Investing even very small amounts can reap big rewards. Here are 7 ways you can start investing with little money today.

For many people, the word “investing” conjures up images of men in suits, monitoring the exchange of millions of dollars on a stock ticker.

I’m here to tell you: You don’t need to be the Wolf of Wall Street to start investing. It’s okay if you’re more of a mouse of Main Street. Even if you only have a few dollars to spare, your money will grow with compound interest.

The key to building wealth is developing good habits—like regularly putting money away every month. Swap out the barista-made cappuccinos for coffee at home and you could already be saving more than $50 a month.

Once you have a little money to play with, you can start to invest.

In 2020, you can get a date, a ride or a pizza with the swipe of a smartphone screen. Investing is no different. If you can automate your bills, why not your investments? It’s just as easy.

With a robo-advisor or savings account, you can make your money work while you play. With a stock trading app, you can play with a little money and learn valuable investing lessons at the same time.  Just like Halloween costumes, investing comes in many different forms. It shouldn’t be a scary word.

With so many different options, investing for beginners is simpler and more straightforward than ever before.

Soon you’ll see how addictive growing your money can be.

Here are seven simple ways to get there:

1. Try the cookie jar approach

Invest With Little Money - Cookie Jar Approach

Saving money and investing it are closely connected. In order to invest money, you first have to save some up. That will take a lot less time than you think, and you can do it in very small steps.

If you’ve never been a saver, you can start by putting away just $10 per week. That may not seem like a lot, but over the course of a year, it comes to over $500.

Try putting $10 into an envelope, shoebox, a small safe, or even that legendary bank of first resort, the cookie jar. Though this may sound silly, it’s often a necessary first step. Get yourself into the habit of living on a little bit less than you earn, and stash the savings away in a safe place.

The electronic equivalent of the cookie jar is the online savings account; it’s separate from your checking account. The money can be withdrawn in two business days if you need it, but it’s not linked to your debit card. Then when the stash is large enough, you can take it out and move it into some actual investment vehicles.

Start with small amounts of money, and then increase as you get more comfortable with the process. It may be a matter of deciding not to go to McDonald’s or passing on the movies, and putting that money into the cookie jar instead.

Chime currently offers a strong 1.00% APY for their online savings account. There is no minimum deposit required and the yield is earned on all balances (no minimum balance required).

7 Easy Ways To Start Investing With Little Money - Chime

Chime is also our first choice for your savings because they include a bevy of other features that really focus on the individual saver.

  1. 38,000 fee free ATM’s
  2. Spot Me feature that means you won’t be charged an overdraft fee if you overdraw your balance
  3. Direct deposit that gets you paid 2 days faster

And if you need a little boost to start saving while earning your APY, Chime can round up your purchases to the nearest $1 to help you save faster and earn faster.

2. Let a robo-advisor invest your money for you

Invest With Little Money - Robo-advisors

Robo-advisors entered the investing scene about a decade ago and make investing as simple and accessible as possible. You don’t need any prior investing experience, as robo-advisors take all of the guesswork out of investing.

Robo-advisors work by asking a few simple questions to determine your goal and risk tolerance and then investing your money in a highly-diversified low-cost portfolio of stocks and bonds. Robo-advisors then use algorithms to continually rebalance your portfolio and optimize it for taxes.

There’s no easier way to get started in long-term investing. Most robo-advisors require just $500 or less to start investing and charge very modest fees based upon the size of your account. All offer automated investing plans to help you grow your balance.

If there’s any downside to Robo-advisors it’s cost. Robo-advisors charge an annual fee equal to a small percentage of your balance. The industry average is about 0.25%. So, if you invest $10,000, you’ll pay $25 a year. That’s not a lot of money, but it begins to add up if you amass hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It’s important to note that robo-advisors fees are on top of the fees charged by the exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that robo-advisors buy to make up your portfolio. You can avoid paying the robo-advisor fees by building your own portfolio of ETFs or mutual funds. For the vast majority of investors, however, that’s a lot of additional work and responsibility.

The bottom line? Robo-advisors are cheap and well worth it.

Wealthfront

6 Easy Ways To Start Investing With Little Money - Wealthfront

A robo-advisor that I highly recommend to first-time investors is Wealthfront. Their fees are reasonable at 0.25%, but the kicker is that you can get your first $5,000 managed free (specific to MU30 readers).

So if you’re looking to start investing with little money, Wealthfront could be the way to go. You will need $500 to get started though with Wealthfront so keep that in mind.

Visit Wealthfront 

M1 Finance

M1 Finance 210

If you don’t have that $500 starting balance, there are still great options for you in the Robo-advising space. M1 Finance charges no commissions or management fees, and their minimum starting balance is just $100.

You can choose from one of their pre-made diversified portfolios or customize your own by purchasing stocks and ETFs through their platform. The user interface is super easy to use.

Visit M1 Finance

Betterment

6 Easy Ways To Start Investing With Little Money - Betterment

If you’re starting out with less than $100, you may want to consider Betterment, which has no minimum starting balance whatsoever. Like M1, it’s also great for beginners as it provides a super simple platform and a hassle-free approach to investing.

Visit Betterment

3. Start investing in the stock market with little money

7 Easy Ways To Start Investing With Little Money - Start investing in the stock market with little money

When it comes to investing in the stock market, cost is often the barrier to entry. It takes money to make money, right?

Not anymore. The internet has made it easy for consumers to get started with very little upfront money. That means you can put a few dollars in to familiarize yourself with investing before making a bigger commitment. It’s a great way to learn about investing while putting very little money at risk.

Today, there are increasing numbers of options that have swung open doors to a new generation of investors – letting you get started with as little as $1 and charges no trade commissions.

In the past, stockbrokers charged commissions of several dollars every time you bought or sold stock. That made it cost-prohibitive to invest in even a single stock with less than hundreds or thousands of dollars. In fact, $0 commissions across comp have been so successful they’ve disrupted the entire investing industry and forced all the major brokers – from ETrade to Fidelity – to follow suit and drop trading commissions.

Plus the ability to invest in companies with fractional/partial shares is a complete game-changer with investing. With fractional shares, it means you can diversify your portfolio even more while saving money. Instead of investing in a full share, you can buy a fraction of a share. If you want to invest in a high-priced stock like Apple, for instance, you can do so for a few dollars instead of shelling out the price for one full share, which, as I write this, is around $370.

Public

7 Easy Ways To Start Investing With Little Money - Public

Public, an investing app, offering thousands of stocks and ETFs with no commission fees on trades and no account minimums. With Public, you can purchase most stocks through what Public calls “Slices”-  so you don’t have to plunk down thousands of dollars to become a shareholder in huge companies that you want to invest in but cannot otherwise afford.

Public makes investing easy and user friendly: you simply pick your stocks and ETFs, enter the amount of money you’d like to invest, and Public “slices” off a portion of a share to fit the amount you’ve chosen.

Public also offers a social investing experience making it a great option for beginner investors. You become more financially literate while watching what others are doing with their investments. It’s like peeking into someone’s investing account for ideas – but it’s what everyone is doing and totally legit.

Download Public App

Robinhood

7 Easy Ways To Start Investing With Little Money - with Robinhood

Robinhood is also designed for young traders new to investing, and Robinhood is currently rolling out fractional share investing to make it easy to start investing with little money.

And the best part? Robinhood gives you one free stock just for joining. That gives your portfolio a small headstart at no cost to you.

Importantly, Robinhood promotes equality of access with a $0 account minimum and no transaction fees. Robinhood also has free options trading. Users who opt for the premium account Robinhood Gold pay $5 a month for access to extra perks like after-hours trading.

Unlike robo-advisors, Robinhood supports and encourages active stock trading. In my mind, trading stocks is not the same thing as investing money for the long-haul. But trading is fun and a great way to learn about how the market works and how companies are valued. And if you can try your hand at trading with small amounts of money, it’s even better. Robinhood’s platform makes trading a snap.

Download Robinhood App

Advertiser Disclosure – This advertisement contains information and materials provided by Robinhood Financial LLC and its affiliates (“Robinhood”) and MoneyUnder30, a third party not affiliated with Robinhood. All investments involve risk and the past performance of a security, or financial product does not guarantee future results or returns. Securities offered through Robinhood Financial LLC and Robinhood Securities LLC, which are members of FINRA and SIPC. MoneyUnder30 is not a member of FINRA or SIPC.”

4. Dip your toe in the real estate market

Invest With Little Money - Real estate

Believe it or not, you no longer need a lot of money (or even good credit) to invest in real estate. A new category of investment known familiarly as “real estate crowdfunding” makes it possible to own fractional shares of large commercial properties without the headache of being a landlord.

Crowdfunded real estate investments require larger minimum investments than robo-advisors (for example, $5,000 instead of $500). They’re also riskier investments because you’ll be putting that entire $5,000 into one property rather than a diversified portfolio of hundreds of individual investments.

The upside is owning a piece of a real physical asset that’s not necessarily correlated with the stock market.

As with robo-advisors, investing in real estate via a crowdfunding platform carries costs that you wouldn’t pay if you bought a building yourself. But here, the advantages are obvious: You share the cost and risk with other investors and you have no responsibility for maintaining the property (or even doing the paperwork to buy it!)

I think real estate crowdfunding can be an intriguing way to learn about commercial real estate investing and also diversify your assets. I wouldn’t lay all of my money on these platforms, but they do make an intriguing alternative investment especially in these times of unprecedented market volatility and pitiful bond yields.

6 Easy Ways To Start Investing With Little Money - Fundrise

With Fundrise’s really easy-to-use online platform, you simply need a starting minimum investment of $500. So if you’re an unaccredited investor, you can buy properties without paying those very large fees that end up being a deal-breaker if you want to start dabbling in real estate. By managing your own portfolio, the fees come to just 1% and Fundrise always offers a 90 days satisfaction guarantee.

Visit Fundrise

7 Easy Ways To Start Investing With Little Money - Diversy Fund

Like Fundrise, DiversyFund also allows you to invest in real estate with as little as $500. With zero management fees and no net worth requirement, the company is dedicated to making investing in real estate affordable and accessible for everyone, not just the top 1%. DiversyFund also features plenty of educational resources to help you learn more about real estate investing and gain the tools you need to grow your wealth.

Visit DiversyFund

5. Enroll in your employer’s retirement plan

If you’re on a tight budget, even the simple step of enrolling in your 401(k) or other employer retirement plan may seem beyond your reach. But you can begin investing in an employer-sponsored retirement plan with amounts so small you won’t even notice them.

This is one step that everybody should take!

For example, plan to invest just 1% of your salary into the employer plan.

You probably won’t even miss a contribution that small, but what makes it even easier is that the tax deduction that you’ll get for doing so will make the contribution even smaller.

Once you commit to a 1% contribution, you can increase it gradually each year. For example, in year two, you can increase your contribution to 2% of your pay. In year three, you can increase your contribution to 3% of your pay, and so on.

If you time the increases with your annual pay raise, you’ll notice the increased contribution even less. So if you get a 2% increase in pay, it will effectively be splitting the increase between your retirement plan and your checking account. And if your employer provides a matching contribution, that will make the arrangement even better.

Blooom is a great tool for hands-off investment management of your 401(k). They’ll give you a free 401(k) analysis, telling you where and how they can optimize your investments. Check out our review of blooom; if you decide to use their services, you’ll be charged a reasonable $10 per month.

And blooom has got a special promotion right now: Get $15 off your first year of blooom with code BLMSMART

6. Put your money in low-initial-investment mutual funds

Invest With Little Money - Mutual funds

Mutual funds are investment securities that allow you to invest in a portfolio of stocks and bonds with a single transaction, making them perfect for new investors.

Wondering what to do with your investments when the stock market drops?

The trouble is many mutual fund companies require initial minimum investments of between $500 and $5,000. If you’re a first-time investor with little money to invest, those minimums can be out of reach. But some mutual fund companies will waive the account minimums if you agree to automatic monthly investments of between $50 and $100.

Automatic investing is a common feature with mutual fund and ETF IRA accounts. It’s less common with taxable accounts, though its always worth asking if it’s available. Mutual fund companies that have been known to do this include Dreyfus, Transamerica, and T. Rowe Price.

An automatic investing arrangement is particularly convenient if you can do it through payroll savings. You can typically set up an automatic deposit situation through your payroll, in much the same way that you do with an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Just ask your human resources department how to set it up.

Read More: How To Buy A Mutual Fund

7. Play it safe with Treasury securities

Not many small investors begin their investment journey with US Treasury securities, but you can. You’ll never get rich with these securities, but it is an extremely safe place to park your money—and earn at least some interest—until you are ready to go into higher risk/higher return investments.

Treasury securities, also known as savings bonds, are easy to buy through the US Treasury’s bond portal Treasury Direct. There you can buy fixed-income US government securities with maturities of anywhere from 30 days to 30 years in denominations as low as $100.

You can also use Treasury Direct to buy Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, or TIPS. These not only pay interest, but they also make periodic principal adjustments to account for inflation based on changes in the consumer price index.

And as is the case with mutual funds, you can also arrange to have your Treasury Direct account funded through payroll savings.

Unfortunately, the yields on treasuries have been getting closer and closer to 0% for a while now, and there’s no end in sight to their lackluster performance. This makes treasuries mostly a place to stash cash for safekeeping rather than a way to grow your money.

Bonus idea – Consider a 5% return with Worthy Bonds

For as little as $10, you can invest in Worthy Bonds.  Worthy Bonds are fixed interest bonds that fund loans for creditworthy American businesses.  The bonds have a term of 36-months, but interest is paid weekly and you can withdraw your money at ANY time, without penalty.  Buy as many $10 bonds as you’d like.

The simple idea is that Worthy is going to take the money you use to buy bonds and invest it into companies with a greater return than 5%.  They win, you win and it’s a fixed rate so you know the rate of return every day.

The platform is open to all U.S. investors and can be a great way to diversify your portfolio with a low-risk solution.  Worthy only invests in fully secured loans (liquid assets having a value significantly greater than the loan amount), so the quality of loan and investment is always high caliber.

Visit Worthy

Summary

There are plenty of ways to start investing with little money, with many online and app-based platforms making it easier than ever. All you have to do is start somewhere. Once you do, it will get easier as time goes on, and your future self will love you for it.

Read more

Start Investing with Little Money

  • Recommended Wealthfront requires a $500 minimum investment, but charges no fees until your balance grows to $10,000 or more. Visit Site
  • No Minimum Low-fee roboadvisor with no minimum investment. Creates fully-automated portfolios based upon your desired allocation. Visit Site
  • $100 Minimum M1 Finance gives you the benefits of a robo-advisor with the control of a traditional brokerage. M1 charges no commissions or management fees, and their minimum starting balance is just $100. Visit Site

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About the author

Total Articles: 353
David Weliver is the founder of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues he faced during his first two decades as an adult. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Article comments

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32 comments
Grady says:

Thanks, I am going to pass this to my Grandchildren. It is just difficult to convince young people that they need to invest for their future.

Gregory Nelson Sr says:

Good reading, I learned a lot.

The Opportunist says:

Savings bonds were once really nice, tax free, and safe as it could get. I once knew a man who created his own retirement, since they grew at a government guaranteed 14%. I purchased a thousand dollars a year of them for my son. He would up with twelve thousand dollars worth in only what I put in for him, not counting the interest. Since Covid 19 quarantine created a company and banking hunger for real-estate purchasers, my son traded 30,000.00 grown from the twelve I paid in for him when he was a growing up, to build his and his wife’s first home, in a nice, exclusive area. Certain stocks are dynamite to invest in at this time, dropping to unheard of lows. Having a bit of stash on hand to operate with really can pay off when a real opportunity such as this one. strikes. My gut feeling informs me maybe stocks in military products would be good to purchase. A great contest might be brewing.

Gleynroux Gumede says:

Investment is a good thing especially when you invest in the stock market and know the history and the performance of the company, its annual turnover.

Elle says:

This is a really silly question but i honestly do not know the answer. If you invest in stocks or bonds and they go south can you end up losing more than your originL investment? Can you end up paying more?

cppeace says:

Elle,
No with Common Stock and basic bonds you can never lose more than you invest. Most ways to lose more than you invest is to have controlling active ownership of companies or partnerships or invest in riskier things like options trading.

Moses Wininga says:

Good

Mike Tai says:

I am searching on what to do with our money. We do not have much and live paycheck to paycheck. I did put 3k in a CD from our tax return and plan on doing this every year. Its the only savings we have. Should I leave this in the CD or put somewhere to make more money? The Worthy app seemed interesting to me. I could do 50 a check every 2 weeks. Any advice is appreciated from a family of 7 and taking care of elder parents.

Soro says:

Hello. nice tips. I would just like to know whether these opportunities are also open to investing beginners who are non american citizen

Horace Moning says:

Hi how can I get more information on money under 30 thank you.

David says:

You can sign up for their newsletter

Shaukat says:

Good suggestions

Ma Vanessa Delich says:

Anybody know’s a accredited legit. to invesr from very small money from $5, $10, $20, and $25? I invesr already in some lowest investment. but I want to know more

Treshon Rubeira says:

Hi There,

Im trying to find something that is not restricted to US Citizens only. I would really appreciate some help. I like the whole setup of Swell as it seems viable and also fits within the budget of small investment. If someone could guide me please.

Much love and God bless in advance

Steven gillespy says:

I’m on a fixed income and want to start investing $100 a month every month what is the best way for me to start

J says:

Cash app or stash app was pretty simple and straight forward

BJ says:

Worthy seems like a good place to start at with that amount

Umeh Esther Adaeze says:

I’m a still and want to invest but still don’t get it ,…..

Bernz JP@Moneylogue.com says:

Good investment tips. Simple and easy to understand. My favorite is #2 which is through your employer’s retirement plan. Max out if you can and watch your retirement nest egg grow. Better if you can access your retirement account, this is an excellent way to start learning investing also.

Arnav Desai says:

I agree thoroughly with the author. There are countless ways in which you can start investing with just little money. You must be willing to do a little research and find out the right options. You have listed some very nice options but if a person is eager to make money, there are several other options too. Thanks for the share.

Je Woody says:

what are some of the other options, if you don’t mind sharing them?

antiersolutions says:

If you have no money or with little experience of the business, you should start some easy ones at the first, such as, affiliate marketing and so on. And if you have master some online marketing skills, you can start some other businesses, like Crypto exchange development etc..

Danial Pervaiz says:

hello, very nice article. keep up the good work. Will keep coming back!!

Max says:

As I am interested in trading with options, I do the following strategy: I sell from time to time options on stocks and with this collected money I buy dividend stocks, which generating additional cash to reinvest. But maybe trading with options is not everyone´s cup of tea…

Realous P. says:

If that’s working out in your favor, more power to you sir!

Options can be risky even if you know how option contracts work.

I would only recommend for people who are experienced investors and who at the very least have an established emergency fund that covers 6+ months of their monthly expenses.

Stefan Ciancio says:

Great Tips! Such a great information.

I agree with you that “Investing even very small amounts can reap big rewards.” I have always been facing problems with Making Extra Money and was trying to hire someone to help me.

I will tweet your post. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Stefan

Diana says:

There are many ways to start investing with little money. However, first you may want to assess whether paying off debt or saving for emergencies would be more beneficial for your current financial situation.

If you do decide that you want to start investing, here are a few options:
• Invest your money in bank deposit accounts: Though you won’t be able to earn much money at the bank you will have zero risk of principal loss and also earn a bit of interest on your money.
• Investing in your own skills: This can not only help you gain knowledge but it will also increase your chances of promotion or higher paying position from other employers.
• Invest through your employer’s retirement plan: These plans often offer an array of investment options and allow you to invest via payroll deduction, so you can start with a little bit each paycheck.

G.B. says:

Zero risk of principal loss… You mean people are guaranteed not to lose any money that they invest in bank deposit accounts? Are there situations by the by when people can lose money that they have in bank deposits? As for bank interests, I think they are close to 0.

Axel Hansson says:

It’s all about starting somewhere. Never invest money you don’t have – start safe with less. I’ve had great success with index funds with doesn’t demand much of my time and got a slow but steady increase.

G.B. says:

God bless us on your first sentence.

Buck says:

Great tip to start investing with your employers retirement plan, even at 1% if you can’t do anything more. Some new innovative plans even allow you to increase your contributions as you get raises. They found that people who enter into these eventually contribute more than people who sat down with a financial adviser on day one!

But the biggest thing is to get started. Can’t make a big snowball without a little one.

G.B. says:

I like your last sentence! You sound like Lev Tolstoy. Let’s just hope these “little snowballs” will not make us regret our choices.