10 Easy Ways to Make Passive Income in 2021

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

As the new year is well under way, you might be thinking about improving your finances.

You might want to save more for that trip to the beach or a dream house you’ve been raving to friends about.

Saving, however, is only one side of the equation.

Increasing your income is key to helping you achieve your goal faster.

While working a full-time job can give you the financial stability, health insurance, and other benefits, you have to trade time for money.

It means that if you no longer have that job, all the stability tied to the job might just vanish.

I have a full-time job and have no plan of quitting or retiring early anytime soon.

It’s what helps me support my family and build my career.

However, I am also trying to build a stream of passive income so that I can literally make money while I sleep and have other sources of income if I lose might job.

In this post, I will share with you the 10 ways to make passive income you can do in 2021.

1. Smart App ($150/year)

I am not affiliated with Smart App, but I use the app on my phone to make a decent chunk of pocket money.

Smart App is owned by Verto Analytics Inc. All data is encrypted, secured, and protected, according to the company.

With Smart App, you can earn up to $150/year with monthly and loyalty bonuses. You will also receive separate surveys that take 10-20 minutes to fill out for $10 Amazon gift cards.

2. Cash rewards ($950/year)

I hesitated for a long time before getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. I was following Dave Ramsey’s advice of not using credit cards (I had only one).

However, after our baby got sick on a trip since Mr. FAF wanted to drive instead of flying to Atlanta, I decided to try credit card hacking to earn travel points at many readers’ recommendation.

I was skeptical at first but was excited to get 60,000 points (an equivalent of $750 in cash rewards) after spending $4,000 in the first three months. I used the card for what I would normally buy and even paid for some expenses in advance.

No overspending was recorded for that period. You can sign up for Chase Sapphire Preferred to get your 60,000 points here.

I also got the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card to get $200 after spending $500 in the first three months. Click this link to get your $200 cash rewards with Chase Freedom Unlimited.

3. Blogging

When I first told Mr. FAF that I could make money blogging, he thought I was nuts. I knew other bloggers made thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars from blogging. Some sold their sites for millions.

I started my site on Bluehost for just $3.95/mo and later on migrated my site to SiteGround. These are great platform that offer hosting services at an affordable price.

How to Start a Blog on Bluehost ($3.95/mo)

How to Start a Blog on SiteGround ($6.95/mo)

4. Display ads on your blog

I chose Ezoic as my go-to ad platform to help me optimize ads and maximize my ad revenue. Ezoic is an authorized Google Ad Exchange partner and uses artificial intelligence to streamline ads management.

You need at least 10,000 visitors/mo to qualify for their program. But if you can make a great case to your rep as to why you should get approved despite not having 10,000 visitors/mo, you may still qualify for Ezoic. Join Ezoic and start generating revenue from your blog today!

Other ad networks include Media.net & Google Adsense (no page view requirement), Mediavine (at least 25,000 sessions/mo), and AdThrive (at least 100,000 page views/mo).

5. Affiliate marketing

If you have a blog, you can place affiliate marketing links on your blog and generate income passively. Even if you don’t own a blog, you can also share affiliate links through your social media or send them directly to your friends or networks and get a commission.

Some of the affiliate programs I have joined are Canva, Amazon AssociatesSwagbucks, FlexOffers, and ShareASale.

6. Sell digital products on Etsy 

I’ve been brainstorming products to sell en Etsy for years. I really love the idea of hand-made products and promoting individuals’ creativity on this platform.

Ultimately, I decided that selling digital products is the best way to generate passive income on Etsy. You can create templates and have them downloaded hundreds if not thousands of times.

I’ve created a couple of products and set up a store on Etsy but haven’t launched it yet. From 2020 onwards, I would like to invest more time on this side project to see where it can lead me.

7. Create courses on Udemy

Udemy is becoming an increasingly popular platforms where creators post quality courses at as low as $11 when they go on sale.

You two can create online courses on Udemy that showcase your skills and knowledge in any area of your interest. You just create a course once and have thousands of students enroll no matter whether you are sunbathing at the beach or hiking on a mountain somewhere in the world.

8. Interest from money market accounts

I am not affiliated with Capital One or Ally Bank, but I did my research and found that they offer two of the best rates for money market accounts at 0.75-1.9% based on how much your keep in the account.

If you want to invest long term and don’t care about market fluctuations, index funds might be your sweet spot.

But if you want to keep your emergency fund, build up a down payment for your home, or don’t want to take risks, a money market account might be a good choice for you.

9. Rent out your square room/couch/living room on AirBnB ($500/mo)

One day I overheard my colleague raving to others that she made $1,000 renting out her house on AirBnB for 3 nights while she went on a business trip.

She also mentioned that the money she made from AirBnB helped her pay for her mortgage and help her save for her upcoming wedding and honeymoon.

I was so intrigued and asked her if she hired a cleaning lady, and she said yes. Basically, she set everything so that it was mostly passive income while she did her full-time job.

I live in DC, and my colleague rents out her whole house. But even if you live in a less expensive city and has only a couch or one spare bedroom to rent out, it still works.

You can get $40 off your home booking by clicking here.

10. The good old 401k and Roth IRA

If you haven’t already, you can start investing in your retirement accounts through your employer to get matching. If you are self-employed, you can also invest in a self-directed 401k account.

This is one of the most recommended way to build wealth among personal finance bloggers. You can set it up and forget it, literally.


I have generated 7 out of 10 sources of income above (except for Etsy, Udemy, and AirBnB). Such income is still minimal and can’t replace my current income.

But I hope to grow some sources such as blogging to a level where the income is more stable and sizeable. I also want to explore Etsy, Udemy, and AirBnB in the future.

You can do all of the above or pick the ones that best suit your interests and needs!

Which stream of passive income is your most favorite?

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2 thoughts on “10 Easy Ways to Make Passive Income in 2021”

  • This is a great list and something that I have been working on. Last year I started selling printables on Etsy and it has been a great side hustle. Once you get your shop up and running I’m sure you will enjoy the passive income stream. Good luck!

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