What would you do with an extra $5,000?

For many, such a windfall would be quickly blown on shoes, electronics, or a vacation. But for those of us with a little discipline, $5,000 could put a big dent into a long-term savings goal. That’s doubly important for those of us who haven’t been saving at all.

Real estate investment trusts, or REITs, are one of my favourite places to stash extra money. Because they’re required by law to pay out all of their earnings to unitholders, these firms often sport big yields. Furthermore, properties like apartment buildings, office complexes, and shopping malls tend to be reliable investments. So, with this theme in mind, here are three REITs I’d buy with $5,000.

1. Boardwalk REIT

Boardwalk REIT  (TSX:CAR.UN) is one of the most dependable income streams around. More than two-thirds of the trust’s portfolio consists of mid-tier apartment buildings. It’s nothing fancy, but these assets will crank out cash even if the economy is struggling.

You could think of Boardwalk as the Wal-Mart of real estate. People always need a place to live. And because the business is focused on affordable housing, this firm earns a steady income in any market.

2. RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust 

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX:REI.UN) owns one of the largest realty empires in the country, with over 79 million square feet of real estate throughout Canada and the United States. However, this firm isn’t your traditional landlord. Instead, RioCan specializes in commercial real estate like malls and shopping centres—an area of the market typically off-limits to retail investors.

This is how the firm has been able to pay out such consistent, oversized rent cheques. Since its first distribution in 1994, RioCan has never missed a monthly payment to unit holders. Today the trust yields a tidy 5%.

3. Dream Global REIT

Dream Global REIT (TSX:DRG.UN) allows you to invest internationally without renewing your passport. The trust owns Grade A office space throughout Germany, encompassing some 16 million square feet of real estate. These properties are rented out to a number of top companies that I’m sure you’ve heard of, such as Google and BNP Paribas.

Needless to say, these corporate tenants have a lot more rent money than the typical people answering ads in the newspaper. Today Dream pays a monthly distribution of 6.67 cents per unit, which comes out to an annualized yield of 8.2%. But as the fund rolls over tenants into higher-paying leases, I’d expect that distribution will grow significantly in the years ahead.

Revealed: Our No. 1 dividend stock for 2015

These are all great investment ideas, but they're not the only stocks that crank out reliable income. Our top analyst has done his homework. Now he's telling subscribers to back up the truck and buy our No. 1 dividend stock for the year.

The best part, today we're revealing the name and ticker symbol of this company (along with our full analysis) absolutely FREE. Check out our special report, "1 Top Stock for 2015--and Beyond." Click here now to get the full story.

NEW! This Stock Could Be Like Buying Amazon In 1997

For only the 5th time in over 14 years, Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner just issued a Buy Recommendation on this recent Canadian IPO.

Stock Advisor Canada’s Chief Investment Adviser, Iain Butler, also recommended this company back in March – and it’s already up a whopping 57%!

Enter your email address below to claim your copy of this brand new report, “Breakthrough IPO Receives Rare Endorsement.”

Fool contributor Robert Baillieul has no position in any stocks mentioned. David Gardner owns shares of Google (A shares) and Google (C shares). Tom Gardner owns shares of Google (A shares) and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Google (A shares) and Google (C shares).