Buy Things & Build Things That Pay You Monthly

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3 min read

In my first job ever I worked as a cashier at a grocery store. I earned $7.80 per hour and often worked 1 PM – 9 PM shifts on Saturdays and Sundays. It was dreadful.

Fortunately I was only 17 years old and still lived with my parents so the only bills I had were a monthly phone and car payment. This meant that I could afford to only work a few days a week and still have enough cash to blow on clothing, dining out, and going out with friends.

The only problem was that if I wanted more money I would have to work more hours. I’d have to trade free time for money.

At the time, I thought this was the way money worked. If you wanted more of it, you spent more time working. That’s what everyone else my age did. That’s what most adults I knew did too.

It wasn’t until I began to read personal finance books and blogs in college that I discovered there was another path. There was a way to earn money without giving up my precious free time. It was through owning assets that earned money for me.

Some examples of assets include stocks, REITs, websites, businesses, and products. By owning these things, I could receive an income without working. Some of these things I could directly buy (stocks and REITs) and some of these I could build (websites, businesses, products). 

And that’s exactly what I have done over the past two years. I have bought stocks and REITs that pay me dividends each quarter and have the potential to appreciate in price. From dividends alone I receive almost $500 every three months. This number will continue to grow as I buy more equities. 

Related: Here’s How Close I Am to Earning Enough Income Outside of My Day Job to Cover 100% of My Monthly Expenses

I have also built this blog from the ground up, which has become an asset that works for me as well. Every blog post I have ever written sits out on the internet and works to earn me a few bucks each day through ads and affiliate links. I typically earn anywhere from $500 to $1,000 each month from the blog. 

Related: How to Start a Blog in Under 30 Minutes

In the future, I plan on building products and courses to sell as well. 

I still hold a day job as a data scientist that requires me to trade my free time for a salary, but I’ll only be dependent on this job until I have enough income from assets that can support most of my expenses.

In a nutshell, I am currently trading time for money, then using this money to buy assets, which will in turn buy me free time. 

Anyone can follow this simple strategy to stop trading time for money. Unfortunately, most don’t.

Most people go through life buying liabilities instead of assetsThey buy things that require monthly payments instead of things that pay them monthly. They buy unnecessary consumer goods, excessively large houses, luxury cars, and expensive cable plans instead of buying stocks and building businesses.

Related: Buy Less Stuff. Buy More Assets.

This is the reason most people have to spend the majority of their lives trading time for money. They never have assets to earn money for them. Instead, they have to spend time working to pay for their liabilities.

You can choose a different path, though. You can opt out of spending most of your life trading time for money by following a simple, but not necessarily easy plan to implement:

Use the income from your day job to buy assets. Use your free time to build websites, businesses, or products. Become an asset-acquiring machine. Do this for many years. Eventually you will have enough income from assets that you can quit your soul-sucking, commute-laden day job.


I keep my financial life as simple as possible by only using two tools. I track my net worth for free using Personal Capital and I track my monthly spending using the Monthly Spending Summary app.

Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.

6 Replies to “Buy Things & Build Things That Pay You Monthly”

  1. Hey Zach!

    Great post as usual, with an equally amazing strategy. I’m personally still learning a lot about all the ways to build passive income. It can be a little overwhelming (okay, a lot overwhelming), but it’s totally worth it.

    I can’t wait till you build your courses and products. Maybe you could consider writing a book / an ebook? Will 100% support. 🙂

    I think the reason why most people don’t spend their money employing this strategy is because of their need for instant gratification. Which is a huge pity, because most of us are stuck in these “soul-sucking, commute-laden” day jobs that we really dislike. (Totally feel you there.)

  2. Hi Zach, Totally agree that passive income or recurring revenue streams are the way to go. I did find however in my professional career that adding valuable skills and abilities allowed me to trade my time for more money per hour as the years went on. That shouldn’t be taken lightly as most of will have to trade our time for money for a number of years, so we might as well get the highest pay rate possible. And then drive the excess into income earning investments. Tom

  3. Great post, Zach! Such a simple concept that is hardly taken advantage of. The majority of people are not aware that they can buy assets that pay them money. Worse, though, are the people that do understand the concept but continue buying liabilities anyways. You did a great job of simplifying this concept. This is one of those posts you can send to people that have a hard time understanding FI. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Very nice. All our time should be considered an investment and whatever we use it on should pay dividends. 🙂
    Before we realize it the snowball will get bigger and bigger and those investments will allow us to use less and less of our time. It’s like a bell curve.

  5. Really cool what you’ve been able to do with this site. It must feel like you’re printing money or something when you get those monthly $500-1000 that you made from blogging.

    My ultimate goal is to be able to decide what I do with every minute of my day. No time obligations, complete freedom to work on whatever I’d like 24/7. As you said, the only way to do this is by building assets and not having to trade my time for money. Always a good reminder.

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