10 Ways To Start Investing With Little Money

You don’t need to have large sums of money before you can start investing. These days, you can easily start investing with little money.

Gone are the days where you need to have thousands of dollars to open a brokerage account. Investing is now accessible to everyone, irrespective of their income level.

Two of the biggest factors that guarantees investment success is the ability to invest regularly and start early. You may not have thousands of dollars to invest every month, but most people can squeeze out a few hundreds to invest.

Once you start, you’ll need to decide how to invest the little money and gradually increase it. In this post, we provide 10 ways to consider.

1. Use A Robo-Advisor

One of the easiest ways to start investing with little money and without a lot of investing knowledge is through a robo-advisor.

They usually require a low initial investment amount and some of them don’t even have a minimum requirement. This means you can start investing with as little as $20.

To get started, you’ll need to answer some simple questions to determine your investment goals and risk tolerance. The robo-advisor will then use the information to construct a portfolio with an asset allocation that suits your needs.

With your account set up, simply contribute little amounts to it regularly and it’ll be automatically invested for you.

You can get started by opening an account with Questrade or WealthSimple. If you’re a US resident, check out Betterment.

2. Use a Low-Cost Investing Service

If you don’t like the robo-advisor route and want to get more involved, another way to invest using little money is through a low-cost investing service like an online brokerage.

Why use low-cost brokerage? It’s simple. The brokerage commission you pay for each trade will quickly add up and eat into your returns if you’re investing little sums.

Imagine investing $100 each time and paying $10 fees per trade. That’s a whopping 10 percent lost to fees alone. Compare this to someone investing $1,000, the fee is only 1% of the investment amount.

In Canada, Questrade lets you buy ETFs for free and stocks starting at $4.95 to a max of $9.95. Investing using ETFs are more cost-effective and lets you keep more of your money when you only have a small amount to invest at a time.

3. Invest Spare Change

There are apps that rounds up your spending and let you invest the spare change automatically.

How do they work? Simply link your bank accounts, debit and credit cards to the app. Each time you make a purchase, the amount will be rounded up, usually to the nearest dollar, and invested.

For example: If you bought a cup of coffee for $2.15, it’ll be rounded up to $3 and the spare change of 85 cents will be invested.

This is a smart way to start investing with little money. In fact, you can start with $0.

Roundup Apps in Canada include:

  1. WealthSimple Roundup (offered within it’s robo-advisor offering)
  2. Moka (formerly Mylo)

But of course, you’ll need to invest more than a few cents at a time.

The next few tips will show you how to do just that.

4. Enroll In Your Employer’s Retirement Plan

Another way to invest small amounts is by enrolling in your employer sponsored retirement savings plan.

Your contribution is automatically deducted from each pay, and some employers will even match your contribution up to a certain percentage.

Start with a small percentage like 1-2 percent and gradually increase it over time. The good thing is that you’ll hardly notice the decrease in your take-home pay.

5. Invest Any Raises From Your Job

Getting a raise from a job is a nice opportunity to increase how much you invest.

Don’t succumb to lifestyle creep, where you increase your spending on non-essential items as your income increases. Rather, see a raise in your income as an opportunity to invest more.

If you already contribute to a retirement plan from your employer, simply increase your contribution percentage. Alternatively, calculate the extra cash and invest it through a robo-advisor or online brokerage.

6. Set Up Small Direct Deposits

Automating your contribution is a good practice whether you are investing small sums or large amounts of money.

It removes friction and gives you one less decision to make.

If you set up a small pre-authorized transfer, say $50 twice a month, you would have invested $1,200 after a year. And you’ll probably not even notice or feel the difference.

Match the frequency to when you receive your salary. The money moves from your chequing to the investment account, where it can be invested.

7. Rearrange Your Budget

Reallocate some money from other expenses to investing

If you’re struggling with setting aside some money to invest, do an audit of your expenses and monthly budget.

Look for areas to cut back and reallocate the money to investing. Do you eat out often or buy coffee everyday? How about preparing your meals and cutting back on the number of times you buy coffee?

Doing this exercise may free up a few hundreds of dollars every month. Put that money towards investing.

Related Post: Why You Need A Budget

8. Immediately Invest Any Tax refund

When you’re only investing little money, any extra money or “windfall” you receive is an opportunity to super-charge your investment.

Granted, your tax refund is not a windfall but that is exactly how many people treat it.

If you’re in the habit of spending your refund on the latest gadgets or other non-essential items, now is the time to stop. Use the money to top-up your investment account. Your future self will thank you for it.

Are you expecting a refund because you contributed to your RRSP? Reinvesting it in your TFSA, RRSP or other registered accounts is a great way to maximize the tax-sheltered compounded returns.

Related Post: 5 ways to reduce your tax

9. Ask For Investing Money, Rather Than Other Gifts

Receiving cash instead of gifts is a smart way of getting extra cash to invest.

Of course, this won’t always be an option. You can’t just go around telling people to give you cash instead of getting you a gift.

But you can try it with close family and friends.  For example, instead of getting expensive gifts for your children, collect the cash and invest it in their Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

10. Make Extra Money

Make extra money from side-gigs and put the proceeds towards investing

There could be different reasons why you’re only investing little money. It could be because you’re paying off debt, earning too little, saving for a short-term goal and so on.

Whatever the reason, making extra money can help you free up more cash to invest.

And there are several options to try.

You can start a side gig using the skills you have by offering your services on sites like Fiverr or Upwork. Or make physical products and sell on Etsy, Amazon or open a Shopify store.

Conclusion

You don’t need big sums of money to start investing; start with the little amount you have.

There’s no need waiting for the perfect time – it may never come.

Yes, your investment will grow slowly and earn very little at the beginning. But if you can stay committed when you have little to invest, you’ll find it easier to invest when you start earning more.

Any other tips you think should be included? Drop them in the comments.

Related Post: Want to Build Wealth? 21 Money Mistakes to Avoid

Simon is a CPA by day and a Personal Finance Blogger by night. With over a decade experience in financial services, he's passionate about personal finance, investing and helping people take control of their financial life.

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