A lot of the financial posts you’ll read online talk about where you should be investing your money. The problem for guys like me is that I don’t have money to invest! Slowly but surely I continue to save every penny I can in an online savings account so that one day, I have enough to be able to diversify, which includes investing in the stock market. So for now, every time I earn a little extra on the side, it goes to pay my current debt or is safely tucked away in my FNBO account. I’m not going to lie, it’s extremely boring and uneventful but it’s the smart and responsible thing to do.
Then I got to thinking. Perhaps there are better ways to invest this money and see a greater turnaround then $0.10 every year. Here’s a list of 10 interesting ways to invest the Hamilton you have sitting in your wallet right now. Some give a greater return than others, but they’re all worth considering.
- Open Up an Online Savings Account – I know, I know. I had to get the boring one out of the way first. An online savings account is the safest way to invest your money, but the downside is it’s also the least fruitful. The average online savings rate is under 1%, so you would have to invest $10 ten times, just to see a $1 return at the end of the year. Most online savings accounts do not require a minimum opening deposit so starting with $10 to get acquainted with the bank is a great way to go.
- Get an Overdue Oil Change – Chances are that if you have little to invest, you also have little to spend and routine car maintenance is not a priority. Any mechanic will tell you that changing your oil every 3,000 is overkill, but changing it every 5,000-7,000 miles is critical. There’s no reason to keep putting this extremely cheap service off any longer, and by investing $10 today, you’ll save hundreds if not thousands in the long-run on auto repairs.
- Be Romantic – A happy wife is a happy life so they say and nothing says I love you better than an unexpected treat. Chocolates or flowers always do the trick and for $10 you might even be able to get a couple of roses in there. If you’re on the other side of the equation, a man’s heart is straight through his stomach and a home cooked meal is a great way to go. Any man or woman will tell you the $10 you spend is well worth it.
- Open a P2P Lending Account - Lending Club and Prosper are great places to loan your money to others that need it. Depending on the amount of risk you are willing to take on, you can earn over 10% interest on your money. Opening an account is a cinch and building an account with $10 deposited at a time is a great way to get started.
- Make Household Repairs – You know that crack in the window or the hole in the sheet rock that is letting heat out of the house? Why not take the time to go shopping at Home Depot, buy a caulking gun, window sealant, can of paint or whatever it is you need to make those very small repairs and get to work. You’ve probably lost a good amount of money in wasted electricity or have seen enough water damage to do this months ago but better late than never.
- Pay Your Debts Off Faster – Ok, so I’ve snuck another boring one in. If you have credit card debt, mortgage debt, student loan debt, or something else, you are usually given an opportunity to pay it off faster than the monthly installments. If you’re paying 7 points on your debt and are only able to get 3 points on a long-term CD, it would make better sense to pay your debt off faster so you pay less interest.
- Donate To Charity – Even though the $10 you are donating isn’t really seen as an “investment” it will do a lot of good not only for the charity but you as well. There’s no better feeling than giving to those less fortunate than yourself and if you had the opportunity to brighten up your day and the day of someone else for only $10, wouldn’t you take it?
- Monetize Your Hobby – Sometimes, getting a fun hobby can be very expensive, however if you find a hobby that combines fun AND investing, you’ll save a lot of money in the long-run. Collecting baseball cards, coins or other valuables is a great way to invest in things a lot more interesting and cool than stocks and for just $10 you can usually get started on something new.
- Start a Website – For just $10, you can buy the domain of your choice through someone like GoDaddy.com and even though millions of sites are being built every year, there are still new and exciting ideas that haven’t been developed yet. With every day that passes, domain names are becoming less and less important in the success of an online business so just make sure you’ve got something catchy and easy to remember. Sorry, DoughRoller.net is already taken.
- Buy 10, $1 Lottery Tickets – Winning the lottery can be quite difficult and buying “scratch off” lottery tickets will only decrease your already decreased chances of winning. Stick to the jackpot drawings and don’t listen to anyone that says they know how to win. Random numbers are just as good as ones close to your heart and if you can get your co-workers involved, you may be able to reduce the amount you spend on the lottery. Just make sure not to be upset if you lose because the mathematician in me is compelled to tell you that the odds are not in your favor.
Published or updated March 6, 2013.