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Passive Income Ideas for Students (All Options are Passive)

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With the burden of tuition and living costs, a lot of college and university students find themselves more stressed about money than their education. This often puts getting a part-time job at the top of their list.

But the good news?

There are several ways students can make money without the regular hours of a job.

Think about this: being able to concentrate on your classes and explore what you love, all while having a consistent source of money. Sounds like a dream, right? But it’s attainable.

In today’s guide, let’s dive into some passive income methods that can provide financial security without taking away from your academic goals. By embracing these opportunities, you might just see your bank balance grow, leading to a more harmonious and rewarding student experience.

Passive Income Ideas for Students

NOTE:  These are just simple ideas to get you started.  To dive deeper into these ideas, I highly recommend you search for highly rated YouTube videos or follow the links if I have already written about the topic.

Start Investing

This is, by far, one of the best ways to make money passively.

Investing in dividend-paying stocks or ETFs. The beauty of this approach is that you don’t need to be super-rich to start. In fact, there are apps designed to help students and beginners dip their toes into the investment pool.

Take Acorns, for instance. Acorns will round up your purchases, setting aside the extra cash to invest on your behalf. Simple, right?  You can even add a weekly allowance to watch your investment grow.  The great thing is that they do all of the investing for you.

Now, if you’re someone who likes to have a bit more control over where your money goes, there are other programs such as M1. Not only does it offer free trading, but it also presents a robo-advisor option. Here, you invest in “pies”, each made up of various ETFs.

In essence, even with a modest beginning, investing can be a feasible way for students to generate some passive income. So, why not let your money work a little while you focus on your studies, right?

Sell Your Bandwidth

Now, do you have an unlimited internet plan at home? If yes, why not sell some of your internet bandwidth? Companies will pay for it. For instance, offers you $0.20 for each gigabyte of data you share. Once you’ve earned $5, you can redeem it either through PayPal or even Bitcoin.

Keep Pawns running on your computer, and you’ll see those small earnings accumulate, especially if you’re doing it overnight or while multitasking. Some users claim to earn up to $140 monthly. Plus, answering surveys might speed up your earnings.

There are other platforms like Honeygain as well that follow a similar model. I gave it a shot and it’s genuinely one of the most straightforward passive earning methods out there.  However, it won’t pay all that much.  Be warned.

Passive Income Apps

If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to earn some extra cash as a student, consider passive income apps and websites.

These apps don’t pay much, but they do pay.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Put them all together, and without breaking a sweat, you could be looking at about $20~ a month.

Create a Blog

You might’ve heard about blogging being a neat way to earn some extra money, and it’s true.

Blogging is basically sharing what you know, love, or experience on a website. Sure, setting up a blog might cost a bit in the beginning, but the real effort comes in the time and energy you invest in it. Your earnings mostly depend on how many people visit and enjoy your blog, so you need to consistently create stuff they want to read.

To really make it in the blogging world, you need to be patient, pick a topic you’re passionate about, and write authentically about it. For instance, maybe you want to talk about your travel adventures, your favorite recipes, tech news, or even what it’s like being a student in your town. Picking a specific topic gives your blog a unique flavor that attracts readers.

Once your blog gets a good number of visitors, you can sign up with things like Google AdSense. This means ads will show up on your blog, and you’ll get paid every time someone clicks on them.  You can also consider affiliate marketing, which I will talk about next.

Affiliate Marketing

Another cool way to earn money online is by promoting stuff for other companies. This is called affiliate marketing. It’s like you’re the connector between a business and people who might want to buy their products. Whenever someone buys something because of your recommendation, you get a cut.

The key here, just like with blogging, is having an audience that trusts you. If you already have people who listen to what you say, whether it’s on a blog, social media, or a YouTube channel, this might be a great fit for you.

Imagine you make a YouTube video or write a blog post about a product you really like. You can drop a special link in your content, and when people click on it and buy the product, you get a share of the profit. But remember, being honest and transparent with your audience is crucial. If they trust your word, they’ll be more likely to click on your links and support you.

You can almost make a commission on anything, so be sure to explore what’s out there before creating these posts.

Courses or eBooks

Even if you’re not the top expert in your field, there’s potential to earn by creating full-blown courses or writing ebooks on topics you’re passionate about. It could be anything from a guide on one of your passions or something you’re studying in school.  It can be anything.

To get your content out there, you might consider using online platforms like Udemy or Skillshare for courses.

And for your ebooks, platforms like Amazon KDP make self-publishing a breeze. Or if you’re feeling ambitious, setting up your own website or blog can be a space to promote and sell your material.

The great part?

Once you’ve put in the work to set up your course or ebook, it can continue to bring in money without much additional effort. That means while you’re busy with school or other activities, your project keeps working for you.

Car Advertising

Did you know companies might pay you to turn your car into an advertisement?

Based on where you live, which company you’re working with, and how much you drive, you can earn by showcasing ads on your vehicle.

And the cool part is that you can potentially promote multiple ads on your car at once, giving your earnings a nice boost.

Just make sure that you’re dealing with a reputable company as there are a ton of scams out there.  Follow this post to see who you can trust.

Sell Your Notes

Hey, if you’ve got a knack for jotting down the important stuff during lectures or meetings, why not earn from it?

Some students, especially those with disabilities, might benefit from your note-taking abilities. Plus, it’s not just limited to campus. You could also help out people outside of school, like older folks who need someone to take notes for them during meetings or events.

Check out my post as to how you can sell your course notes and potentially make hundreds.

Peer to Peer Lending

Ever thought about trying your hand at peer-to-peer lending?

For students seeking a bit of passive income, it might be a fitting choice. However, it’s essential to tread with caution. This option can be dicey, especially when lending to folks without a strong credit history. Remember, there’s always that looming possibility that someone might not repay their loan. And while this method doesn’t ask much of your time, it does demand a monetary commitment.


If you’re curious and considering diving in, make sure to do your homework. Understand the ins and outs and only venture into it if you’re okay with taking some risks. The income you’ll earn comes as interest from the money you lend out, with the returns influenced by how much you’ve loaned and the reliability of the borrower.

Pet/House Sitting

When people travel or can’t be home for a while, they often need someone to keep an eye on their house or pets. That’s where house or pet sitting comes in.

If you’re house sitting, you’ll stay at the person’s home, making sure everything stays safe and sound.

On the other hand, pet sitting means you’ll drop by someone’s place a few times a day, maybe feed their pets, and do other tasks related to their furry friends. The specific things you do might change based on what the homeowner or pet owner needs.

Check out either my house sitting or dog sitting post to see which platforms you can sign up for right now if interested.

Print on Demand

Wondering what “print on demand” is? It’s pretty simple.

You design products and when someone orders them, they’re made and shipped out. This means no big inventory to manage. From clothes to mugs, if you can slap a design on it, you can sell it.

The setup is very straightforward.

For example, you can use a platform called Printify, which is a company that helps you craft these products and you can then link it to your Etsy store.

Now, don’t get me wrong – while the potential in print on demand is massive, it’s not a walk in the park. But the beauty is, it’s not just about earning. It also sharpens your design and marketing skills.

Etsy isn’t the only game in town. Platforms like Redbubble or Society6 are other fantastic places for artists to showcase their creations on various products and make some money when they sell.

While starting out demands a good deal of effort, in the long run, as your store gets more reviews and you build your brand on social media, it can very much become a source of passive income.

Sell Pictures

In today’s world, people are always on the lookout for great images. Whether it’s businesses, content creators, or designers, everyone wants top-notch photos for their projects. So, if you’ve got a knack for taking cool pictures, why not turn that into a way to earn?

For example, you can join platforms like Shutterstock or Getty Images to sell your photos to people from all over. To make your photos stand out, try capturing a variety of scenes and subjects like nature, food, tech, and more.  Also, learn about the trends to see what’s selling at the moment.

Starting out, you won’t need to spend a lot of money, but you will need to invest some time. Even if you’ve got a bunch of pictures saved up, they might need a little editing to make them perfect for selling. But don’t get discouraged if things start slow.

With some patience and consistent effort, over time, you’ll see that your photos can bring in money even when you’re busy with other parts of life.

Rent Things Out

Did you know that you can turn some of the stuff you own into a source of extra income? Think about things you have that others might want to use for a while. If you’ve got items that spend more time collecting dust than being used, renting them out might be a great option.

For example, let’s say you have a car or bike that you don’t use all the time. Why let them just sit there?

There are platforms like Fat Llama and Peerby where you can rent out all sorts of things, from cameras and musical instruments to drones and even sewing machines. By renting out stuff you’re not using, you could have a regular flow of money that helps with expenses during your student years and even after.

Check out my post where I talk about the easiest things to rent out.  This can hopefully give you an idea as to what you could rent out for easy cash.

Real Estate Investing

Though as a college student you might be on a tight budget, that doesn’t mean investment opportunities are out of reach.

Real estate, for instance, is an intriguing option. With something called a real estate investment trust (REIT), you can start investing without needing a fortune. Additionally, there are crowdfunded real estate platforms out there that let you chip in on larger real estate ventures.

Stream Your Gaming

Believe it or not, there’s a huge audience out there that loves watching others play video games online. Some gamers even earn so much from streaming that they do it as their main job. But even if you’re just starting out, having a decent number of people tuning into your gaming sessions can give you a nice bit of extra income.

So, if you love video games, why not share your gameplay with others?

Consider starting with Twitch, TikTok or really any platform that allows you to stream live.


For those with a creative flair, think about turning your art into something tangible, like T-shirts, mugs, stickers, or even posters. There are several online platforms where you can set up a shop, upload your designs, and let the website handle the selling, printing, and shipping.

Before diving in, take a moment to see which sites offer the best deals for artists like you.

Create Videos

Ever considered turning what you know into a source of extra cash?

As someone further along in your college journey, you’ve likely picked up a lot of useful knowledge and skills. It’s time to think about using that to your advantage.

Imagine making videos where you explain complex topics, especially in fields like art, design, IT, or programming. These areas are in high demand and with your insight, you could create online tutorials that make tricky subjects clearer for students all over the world.

It’s not just about making money, either. By sharing what you know, you’re helping others, and it can also give you a great start in your career.

Sleep Studies

Did you know that some organizations, maybe even ones at your college, pay people to participate in sleep studies?

If there’s any sleep research happening around you, it could be a unique way to earn. Essentially, you’d be making money while you dream.

Check out how you can find sleep studies near you.

Video Editing

Online content creators are always on the lookout for someone to make their videos pop. If you have a keen eye for editing, this could be your chance.

Some creators might post job listings on their social media, or even mention it in their videos. And that’s not all. There are companies online that specialize in content creation, and they often search for freelance video editors.

So, keep an eye on online job boards such as Indeed.  You can also check out popular YouTubers to see if they have a hiring board.

Final Thoughts

Building any source of income is a journey, often demanding an initial effort. Sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and put in some hard work, while at other times, you might use capital you’ve saved up to invest. Why wait until you’re older or have a full-fledged job to diversify how you earn?

The reality is, even as a student, you can venture into passive income opportunities. Sure, you might not become a millionaire overnight, but remember, time and compound interest are your allies here.

Hopefully, these suggestions for passive income tailored for students have ignited some enthusiasm in you. It may seem challenging, and yes, patience will be required. But trust me, the rewards will make it all worthwhile.

That’s going to do it for now.

If you want to add your idea, feel free to do so in the comments below.

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. You won't find gimmicks here. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I graduated from Arizona State University, and I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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