10 Simple Ways To Start Investing for Any Budget

Wondering how to start investing with minimal effort? Read on.

by: Nicole Spector | January 14, 2021
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In an uncertain economy, people are eager to get on track financially, and make sound, diverse investments. One way to do that is to get into the stock market. But how? The old model of a stockbroker in an office, taking your call and then putting you into a blue-chip or a penny stock is largely a thing of the past.

Thanks to the automation (and dare we say, the app-i-zation) of financial services, a wealth of investing power is now in the hands of consumers everywhere. It’s often just a download and a few clicks away, and you don’t have to be rich to get started. In fact, these services are mostly targeted at those low on funds and high on ambition.

There are many user-friendly services that give the average American — who may be living on a tight budget — a solid way of putting themselves in the market. Here’s a look at some that really stand out in terms of intuitiveness, innovation and convenience.

1. Learn What Other Investors Are Doing

If you’re new to investing, it can be hard knowing where to start. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a place where you could follow other investors and learn what they are doing – sort of like investor influencers? You’re in luck because that’s exactly what Seeking Alpha offers plus a lot more. It’s a one-stop shop for all your investing needs and boasts itself as the largest investing community in the world. Their community includes everyone from new investors to fund managers.

Seeking Alpha provides stock ratings, analysis and performance and you can even compare your stocks side-by-side with your peers. You can sync your existing portfolio as well as build and manage a new portfolio all in their platform. It’s a great place to interact with and learn from other investors. They offer multiple subscription options, but the most popular is the Premium Plan. It provides access to a million investing ideas and earnings call transcripts and audio on thousands of stocks not covered elsewhere. The Premium Plan is $19.99/month and comes with a free trial.

Receive $5 to Start Investing Today

2. Get a $5 Bonus To Start Investing

One question people often have is “How can I invest cash when I haven’t made cash from investing?” Stash answers that question. The service lets you get into the market for as little as $5, and fees are minimal to get started. They have three subscription tiers, starting with a $1/month entry-level plan (which includes basic investing, banking¹ and insurance offerings⁴, plus advice for beginning investors) and they go all the way up to a $9 monthly subscription (more involved advice, the option of retirement accounts² and two custodial accounts for kids³, and higher levels of banking and insurance⁴). To make it even better, they are offering a $5 bonus when you sign up and add $5 or more to your account.

Receive $5 to Start Investing Today

3. Get a Robo-Advisor

Vanguard is one of the largest financial service companies in the world, having built a legacy as a trusted provider of mutual funds as well as exchange-traded funds. Its stellar reputation is the main allure of the company’s digital advisor, which gives the average advisor access to deep reserves of institutional expertise. The only caveat is that you’ll have to reach into your pocket a bit deeper to start — you’ll need $3,000 to enroll, though Vanguard’s fees won’t put you out too much (there’s an annual net advisory fee of about 0.15% of your balance).

Get Automated Investing With a Large Financial Services Company

4. Start Trading Commission-Free Online

One of the pioneers of the discount brokerage industry, TD Ameritrade not only offers commission-free online trades but also offers powerful tools to make the most of those trades. Tools include intuitive platforms built to work with every kind of investor, from those actively trading to looking to invest for the long term. There’s also a massive depth of data and insights, plus an AI-powered experience to help investors reach their own goals. Not only are online trades commission-free, but there’s no minimum opening deposit to start an account, so it’s incredibly easy to jump in and get going.

Sign Up and Start Investing Online Commission-Free Today

5. Invest in Thousands of Stocks with as Little as $1

Named after the famed mythical character who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, the Robinhood app aims to extend the benefits of the stock market not just to institutional investors but to small individual ones, including regular folks who may not be confident or experienced enough to play the market without an app that makes it super convenient. Based in Menlo Park, the service was a trailblazer when it came to commission-free stock trading. You get your first stock free when you sign up or download the app, which has been praised for its seamless performance and striking, intuitive interface.

Sign Up and Earn Your Free Stock

6. Join The World’s Most Secure and Trusted Crypto Exchange

If you’re looking to dip your toe into the world of cryptocurrency, take a look at Gemini. It has been voted the #1 cryptocurrency exchange multiple times and has led the charge in security and compliance in the industry. It’s free to sign up and you can get started investing with as little as $5. Gemini makes it simple to research the crypto market and buy, sell or trade over 45 cryptos including bitcoin, ethereum and dogecoin. It even has its own currency, the Gemini dollar (GUSD), a 1:1 USD-backed stablecoin issued by Gemini where customers can redeem a GUSD for $1 anytime.

Sign up for Your Free Account & Start Investing in the Future of Money

7. Easily Save & Invest in the Background of Life

Looking for a company that specializes in robo-investing and micro-investing? You’ve come to the right place. Despite its innovative approach — where you can turn literal spare change into an active investment — Acorns isn’t a new kid on the block; it’s been around since 2012 and launched as an iOS and Android app back in 2014. When you sign up, you’ll have a choice of predesigned portfolios. The company also handles checking account services and retirement IRA products, among other services to get you on an optimal financial track.

Get a $5 Bonus Investment By Signing Up Today

8. Check Out This Finance Super App

M1 is a robust financial services company that offers a portfolio of services, including brokerage accounts, checking accounts and lines of credit. The company’s trading platform lets you trade nearly everything: common stocks, preferred stocks, fractional shares and even exchange-traded funds. When you sign up, you get a one-year free trial for M1 Plus (valued at $125) and a bonus of up to $500 if you deposit $1,000 or more. M1 Finance uses two dozen tech products and services to bring the best service to your fingertips.

In addition to savvy investing, M1 offers an FDIC-insured checking account with both interest and cash back on qualifying debit purchases. It also provides low-interest loans — to help you succeed in your next business venture, or eliminate your debt.

M1 packages investing, spending and borrowing into one, easy-to-use platform — no gimmicks.

Get Up To $500 To Your New M1 Invest Account

9. Easily invest in Rental Homes

Innovative and distinctive, Arrived is a one of a kind on this list. The service gives individual investors access not to the stock market, but to the rental home market — a whole other, booming ballgame. For an initial investment of as little as $100, you can participate in Arrived’s unique platform and purchase shares of pre-vetted rental properties, enabling you to become a bonafide real estate investor. All the work is done for you so that you can just sit back, relax and collect passive income. And who knows? Maybe you’ll make enough in the rental housing market to be able to make a fierce killing on Wall Street.

Click Here For A Better Way to Invest in Real Estate

10. Invest in Private Companies

Linqto enables consumers to invest in private companies, aka, before they  IPO and become publicly traded. That said, you must be an accredited investor so this opportunity won’t be for everyone. In an effort to grow its community, Linqto lets users refer the service to friends and get $250 Linqto Bucks. Once your pal seals the deal on their first investment, you get $750 Linqto Bucks. If you qualify as an accredited investor and have always wanted to invest in a unicorn, now is your chance.

Sign-up to Start Investing in Pre-IPO Unicorns


Do you have savings tips to start investing, or were you able to make money with these services? Email us at Money@GOBankingRates.com and share your story. We may even choose to highlight it in a future article. Adam McFadden contributed to the reporting for this article.


Paid non-client endorsement. See Apple App Store and Google Play reviews. View important disclosures.

1Bank Account Services provided by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC. Investment products and services provided by Stash Investments LLC, not Green Dot Bank, and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value.
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