9 Ways to Make Mailbox Money: Start Earning Passive Income Now

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Trying to make mailbox money, but don’t know where to start? Here are 9 legit ways to start earning passive income and make money while you sleep.

Many of us are looking for creative ways to make passive income. Mailbox money has been a reliable income stream for many years and can supplement your job salary.

Being able to make money while you sleep requires some upfront effort. But your mailbox money system can soon yield ongoing residual income with minimal additional work.

While most people earn passive income digitally in 2020, you can still receive paychecks via snail mail. These mailbox money ideas can diversify your income streams and help you reach financial freedom.

What is Mailbox Money?


You might be familiar with rapper Nipsey Hussle’s 2014 mixtape, Mailbox Money. Nipsey got the idea of this project after reading about how to make passive income.

The album launched as a free album with several money-related tracks. Limited first editions sold for $1,000.

Your mailbox money plan may have one or several passive income ideas. While you might pursue one idea at a time, consider diversifying your income streams.

Making money from several different niches can be a blessing if you can’t pay the bills this month.

The spring of 2020 is a prime example of the importance of residual income. The ongoing passive income can offset the lost income from sudden layoffs and shorter shifts.

Top Ways to Get Passive Income


Are you ready to see how to make mailbox money? There are several ways to earn mailbox income from investing and other passive income business ideas if you like to side hustle.

1. Invest in Real Estate


Investing in real estate is a classic way to make mailbox money. You can collect monthly rent checks as a landlord.

As people always need a place to live and work, there is a steady supply of potential tenants in most cities.

It’s easier and cheaper to become a real estate investor thanks to real estate crowdfunding. It’s possible to start investing with $500 to start earning passive income.

You also don’t have to maintain the property or screen potential tenants.

Several platforms let you invest in real estate with little money. You can invest in non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) that hold a basket of properties across the United States.

Most crowdfund REITs have historical annual returns between six and ten percent.


You can invest in multifamily apartments and commercial real estate with as little as $500.

Fundrise will invest your cash into a basket of properties across the United States. Your mailbox income comes from quarterly dividend payments and appreciating property values.

Read our Fundrise review to learn more.


You can buy turnkey single-family rental homes across the United States using Roofstock. It’s possible to hire a property manager if you live out of state or don’t have the time to self-manage.

Accredited investors qualify for Roofstock One to buy fractional shares of rental homes with a $5,000 minimum investment.

See if turnkey rental properties are a good fit for you using our Roofstock review.


RealtyMogul lets you invest in multifamily, retail, and office properties in a MogulREIT. The minimum investment is $5,000.

Accredited investors can invest in individual properties and participate in 1031 Exchanges.

2. Invest in the Stock Market


Investing in stocks requires a smaller investment of time and money than most residual income ideas. Some investing apps let you start investing with only $5.

You can earn recurring stock and bond dividends. Rising share prices can also help you receive long-term gains once you sell.

The following micro-investing apps buy fractional shares of stocks and ETFs so you can easily invest small amounts of money.


Betterment is a leading robo-advisor that automatically invests your cash and rebalances your portfolio. This app can be your best option if you don’t want to self-manage your portfolio.

You will invest in stock and bond index ETFs. Betterment uses your age, risk tolerance, and investing goals in recommending an asset allocation.

You can invest as little as $10 with each contribution. The annual management fee is a competitive 0.25 percent.

Read our Betterment review to learn more.  

M1 Finance

M1 Finance is a free investing app that lets you buy most individual stocks and ETFs that trade on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

You can also buy premade portfolios that copy robo-advisors, target-date funds, and hedge funds without the hefty fees.

The minimum initial investment is $100 for taxable accounts and $500 for retirement accounts. All subsequent investments are only $25.

Read our M1 Finance review to learn more about the broker.

Stash Invest

You can start investing using Stash Invest with just $0.01 in stocks and ETFs priced at up to $1,000 per share. For investments priced over $1,000 per share you will need to invest at least $0.05.

It’s possible to link a payment card and to invest your spare change by rounding your purchases up to the next dollar.

This app has a monthly fee of either $1, $3, or $9, depending on which plan you pick.

Read our Stash Invest review to see how to get a $5 cash bonus when you join.

3. Savings Accounts and CDs


Putting your money in a bank and earning interest sounds boring, but it’s a painless way to earn compound interest.

Savings accounts and bank CDs can be a low-risk cornerstone for any mailbox money system.

Even your emergency fund can earn interest.

CIT Bank has high-yield savings accounts and CDs with competitive interest rates and no monthly service fees. The minimum deposit is $100 for savings accounts and $1,000 for CDs.

Your accounts have up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance for extra peace of mind.

Bank deposits currently earn less than two percent, which is less than inflation. But these accounts can be a good place to park some of your cash until you find more lucrative mailbox money ideas.

Earning a higher potential yield lets your money work harder for you.

4. Invest in Wine


Vinovest lets you invest in fine wine while storing your bottles in climate-controlled cellars across the world.

A $1,000 starter investment lets you own between 45 and 60 bottles from various regions.

You can profit as your bottle values increase, and you sell in several years.

A master sommelier can help you build a custom portfolio for more diversification.

Alternative investments, like wine, help diversify your investment portfolio. You won’t have to rely entirely on the stock market to earn passive income.

Physical asset prices can also be less volatile during uncertain economic times.

5. Rent Out a Room


Another real estate investing idea is renting a room in your primary home or a second property. You may appreciate short-term rentals if you need a flexible schedule.

If you don’t have much free cash, renting a room you already own can have a low initial investment.

Short-term rentals can be more lucrative than owning long-term rentals in your city. It’s also possible to earn more mailbox money that crowdfunds real estate as you own the entire property.

One of the best places to list your home is on VRBO. Guests can make reservations online.

You can hire a cleaning service to prepare your place for the next guest if you don’t have time to self-manage.

Read our host checklist to prepare your home for guests.

6. Lend to Businesses


Many businesses are ready to borrow money to continue growing. Lending money directly to small businesses is one of the newest passive income ideas.

Although riskier than bank CDs, you can earn a higher yield with similar investment periods.

Worthy lets you directly lend money to small businesses and collect interest payments. You can earn an annual five percent and buy bonds in $10 increments.

Each Worth bond matures in 36 months, but you can sell anytime without penalty.

The five percent annual yield is competitive with the historical S&P 500 annual return of seven percent. You earn monthly interest and can reinvest your dividends to buy new bonds.

Worthy has a higher yield than you can earn from bank CDs and investment-grade corporate bond ETFs that also lend to businesses.

A bank is the “middleman” and keeps the first portion of the interest payment for CDs to hedge against potential loan defaults. As a result, most bond and CD yields are below three percent.

Worthy backs each bond with collateral to minimize your downside risk if the business defaults. Worthy only lends to businesses where the collateral has a higher appraisal value than the loan amount.

However, these bonds are not FDIC-insured like a bank CD.

You may consider investing a portion of your cash that you usually allocate to fixed-income assets. But you should still invest in other fixed income assets to maintain diversification.

7. Rent Your Stuff


The “sharing economy” can be another easy way to make mailbox money. You have a valuable asset that others are willing to rent from you for a few days.

Your driveway can be the first place to look by renting your car to someone else. Think of how many times someone asks to borrow your truck (if you have one).

This business idea can be less time-intensive than driving others around or delivering food.

It’s possible to share these vehicle types for cash:

  • Cars
  • Convertibles
  • Sports cars
  • Minivans
  • Pickup trucks
  • SUVs
  • Classic and exotic vehicles

HyreCar operates in all 50 states. Renters can borrow your vehicle for several hours or multiple days. The HyreCar website states you can earn approximately $`1,000 per month.

That can be enough cash to pay your monthly car payment.

You can also consider Turo, which may also be available in your city. Turo states its owners made an average $706 monthly income in 2019 with at least 12 completed trips.

The renter can pick up the car at your home or public spaces like a business park.

Both services offer insurance and customer service. It’s free to list your car; however, you should first verify whether your car insurance provider allows this.

8. Start a Website


One of the best digital residual income ideas can be building a website. You might consider starting a blog to share your expert knowledge about a hobby or interest.

Maybe you enjoy writing for fun or want to sell a product you make.

There are several ways to make money with a website:

  • Affiliate income: Earn a small commission when visitors buy a product or service you recommend with special referral links.
  • Ads: Display ads on your website and earn more as your site traffic increases.
  • Create products or a course: Sell ebooks or online courses. Apps like Gumroad automatically email a product link to the buyer. Digital products have minimal production and delivery costs.
  • Connect with clients: Having a “Hire Me” page lets you earn side hustle income.

Making a website requires a substantial upfront time investment, and it can take a few months to start earning income.

Websites don’t require lots of cash to start, making them an easy hobby to monetize.

Bluehost hosts your site for $2.95 per month, includes a free domain name, and guides you through the setup process.

9. Sell Your Stuff Online


Not all mailbox money ideas earn steady passive income. You can also sell your old items to make quick cash.

BuyBackWorld buys these tech gadgets and offers free shipping:

  • Apple products (iPhones, iPads, iPods, and MacBooks)
  • Android smartphones
  • Gaming consoles
  • Gift cards

Selling locally can be a good option for bulky items with high shipping costs. Both Craigslist and Letgo don’t charge any seller fees.

You meet the buyer at a public place to make the sale.


Bottom Line


Mailbox money is a terrific way to earn a steady income with minimal ongoing effort. Pursuing multiple income streams can help you earn passive income in any market cycle.

These income streams can help you save for retirement and accomplish other money goals.


Do you earn mailbox money already? If so, how? What new passive income ideas are you going to try?

Other investment options to consider




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Josh uses his personal experience to write about saving money and getting out of debt. After getting out of debt, Josh switched careers in 2015 and took a 60% salary cut. He enjoys spending his free time with his wife and three young children or reading books. You can catch more of Josh's story at his blog,

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