Finding money to invest

Erin Lowry
January 27, 2018
7 min read
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“I’d like to invest, but I don’t have any money.”

It’s the plight scores of millennials face when it comes to leveling-up their financial lives. Investing is a key component to building wealth, but how can you start when it feels like every dollar in a paycheck is already spoken for?

Create a dedicated investing savings account

Start by putting all the money you’re saving to invest in a dedicated account and then rename it: “Investment Savings”. Creating a dedicated account helps you both focus on the goal and easily track your progress. Renaming the account will throw up a psychological barrier when you’re tempted to raid the account for FOMO indulgences.

Start with 1%

Automate one percent of your paycheck your new savings account. Make sure that one percent (and any other money you routinely save) goes to savings before hitting your regular checking account. One percent may sound worthless at first. However, the beauty of one percent is that you’ll barely feel the difference. The pain is minimal. Then as you adjust to living with one percent less, you can increase it to two percent. Besides, you only need to save $50 to open a flexible Swell account.

Negotiate, then actually save your savings

Write a list of all your monthly bills. Evaluate that list and see if there’s an option to call and negotiate a lower price point. Or you can wait for an annual renewal period with things such as Internet providers, insurance policies or landlords. The next step is to actually save your savings! Letting the $10 a month you shaved off your Internet plan go into your checking means you’re not really saving, you’re just spending the same $10 per month.

While you’re at it, nix subscriptions you never really use or no longer value.

Try the $5 savings challenge

This challenge requires using cash instead of always swiping plastic. Spend cash only in your day-to-day life for two weeks. Each time you’re given a $5 bill as change, you need to put it in a jar/envelope/piggy bank. It sounds silly, but I’ve personally saved more than $400 in five months of doing the $5 savings challenge. You could do a less painful version and save any coins you’re given as change instead of $5 bills. It can be quite the gut punch when you get three fives back from a twenty.

Side hustle for savings

There are two options when it comes to finding money to save: spend less or earn more. Why not double down and pick up a side hustle and then save your earnings? You can monetize a current skill (e.g. create a shop on Etsy), or provide a service (e.g. dog walker, babysitter, Uber driver), or pick up a regular part-time job at a local store or restaurant.

Purge and sell

We could probably all do with purging our closets and drawers, unless you already live in a tiny house. Gone are the days we have to use yard sales to get cash for our old possessions. Instead, you can turn to a variety of online options including: Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace (if you don’t want to pester your friends directly), ThreadUp, or Tradesy.

Finding money to invest doesn’t have to be about ditching your daily pleasures – here’s looking at you lattes – but rather getting entrepreneurial or making small tweaks to your current financial strategies.


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