Tuesday, June 15, 2010

5 Creative Places to Invest Your Money

When most people hear the word investing, they automatically think of stocks, bonds, bank accounts, and real estate. However, there are five simple money saving and money making investments that many people miss.

1. Car tools: If you have ever had to take an aging car to a mechanic and shell out hundred, or even thousands, of dollars for repairs, I’m betting it was an experience you hope to avoid in the future. Most people don’t realize that many simple car repairs – everything from changing your oil to replacing a radiator – can probably be done by someone with the right tools and the ability to follow written instructions. Most auto stores carry do-it-yourself car repair books, most notably the “Haynes” manual that give step-by-step illustrated instructions on how to perform most basic and several major repairs for cars of every make, year, and model.

2. Home improvements: Especially if you’re looking to sell your home in the near future (one to five years), a few simple home improvements can add dramatically to the sale price of your home. Improvements as simple as repainting the walls, updating the kitchen appliances, and redoing the tiles in your bathroom can add thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars to the value of your home. Stores like Home Depo can also often help neophytes with home improvement projects with everything from tools to manuals to helpful staff on call to answer your questions.

3. Gardening: People often underestimate the value that a vegetable garden can add to your life, both in terms of exercise and the more nutritious food that comes with it to the savings you can see each month when you harvest vegetables from your front yard instead of from the grocery store. In addition, the sense of fulfillment and happiness that individuals and families experience while growing a garden can be rewards all by themselves.

4. Education: By some estimates, college graduates on average can earn more than double the lifetime wages of someone with a high school education alone. Also, many intangible benefits come with higher education, everything from a longer life expectancy to a higher probability of your children graduating from college. Even if obtaining a college degree is currently out of reach, simple classes at the community college can often be translated directly into skills and certifications that can be used to get promotions, find better paying jobs, or make money part-time by tutoring other students in that subject.

5. Small business: Helping a friend or family member to realize a dream and open a small business can be a rewarding gesture that can generate potentially unlimited returns on your capital. In addition, your investment will give you enormous flexibility with your capital, including potential future options to invest in the business again if the business is doing well.

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