Investing small amounts of money is probably the most sound advice that my parents gave me. To say I will deposit $1000 in my savings account is overwhelming and impractical. To commit to depositing $20 a week is definitely possible and at the end of the year I’ll have saved $1040 which is actually more than my initial goal. I think the problem that people have with investing is that it takes a backseat to all our other bills. If something is left, THEN we will set some aside. Any financial planner will tell you to pay yourself first. Put 10% of your paycheck into some sort of investment.
There are easy ways to watch your dollar signs add up. Start by finding a high interest savings account. I use ING. The rates are higher than any local banks or credit unions, and they even offer cd’s ranging from 3 months on up at even higher interest rates. Find little ways to add on to your savings. When you commit to eating out only one night a week, follow through. Put the money you would have spent the second night directly into savings so you aren’t tempted to spend it.
Most people, when they actually keep track of all their bills are confused where all their extra money goes. Buying a candy bar here and a latte there can really add up. Only treat yourself occasionally and if you find you need that pick me up switch your outlook. Buy a box of candy bars at a store like Costco or Smart and Final and keep them at home. Only stop for Starbucks every other day or switch to plain coffee and add sweetener yourself. Purchase some reusable water bottles and stop buying expensive bottled water or put a filter on your tap. Whenever you eat that candy bar at home or buy that regular coffee have a change jar where you put the extra money you saved. The key is to actually set that money aside so it doesn’t go towards something else.
If you get more adventurous with your investing you can begin to look into cd’s, stock market, real estate and such. But, for the beginner, train your mind to save not spend. And then, train yourself to actually SAVE. When you see those $ signs adding up, that isn’t an excuse to reward yourself with a new purse or DVD you’ve been wanting. SAVE!