10 Ideas for When You Don’t Have Enough Money to Invest

Since I run a site geared towards beginners, I hear a lot of the same questions. One of the most common frustrations I get from readers is that they don’t have enough money to invest.

Whether you’d like to believe it or not, this is a powerful obstacle in the way of many of us wanting to make money from the stock market.

money to invest

It’s a catch-22. You can’t invest without money, and a great way to make money is through investing. Now I wish there was some magical way I could snap my fingers and fix your problem.

But there’s not one. Barring fortunate financial circumstances, money must be earned in the same way that it’s always been earned: through the sweat of the brow called hard work.

Fortunately, there’s smarter ways to go about this. Money doesn’t have to be this elusive treasure that everyone except you has access to. People have been successful before you, are successful right now, and many are willing to share why. There’s all kinds of resources like this.

And sometimes the right resources are all you need to kick start your money machine. I’m hoping at least one that I share will be of value to you. If you can combine your intellect with your ambition to work hard, maybe you can come up with some ideas on your own.

For the rest of you, you’re probably lost. I KNOW many of you are.

So here’s 10 proven ideas for getting more money to invest. 

1. Make a career change

I put this one first because although it is probably the hardest step on here, it’s also the one that could potentially make the biggest impact.

Being extremely overqualified or underpaid can be a big problem if you’ve accumulated huge student loan debt only to be left with a small paying career.

Or you might’ve skipped on the education front and are working a low skill career with little chance of advancement.

I hate to break it to you, but if you ever want decent money to invest.. you must make a change.

Not all hope is lost. There’s 35 high paying jobs with a median income over $55,000 that only require a high school diploma, associate’s degree, or certification.

Notable ones include construction supervisors, with 187,100 projected job openings through 2022 and a median salary of $59,700, registered nurses, with 1,052,600 projected job openings and a median salary of $65,470, and commercial pilots, who make $73,280 median salary and only require a commercial-pilot certificate.

There’s plenty of great certification programs that you can get connected to through a trade school or online course site. It just takes a little research on your part to find the right fit. You can use this resource for 15 great certifications, or you can go straight to the source of employment facts with the BLS and check annual salaries of most occupations in your state.

The more money you make from your primary job, the more you’ll have money to invest. It’s simple mathematics, and in the world of investing: you need money to make money.

2. Create a budget

Now that you’ve dealt with step one, it’s time to put that money to good use. One of the biggest issues with the middle class is their inability to save enough for retirement.

And it’s not limited to the middle class. You can read a book like The Millionaire Next Door to see plenty of examples of the affluent and upper middle class spending frivolously and leaving little real wealth for themselves and their families.

Oftentimes, it’s a spending problem. You don’t really know how much money you’re really mindlessly wasting until you start tracking it.

Which brings us to the budget. One of the financial gurus who has led literally millions of people to get out of debt and build real wealth uses the budget as his #1 weapon to force savings. His name is Dave Ramsey, and I highly recommend you listen to his podcast if saving money is an issue for you.

There’s a reason why his podcast is consistently the number one on iTunes for business, and it’s because his philosophy creates results.

Not only will you learn a lot about how money works, you’ll see ways that you’ve been tricked into spending more without even realizing it. A lot of the advice bucks conventional mindsets and brings back a common sense approach to your finances.

It’s also extremely inspiring and motivating. Get with the program if you haven’t listened already.

Another way to effectively create a budget is to automate your finances. Keep a spreadsheet that tracks every bill and monthly expense you have and set those on auto pay.

Doing this will show you exactly how much excess funds you could have each month if you stay disciplined.

It’s what I personally do, and it can go a long way towards helping you in your savings goals.

3. Start a business on the side

This is another thing I’ve personally done and it’s helped me see immense results. I’ve said before that the best way to build great amounts of wealth is through a business, not in the stock market.

Successful investment entrepreneurs like Porter Stansberry have said this before, and even guys like Warren Buffett are entrepreneurs first, investors second.

Even with fantastic stock market returns, the potential amount you can make is vastly overshadowed by what’s possible in the entrepreneurial world.

And with the internet and other new technologies, the barrier to entry for many entrepreneurial ventures is smaller than ever before. The best part is that you don’t have to go through it alone.

There’s an abundance of prosperous entrepreneurs that willingly share the secrets of their success for free in the expanding space of podcasts. A whole new community of internet marketers is quietly amassing behind the scenes. It’s one where each new entrepreneur’s fruitful labors brings abundance to those who freely open themselves up to the public. It’s a revolving door of riches, and it’s beautiful.

passive income

By far the best podcast about entrepreneurship that has helped me the most in my profitable entrepreneurial journey is called the Smart Passive Income Podcast by Pat Flynn.

Passive income is highly desired by all investors alike. Investing is one of the pinnacles of passive income. Yet you can create passive income in the business world and utilize it to create even more passive income through your investment portfolio.

For those who aren’t afraid to work hard now, there’s many great benefits you can reap continuously into the future. But again it takes hard work and an entrepreneurial mind, there’s no shortcuts.

I implore you to start listening to Pat Flynn’s podcast, even if you don’t have any entrepreneurial ideas yet. Immerse yourself in the world of entrepreneurial podcasts.

I’ve personally used business income to fund my Roth IRA, and I don’t see why it can’t be done by anyone else. If you want more money for investing, this is a prime way to get it.

4. Work a second job

This is pretty self explanatory. Nothing creates money like good old fashioned work. If you’re already paying your bills with your 9-5, any money earned from a second job can go directly towards your investments. That’s a nice way to build up capital quick.

What’s nice about this over #3 is that you can start making money right away, and that paycheck is dependable.

Of course the downside is that you’re trading your hours for money, which isn’t scalable in the long run. Still, every little bit you can throw towards investments helps.. Especially if you are young and can get the compounding interest snowball rolling early.

Be warned…

One thing I’ll warn you about is to stay away from jobs that require using your car. Jobs like pizza delivery or ridesharing (Uber or Lyft) carry a significant risk to your financial well being.

I was blown away to learn that these companies, even the wildly popular chains, don’t provide reliable insurance in the case you get an accident. And your personal insurance will refuse to pay your claim and drop you from their plan, making it almost impossible to find new insurance.

The reason behind this is that when you are using your car to make money, you are required to have commercial insurance. Commercial insurance is so expensive that it makes these part time jobs not even worth it.

So while a company like Uber claims to cover you if you crash on the job, they actually require you to try and get a claim with your insurance first. Which will cause your insurance to drop you like a rock. And bye-bye to getting a decent insurance plan ever again. Not to mention if the accident is fatal or leaves someone with disabilities… the stingy $1 million Uber coverage will leave you on the hook for millions more.

Pizza companies are worse. They expect you to lie to your insurance and hide the fact that you were working when you got into an accident. Which is fraud. And good luck if you think the person you hit won’t mention the pizza sign above your car to their insurance.

I hate to be the buzz kill like this. It’s all highly risky stuff, and I’d avoid it if you can. We’re trying to get more money to invest, not more debt liabilities.

5. Sell stuff

Maybe you have things that you don’t use anymore that can be exchanged for some easy cash. Maybe you have things you don’t need that can be cut from your life.

Set up a garage sale and put that money to work for you instead of letting these items collect dust.

It’s very possible you drive a lot more car than you can afford (though I admit to loving my V8 gas guzzler in spite of its lack of logical practicality).

But on a serious note, if the car loan in your name is higher than your annual income, you are making a big financial mistake.

You see, the blunders that set average people back financially are common purchases.. Things like spending too much on a house or a car.

You may have to downsize or sacrifice to make progress towards your financial goals. An ugly truth of investing is that it requires short term pain to make long term results.

6. Become a flipper

Have you ever heard the story of the red paperclip? You can read about it on Wikipedia, but basically it was a man who was inspired to make bigger and better barters, and he eventually traded one red paperclip into a house.

He traded the paperclip for a fish shaped pen, flipped that into a hand sculpted doorknob, and then bartered that for a Coleman camp stove and fuel. After more cunning trades like this one, his work finally resulted in obtaining a house.


There’s no doubt that there’s value in learning to “buy low, sell high”, and it applies past the stock market.

In fact, there’s a whole community on the internet who make good money selling items that they’ve bought for a cheap price. This is affectionately called by them, flipping.

You can go on their reddit page and read all about the various techniques and strategies towards successful flipping. There are redditors who bought ugly sweaters from thrift stores for a couple dollars and sold them on eBay during the holidays for 10x more. One of those sweaters even sold for ~$400.

There’s redditors who do it full time to make a living, and have purchased equipment and filled storage units with inventory.

As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. You can profit from this with enough time and the right expertise.

There’s even people who buy items that go on sale at local grocery and drugstores, and sell them for a profit on Amazon. There’s apps to help you with this, and several stories of people who have made thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars doing this.

The process is called fulfillment by amazon, and you can read a nice guide about it here. For entrepreneurs and the small business owner, here’s a specialized FBA guide for you.

7. Start couponing

Believe it or not, there’s ways to coupon where you can save 100% on your items. My wife is living proof of this. I’ve seen it with my very own eyes.

More often the amount you can save is closer to 75-90%. But these small kinds of savings can add up in a big way, especially when you consider rising food prices.

With coupons, there’s more to it than just clipping a coupon and using it. You can stack multiple coupons together, and you can optimize savings depending on the order that coupons are scanned and which stores you are going to.

Like most strategies on here, you’d don’t have to go through with this alone. There’s a glut of couponing YouTubers who share their best deals and strategies online.

By far the most popular couponer is the Krazy Coupon Lady, and her website alone gets over 2 million hits a day. It’s so popular because so many people are saving tons of money following her advice and posts about the latest deals.

I’ve seen coupons that have earned more money than the product cost. Meaning, you get paid to buy the item because of your coupon.

Again, this isn’t a shortcut to riches and it will require a time investment. But if you’re looking for a way to make more money to invest, why not start by cutting some expenses.

8. Meal prep your food

Like the flipping community, there’s also a subreddit dedicated to meal prep. The idea behind this is to batch cook your food and then freeze or refrigerate it.

People who tend to be more fitness inclined lean more towards meal prepping. Users like it because it makes future meals extremely convenient, it makes tracking calories and macros much easier, and it saves money too.

I’ve seen meal preps that have resulted in an effective cost of $2.00 for a delicious looking meal. Some go to the extreme and cook 100 meals or more with advanced equipment and dehydration + freezing techniques.

Without a doubt, you can use meal prepping as another way to save money on one of your higher expenses: the grocery bill.

Add up the money you’re saving from not eating out.. I bet it’s a lot more than you realize.

9. Become thrifty with your purchases

If you aren’t the type to have an aversion to used items, you can save a lot of money by buying things from a thrift store like Goodwill or from people’s garage sales.

You can download apps on your phone that show you all of the local garage sales on a given day or weekend. You’d be surprised at the kinds of things you can find at these places, if you have the eye for it.

I once got a full golf set from a garage sale for like $30 or $40, and polished it up and it played as well as a $200+ set. I’ve consistently seen sets from $25 – $40, and buckets of golf balls for $15. Compare this to the prices at the local pro shop and you’d be astounded at the differences.

garage sales

Of course, there’s some searching around that needs to happen and you won’t hit a jackpot every time. I’m sure that there were more golden nuggets lying around that I was completely unaware of, and you can find them at any garage sale.

I suggest trying to find community garage sales, ones where many houses in a neighborhood all hold a garage sale on the same day. You’ll find more chances of people quickly getting rid of stuff, and you’ll keep your shopping to a more efficient rate. Bring cash, obviously.

As another quick tip, you can find really great deals on furniture through Craigslist. People who are in the middle of a move are often desperate to get rid of hunky pieces of furniture, and if you’re able to haul it out of there you can really find some great deals.

10. Use or develop valuable skills

Finally, you can earn more money by investing in some skills. If you’re a honed writer, you can freelance at places like Elance. If you have financial expertise, you could get paid to write for a website like I’ve done at Seeking Alpha.

Maybe you’re a talented video editor, musician, programmer, or graphic designer who can offer your services to paying customers at Fiverr.com.

Websites like these take anyone who is willing to sign up, and it can be a profitable endeavour for an ambitious person with the right attitude.

A guy online shared a story about how he learned how to code Android apps from a couple of YouTube videos , and within months he was making passive income from his simple apps.

Seriously guys, there’s so much out there that you can learn how to do. Almost anything can be learned on YouTube or on other places on the web, and most of the information out there is free.

Anybody can do anything, I truly believe that.

So the next time you want to complain that you don’t have extra money to invest, revisit this page and reconsider your attitude. The beautiful thing about the world is that although nothing is owed to you, nothing is stopping you from working hard to build the life that you want.

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