If you think that investing is for millionaires who can expect nothing but a prosperous, care-free future, you’re exactly right…how do you think they got that way? Though having lots of money helps, being financially secure is partly a state of mind. Whether we’re talking about how to invest 100 dollars or $100,000, the principle remains the same: putting to work the money you don’t need to spend right so you’ll be better off later on.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Turn 100 Dollars Into 1000 If You’re Willing to Put in Some Effort
- 2 Playing It Safe: Where to Invest $100 Conventionally
- 3 Getting Creative: How to Invest $100 in Alternative or Substitute Instruments
- 4 Get Started on Investing!
How to Turn 100 Dollars Into 1000 If You’re Willing to Put in Some Effort
Investing is usually a passive activity; at most, your involvement will be limited to checking on your money’s performance and making occasional adjustments to your portfolio. If you’re willing to get out there and hustle, however, you will almost certainly see much bigger returns and perhaps even lay the foundation for a better life.
Start a Pop-Up Business
Many people dream of being their own boss “someday”, but never take the first step toward getting there. Running a formal business with clients, employees and financial statements really are hard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start small.
There’s no shortage of good ideas out there once you start looking for them. Buying a cooler full of soft drinks and selling them at some event or even in a parking lot is one example of how to turn 100 dollars into 200 in under 24 hours. Alternatively, you can design and print T-shirts, buy a few basic tools and start helping others with basic repairs, or even learn to make some crafting product that sells for many times the cost of its ingredients.
Invest in Yourself
This may seem like a platitude, but the first piece of advice many wealthy people will give you is to read and study as much as you can. You may have to wait years to see the rewards, but skills and knowledge are assets that never go away. To give one example, a warehouse assistant who has completed a course on basic accounting, or in fact an accountant with a forklift license, is automatically more employable.
Start a Website
If you have some particular interest – cooking, gardening, chainsaw juggling, craft beer – chances are that someone is willing to read what you have to say on the subject. A hundred dollars can easily pay for a website’s domain (name) registration and a year’s web hosting. As long as you keep adding fresh, high-quality content, your monthly readership is almost sure to increase over time. Eventually, you’ll be able to monetize this by hosting ads.
Trade in Household Goods
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: if you can buy stuff from the one who thinks it’s trash and sell it on to the guy who thinks it’s a treasure, you can make a profit.
Websites like Craigslist make it possible to earn a steady living in this way. You can scout out possible merchandise to flip at events like garage sales, estate auctions and discount days at thrift stores. You’ll often find useful stuff that’s way underpriced, especially in wealthy neighborhoods, and can earn even more if you have a skill like re-upholstering furniture.
Playing It Safe: Where to Invest $100 Conventionally
Slow and steady wins the race – if security is important to you, you’ll be glad to know that it’s often possible to invest small amounts in much the same way as larger sums. The returns you can expect are normally on the low side, but at least you shouldn’t have to walk away with less than you put in.
Pay off Your Existing Debt
Investing is all about risk and returns. Usually, the higher the risk, the higher the rewards will be if things happen to go your way. When you pay off your credit cards, student loans, mortgages and other debt faster than you have to, the risk is literally zero – you can’t ask for a better deal than that.
If you don’t know what to do with 100 dollars, adding it to the monthly payment of whatever payday loan is charging you the highest interest should be your first thought. Instead of compound interest working for you, it stops working against you, but the math works out exactly the same.
Open a High-Yield Savings Account
Chances are that you’re not earning anywhere near the best interest rate on your existing checking account. A dedicated savings account, whether online or at a more traditional bank, often requires a minimum balance of around $100 to open and, in 2020, yields around 1.9% APY. Once you have one of these, investing small amounts whenever you can afford to will be that much easier.
Nobody knows how to turn 100 dollars into 1000 within a year without doing anything or accepting any risk whatsoever, but if you want to grow your money while steering clear of alternative investments, the stock market is the way to go.
The average Joe or Jane really doesn’t have the time to do all the necessary research into companies’ financial performance, though. Exchange traded funds are a neat way to get around this obstacle: professionals manage your portfolio for you in return for a small commission, and many accept investments of as little as one hundred dollars. Assuming that you’re willing to wait 5 to 10 years to let temporary fluctuations in the market level out, this type of investment is perfect for those who want high returns with moderate risk. So-called “no-load” mutual funds are similar to EFTs in many ways and are also worth a look.
If you, like so many fools who’ve lost their shirts, believe that you’ve found a “sure thing”, or you’ve actually done at least a week’s research on a particular stock and are reasonably confident that its price will rise and/or pay out dividends, you can purchase part of a company for only $100.
Most brokers’ fees make such small trades uneconomical, but you may want to take a look at the following online options:
- TD Ameritrade
Alternatively, you can approach a company directly and inquire about their direct stock purchase plan. These aren’t advertised in the way EFTs are; the best way to see whether they’ll accept small investments is to go to their website and click on Investor Relations. You will also want to see if they offer a dividend reinvestment plan, which allows you the option of reinvesting your earnings with them even if these amount to less than the price of a full share.
Unless you’re willing to dredge through pages and pages of financial and industry reports, buying penny stocks is essentially gambling rather than investing. Treat these just like you would roulette: each such trade should be a one-time thing, gone into with the full knowledge that you may end up losing all your chips.
Penny stocks are usually shares in small companies that trade outside of the major exchanges. This means that their liquidity (the ease with which they can be bought and sold) is often low, and you won’t be able to turn to financial publications for expert advice on their prospects. When their price moves, it usually does so quickly; whether this will be upwards or down can be anyone’s guess.
Companies looking to finance expansion or restructure existing debt often turn to the “money market”, where they compete with others to borrow money at the most attractive interest rate. These offers are usually fairly restricted, making it difficult for small investors to get a foot in the door, but it is occasionally possible to buy even private placement bonds for as little as one hundred dollars. Knowing that you’re getting a good deal requires almost as much research as investing in the stock market, however, which is probably not the best use of your time for such a small amount.
How to Invest 100 Dollars with the Government
Uncle Sam is perpetually broke, and he’s eager to borrow money from you. If you want to know how to double 100 dollars quickly, you’re better off looking elsewhere, but treasury securities are extremely safe and carry guaranteed returns. You can even buy and sell them online fast, securely and with a minimum of fuss.
Certificates of Deposit
Banks, too, are always interested in temporarily using others’ funds and pay a small premium for doing so. A CD is simply an agreement to keep a sum of cash with the bank for a period ranging from months to years, after which it’s refunded to you plus a little extra.
Start an IRA
While we don’t have space here to discuss the differences between the various types of retirement plans, one thing you need to know is that you can most certainly open an Individual Retirement Account for under $100. If you don’t currently have an IRA or 401(k), you should really look into these, even if you’re self-employed – most people’s investment goals include spending their sunset years in comfort.
Apps to Smooth the Road
Various technological platforms can help you find the best place to park your money, usually consisting of a mixture of the financial products described above. Using these makes it easy to invest small amounts; for instance, many of them allow you to buy a fraction of a share in a company. Others are AI-driven “robo advisors” that can actually respond to questions like “What can I invest in with 100 dollars?” in a sensible way.
Without going into detail or endorsing any particular one over the others, here’s a list of some popular ones:
- M1 Finance
Getting Creative: How to Invest $100 in Alternative or Substitute Instruments
Though having only a small amount of money to invest limits the options available to you in many ways, there are still many avenues open to you, including some which stretch the definition of “investment” a little.
When you really get down to it, $100 is not a huge amount of money; you can probably afford to lose it without facing ruin. With Bitcoin and similar airy-fairy forms of money, losing most of your investment is a distinct possibility, but it’s also possible to cash in as long as you’re willing to learn the ins and outs of this game.
Gold, in a sense, is the opposite of Bitcoin: its value remains stable while that of other currencies fluctuate around it. This makes precious metals in the form of second-hand jewelry or a stake in a gold-based EFT perhaps the best way to invest 100 dollars when the economic outlook is uncertain.
Buy Upscale and Save
This isn’t really an investment as far as most interpretations go, but since it involves you setting aside money now in order to have more later, we’re going to toss it in here.
Paying more upfront often means the money in your pocket later on. To give one example, the cheapest phone plan by month may still cost more over the long term than buying your own device and choosing a pay-as-you-go option. Similarly, buying quality footwear, clothing and car tires all save you money compared to choosing shoddy alternatives.
Invest in Your Health
When it comes to personal finance, not everything that matters can easily be measured in numbers. When is the last time you visited a doctor or dentist? A hundred dollars should cover a basic checkup which may end up saving you thousands if it detects a problem before it becomes difficult to treat.
A hundred bucks can also buy you a yearlong gym membership or a good pre-owned exercise machine. You may not be worried about the state of your arteries right now, but spending a little money wisely now can avoid huge medical bills in the future.
Home Improvement and Repair
Any asset, including your home, is worth what people are willing to pay for it. This means that you can easily increase your net worth by putting your hundred dollars into a new porch, a little landscaping and of course keeping up with obligatory upkeep. Simply slapping on a new coat of paint may be one of the best short term investments you can make today.
Become a Peer-to-Peer Lender
A lot of the banking business consists simply of them borrowing money from one person (i.e. letting you deposit it with them), then lending it to someone else at a higher interest rate. Peer to peer lending just cuts out the middleman in this process, allowing you to lend money to strangers.
There is some risk involved in this, but you can spread even as little as 100 among several borrowers to reduce your exposure. The interest rates you earn tend to be in the middle single digits.
How to Make Money with 100 Dollars Through Crowdfunding
Financial advisors and brokers are prohibited, both by law and professional ethics, from promoting certain types of risky investments to people who may not be able to understand them: property developments, startup companies, and offshore stocks being some examples. There is an easy way around this for those willing to take the risk, though: multiple small investors pooling their resources.
Equity crowdfunding is not something the cautious investor should consider. If, on the other hand, you’re willing to risk losing everything you put in while supporting businesses aligned with your own values, this is where to invest $100 in a company or venture you believe in – and just possibly get a spectacular payoff if it succeeds.
Pooled Real Estate Investment
Just like you probably can’t bankroll an entire company by yourself, your spare cash will most likely not cover the purchase price of an office building or even a single apartment. This doesn’t mean that you’re totally excluded from that market, though: just like with equity crowdfunding, several platforms exist to help you get in on the ground floor and own part of an asset that (hopefully) appreciates in value while producing a steady rental income. Some of these are:
- Equity Multiple
As my mother used to say: “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” Plenty of people tie up their money in figurines, memorabilia or art that will never appreciate in value.
There’s nothing wrong with collecting signed baseballs or seashells from around the world. Be very careful when thinking of these as investments, though: emotion and financial planning don’t mix well. Even experts on things like antique coins, Pokemon cards, and fine pottery often get it wrong.
Get Started on Investing!
Everybody, no matter how strapped for cash they might think they are, should really begin investing in their twenties or at least their thirties. Having a nest egg gives you much better options later in life, especially when you’re approaching retirement or planning a major life change. Here’s how this works:
John invests $1,000 in an EFT on his 40th birthday. By the time he turns 60, this is worth $7,300.
Joan invests the same sum, but when she’s 20. Forty years later, she has $53,700.
This one game where the early mouse definitely gets the cheese. Here’s another pair of examples.
Sam puts away $50 a month at 5% interest for 15 years. At the end of that period, he’s invested $9,000 and can cash out $13,400.
Sally regularly saves $50 on the same terms, but then leaves the investment to grow for another decade. She’s also allocated $9,000 in total, but she now owns $22,100.
If you’re only starting out, you might want to establish an emergency fund containing three to six months’ salary first or choose liquid investments that can be cashed out easily rather than bonds or CDs. Once you have some money squirreled away, however, you’d be a fool to let it sit idle instead of making you richer – this is, in 99% of cases, how income is turned into true wealth.