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Money doesn’t grow on trees. If it did, nobody would be interested in investing or looking for ways to do so. Even after the 2008 financial crisis, where stocks plummeted and thousands of people lost money, people still have a large interest in investing because it remains one of the most effective ways to build wealth and credit over time. As much as someone would like to start investing, it becomes a challenge when you only have a part-time job or a small amount of money. This factor often hinders people from saving money and beginning an investment. In reality, those who live paycheck to paycheck or on monthly budgets can begin investing with even the smallest amounts of money.
There are ways to learn to invest, even if you don't have a Wall Street background—and for someone who is interested in investing for retirement planning, investing in stocks, maximizing their Roth IRA investments, or simply saving extra money, there are several ways that you can find money to invest. Money comes and goes, but as soon as you have a little extra on you, don’t hesitate to invest.
Find money in your budget.
Just the thought of saving and investing money can lift the weight off your shoulders, but nothing is going to happen until you take action. Prioritize your financial goals and decide that investing is a must. If you have a monthly budget for bills, entertainment, and other living expenses, find a little extra room to start investing. There are multiple strategies that you can use to begin. Start with small amounts of money and you will grow your investments over time.
Cut back on your budget.
The first step that you can take is to analyze your budget and cut back on it. In most cases, our budget includes things you are most likely wasting your money on in excess expenses that go towards eating out, buying that fancy cup of coffee, or plenty of other aspects. However, the biggest item that people can eliminate from their budgets is consumer debt. This includes credit cards, car loans, student loans, and other debt. Eliminating this not only saves you money that you can put towards investing, but it also eliminates fixed monthly expenses.
Budgets differ between each person. Analyze your spendings and find ways to cut back. There are important items that your budget is put in place for. All of the extra should be cut out. Cut less important expenditures out of your budget. Even if it is only $25, you can use that to start investing. It’s the small habits that we create now that make it easier for us in the future.
Get a side job.
Serving, freelancing, bartending, and car services are all ways that you can make extra money on the side. It only takes a small part-time job to start saving. If you have a few hours to spare on the weekends, spend it working. While you are at work, you won’t spend money being out, and therefore, saving that money, too. It is a sacrifice you will have to make, but it will be worth it for your future self, especially if you have financial goals in mind.
When you are actively searching for ways to obtain more money to invest, it becomes easier as you get adjusted to it. The truth is that you don't need a lot of money to begin investing, especially with discount online brokers and financial advisers.
Sell some things you don't need.
There are plenty of online services that serve as a platform for selling an array of items: eBay, Craigslist, Depop, and OfferUp are among the most popular. A lot of people accumulate objects over time that they are not necessarily using now. Go through your garage, closet, and under your bed to find old clothes, computers, knick knacks, and any other items that you have no use for. Always remember the slogan, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” That old vintage jacket that you haven’t worn in three years might be worth far more to someone else. Conduct a little research and see which platform works best for you.
Save your pocket change.
Money is money. You will come to realize that the loose change in your pockets will eventually be a huge help to you. There are plenty of times where we pay for things in cash and receive change back. What do people usually do with that change? Honestly speaking, I usually just toss it into my purse, never to be seen again, or I may have it sitting in the cup holder of my car for what seems like forever.
Many people can attest to this, but in the future, it makes more sense to put that change to use. Instead of throwing it around mindlessly and never seeing it again, create a savings jar where you throw in your extra change every day and notice how fast it collects. Once it is full, you can have a visual representation of how much money you saved and have extra money to deposit into your bank account at the end of the month.
Look into index funds and exchange-traded funds.
Let’s assume that you budgeted $50 a month towards investing. It is a small budget, but it is a starting point. For beginning investors, there are several ways that you can start investing safely without having to worry about losing any money. One of those ways is with an index fund or exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Many investors like index funds because they offer an array of different options and start at a very low fee meaning that you keep most of your returns. The other option that you can use to start investing is exchange-traded funds. These also come with low fees and provide a measure of diversity. ETF’s are a way that investors can learn about trades in the stock market, as well as being easy to buy and sell. Invest whatever that amount of money you have saved may be and turn it into a larger sum.
Use an online investment platform.
Platforms such as Betterment, E Trade, and TradeStation are all resources that you can use to begin investing. They are all automated investment platforms that are cheap and easy to use. When you begin your investment journey with these companies, they set you up with a financial portfolio that is geared towards your income and spending habits. These online platforms are perfect if you do not want to spend too much money on a financial adviser or you simply do not have loads of money to invest into one account. An online brokerage might can get expensive, but with these options, you can contribute as little as $10 to begin an investment with no interest rates. Know the right signs an investment platform won't work for you.
Enroll in a retirement plan.
If you’re on a tight budget, a simple step you can take is enrolling in your company’s 401(k) or another retirement plan. You can do as little as invest only a one percent contribution into a retirement plan, and increase it as the years go on and you become confident in your investing.
There will be a small amount of money from your paycheck that goes towards a retirement plan, but be aware that this money is saved for your future self. As you begin to climb the hierarchy in your company, increase the pay and the arrangement will be even better.
Put your money into a mutual fund.
Mutual funds are investment opportunities waiting to happen. They allow you to invest in stocks with a mutual funds portfolio without making a single transaction, which are perfect for beginning investors. Many people are discouraged by mutual funds because they often ask for a minimum investment between $500 to $5,000. However, there are some mutual funds that exist where the account minimums are anywhere from $50 to $100.
One of the biggest attributes about mutual funds is that it offers automatic investing. This is convenient because you can do it through payroll savings and set up an automatic investment straight out of your paycheck. You won’t even notice the money that you are saving and it will build up over time.
Invest in a US Treasury security.
Treasury securities (or saving bonds) are always a safe bet. You will never get rich with these securities, but it is a great way to put away your money and earn some interest. Go through the US Treasury’s bond portal, Treasury Direct. In this portal, you can find US Government-owned securities that are as low as $100. Depending on which treasury you select, the interest can grow at a higher or lower rate. Similar to mutual funds, you can set up an account that is funded through payroll savings where money is taken from your paycheck and goes directly into your treasury.
The truth is that there are plenty of ways that you can save and invest your money. With online platforms and apps, it is now easier than ever. Find money to invest and turn your ideas into actions. Start small, but start somewhere. Once you begin, it will only get easier as time goes on, and you will be thanking yourself later.