Author Topic: What to do with $50???  (Read 6652 times)

Jwilliamson22

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What to do with $50???
« on: October 04, 2013, 01:23:27 PM »
What would you do with $50? There is very often topics about what you would do with windfalls of thousands of dollars, but what about $50? In my budget I get $50 a month as "pocket money" which essentially means it is my money to blow any way I want. Well, as my beard grows, I am trying to come up with ideas of how to put that $50 to better use then just blowing it and I am looking for your ideas. This is what I have come up with so far:

-Buy CFL bulbs for the house
-Buy a Belkin energy monitor to play with
-Buy Belkin energy saving outlets
-Buy Belkin energy saving power cord for electronics
-Purchase Savings bonds
-Purchase silver bullion
-Put it in my taxable investment account
-Stock pile it as physical cash in my safety deposit box

What would YOU do?

Another Reader

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Re: What to do with $50???
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2013, 01:39:34 PM »
In your situation, you are looking for a good rate of return on your $50.  You can achieve that by reducing expenses or increasing your assets.  You can do different things each month as opportunities appear.  From what you have listed, CFL bulbs would reduce your energy use while buying savings bonds or investing in your taxable account seem like good ideas to increase your assets.  In your shoes, I would probably figure out the return on investment on some of these ideas, and go with the ones that benefit you the most.  I would probably experiment with several ideas and see what was effective and what made me the happiest.

The little things do add up.  Calculate the results of investing $50 a month over 20 years at a reasonable rate of return to see what you will accomplish with that $50 a month.

Jwilliamson22

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Re: What to do with $50???
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2013, 01:47:24 PM »
In your situation, you are looking for a good rate of return on your $50.  You can achieve that by reducing expenses or increasing your assets.  You can do different things each month as opportunities appear.  From what you have listed, CFL bulbs would reduce your energy use while buying savings bonds or investing in your taxable account seem like good ideas to increase your assets.  In your shoes, I would probably figure out the return on investment on some of these ideas, and go with the ones that benefit you the most.  I would probably experiment with several ideas and see what was effective and what made me the happiest.

The little things do add up.  Calculate the results of investing $50 a month over 20 years at a reasonable rate of return to see what you will accomplish with that $50 a month.

Thanks for the input. It sounds like you are leaning towards the CFL's? For me overall with this $50 it is less about absolutely maximizing returns and more about using it kind of as "hobby money" and the hobby being frugal living/investing etc. So for me buying savings bonds might be more fun than putting it in my taxable account even if the taxable account will earn more (not necessarily true just an example). This is why I put things like silver bullion etc on my list. It may not be the best investment vehicle, but it provides a fun factor of having a physical investment.

gimp

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Re: What to do with $50???
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2013, 02:19:53 PM »
Definitely don't buy silver bullion unless you really, really know what you're doing. Investing in single items (stocks, precious metals, whatever) is generally a poor idea. Buying the physical item means that you also pay for shipping, packaging, branding, retail, etc etc. And then you pay the same things again when you sell it.

If you buy it, it'll be pretty sparkly decoration that can easily be lost or stolen.

astridlee

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Re: What to do with $50???
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2013, 02:57:30 PM »
You may be able to check out a Energy monitor from you local library. They have them at mine. Check first before spending the cash.

apennysaved

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Re: What to do with $50???
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2013, 03:15:30 PM »
A couple of things we have done for less than $100 over the past year:
1.  Switched to Air Voice-we had to buy inexpensive SIM cards to do the switch & maybe a few other things. I think the overall switch cost us @$25 to get our phones to adapt, but we are saving $175/month over what we were paying previously.
2. A dryer vent cleaner. I think this was closer to $70. It got to the point where my dryer was taking over an hour to dry a load.  After cleaning out the hose & vent, it takes between 30-40mins.  I now I could be hanging more clothes up to dry, but this is one of my luxuries.
3. We bought a Roku (about $80-one time purchase) to be able to have Netflix at home.  This allowed us to get rid of cable.  We have the local stations and we use Netflix. Another one of my luxuries, but a fraction of what we were paying before.
4. $50 can give you a great start on a veggie or herb garden. We have to grow everything in pots where we live. So, the seeds are cheap, but the pots were more expensive.
5. I spent $15 on a large pot to begin canning.  Also bought canning supplies & jars. To get started, it definitely cost under $50.  This is a great way to use up surplus from the garden or leftover fruits & veggies.  I usually prep & freeze the fruit/veggies until I have enough to make a batch or two.  I recently made a pear/raspberry freezer jelly & a pineapple/orange/jalapeņo marmalade.  Both were pretty freaking good.  Found the recipes online, but you can also make pickles, salsas, etc.
6. Bike trailer - $100 Nashbar - to cart around my toddler & groceries. Was driving to the store & everywhere else before this purchase.  Looked on Craigslist for a while, but ended up buying new.
7. Started making some household cleaners.  Most of the ingredients are less expensive and overall you should/will come out cheaper than store bought products.  The most expensive cost was essential oils.  You normally only use about 10 drops, but I had sticker shock.  Fortunately, a little goes a long way.

Just a few things to give you some more ideas.


Another Reader

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Re: What to do with $50???
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2013, 03:24:47 PM »
apennysaved has the right idea.  In your shoes, I would list all the things I could do with $50 that could reduce my expenses or increase my assets.  Some of the things will require waiting a month so you can spend $100.  Research or calculate how much you can add to your net worth by doing these things.  Pick some that appeal to you and go with them.

Save your money on the silver, though.  It takes a lot of knowledge to fool with metals investing.  Instead, reward yourself with a few easy wins.  They will motivate you to try more ideas.

theSchmett

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Re: What to do with $50???
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2013, 08:17:12 PM »
CFLs are a good simple start.  Buy ones with decent light - test them out from a store with a liberal return policy.

Heather

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Re: What to do with $50???
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2013, 06:58:09 AM »
If you don't have a low flow showerhead, you might try that. I got the American Standard Flowise 3-in-one, which defaults to lowest flow. If you flick the lever you get more flow. Rewards laziness with savings.   It will be just over $50 though.

Charlotte

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Re: What to do with $50???
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2013, 02:30:56 AM »
We tend to convert small (under $100) windfalls to cash and put them in our "cash stash".

It's money used for going out with friends/groups of people. Or when a neighborhood kid comes around selling something we're interested in splurging on. Or when we find out at the last minute that nephew's band concert has a $3 ticket price. Yanno, stuff like that.

That's what *I* would do with $50....

KittyFooFoo

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Re: What to do with $50???
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2013, 08:22:11 AM »
I would buy shoes.

I need some new shoes...

Mega

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Re: What to do with $50???
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2013, 09:30:58 AM »
Get LED bulbs for high usage or repeated on/off (think bathroom) areas, not CFLs.

Buy your SO jewelry / nice gifts.

I would and did save my fun money up and then would buy something for more $... But after a while, began to realize I didn't need that money anymore, and now I put it in my non-taxable account.

DCUrbanMM

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Re: What to do with $50???
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2013, 11:15:54 AM »
It looks like you are trying save some cash on energy bills.  Have you tried testing air leaks in your house/adding weather stripping/insulation?

http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/detecting-air-leaks