Most Interesting Small Investment Ideas
Bulk Shopping Membership
This idea has been around for a very long time. Basically, you buy in bulk to receive a discount per unit. Not only can this save you money directly, but there are a few other cash saving factors wrapped up here. When done correctly, shopping in bulk can save you trips to the store, which equals fuel savings! Also, these stores typically will have strong sales on items that are not purchased in bulk; such as electronics, home appliances, and outdoor equipment. Smart shoppers can easily save the price of a Sam's Club or Costco membership and then some with just that small initial investment!
New investors often opt to let a professional handle their funds. This approach is practical for those with little or no experience; however, it is no secret that these professionals charge fees that can eat into profits in a big way. That is why I am such a proponent of investing with robots! Actually, the term robo-adviser just means that the customer’s funds are invested based on algorithms, rather than a person constantly making these decisions. Why this is perfect for investors with a small amount of funds is because robot advisers are much cheaper than their human counterparts. Investors can even find robo-advisers with 0% management fees and $0 account minimums (WiseBanyan comes to mind) making this the perfect platform for small investments.
Robinhood is a very interesting smartphone app for investors (available for android and iOS). With this app, investors do not pay a monthly fee, pay $0 for purchases of U.S. listed stock, and have no minimum balance! Basically, Robinhood takes away all of the traditional fees (instead making money on user funds that have not been invested yet), making it the perfectly simple app for new or small investors. If they offered purchases of fractional shares and dividend reinvestment plans their millennial-focused app would be unstoppable! But even in it's current state, Robinhood is perfect for small investors who are looking to be in charge of their stocks directly.
In my opinion, the best $1.00 investment is easily the purchase of a used book or eBook. There are countless options when it comes to self-improvement reading. Additionally, a cheap book can provide an excellent and convenient source for research. In this case, a book can be used to assist with school, general learning, or improving a small business. Also, let’s face it, even a fictional title can stimulate the brain in ways that generally don’t happen when browsing the web.
This one is pretty straightforward. Use a small investment to attend a class or take a certification test that could further career progression or help start or improve a small business. Admittedly, some of these classes can be a bit pricey, but there are plenty of options available for under $150.00!
I choose to look at this investment strategy like real estate. Essentially, there are people who will purchase a domain name and sell it at a later time to a person/business who desires that name for their website. A simple investment idea, but it can be very difficult to execute properly (much like real estate investing). Although it takes a very small initial investment to buy a domain name, it takes a bit of skill when it comes to market trends and smart name decisions. Additionally, the most successful domain flippers do a bit of marketing and promotion themselves.
Pay Off Debt
Paying down debt is often overlooked as a type of investment. In reality, paying off debt just sits on the opposite end of the investment structure. Everybody knows how powerful compounding interest can be. Compounding interest is the most important component of investing in my opinion. But with debt, compounding interest works against investors just as powerfully! With many types of debt, including most auto loans and credit cards, the faster the balance is paid off, the less money is spent on the balance overall; making this category the perfect place to invest any cash that can be spared.
Making Home More Energy Efficient
Investing into the energy efficiency of a home will save money every utility payment! There are many small purchases that can help keep the outside…outside. Buy a seal/gasket for the bottom of doors that allow airflow, or weather strip windows. Buy energy efficient lightbulbs. Seal electrical outlets properly. Seal an attic hatch. Buy energy efficient appliances. Seal anywhere that pipes protrude from the outside. Basically, upgrade anything that consistently costs money on energy. Some of these options are even worth considering for renters!
Home improvement rewards the investor twice. Not only does the house become an overall better place to live, but the worth of the house will go up in most circumstances. Not every home improvement project has to cost thousands either; there are plenty of options for those with a smaller budget. It could mean purchasing a couple cans of spray paint for the faded hand-rails out front, or opting for acrylic latex paint for those dull shutters. Rent a buffer for those scratched hardwood floors, replace door knobs, whatever would make the home better!
While many of these interesting investing opportunities are often overlooked, it is important to remember that investing is not always flipping houses in Beverly Hills, or getting rich from startup companies. The smartest investments are very specific to the investor's situation and provide them with the most (or fastest) return on investment. That is why paying down a credit card or installing energy efficient light bulbs can be the smartest investment for many investors!
Looking for an easy way to build up that initial investment fund?