5 Ways to Invest Money Without Hurting Your Budget
Investing is difficult for many reasons. One that some people cite is being unable to find the money. Everyone has their own sets of budgetary constraints. Whether you’re just getting on your feet after leaving home, after getting married, or after having a child, finding money to invest is always a challenge. Luckily, there are a few ways to invest money without hurting your budget:
- Start with your employer’s retirement account.
- Set up automatic contribution increases.
- Invest half of every raise.
- Use the “pay yourself first” method.
- Take a look at the monthly expenses that you don’t value.
1. Your Employer’s Retirement Account
Contributing to your employer’s retirement plan is often one of the easiest ways to invest money without feeling the pinch. You can set up automatic deductions from your paycheck that are made before you get paid. This is one of the most foolproof ways to make sure that you invest some money from every paycheck.
What’s even better is that many employers match your contributions up to a certain point. This means that every dollar of your own money that you invest turns into more than one dollar instantly. Some employers match dollar-for-dollar up to a certain percentage of your salary, while others contribute only 25 cents or 50 cents per dollar.
Either way, it’s free money that you can’t pass up if you’re looking to find more to invest.
My wife and I always invest in our employer retirement accounts to get at least the full retirement match, if not more.
Further Reading: “The Lowdown on Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans”
2. Automatic Contribution Increases
Another awesome feature that many employer-sponsored retirement plans have these days is automatic increases in contributions. All you have to do is select an amount and your employer will automatically increase your contributions by that number for each requested period. Most plans offer increases in terms of percentages on an annual basis. However, some plans offer even more choices.
You really won’t miss the money because the amounts are usually so small that you won’t even realize that they’re gone from your paycheck. If you start out investing five percent of your salary and increase that by two percent every year, you’ll eventually invest 15 percent of your salary in just five years using this method. If my wife and I weren’t already at our ideal percentage, this is exactly how we’d start increasing the amount we invest.
3. Half of Every Raise
Investing half of your raise is a genius way to find more money to invest. In order for this trick to work, you must increase your investment amount as soon as you receive your raise. Otherwise, you may incorporate your extra raise money into your budget and avoid investing it after a paycheck or two. You’ll still be able to access the other half of your raise for whatever you wish.
Personally, my wife and I love this idea because it not only helps us prevent lifestyle inflation, but will also help us retire sooner. It’s a win-win situation in our eyes.
Further Reading: Check out reviews of top online stock trading companies.
4. The “Pay Yourself First” Method
If you don’t have an employer retirement account, you can still find ways to invest money. The easiest way to do so is paying yourself first. Essentially, you decide how much you want to invest. Then you go to your investment provider and set up automatic transfers that will come out of your checking account the day after your paycheck is deposited. This way, you won’t simply invest whatever is left over at the end of the month. Instead, you’ll invest the same amount each paycheck. My wife and I use this method to fund our Roth IRAs.
You can also implement the automatic increases that some employers offer with just a bit of work. Pick your go-to calendar application and set future reminders to increase your contributions as often as you want. When the reminder goes off, increase your automatic transfer amount.
5. The Monthly Expenses That You Don’t Value
This method has the greatest upside when it comes to finding money to invest. All you need to do is take a look at your monthly spending. Make a list of your expenditures and put a mark next to categories that you feel don’t give you enough value for the money you lay out. These could be dining out, car payments, memberships, subscriptions, or any number of other expenses. Then cut back your spending in those categories to a level based on value and use the money you save for investing.
Finding ways to invest money doesn’t have to be difficult. You simply have to take action. Once you get over the initial resistance, you’ll be investing on a regular basis in no time.
Further Reading: “How to Start Investing in Stocks for Beginners”