Everyman’s Guide to $30 / Month in Passive Income

by Mr. Cheap

A while back I made reference to $30 / month of passive income and one of my off-line friends was quite interested in more details. Along the same lines as my previous “Everyman’s Guide” posts the rules are that that we’re thinking about ultra-low-risk, very reliable ideas (“get rich quick” schemes aren’t allowed). In previous posts we assumed our “everyman” is poor and unskilled. Unfortunately, passive income usually requires at least one of the two.

Poor and No Skills

  • Sell some junk from around your house each month. Arguably this isn’t passive, but with all the stuff most of us have gathering dust around our place, you could make $30 pretty easily slapping an ad on Craigslist or Kijiji and having someone come by your house to pick it up. I could probably make $30 / month for the next couple years if I started selling off my DVD collection.

Poor and Some Skills

  • Start blogging. I was actually surprised when Mike start monetizing the site. My expectation was that we’d get enough money each month to mail a letter or two, but its been better than that. Its debatable whether this is passive or not, but if you’d blog even without getting paid, then monetizing it can be viewed as passive income (its especially passive for me since Mike does all the work).
  • A generalization of the first point, but sell something that you’re currently creating for fun. Do you knit, sell what you make! Paint? Sell them! Make pottery? Ditto. You probably won’t get anything near minimum wage for your efforts, but if you keep enjoying it for its own sake, getting a bit of cash from it might be ok.
  • Create some product that can sell on its own. Think T-shirts at Cafe Press, a how-to or recipe book at Lulu or create a casual game and sell it through Reflexive Arcade.
  • Buy other people’s junk cheap and re-sell it on Craigslist or Kijiji.
  • Get other people’s broken junk for free, fix it, then re-sell it on Craigslist or Kijiji. Think computers, cars, or bicycles.
  • Property manage OTHER people’s real estate. If real estate is passive, than managing other people’s property should be passive as well. If you found someone who had a condo or small unit they’d probably be willin to pay you 5-10% of the gross rent to show it to potential tenants and be a “first line contact” in case of problems. 5% of $600 is $30 / month.

Not Poor and No Skills

  • Pay off $1,242 on a 29% credit card (saving $30 / month is as good as earning it in my book)
  • Buy $8000 of General Electric stock (currently yielding 4.5%) or $8372 of Royal Bank stock (currently yielding 4.3%)
  • Put $11,804 in 3.05% PC Financial’s Interest Plus Savings Account.
  • Buy real estate that will have cash flow after paying all expenses (including a monthly vacancy and maintenance budget).

Not Poor and Some Skills

  • The world is your oyster, seize it!

Some of these are a stretch as “passive” I’ll admit, but passive income always seems a bit ambiguous.

What ideas do you have (or better yet, things you’ve done) for getting $30 / month in passive income?

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