We invest our money into four separate buckets using Betterment’s online software: Safety Net, Retirement Fund, House Fund, and Wealth-Building Fund. (For complete details, see our Retirement Planning article, in which we we break down how we, as minimalists, plan for retirement and other financial objectives, using screenshots and real-world examples, including statistics and personal figures.)

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Photos of people can only be sold for commercial use if they've signed a 'model release' that gives you permission to use their image (children need a parent/guardian to sign). Without a release, these photos can still be sold for editorial use, as long as they were taken in a public place – eg, if you submitted a 'breaking news' shot with people in the background. If there's any doubt, always ask permission.
Remember, once you’ve reached financial independence, you no longer have to save. Everybody striving for financial independence tends to save anywhere from 20% – 80% of their after tax income each year on top of maxing out their pre-tax retirement accounts. Therefore, if you’re able to 100% replicate your gross annual household income through your investments, you’re actually getting a raise based on the amount you were saving each year.

In hindsight, it's obvious there have been better times to invest than others. But since no one knows what the future holds, you can't know when that will be in the future. Plan to invest no matter what the market is doing. If you're investing periodically, you'll be dollar cost averaging into the market, which will minimize the risk you're taking should the market decline.

As for Joshua & Ryan, we both use an online-investment tool called Betterment as our personal savings, planning, and investing software. Using Betterment, which costs nothing to set-up and has no minimum-balance requirements, we’ve learned how to invest in our future selves by setting aside a percentage of our income without even noticing it’s gone.
21. Facebook – Facebook swap shops are great for selling things locally. It’s like CraigsList, but a little easier. You simply search for swap shops in your area and ask to join the group. Once you’re in, take a picture of the item, write a quick description with the price and post it. It doesn’t get much easier than that. You can generally expect to get about what you would get at a yard sale, maybe a little more.
There are many ways to get people onto your list. Lead magnets are one such resource. For example, you can build ebooks, checklists and cheat sheets. But you can also do content upgrades, such as PDF versions of an article with added resources in them, four-part video training series, and more. Think about your audience and what you can offer them to better serve them, then treat them with some respect and you'll eventually reap the rewards.
You can absolutely use websites like eBay and Etsy! Try listing some items and making a professional Facebook page for yourself with a link to your eBay/Etsy pages. Then share the information with friends and family and get them to spread the word to people they know. Also, make sure that you have detailed descriptions and multiple pictures with anything you list online. This will help your listing show up in keyword searches, and you are more likely to sell something if the buyer knows a lot about what they are looking at.
6. IZEA – IZEA works in addition to a blog or on its own. You get paid to blog, tweet, take photos and take videos. The pay is mostly based on your following, so if you want to make money with your tweets, you’ll need to grow you Twitter following.  Likewise, if you want to make money with blogs, you’ll need substantial blog traffic (more on blogging below).

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Today, if you're at all serious about succeeding in any endeavor, whether online or offline, you have to deliver enormous amounts of value. Yes, you have to do the most amount of work for the least initial return. This is especially true online. Why? Because it takes time to build authority and create an audience, two primary ingredients necessary to succeed in the wonderful world of commerce on the web.

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By paying myself first I was able to accomplish two goals – being able to invest and then spend less overall since there was less money in my account after the month was over. I made sure that savings were definitely happening, and I had peace of mind that money was actually being saved. The great thing is, once you get this started with the right funds, you then have it automatically taken out, which is even less work for you to manage.
If you’re already contributing 15% of your income to retirement and you want to start saving for your kids’ college fund, you can start by investing in an Education Savings Account (ESA). Like a Roth IRA, the money you contribute to an ESA grows tax-free, which means you won’t pay taxes on it when it’s used to cover college expenses. Currently you can contribute up to $2,000 per year for each child in an ESA. Income limits do apply, and your investing pro can help you know if those impact you.(1)

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If you’re willing to take on some risk and have the heart of a true hustler, you can make extra money online doing commission-only sales for startups and other businesses. While you won’t be getting a regular salary, with the right sales strategies and skills as an inside sales rep, you can make decent money for each sale you bring in. And because you’ll most likely be working with startups, if you can negotiate a little equity you could profit big time if you're pitching a solid product and the startup succeeds.

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While compensation may influence the products we discuss, it doesn’t impact the qualitative and quantitative analysis demonstrated in each article and review. We try to objectively evaluate financial products and recommend those that are most beneficial to readers. Our site does not feature every company or financial product available on the market, and nothing written should be interpreted as financial advice. We are not responsible for your financial decisions.
5. Fiverr – Fiverr is a great place to make a few bucks or spend a few bucks if you need some of the services people offer. Basically, everything is $5. You either pay $5 or charge $5. They call them “gigs.” You can offer your services however you choose. If you sell art and you’re fine selling pieces for $5 each, that’s a gig. If you’re a graphic designer and you want to offer your services for $10/hour, simply offer a 30 minute gig. If they need two hours of graphic design, they pay you $20, or $10/hour by buying four gigs.
6. IZEA – IZEA works in addition to a blog or on its own. You get paid to blog, tweet, take photos and take videos. The pay is mostly based on your following, so if you want to make money with your tweets, you’ll need to grow you Twitter following.  Likewise, if you want to make money with blogs, you’ll need substantial blog traffic (more on blogging below).
I just wanted to say how nice it is to see such a positive exchange between strangers on the Internet. Seriously, not only was this article (list) motivating and well-drafted, the tiny little community of readers truly were a pleasant crescendo I found to be the cause of an inward smile. Thank you, everyone, and good luck to you all with your passive income efforts!! 🙂 

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To me, financial independence is being able to live how I want without worrying (too much) about money. It isn’t just about meeting X times my annual expenses and riding off into the FI sunset. Things always come up. A new roof, new septic system, etc. Also, I want my kids to go to whatever college they want and not be burdened with student loans. I want them to follow their dream careers, not be cajoled into a career because of the earnings potential. While I have a plan to retire early, I’m already struggling with the question “will that figure be enough?” If I’m being honest with myself, I won’t be able to fully retire and be completely happy and mindfully secure until I reach Blockbuster FI.
Upper class encompasses the top end of the income spectrum relative members of society as a whole. Since they have more wealth and privacy, the upper class has more personal autonomy than the rest of the population. Upper class values include higher education, and for the wealthiest people the accumulation and maintenance of wealth, the maintenance of social networks and the power that accompanies such networks. Children of the upper class are typically schooled on how to manage this power and channel this privilege in different forms. It is in large part by accessing various edifices of information,[clarification needed] associates, procedures and auspices that the upper class are able to maintain their wealth and pass it to future generations.[36] Usually, people of the upper class participate as partisans in elections and have more political power than those of lower classes due to their abundance of resources and influence.
​Affiliate marketing is the practice of partnering with a company (becoming their affiliate) to receive a commission on a product. This method of generating income works the best for those with blogs and websites. Even then, it takes a long time to build up before it becomes passive. If you want to get started with affiliate marketing check out this great list of affiliate marketing programs.
29. Videos – This could be an entire section on it’s own. Many people have made money by creating YouTube videos. Evan of EvanTube is a kid and he has made millions by creating reviews of products that other kids his age would use. It’s not easy to get views into the millions, but once you do, you’ll start seeing some cash come in. Many bloggers have completely turned to videos to get their point across by starting a video blog.
Being a blogger is one of the best ways to earn money online. Apart from this one can also make money by playing online real money games. Recently I have found a browser game – Wealth Words. It’s an online crossword gaming website where a user gets real cash money for solving the crossword puzzles right. You can add this to the list as well! It’s really entertaining to play and win.
You need to decide which machines you want to run, get the necessary licenses to operate them (you're selling items so you need to get sales licenses and whatnot from your state), buy the machines and a truck for the items in the machines, find a supplier of the products, and then finally you can secure locations. Finally, you need to service them periodically or hire someone to service them.

When I was working towards financial independence I calculated that every $100 I was saving I was buying at least 3 days of freedom in the future. This made saving easy. Most things weren’t worth 3 days of freedom!! I’ve designed this calculator so anytime you want to buy something you can determine whether it’s worth trading your time and freedom!


The doctor or lawyer, for instance, could use her or his income to invest in a medical start-up or buy shares of medical companies he understands such as Johnson & Johnson. Over time, the nature of compounding, dollar cost averaging, and reinvesting dividends can result in her or his portfolio generating substantial passive income. The downside is that it can take decades to achieve enough to truly improve your standard of living. However, it is still the surest path to wealth based on the historical performance of business ownership and stocks.
Become an Amazon Associate and then use Keyword planner to find an in-demand niche: With more than a million different products to choose from and up to 10% commission the sales you drive, Amazon’s affiliate program is a great place to get started. Browse their available products and see what connects with you. Or take it a step further and use Google’s Keyword Planner to quickly check how many people are searching for a specific term. With affiliate marketing, the more relevant traffic you can pull in, the more you’ll make off your site.

Thanks for the post. Not to be negative, but want to stress importance of not “waiting” for FI. My parents have a passive income of about 500K/year and have had some health issues popping up recently. My dad lost his hearing in one ear and my mom is having a lot of trouble with her vision. Although having $$ makes dealing with some of these issues easier, it is important to remember how valuable your health is, because suddenly money doesn’t seem so important.


No matter what method you choose to make money online, understand that you might be able to make some money fast, but for the sizable returns, you'll need significant sweat equity. However, a year from now, you'll be happy you started today. Remember, time is far more valuable than money. Focus on creating passive income streams that will free up your time so that you can quit the rat race and focus on the things that matter. 

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Side gigs, private investments and a host of other variables can also be utilized for long-term thinking, wealth accumulation, and achieving financial independence. A few considerations here may include a portfolio of private businesses, car washes, parking garages, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, patents, trademarks. Some of these cash generators can be relied on for long-term income in addition to your job or just as cash generators that can pull in money while you take long vacations or sit by the pool.
Cash Cow Couple is a financial website that does not offer any personalized financial advice or advocate the purchase or sale of any security or investment for any specific individual. Cash Cow Couple has advertising relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website and attempts to take a reasonable and good faith approach to maintaining objective recommendations that are in the best interest of readers. Cash Cow Couple strives to keep all content accurate and up to date, but the financial information on Cash Cow Couple could be different from what you find when visiting a third-party financial institution, service provider or specific product’s website. All recommendations are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions and discuss any and all opportunities with an advisor, accountant or attorney who is familiar with your specific situation prior to implementation. Please be aware that investment markets have inherent risks, and past performance does not assure future results. For more information, please read our full disclaimer.
Well said Illidi. There are more ways than ever, mostly because of the internet. I think the secret is to put out a product or service that’s unique. Not that you have to invent a whole new business, but take an existing business concept, and add something unique to it. Because you’re absolutely right, everyone is getting into the game, making it harder to succeed.

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Take a look at where you think you fall on the aforementioned levels of financial freedom. Use it as motivation to keep moving towards your most important financial goals. While I love what I do, and plan to help people with financial planning forever, I take comfort knowing that it will be a choice to continue working in my golden years. Although I am still decades away from full retirement age, I am right between bare bones retirement, if I stayed in Los Angeles, and retiring comfortably if I was willing to leave California. Who knows what the future holds and how far up the chain of financial freedom my household will climb? Where are you at, and where do you want to be in five, 10 or 15 years?

Do you constantly come up with witty one-liners? Do you dream of the days of Mad Men-style advertising? If you’ve got some branding chops or just come up with imaginative copy, there are lots of opportunities to make money online through company naming and slogan contests. If you think you have a knack for names check out the Squadhelp platform where you can earn a little extra money online by naming brands, services, products, company slogans and even help out on the logo design front if you've got the chops.
Domain names cannot be replicated. If one is taken, the only recourse would be to approach the owner to discuss a sale. While there are other variations you could choose, sometimes owning a certain domain (especially if it is attached to your business) can be worth the premium. Often, people will scout out domain names that are still available, buy them, and then sit on them in order to sell them down the road. Depending on who may want the domain down the road, you could sell it for a large markup.

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Test websites. Remote usability testing means getting paid to navigate a website for the first time and giving feedback to the website owner. Most tests take approximately 15 minutes, and you can get paid up to $10 for each test. A test involves performing a scenario on the client’s website and recording yourself doing it. For example, you might be asked to go through the process of selecting and purchasing an item on a retailer’s website.[1]
Mechanical Turk is Amazon's take on micro-jobs. These are small miniscule-jobs that you can do for other people, which they call HITs, or Human Intelligence Tasks. These are super simple tasks that anyone can do. Some examples are listing off some URLs with certain kinds of images for one cent, or recording a few phrases with a microphone for 6 cents.
Living in the moment often brings financial woes because the long-term goals of saving takes thought about tomorrow. I have seen people who just had the knack for putting $$$’s away. A friend of mine has a son who started taking his lunch when in school and saving that lunch money. He put it in a sock, when he graduated from high school he had saved all of the sock money which included birthday gifts, and etc. that amounted to about 20g. His mom was a banker. LOL However, today, he has his own business, has real estate he has… Read more »
If you are generating $250,000 – $300,000 in passive income without having to work, life is good, really good. At my peak in 1H2017, I got to about ~$220,000 in annualized passive income, but then ended up slashing ~$60,000 from the top after selling my rental house to simplify life. Therefore, I’ve still got a long ways to go, especially now that I have a son to raise.

If you are a photographer looking to diversify your income stream, putting together styled stock photo packages can be lucrative. For example, a package of 15 wedding-themed stock photos for $10. You can then market this to any bloggers or businesses who are in the wedding business for their use (photos of different engagement rings styles are super popular). Through this method, it's possible to make a continuous stream of income off of photos you've taken once (similar to a licensing deal).
I am a small animal vet in the Washington DC area. Vet school loans and housing have taken their toll. I would like to retire at 60 (I just turned 52), and reach budget or baseline. Blockbuster isn’t a reality. Choose your career well– I love what I do, but sometimes wish it paid more. Semi-retirement may also be an option. Thank you, Sam, for a great post (as always).
Thanks for the post. Not to be negative, but want to stress importance of not “waiting” for FI. My parents have a passive income of about 500K/year and have had some health issues popping up recently. My dad lost his hearing in one ear and my mom is having a lot of trouble with her vision. Although having $$ makes dealing with some of these issues easier, it is important to remember how valuable your health is, because suddenly money doesn’t seem so important.
While we all need to make money to live—and there’s certainly nothing wrong with earning a great salary—taking control of your financial life involves much more than adjusting your income upward. It involves making repeated good decisions with the resources you have, changing your financial habits, and living deliberately. None of which is inherently easy—especially under the tyranny of today’s instant-gratification culture—but fortunately, regaining control of your finances is simple.
As long as there is still the written word, there will always be editors. Freelance editing and proofreading not only pays a decent hourly wage, it also gives you the chance to read about potentially interesting topics too. What's more, pursuing freelance writing & editing as a business idea can afford you a lifestyle that lets you travel the world as a digital nomad. You can find lots of job postings from companies and individuals in need of writing, proofreading, and editing services on Contena, which makes this a high-demand opportunity to make money online.
FIRE is having a moment, and it’s not hard to understand the appeal. Financial independence? Sounds great! Retiring Early? Sign me up! It’s a movement that’s quickly gaining momentum, too. We spoke with four FIRE enthusiasts and asked them to share what the movement is all about, and what it takes to achieve this elusive goal of Financial Independence/Retire Early.
Well said Illidi. There are more ways than ever, mostly because of the internet. I think the secret is to put out a product or service that’s unique. Not that you have to invent a whole new business, but take an existing business concept, and add something unique to it. Because you’re absolutely right, everyone is getting into the game, making it harder to succeed.

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My next self-funded business hit $160,000 in revenue in its first year alone. After that first taste of self-made success, I’ve gone on to sign consulting contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars with startups like LinkedIn and Google, launch profitable online courses, and grow my blog to over 400,000 monthly readers and $50,000/mo in side income.
Next, there’s independence, which is what most people think of as FI (and what you call basic FI). Your investments can support your CURRENT lifestyle for the rest of your life — in theory. Lastly, I suggested that abundance was the level at which you can essentially do whatever you want without ever again worrying about money. Redditors would call this fatFIRE. You call it “blockbuster FI”.
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