Apparently, if we were really smart, we all would have started investing when we were 19. When I was 19, I was very busy deciding which level of Mystic Tan most suited my skin tone for the next fraternity formal. Literally, the last thing on my mind was investing for retirement.
Now, nearly a decade later, saving-and-investing seems equally necessary and impossible. And let’s be honest: sometimes it really isn’t feasible. When you’re in a particular territory of utter brokeness, sometimes it’s all you can do just to buy groceries. But what if you’re just a notch above that—still broke, but less broke? If you only have 25 or 50 dollars to put aside each month, where should you put it?
Here are three financially savvy ideas, from people who probably did study finance:
Invest it. As long as you’re doing it with money that you don’t need access to for the next few years, and you’ve done the math to make sure that the fee for buying a stock or a mutual fund doesn’t offset its benefit, making a small investment can be worthwhile.
Use it to pay off debt. Another option with a small bit of cash is to add it—$25, for example—onto your minimum monthly payment for debts you’re paying off. You can save a little over $3 for every $25 you pay off per year, which may not seem like a lot, but the sooner you’re out of debt, the sooner you can put more cash money into long-term investments.
Put it in a savings account. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable investing when you have so little extra money in the first place; what if you need it for an emergency? For some people, having money from a paycheck directly deposited into a savings account, first thing, is the best way to ensure that money is set aside, while also providing the security of knowing it’s just an online transaction away from being in your checking account if the going gets tough.