Buy a small business: A local small business, like a car wash or a laundromat, is a great way to put money down on a money-making venture. Automate it so you don't have to be on the premises unless you're collecting money. Go into a local business with your eyes wide open - study the books, especially on income and expenses, and examine water and utility bills if your venture will be open 24 hours.
Usability testing involves testing out websites, apps, software, etc. and sharing your feedback and/or helping developers find bugs and problems. What's great about these opportunities is that almost anyone can do them and you likely won't need any equipment you don't already have. Each site listed below pays differently, but most pay in cash — not redeemable points.
The Ibotta app gives you cash back on the groceries you already buy. Some deals are brand specific, while others give you cash just for purchasing a certain type of item, like a loaf of bread from any brand. Choose your deals before you check out, then submit a picture of your receipt and get paid via Venmo, PayPal, or gift cards. Sign up with Ibotta to claim your $10 welcome bonus.
Websites like Survey Junkie will pay you a decent chunk of change for the low-maintenance, borderline mindless task of completing surveys. Companies want to understand consumers better, and one way they do that is by compensating survey-takers. Most surveys pay between $0.50 and $1.25, and many of them take less than 5 minutes to do. You can read our full Survey Junkie review for more info.
Blooom: Blooom works very differently from many of the other robo-advisors. It helps specifically with your employer-sponsored accounts (401k, 403b, 401a, and 457 accounts). Blooom will go through all the investment choices and make adjustments for you. The service also automatically rebalances the account as it grows. Blooom is very inexpensive when compared to a traditional advisor at only $10 per month no matter how large your 401k grows.
For those of you who don’t want to come up with a $220,000 downpayment and a $900,000 mortgage to buy the median home in SF or NYC, who don’t want to deal with tenants or remodeling, and who wants to not do any work after the investment is made, check out Fundrise. They are my favorite real estate crowdsourcing company founded in 2012 and based in Washington DC. They are pioneers in the eREIT product offering and they’re raising an Opportunity Fund to take advantage of new tax favorable laws.
Stock dividends: Some stocks, especially stocks from big corporate standouts, pay dividends to shareholders based on the number of shares they own, and the percentage of the stock price on the dividend date. For example, if a company pays out 3% on a stock that's trading at $100 per share, you'll earn $3 for every share of that stock you own. Add it up and that can be good take-home pay as a passive investment.