Make $500/Year Passively With No Investment

Photo by Pawan Kawan on Unsplash

*Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. [Article updated Feb. 1, 2021.]

I’m a huge fan of side hustles. It never hurts to have multiple streams of income in case something happens. Most side hustles take a lot of time and work to get up and running, like writing on Medium.

I wanted to find some services that didn’t require much background work to generate income. That said, I don’t want to sell my privacy, so I don’t spring for browser extensions or apps that analyze your personal data. Facebook does enough of that, already.

Here are three resources I’ve found so far that have good privacy policies and provide income.

  1. UpVoice
  2. Honeygains
  3. PacketStream

UpVoice — $75/year + $100 max in referrals

Update: As of 10/1, Facebook is suing UpVoice for scraping user data. Personally, I trust UpVoice’s explanation more than I trust Facebook, so when Chrome re-allows UpVoice, I’ll be re-downloading it.

UpVoice is a browser extension that monitors ads you are shown on popular websites, including YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If it detects one ad, you meet your quota for the day and earn points. Seeing one ad vs. fifty per day doesn’t make a difference.

With perfect usage, you make $75/year. However, you can make up to $175/year if you refer people. In order for someone to count as a successful referral, they need to install the browser using your code and earn 100 tokens (10 days perfect usage), not counting their bonus referral tokens.

The minimum payout is $10, but by using a referral code you start with $5, and you can earn another $5 in 30 days or via referrals. Each person you successfully refer receives $5, and you get $5, with a maximum of 20 people referred. Here’s my code.

I occasionally get UpVoice ads on my Facebook. I always leave a comment with my referral invite when I see them. Thus far I’ve gotten 12 referrals from doing so, with 3 of them being ‘successful’. That’s $15.00 for scrolling on Facebook. I recommend doing so yourself.

Honeygains — $300+/year [Unlimited]

This service uses your unused bandwidth. Many people suspect it uses it to mine bitcoins. You get paid 10 cents per gigabyte it uses. I have not seen any difference in my internet speed since downloading Honeygains.

Based on my usage of 5 hours per day on one device, I make about $20/year from my unused bandwidth. If you use your internet 2x more than I do and add another device (maximum 2 per IP), you’ll earn quadruple what I do. I know the title says $300/year, and it’s because it’s possible. Here’s the proof, where a guy makes that much due to referrals. I don’t make that much.

Honeygains referrals give the new person a $5 bonus to start and give the referrer a 10% cut of what they make. It makes sense to give out your referral code like candy because of this, but if you don’t want to, $20/year is nice extra cash. Here’s my referral code.

PacketStream — $20+/year [Unlimited]

Update: As of Jan 22., this is my favorite of the two bandwidth services. I earn more with PacketStream and they reached out to me via email to assure me of their safety precautions, so I feel more comfortable using it.

You can read the contents of that email in detail in this article + see how much more I’ve been making lately:

PacketStream also uses your unused bandwidth. It also pays the same amount per gigabyte, hence me making the same amount. However, it stands to reason you can make far more than $300/year [Honeygains] so hear me out.

Instead of a 10% referral rate, it gives 20%. Therefore if you hardcore refer like the guy mentioned above did for Honeygains, you could make twice as much with PacketStream. That’s nearly $700/year.

The only, important difference between the two I want to make mention of besides the referral rate is that PacketStream sometimes borrows your IP to let other users use it. Imagine someone wanting to watch Netflix in your country — that kind of thing. They have security measures to protect from anything inappropriate, but it’s still important to know.

If you do decide to try out PacketStream, here’s my referral code.

I know 5-10 cents a day isn’t a lot, but imagine earning $1 a day. $365 a year. Get up to $5 a day, earn $1,825 a year. Every little bit helps.

I wrote this article because I wanted to provide a resource for those privacy-inclined people like myself. It’s difficult to find services that pay well that don’t take all your data. Referrals are helpful, too.

Make sure you read what you’re agreeing to before signing up for anything. In my eyes, these three resources I mentioned laid out what information they take, and they’re far less invasive than Facebook, which I frequently use. That’s why I picked them.

I hope this article helped you.

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Rachel Yerks

Rachel Yerks

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Hey there! :) Rachel here. Avid foodie. Sign up for a Medium membership with my link to directly support my writing: https://rachelyerks.medium.com/membership