Table of Contents
- Invest in Stock
- Open a Savings Account
- Pay off Your Credit Card Debt
- Take a Course
- Build Your Personal Library
- Make Money on the Side
- Emergency Fund
- Lend It to Someone
- Invest in Coins
- Start a Blog
- Flip Items
- Employer Retirement Plan
- Investments to Avoid
- Final Thoughts
The idea of investing money may conjure the daunting image of stock markets in your mind, but there is more to investments. While buying stocks is a great way to invest your money, there are other, simpler ways of putting that $100 to good use. It doesn’t necessarily mean you will have extra cash in hand immediately but slowly and surely, your investments will be realized.
With stock market investments out of the way, here is a list of smart, responsible things you can do with your money. There are, of course, plenty of other options out there. But here are 12 of some of the best ways to invest your $100.
You might wonder if you can even invest as little as $100 in stock. Granted, most brokerage firms have a minimum balance requirement, but there are options that will help sort you out, no matter how small the amount. In stock market terms, these brokers are called ‘Robo-advisors’ – advisors who manage your investments online with minimum human intervention. Check out brokerage services like Stockpile, Betterment and Stash Invest, which require little to no minimum balance and have relatively low trade charges.
There are several other options for online investment in the market, so whether you have $10 or $100, you can find a plan to invest in and a broker to guide you.
Opening a savings account may not be the quickest way to make more money, but it’s a good place to start. You may wonder how this is sound advice. Won’t it just be more profitable to invest your money in the stock market? But if you’re looking to save for a vacation, buy an expensive gadget or make any major purchase in the near future, putting your money in a savings account is the safest thing to do. Even if the interest rate is poor, your money is sitting safely in the account and increasing, though it may not be at a rapid rate.
This option is safer and more reliable than investing in stock. Especially in the long run, a savings account is the smart, ‘adult’ direction to go in.
How is paying off your debt anywhere close to investing, you ask? Well, there is a strong connection. The longer you wait to pay off your debt, the more your interest will grow and the more you’ll eventually have to pay. Paying off your debt as soon as possible will save you more in the long term.
Debt holds you back from living your life to the fullest. You constantly have a sword dangling over your neck, waiting to drop. Invest your extra money into cutting the thread by which that threatening sword is hanging and walking away from it. Your life will be less restricted.
One of the best things you can do with some extra cash is to invest in yourself. Is there something you’ve been wanting to do for a while, that adds value to your life? Take a short trip to somewhere historic, or even better, sign up for a course. There are plenty of online courses available on Coursera and Udemy for as little as $10. These courses are not as demanding and you can learn something even while working your full-time job.
Pick up a skill that enhances your performance at work or helps you venture out and do something on your own.
If you are investing in you, building your personal library is part of the long-term plan since you are educating yourself. You can buy a book or two about finance or even a good novel to read in your spare time. It may not be the most glamorous way to invest since it doesn’t put money back in your hand. But reading and learning something new constantly will improve the quality of your life in tangible and intangible ways.
You are never too old to read a good book that offers some respite from your busy work life or even imparts a new skill or two.
Making money on the side – or starting a ‘side hustle’, in more colloquial terms – could be a very fruitful experience. It means you can find something to focus your energy on, besides work. A side hustle could mean anything from selling a product on the weekends to teaching a class online.
Invest that $100 in buying equipment or learning a skill that will help you do this. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate; it can just be something you enjoy doing so it won’t seem like additional work. There is a plethora of options out there, so don’t hold back – find something that works for you. Here are some ideas for jobs you can start on the side for extra money.
Stash the money away in your emergency fund to use on a rainy day. Just because you have the money in hand doesn’t mean you have to do something with it immediately. Have patience and work towards growing your emergency fund. Try to keep this fund equivalent to at least three to six months of your expenses, so you’re prepared for when a surprise hits you.
If you do not already have an emergency fund, don’t think twice. Use the $100 as seed money to grow this fund. Keep putting money into it religiously and before you know it, you have a very strong safety net to fall back on.
Have some extra cash? Lend it to someone. Remember, lending is not at all the same as giving. This advice doesn’t mean you become a loan shark, however! If you already have been investing in the stock market and have a good feeling about your retirement savings, consider a peer-to-peer lending plan. It is a good way to have varied investments and at the same time, you will be able to help someone else realize their goals.
Of course, this advice is suited only to someone who has a well-stocked emergency fund and has no other immediate expenses. If you’re willing to take a little risk, P2P lending is an option you can consider. Check out platforms like Lending Club.
This may sound like archaic advice, but you could always invest in gold or silver coins. You may wonder if you’re preparing to go back to a system of bartering precious metal, but both gold and silver are good options to invest in. Sometime in the future, when the rates are favourable, you could always sell the coins or melt the metal to make a small piece of jewellery.
Starting a blog takes hardly any initial capital if you find a good hosting plan that suits your budget. Blogging will give you an outlet to express your opinions to a larger audience. In addition to that, however, you will also build a community that values what you have to say. Through your blog, you can help yourself as well as your followers – be it through fashion advice, financial advice or simply movie reviews for people to enjoy.
Blogging also will not take much of your time if you choose to do it recreationally. However, it could just as well turn into something profitable and perhaps even your financial mainstay if you blog regularly and smartly.
If you’re looking to make a quick buck with your $100 and have a knack for finding good bargains and sales, you could consider flipping items. You can buy an item cheap at a garage sale or even online and sell it at a profit. This is advice only for those who are confident of making a sale and have the skills to make a marketing pitch to potential customers. You have to have the sensibilities of a thrift shop owner. Here is a handy guide to how to start selling on Amazon.
Your employer will in all likelihood offer a retirement account, either a 401K or 403b. Your employer retirement plan is a great place to invest your $100. Here’s how it works – your employer takes money out of each paycheck and puts it into an account for you. This is a sure shot way to build a fund for your retirement! You may feel you can’t afford to have money taken from each paycheck but remember, the money isn’t going anywhere. It’s yours to use when you decide to retire; you can now enjoy all the years you spent working hard.
While there are many safe and lucrative ways to invest that $100, there are traps you must avoid falling into. There will be many promising schemes and factors in the market that will try to lure you. But remember, if your gut tells you it’s dubious, it probably is. While investments do involve certain risks, it’s usually best to trust your primary instincts. Here are some investment plans and options you should stay away from:
Pyramid schemes or multilevel schemes are only a way to make someone else rich by putting the burden on you. You may get pulled into participating in such a scheme, but think about when you have a garage full of products you had to buy for the scheme, but cannot sell. This is not an ideal situation.
Penny stocks, or over-the-counter stocks, are a sham scheme you should avoid at all costs. Penny stocks may offer you the promise of buying several stocks for $100 and waiting till your fate turns. But the market is unpredictable and when you don’t make the money you expected to (which happens more often than not), it’s difficult to sell those stocks. So not only have you lost your $100, you’re now stuck with dead stocks which nobody wants to buy.
This hardly needs me to elaborate. Gambling is a risk you should not be taking. It may show promise the first time you make a profit, but it’s a dangerously addictive activity and you know better. You’ve seen the movies, you’ve read the books – gambling is a plague you need to run from.
If it’s too late in the night for you to be making decisions, it’s best not to. If you’re up with a bag of chips, watching infomercials on the television, don’t fall for schemes that sound too good to be true.
While you may want quick returns, you have to be careful with how you invest your money. Don’t rush into a plan you don’t understand. It’s your hard-earned money, after all. You don’t want to throw it behind something you don’t even understand.
In conclusion, while $100 may not seem like much, it’s a considerable start for your investment practices. Don’t be in a rush to make quick money. Money, as everything else in life, requires patience and nurturing to grow. There may be many enticing options, but pick one that suits you the best. Look forward to not only building your assets but also to acquiring new experiences and enriching your life with that money.
Every investment you make should be an investment in yourself. This doesn’t mean you only buy things for yourself, but that you also make decisions with that money which will lead to a better quality of life for you and your loved ones. So deliberate, decide and then invest it wisely!