4 Frugal Ways to Invest $100
If money is tight, the idea of investing in your future can seem impossible. How are you supposed to buy stock, or invest in real estate, without thousands of dollars sitting idle in a foreign bank? But the truth is, you don't need a ton of money to jumpstart your financial future. Here are four smart ways you can take just $100 and put it towards a better tomorrow.
Do you have debt?
If you do, you should put your $100 towards that first. Credit card bills in particular should be your first priority, as they have high interest rates, which will cost you a lot of extra cash if you ignore them. Next on the lineup is student loan debt. Putting an extra $100/month towards your loans will really pay off in the long run. Try and get a handle on this kind of debt before you even think about investing anywhere else.
Start an emergency fund!
No one thinks they need an emergency fund until suddenly, they do, and when that time comes, you'll be thankful for it. Calculate how much you spend every month, then multiply that by three (or six if you're feeling ambitious), and try to save up that amount of money for your emergency fund. Ideally, an emergency fund should give you a three to six month cushion in case of an unexpected loss of income or a costly medical expense. Your extra $100 could make a world of difference in dire circumstances. To learn more about emergency funds, check out our recent article on the subject!
Max out your 401K.
If you've paid off your debt, and you have a good emergency fund, then it's time to think about investing. If your company has a 401K, you should be maximizing your contribution, especially if they offer to match what you put in every month. The sooner you start saving, the more your money will be worth when you choose to retire.
Start your own IRA and invest in what you know.
Once you've got your 401K set up, you should start contributing to your own IRA. You can put in up to $5,500 to per year tax free for retirement, and, much like a brokerage account, you can also use this account to choose which stocks you want to invest in.
If you're new to investing, think about what companies you know and respect. For example, I have studied the entertainment industry for a very long time, and have followed the Walt Disney Company through its ups and downs over the last 15-20 years. Because of this knowledge, I feel very confident investing in a company like Disney, a company I understand intimately. They make great products, from theme parks, movies and consumer products to sports entertainment channels like ESPN.
The company you choose to invest in might be something different, maybe it's a department store or a car manufacturer, but I always follow Warren Buffet's advice: buy what you know. If you just follow what someone else says, and lean on buzzwords like social media or biotech without fully understanding them, you might stand to lose a lot of money. It's not that you can't make money in those industries, it's just important that you don't follow the crowd, and that you form opinions for yourself before investing your own money.