It seems that almost everyone is interested in investing right now, which is a good thing if you have done your research and you’re both financially and emotionally ready. However, many students I know are having a hard time getting started with their first investment. One of the most common reasons I’ve come across is a tight budget that doesn’t allow the opportunity to take funds from somewhere else to begin their investing journey. Keep reading for a few tips to help you get started if this is something holding you back from reaching your goals.
Even when funds seem tight, there are usually a few things we’re spending money on that we don’t realize are adding up. Are you paying a $3.50 service fee when you go to an ATM that isn’t your financial institution? Have you recently upgraded your coffee order because it’s only $2 more? Cutting out small fees, dining out less, and making changes in daily habits can offer a lot more flexibility in your budget than you’d think, giving you the opportunity to begin investing in small chunks.
Goals are less overwhelming when you can make small strides to get there and not feel pressured to accomplish them overnight. This is where making small daily or weekly savings goals come into play. If you’re a server or bartender and typically have cash on you, make it a goal to set aside $1.00 or so each shift. If you send your roommate money each week online, also transfer $5.00 to an investment sub-saver. This method won’t offer a million dollars for you to begin investing, but it will start adding up and allow you to put some money toward your future.
One of the easiest ways to save is to forget you’re doing it. If you get direct deposit from your employer or make regular deposits into your account, setting up automatic transfers to an investment sub-saver eliminates the step of deciding if you want to save or spend a set amount of money. It can be a lot harder to choose to transfer $5 of the $250 you receive than to figure out how to live off $245 until your next deposit.