How to Invest Small Amounts of Money Online

Hey Veterans: Ready To Start Investing But Don’t Have Money Saved Up?

Investing: It’s all the rage.

Everybody seems to be doing it.

They all seem to be having so much fun!

Drinking champagne…Living the high life…Riding around in limos! What do they all have in common?

They’re investing!

Ok, maybe this is a little-bit over-hyping the situation.

But, there are many articles out there that focus on what one can earn by investing. Heck, some event talk about investing small amounts throughout a lifetime.

But few that discuss how to do so for the brand new beginning investor.

Where do you go to start?

Are there investment vehicles that will take you to your financial promised land?

Following are some guidelines we here at have come up with that can help a beginning investor get started investing small amounts regularly on the way to their own champagne party!

The Champagne of Beers!

It seems like other financial publications try to make us feel a little guilty for not having already invested money in some fashion or another.  Almost like you’re being un-American!

The fact is, investing makes sense over a very long period of time, but if you have never done it before it can seem really daunting.

In the stock market, uncertainty is always present, but starting small allows you to learn and become educated to the world of high finance without risking your entire life savings (at first).

So finding ways to invest starting today, even if you have small amounts of money to do so, can really  help start you on the path to your financial independence in the years to come.

I hope you realize that it goes without saying that you should always invest in any employer sponsored retirement plans and work to pay down high-interest debt before tackling solo investing.

If you’ve covered those bases then read on!

How Not To Invest $5 Online
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In order to start investing with little or no extra income I would recommend that you:

Start with a Free or No-Cost Online Broker

One of the biggest hurdles you will face when investing small amounts is minimizing transaction fees which can eat into your already tiny sum. If you are investing small amounts of money to start, it makes more sense to handle your own investments, other than investing through your 401k plan.

Avoid having your nest egg eaten up with fees by using an online broker that charges small transaction costs each time you choose to invest.

Many brokers will offer free trades if you have a certain minimum balance. If you can find one, consider saving for a few months before you open one to avoid these transaction costs.

Also see if you can reduce costs by connecting your investment brokerage account to your checking and savings account. Further, check to confirm that the broker offers a DRIP account (see below).

Automatic Investments and Subscription Services

Automatic investments or subscription based models in which you automatically contribute an amount into a single company’s stock is considered a cost-effective way to invest.

Many companies have their own subscription models set up which offer free investing at discounted prices.

These services allow you to invest small amounts that you may not initially notice but which can add up to larger stock positions after several years of doing so.

Setting up a contribution amount with regularly scheduled increases can lead to further growth in in your portfolio as time goes on.

Investor Sleeping on Bed Of Money
You…In 20 Years!

DRIP Investing

DRIP investing is an acronym for a Dividend Re-Investment Plans and is one of the most effective ways to invest in small quantities. DRIP plans are most effective when you invest in stocks that pay dividends to shareholders.

With a DRIP investment any dividends that you receive will be reinvested in the stock at the current value of the stock when you receive the dividend.

Over a long period of time, even a small initial investment can lead to significant balances in the stock after a long period of collecting and reinvesting the dividends.

Like using the snowball method to reduce debt, this is more about the momentum of a stock investment building itself up over a period of time. In addition, companies that grow their dividends each year can lead to a significant return especially over, say, 10 years or so.

DRIP reinvestments are generally not charged with a fee and you can invest small dividends without cost, which makes this an attractive proposition for those investing small amounts.

Benefits of Investing Small Amounts

It is important to get started investing, even if you are only investing small amounts. Doing so gets you into the game and allows you to learn a lot of the nuances of investing with your skin in the game.

Further, by investing small amounts regularly you’ll avoid spending all of your investment dollars at the high of the market and are instead are reducing risk by doing something known as dollar cost averaging into your stock positions.

How To Get Your Financial Life Back On Track!

News Flash For Veterans: Did you know that debt has a way of making your life less enjoyable?

It’s like that plant in Little Shop of Horrors constantly crying “Feed Me, Seymour!”

It may start out with a very tiny amount, maybe a gift purchase or a vacation, but little by little that tiny debt has ballooned into an unmanageable amount of debt that is making it hard for you to save.

Suze Orman mentions that the average credit card debt for Americans is $9,000 with an average interest rate of 17 percent.

Just to put this into perspective, if you were able to get 17 percent on your investments you would be a millionaire in no time.

So what are some steps in combating and paying off debt?

Get Motivated To Cut Down Debt

First, you have to find the leverage in yourself to get out of debt. It isn’t enough to say you want to get out of debt for the sake of being debt free. If this is your only motivation, you will be in debt again finding your place at the starting point.

You have to dig deep in your soul and understand that debt is hindering your ability to be financially free.

High interest debt is a subtle (or not so subtle) way of telling you that you may be in fact living beyond your means. Take this as a challenge and an opportunity to change your life.

Get Your FICO Score

Your FICO score determines a lot of things including your interest rate. You can easily obtain your FICO score from – scores range from 300 to 850 with the higher the better being the case.

No need in getting all 3 scores from the 3 various reporting agencies. One will suffice. The score is derived from multiple sources including your debt ratios, payment history, and length of credit.

One misconception is closing down credit cards helps your credit score. It does not because it increases your debt utilization. If you feel the score is too low, you can obtain a free credit report typically once a year at Annual Credit Repot.

If you have a high FICO score and are paying a high interest rate, make it a point to transfer your balances to lower interest credit cards. You may have two options here. Now with credit being tighter, you will find many of the 12 month zero interest offers gone.

But there are many with a good credit score where you can get 4 to 5 percent fixed for a period of time until you pay off the balance. Make it a must to payoff that debt.

But…My Credit Is Bad!!

Okay, so you say that your FICO score isn’t so hot. Now what? Well there are a few places online that you can go and try to get a loan from a peer to peer loan network.

These places allow potential lenders the ability to bid on personal cases and offer loans at competing rates. You put your loan up for bid auction style and after a week normally, if you had set a competitive rate, you will have your loan filled.

The good thing about peer loans is the note is typically payable in 3 years completely amortized with simple interest. The benefit of this is that it forces you to pay off your debt quickly even if your rate is higher.

Unlike a 24 percent loan with a credit card, a 24 percent loan on peer loan includes the principal and interest and usually you are paying a large piece toward the principal.

Chances are that you will get a much lower rate however if you have okay to poor credit here compared to industry credit cards. Your payment is automatically taken from your checking account so there is no need to worry.

Getting out of debt should be a priority for the new year and there are many ways you can save money by getting rid of that albatross.

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Equifax Breach – What Do We Do Now?

Recently Equifax let it be known that 143 Million accounts would be possibly impacted by the biggest data breach in recent history. Yes, 143 Million people’s accounts are now possibly in the hands of scam artists.

That number is so big that it boggles the mind.  I mean, the United States had only 322 Million people according to census data in 2016.  When you think about how many of those are people under the age of 18 what it is basically saying is that:


There are many, many problems with this but the biggest useful question is “Now What The Hell Do We Do?”

I like this guys answer in the video below. Enjoy!

Counteracting Negative Spending Influences On Our Kids

The University of Montana made an interesting article regarding helping kids learn responsible financial habits which is reprinted below:

Kids today have more money to spend and can develop bad financial habits at a very young age that last a lifetime, says a Montana State University-Bozeman Extension family economics specialist.

“The life-long benefits of teaching children to save and develop good money habits make it well worth the effort,” adds Marsha A. Goetting. Several programs are underway in Montana during April to help children develop such habits, says Goetting. Governor Judy Martz declared April as Teach Children to Save Month in Montana.

Martz’ proclamation urges all citizens to recognize that personal financial responsibility and the well-being of the emerging generation is essential to Montana’s future.

According to the American Savings Education Council, only seven percent of parents say their child understands financial matters. Thirty percent of youth report that their parents rarely or never discuss saving and investing with them.

Goetting says that educators around the country are trying to make people aware that children learn good money management by parents’ examples, so parents sharing how and why their family tries to save will emphasize the importance of savings.

In addition, parents can have their small children separate coins into piles by color and size and discuss their value. Another important discussion can include an explanation of the difference between wants and needs. A simple example could be the difference between a child wanting a specific toy but needing a new pair of shoes first.

Parents can make children’s savings visible by having them put their money in a piggy bank or clear jar. “Some parents agree to match the child’s savings to visibly increase the pile in the jar more quickly,” Goetting says.

Once the bank is full, children may open their own savings accounts at a bank, savings and loan association or credit union. Parents should encourage them to make regular deposits, she adds. Some financial institutions offer kids’ clubs and send members newsletters or provide balloons or other prizes when children make deposits.

Goetting says saving up for a purchase will help them make choices between the many things that they want. For instance, if they are saving for a favorite toy, have them cut out a picture of it to glue to the savings jar.

“Better they learn from their mistakes when the dollar amount is small than later when mistakes are more costly,” Goetting says. “Taking money out of their own savings will help them gain an appreciation for the things they buy when they have saved for a period and are using their own money.”

MSU Extension has a web site with additional ideas on teaching children to save.

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Eatin Cheap: How To Feed Yourself For $5 a Day

My friends and I have discussed the idea that if we didn’t have to eat (at all), we could easily meet our monetary goals in no time.

Our discussions about how to eat for cheap generated a lot of useful ideas.

A reader named Daiko shared a detailed explanation of how she once got by spending just $30/week on food. This is a great real-life example of how its possible to eat well without breaking the bank. I’m posting her detailed explanation here so that more people will see it and perhaps use it to get their financial lives together.

Per Daiko:

Although I don’t do this now, I once lived on $30 a week for food in the early 2000s. Full disclosure: This was greatly helped by the fact that my workplace fed me five meals a week, but I was still feeding myself sixteen additional meals (for slightly less than two dollars per meal).

This was not easy or comfortable to do — I did it by necessity — but I believe it could still be done for $30/week in most parts of the U.S. even today.  Also, while I was satisfied at the time, the fare was probably a bit more spartan than most would willingly eat normally, especially with all the food company commercials that make us plainly dissatisfied with whatever is in our fridge.

Here is some of what I did:

Never allow leftovers to go bad.

I would cook one or two major meals per week. Sometimes this was a full-sized lasagna, sometimes fish that was on sale, sometimes a big pot of homemade spaghetti sauce or soup with lots of fresh vegetables added.

It always included a big salad.

This big meal would feed me dinners (and some lunches) for five or six days, and I could not afford to throw any of it away. I would eat leftovers almost every day.

Every ounce of it was eaten over the course of the week.

Supplement with inexpensive foods.

Many will say this is unhealthy. It would have been if it had been all that I ate, but I definitely ate a lot of Ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese. These were bought when on sale: Ramen 7-for-$1 (a deal Ive seen as recently as last week) and Mac & Cheese 3-for-$1.

I also could get canned tuna 3-for-$1 easily, and once or twice a year as a loss leader for 5-for-$1.

Poor mans tuna casserole was a staple and would feed me for two or three meals: one package of mac & cheese with one can tuna mixed in.

Shop in the produce aisle.

This sounds counter-intuitive, because everyone knows that produce is expensive. But I would shop for the inexpensive produce (which tended to be seasonal).

Potatoes, carrots, celery, lettuce, tomatoes (sometimes), oranges (sometimes), cabbage, etc.

These all make great food and provide snacks that generally don’t spike your blood sugar like factory-made snacks do.

Also, this may be obvious, but I would eat fruit in season. For example, apples were plentiful in the fall: I could get a bag for about $1 and would get one or two bags for the week.

I would have apples with everything (and for snacks). Again, I could not afford to throw out a single apple, so I ate them all.

And at that time of year, making an apple pie was in the budget too!

Never eat out.

I couldn’t have bought more than four or five meals for my $30 weekly food budget, and that’s assuming the cheap breakfast place that had meals for $2.95 a plate.

I needed to get at least 16 meals out of that $30, so there was no room for the luxury of eating out.

Have substantial cereals for breakfast.

Oatmeal and Grapenuts were the real keys to my success. They both filled me up and kept me filled up for much of the day. A single container of oatmeal — not the flavored packages, which are expensive and insubstantial, but the big boxes of loose Old Fashioned Oatmeal — would last slightly longer than a week, even if I ate it every day.

At the time this cost about $2.99 per container. You can get it today easily for $3.99 per container.

Avoid junk food at all costs.

Not one candy bar, bag of chips, pre-made peanut butter cracker, store-bought cookie, breakfast bar, or pack of gum could be afforded.

This didn’t mean I couldn’t have snacks: a bag of popcorn cost about $1, and if I had the money available I would get one.

Also, I had flour, sugar, water, eggs (usually), oil, and oatmeal, so sometimes I would make oatmeal cookies (with raisins if I was gone crazy splurging).

Sometimes saltines were on sale and I would usually have peanut butter on the shelf, so I could make peanut butter crackers if I wanted.

Avoid pre-cooked foods.

Frozen dinners, deli-made quiche, store-roasted chicken — all of these cost too much per serving.

If I wanted quiche, I had to make it from scratch. The ingredients were in my budget and on my shelves.

If I wanted chicken, I waited until it was on sale for $0.39/lb and roasted it myself. I then ate it for 6-8 meals before chucking the bones into a pot to make chicken soup and having that for another 6-8 meals.

Buy a basic paperback cookbook.

Because I had to make most things from scratch, I bought a paperback copy of what is often called The Plaid Cookbook: the Better Homes Gardens New Cookbook.  I think it cost $6 at that time, and was not part of my food budget, but it paid itself back many times over.

If I wanted to make lasagna, it told me how. Did I manage to buy a roast beef on sale? The cookbook told me how to avoid ruining it in the oven. Pumpkin pie? apple pie? quiche? roast chicken? all was explained, and often within my budget because I could make it from standard, inexpensive ingredients.

Don’t buy beverages.

There’s a reason Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co. have been good investments and consistent earners for investors across the decades: they are selling you water.

During this tough time I did not buy soda, or water, or coffee, or tea, or any beverage other than milk (which was reserved for my breakfasts, and only on weeks when I was having boxed cereal).

I think I bought hot cocoa mix during the winter, and that lasted several weeks.

If I needed a sugar drink I used a tablespoon or two of lemon juice — which I had on hand as a cooking supply — and a tablespoon or two of sugar in a tall glass of iced water: instant soft drink for possibly $0.10.

Special Bonus Tip

I didn’t do this at the time, but I now know that using dried milk saves at least $1 per gallon. There are two tricks to using dried milk. First, invest in a glass container. I don’t know why, but dried milk tastes terrible when stored in plastic.  Second, chill it. If you follow these two suggestions, you’ll be able to serve the milk to guests and they will never know.

In fact, they will likely think you buy it from a dairy. (And yes, this is something that my family does now. We have been drinking almost exclusively dried milk for the last 7 years.) Dried milk also saves time and gas money: out of milk? No need to run to the convenience store, just mix it up.

In this case we save almost $2.00 a gallon because milk is so much more expensive at the convenience store, and since the family drinks about a gallon a day, we save as much as $7-10 per week just by drinking dried milk.

There may have been other tricks that Ive forgotten, but with only $15 to spend per week I had to think long and hard about buying anything that cost more than $1. Was it going to sustain me?

It was much harder when I started this radical budget, because I started from nothing. But over time, it got easier, in part because some items lasted longer than a week.

For example, pantry items like a bag of sugar, a bag of flour, a bottle of oil, and a bag of brown sugar would generally last longer than a week. In the first weeks I had to buy a lot of these things and they used up a lot of my $15, but immediately they became the money in the bank that allowed me to buy other staples that might not last that long.

So, yes it is possible to eat without spending a fortune. Again, my food budget was radical by necessity, but the principles would still work today. I think $30/wk might not be enough now, but I think $40/wk would work, and I know that $50/wk would be fairly easy for a single person.

For reference: $15/wk per person = $65/month for one and $260/month for a family of four. $30/wk per person = $130/month for one and $520/month for a family of four (which is about what my family spends on food now, and we don’t eat anywhere near the way I did back then).

What Type Of Family Budget Do You Run?

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Quick: Which category do you and your family fall into?

I have determined that financially, people typically fall into one of three categories.

1. Family A has all the money they need for necessities and more and manage it very well.

2. Family B has all the money they need for necessities and more but live payday to payday with ever increasing debt.

3. Family C don’t have enough money for necessities, and live with soul-crushing, joy-stealing debt amounts.

The funny thing about the three families above is that they could easily all have exactly the same level of income and family size. This is not to say that special circumstances has nothing to do with it, but on the average most people in industrialized countries live above their means.

Family A has most likely established a workable budget and also are determined to live within it. They simply don’t pay more than they can afford for housing, transportation, utilities, etc., even if their “things” seems a little poorer to some.

They also tend to have money set aside for long and short term savings. This short term savings provides two things.

First, it makes money available when the car breaks down, you need a new washer or any number of unexpected expenses that crop up. Second, it prevents the need to use credit cards for these items. The savings here could be hundreds of dollars. Family A has planned for the unknown and are making their future brighter on their own.

Family B is most likely still struggling to establish a budget. In many cases their house payments or rent is a bit more than they can really afford. It’s also likely that they don’t take the time to evaluate the money that could be saved with a tiny bit more effort.

Usually there is little to no long term savings, let alone short term. They most likely use credit cards as if they were cash and pay hundreds of dollars in unnecessary finance charges and penalties per year.

These people find themselves with financial problems that often slowly but eventually leads to bankruptcy. Family B either didn’t plan or may not know how the handle the unknown surprises that pop up in their finances.

Family C has probably given up on a budget and on planning in general. When payday comes, the bills eat it like lions taking down a wildebeest. No matter what they do there isn’t enough money to pay for housing and other necessities. Some even struggle to put food on the table. Most don’t qualify for more credit cards due to burned up credit histories, which is probably a good thing for them not to dig themselves deeper.

In many cases this situation is self inflicted but, for sure, some are due to really unfortunate circumstances.

What is the answer to these problems?

Family A – Leave these people alone unless you plan to seek their advice, and plan to actively model what they are doing!

Family B – These are the folks that need to seek help and stand a chance of becoming like family A. The possible solutions include a debt management company like Consumer Credit Counseling Service. They need to establish a budget and stick to it.

If their housing and other expenses are too high, then they need to cut back, even if they have to move. They also need to cut up any remaining credit cards and seriously consider consolidating. Depending on how far they are in debt, this could take years and more patience than they might currently have.

Family C – While their struggle seems useless, there are things that can be done. First, they need to see to it that everything is being done to keep expenses down. The electric bill is a good example. There is federally subsidized housing that only charges a small fee based on your income.

Make sure that they are receiving all federal and state benefits that they are entitled. If they are able, they should seek job training or some other means to make their life a little better. Also, if they are deep in debt, the need to learn ways to pay off debt.

Which family are you? No matter whether your are family A, B or C, there is hope. The primary thing that must be done is to educate everyone in the family together that learning to managing their finances is absolutely necessary for their peace of mind. With the vast amount of information on the internet providing help, this is utterly doable and completely possible.

Get Paid To Buy Groceries…

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I can hear you now… “There’s no way someone bought two carts of groceries at Kroger and got $3.28 back!!” I used to think the same way. How can you save money with a .50 coupon on a name brand product, when its generic alternative would be cheaper without a coupon?

Well, I’m here to tell you it is true. I am that person! I’m the “Coupon Queen” and I can show you in very simple and easy steps how to buy name brand products for little or nothing.

First a little about me:

I’m a stay at home Mom of three, ages 2, and 4,. I have been married to my wonderful hubby for 5 years now. I have been “couponing” for a very long time and started with no help from anyone. I am not the smartest person in the world, just someone who is determined to save a buck.

I started this on a fluke. Someone sent me a piece of “spam” about joining a newbie coupon/rebate internet list. I thought “what the heck?” I’ll join up and see what it’s all about.

After about a month of “lurking” I decided to start asking some questions and, wow, did I learn a lot! Within six months I had earned enough rebating to buy an 18′ pool for our family.

Couponing takes some time at first, but after you become organized you will find you are hardly spending any time on it at all. How much is your time worth? Your savings can range anywhere from 30% to 100% and beyond. How much you will save will depend on several factors. Where you live, for example, is very important.


You have to find out what the store policies are in your area. Do they double, triple, coupons? If so, up to what amount? Do they take expired coupons? Do they offer rainchecks on sale items? Will they match the sale price of competitors?

Another factor will be how determined you are. Are you willing to take the time at first to become organized for couponing? How much money are you willing to save and how much are you willing to let the manufacturers and retailers take from you? Do you enjoy a challenge?

Every so often I will give you tips on how to do this. I am hoping you will respond with some “tips of the month” of your own!

Regarding questions, I can answer all that I am able to given my experience.

The first thing I learned in couponing is “no question is a dumb question.” We all start somewhere and we will never learn unless we ask. So this week, I’m going to offer you a couple of assignments.

First, find out all of the above about your local stores. Then take a look around and notice all the places that coupons are available (you will be surprised). Finally, ask some questions!