Dividend stocks are a great way to earn passive income, so much so that they could even help you pay off some of your monthly bills. That's right, and it's possible if you invest in stocks that pay you a dividend every month.

To be able to cut a check each month and maintain or raise the payout requires a company to have tenable confidence in its profit-making and cash-generating capabilities. It's easier said than done, which is why while most companies pay dividends quarterly, and only around 40 publicly listed companies pay a dividend every month. Three such companies worth watching are STAG Industrial (NYSE:STAG), Realty Income (NYSE:O), and Pembina Pipeline (NYSE:PBA).

You can count on this company for larger dividends 

Real estate investment trusts (REIT) dominate the small group of monthly dividend payers. As a REIT corporate structure requires paying out 90% of net income in dividends, perhaps paying every month comes easier to them. STAG Industrial and Realty Income are two such REITs that have caught my attention. 

STAG Industrial, as its name suggests, is an industrial REIT that acquires and operates industrial properties -- mainly single-tenant -- like warehouses, distribution centers, and light manufacturing facilities. As of March 31, 2018, STAG owned 360 buildings across 37 states in the U.S. STAG's strength lies in its diversification.

A calendar with dollars, coins, a pen and a calculator on it.

Monthly dividend stocks can take care of some of your recurring expenses. Image source: Getty Images.

STAG's properties are leased across diverse sectors and industries, including capital goods, automobiles, food and beverage, consumer durables, and materials. As of last quarter, capital goods was the largest, accounting for 13.6% of STAG's total annualized base rental (ABR) revenue. STAG had 312 tenants as of last count, with no single tenant accounting for more than 2.5% of its ABR.

Because STAG's fortunes aren't tied to any single industry or tenant, the company's funds from operations grew fourfold in the past five years, and annual dividends have increased every year since STAG started paying one in 2011. So, by owning STAG, you not only get paid every month, you can also expect fatter dividends with each passing year. The frequency and growth in dividends can compound rapidly: If you'd bought shares of STAG in 2011 and reinvested dividends, you'd be sitting on more than 200% gains today.

Among STAG's top ten customers are government agency General Services Administration, logistics giants XPO Logistics, FedEx and DHL, footwear designer and distributor Deckers Outdoor, and industrial conglomerate Emerson Electric. I believe exposure to the logistics industry could bring in a good chunk of growth for STAG, specifically from e-commerce. Combine that with the stock's handsome 6% yield, and you could easily bank on STAG to take care of some of your monthly expenses.

This dividend stock's been a multibagger

Realty Income is a formidable combination of dividend growth and yield, having increased its dividends for 82 consecutive quarters and grown them at a compound annual rate of 4.7% since 1994, also the year the company went public. In absolute terms, Realty Income's annual dividend amount per share has nearly tripled since 1994, though the rate of dividend growth has picked up only in recent years. If not for its regular and growing dividends, Realty Income wouldn't be a tenbagger in just 20 years!

Realty Income credits a strong portfolio of properties, diligent management, and opportunistic resale and deployment of proceeds to lucrative acquisitions for its incredible dividend record. As a net-lease REIT, Realty Income secures long-term contracts with in-built annual clauses for rent increases while avoiding several property ownership and maintenance costs. The predictable, growing cash flows go a long way in boosting shareholder returns. 

Recent pressure on the retail industry has hit Realty Income shares, only to open up an opportunity for smart investors. Realty Income has more than 5,300 commercial properties, leased out to 254 commercial tenants across 47 industries. As of Dec. 31, 2017, drug and convenience stores combined -- both of which are largely recession-proof -- contributed roughly 21% to the company's rental revenue. Tenant-wise, Walgreens, FedEx, Dollar General, and LA Fitness are the top four contributors to Realty Income's revenue.

The fears appear overblown. A diversified portfolio, 98%-plus occupancy rate, a conservative balance sheet, management's focus on opportunistic growth, and dependable dividends: Realty Income packs a punch. A dividend yield of 5% is the cherry on top for income investors.

An intriguing oil and gas monthly dividend stock

Canada-based Pembina Pipeline is a diversified midstream energy infrastructure and marketing company that's primarily into transportation of various natural gas products and hydrocarbon liquids. The company expects its pipeline division to contribute 60% to its total EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization) in 2018. The rest of it should come from Pembina's two other divisions, facilities -- which is into processing and fractionation of natural gas liquids -- and marketing.

The benefits of a diversified and a broadly fee-based services portfolio, which means steady and reliable cash flows, have shown up in Pembina's numbers over the years. Since 1997, Pembina has shelled out nearly 6 billion Canadian dollars in dividends and grown its dividend at a compound annual rate of 4.2% in the past decade.

A chart showing the growth in Pembina Pipeline's adjusted cash flow per share and operating margin since 2008.

Image source: Getty Images.

In major growth moves, Pembina scooped up Canadian midstream company Veresen for CA$9.5 billion last year in its largest-ever acquisition, even as it pumped another CA$4.7 billion into expansion projects. Pembina's operating income hit record highs in fiscal 2017.

The contribution of fee-based services to Pembina's adjusted EBITDA has increased dramatically in recent years, with the company now targeting 80% contribution in the foreseeable future. That's good news for income investors as stable cash flows should also mean higher dividends. In fact, Pembina is targeting 8% to 10% growth in annual cash flow per share. That makes Pembina an intriguing monthly dividend stock -- more so with its dividend yield of 5.3%.

Neha Chamaria has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends FedEx and XPO Logistics. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.