian shares how he got rich slowly by building a simple, profitable business.
Hi, folks! My name is Brian Winch, and I’m delighted to share my story with you. Continue reading...
In my spare time recently (which isn't much), I've been reading Side Hustle, the new book from my friend Chris Guillebeau. Because CG is a friend, I'm not sure I can provide an objective review of the book, so I'm not going to try. Instead, I'll give a brief summary and then share some of my own experiences earning money on the side.
Side Hustle Nation
Fundamentally, there are only two ways to improve your financial situation: You can earn more or you can spend less. Most money writers focus on the "spend less" side of the equation. That's great, but there's only so much you can cut. Eventually, if you really want to pursue your goals with passion, you're going to have to earn more. "More income means more options," Guillebeau writes. "More options mean more freedom."
For many folks, a side hustle is a smart way to earn more. A side hustle, Guillebeau says, is "a moneymaking project you start on the side, usually while still working a day job. In other words, it's a way to create additional income without taking on the risks of going full throttle into the world of working for yourself."
The beauty of side hustles is that they can be started with little or no money. They're most often passion projects, ways for a person to take something they already love and maybe earn a bit of extra cash.
Guillebeau says there are five core steps to starting a side hustle:
- Build an arsenal of ideas. The first step is to brainstorm a list of ways that you could earn money in your spare time. How could you match your skills and resources to a product or service that people would pay for? List as many as you can think of, then weigh the pros and cons of each.
- Select your best idea. You can't do everything, of course, so you're going to have to narrow your list to the single best idea -- the one that excites you the most. "You're not making a lifelong decision," Guillebeau writes. "You're looking for the right idea at the right time." After you've picked a project, do some research. Learn how other people have done the same thing. Figure out who your ideal customer is. Decide what it is you're going to sell.
- Prepare for liftoff. After you've chosen your product or service, it's time to prepare for launch. Figure out the core logistics issues. Set a price. Create your workflow. Don't worry about getting everything perfect, but do take the time to master the basics of your business.
- Launch before you're ready. This is a lesson I've had to learn the hard way. There is always more to be done before you start a big project. (Heck, I wasn't ready to re-launch Get Rich Slowly last Sunday, but I did so anyhow.) When you have your logistics, workflow, and pricing roughly right, then go. Start your hustle.
- Regroup and refine. Naturally, not everything will be perfect -- especially since you launched before you were ready. As you sell, as you interact with customers, learn from your experience. Enhance what is working, and discard what isn't. If there are things you can't handle, ask for help. If a process can be automated, automate it. Adjust pricing, if necessary.
But the most important ingredient to starting a successful side hustle is action. If you don't take action, nothing else matters.
I've been earning a living since the Bronze Age (circa 1973), without ever holding a day job. Over the decades I've had my share of money struggles, but I found my way around them and am now, at 65, in the best financial shape of my life.
Here are seven lessons that helped me arrive where I am today.
Side jobs are always a popular topic on Get Rich Slowly.
Whether your goal is to boost savings, supplement retirement income or pay down debt faster, you are not alone in choosing to work nights, weekends or in-between other demands.