In my previous article, Investing made simple, I explained why investing is a valuable resource and not a gamble. For this article, I want to focus on how to make it less intimidating and make it simple to make it easier to not only save money but to invest the money as well.
When talking with my friends, something that often comes up is that most of their income goes towards paying off debt. Most people either don’t have the funds or are intimidated.
The first place you should be looking for extra funds is saving on the money you are already spending. Now, assuming you don’t want to get a financial adviser you can either self-evaluate or use a banking app (Bank of America has a good one, I use it all the time) or go online and find a budgeting tool. One thing I can guarantee is that by doing this you can free up some extra cash, to pay off your debt faster or put it towards investing.
The second place that you can look for extra funds is through online resources. I love going to Inbox dollars. Inbox Dollars is a site where you can get paid by taking surveys, playing games, shopping, and various other simple tasks.
The concept of Inbox dollar is that you can accumulate cash over time by taking short surveys and after collecting $30 you can withdraw it straight to your bank account. This is a fast and easy way to acquire extra funds. If you are that person that gets bored and starts surfing the web. This is the site for you. Start directing your surfing here, and you can make a ton of extra cash.
Swagbucks is another good resource. This app allows you to earn money by watching videos, shopping, and taking surveys. You are rewarded with Swagbucks(SB), the exchange rate is for every 100 SB you get $1. There are no limits to the number of videos you can watch and doing tasks to receive awards.
The cool thing about this site is they offer gift cards and other prizes for certain milestones that you hit. If you are one of those people that love to get into those YouTube rabbit holes, Swagbucks is for you. I go on Swagbucks on the weekends, and morning and evenings on weekdays, and watch a few videos.
My third and final way to get some extra cash is probably the most obvious and that is Uber. For Uber, all you need is a car that has 4 doors, and relatively new, and is in good condition. You also can add Lyft to this category, as well. You can utilize both apps to get extra cash.
Now to the exciting part, taking the extra dollars you made and investing it…the less intimidating way to make more money!
There are a few apps out there that help you do this and almost make it dummy-proof. But just in case it is not, I will give a brief description here. I will make another article giving you my pro and cons for each as well. But for now, let’s just introduce you to the multitude of easy ways there are to invest.
The ones that I have found useful are Acorns, Betterment, Robinhood, and Stash.
Starting with Acorns. It’s an app that is designed to help users invest their spare change by rounding up purchases to the dollar. So if you bought a pack of pens for $3.55 it rounds it up to $4.00. Then it will invest it for you in a portfolio of your choosing after you have reached the $5.00 minimum. Acorns take away the headache of comparing dozens of different funds on your own. This app is for people who suck at saving and putting money aside to invest.
Betterment is a service that helps you better understand investing. Really it takes the guesswork out of it so you don’t have to do any thinking of your own. If you don’t know how to invest at all this one is for you. With this app you input your investment goals, the app will pull up suggestions based on your goals. The app will then take into account the amount of risk you are willing to put forth. For beginners looking for long-term retirement goals, this app is for you.
Robinhood is a little more advanced than the two mentioned above. It is for more intermediate-level investors who have knowledge but haven’t actually done it yet. It is essentially a brokerage service that offers zero-commission stock and ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) trading. You type in the name of the stock or ETF and either put it on your watchlist or buy shares. This app is for individuals with intermediate experience with investing and who want to have a commission-free stab at the market.
Last but not least and my favorite one, is Stash. Stash lets you pick from 30 different exchange-traded funds. The ETFs come in novice-friendly names so they are easier to understand what you are buying. For example “Clean and Green” and “American Defense”, etc. Stash will provide you with suggested stock options. Which are based on the risk tolerance that you picked out when you signed up. This app is best suited for novice investors. You don’t have to know what investing is to start. But if you want to, it is a very easy entry to understand and pick things up quickly.
As you can see investing has nothing to do with your lack of time, money, or experience. It has to do with the resources provided to you and how you use them.
Whether it is a lack of time, money, or experience, you can still start investing today. These simple investing and saving hacks are for everyone. Happy Hunting!