Investing simply means putting your money to good use with the expectation that you’ll receive a return or reward for doing so.
A lot of us don’t have much money to spare. Sometimes you may find yourself with an extra $100; maybe someone finally paid you back for a long-forgotten debt (it’s happened to me!) or your mom sent you over a cash gift for your birthday. Or chances are, it’s just an extra $100 rattling around in your bank account that could find better use somewhere else.
A few days ago, I published a guest post on where to invest extra cash and savings. Well that post inspired me to reflect on how I’d personally make use of a little extra money.
Got $100? Best Ways To Invest Small Amounts of Money
1. Set up an automatic investment program.
I started an automatic investment program at a discount broker around a couple of decades ago. If my memory serves me right, I committed to placing $50 a month in a few mutual funds that represented diversified asset classes. I figured that I could afford to spare at least $50 a month on building a portfolio, and I found the process of choosing funds, deciding my allocation and finally starting an investment program pretty fulfilling.
While I’m not totally sure how much I’ve put into my investments through the years, I do know that my net worth has grown over a hundred times since I started investing. A lot of this I’d attribute to just “automated investing and saving”. This is something you can definitely do yourself by contacting online brokers, mutual fund companies and banks, and then setting up such programs at these institutions.
2. Invest in yourself.
Here’s one more way I’d gladly spend $100: on myself. Of course, our opinions of “how to spend on oneself” can all vary greatly. You may think of investing in yourself as spending to improve your health, your looks or your well being, which are all quite important to maintain your happiness and health. But what I mean here is that I would use $100 to invest in my “money generating” potential. For instance, investing in one’s education or in trying to improve your finances through personal finance classes or seminars would be money well spent.
3. Invest in a small business.
While I started an online business pretty much by accident, I realize now that if I had actually planned to become an entrepreneur, I would have looked into which businesses had the smallest outlay while promising to yield some reasonable returns down the road. Interestingly, there are still great ideas out there that you can pursue for a mere $100. Here’s a tip: online business ideas are notoriously cheap to start.
For instance, you can try to make money blogging. The stories of many bloggers (including my own) are testaments to how this can be done. I actually spent $0 when I first started blogging. It’s been several years now and my hobby has evolved into an online business: I got a few domains, hunted for the best web host and invested in a web design. The rest is sweat equity. The good news is that it took me 1.5 years to take the leap and quit my day job, and I’ve been blogging full time now for another 1.5 years. That’s 3 years as an accidental online entrepreneur and it’s been a fun and rewarding ride.
In addition, this change also spurred a lifestyle change for me which improved my health tremendously. All these results for less than $100!
4. Pay down your bad debt.
If you are carrying any amount of bad debt — whether it be credit card debt or other installment loans, you should funnel any extra money you have towards these obligations. Paying down debt which charges you X% in interest is like “earning” X% interest on that money you apply to the debt. If you carry a credit card balance, tossing $100 at it is always a fantastic idea.
These are some of my favorite $100 investment ideas. I’d love to find out how you’d spend, use or invest $100. If you’ve got some great ideas on where you’d invest small amounts of money, please feel free to share!
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