There is a preconception surrounding investment that makes it appear as if only someone who is already wealthy with money to spare can afford to invest. That it is a world closed off to those with less wealth.
This is not true.
Compared to other means of growing wealth- such as purchasing a car, a house, or property- investment does not necessarily demand a large down payment from you. However, to be fair, most people have other priorities. Things like food, rent, and utilities. What money they do set aside may likely be for something like their children’s college fund. Not to mention unplanned expenses like major hospital bills, car repairs, or environmental house damage like flooding in the basement. All these things can understandably make the idea of investment off-putting.
That said, there are ways to get into investing, to put some money down for the future, without drastically affecting your daily life or risking your regular financial security.
Tips for Investing While on a Budget from Investopedia and others.
Discipline, self-control, and patience are what really makes it possible for almost anyone to start investing at almost any time. Investing is not simply about the money. Money is the tool upon which investment hinges. In the end it is your hand pulling the lever. It is about making a choice and committing to that choice. In particular having a budget and sticking to it.
Figure out what your budget is on a monthly- perhaps even weekly- basis. Determine what your investment goals are. Examine and balance your budget until you have found enough room in it that aligns with your investment goals. Or adjust your goal to fit your budget. The answer is usually somewhere in the middle.
Once you have your budget though you have to follow through on it. Otherwise you not only risk your investment, but also your financial security if you let any expenditures go out of control without you the wiser.
Pay Off Your Cards and Loans
A corollary to Discipline above is paying your credit cards on time. As much as you can pay off your credit cards and any loans you might have. The interest rates for both can and will pile up. Depending on interest rates you could end up paying out what you purchased with those loans or credit multiple times over.
If you do have debt that you cannot immediately pay off (understandable given the mixture of necessities you have to take care of) you should still make paying off sizable chunks of it part of your plan. Do not just let the interest pile up in the background.
Nickel and Dime and Pennies Too
Every little bit counts. Putting every nickel, dime, or even penny of change you do not need into a jar is a good way to put that excess change to work for you instead of piling up next to your keys. Though lugging around a big jar of change might be hard on your back and hard on the teller when you take your accumulated change to the bank.
Fortunately, advances in digital technology and services have even gone so far as to make piggy banks digital as well. This is what is called an automatic savings plan. It is a service that can be found in many financial institutions and banks. How this service works is by rounding purchases you make, particularly with your debit card, to the nearest dollar before depositing that little bit of change into a savings account. Though the amount appears small, as Michael Fassbender said in Prometheus “big things have small beginnings.”