It shouldn’t be hard to save $100 these days. Unless you are the cheapest and most boring person alive who eats Ramen noodles every day and spends Friday and Saturday making shadow puppets with your hands, there are at least one or two wasteful activities you could skip in the next month that would save you a hundred dollars.
Finding $100 should be especially easy this time of year since most Americans are already deciding how they want to spend that tax refund. So, what should you buy with 100 dollars?
The financially responsible answer is: do not spend it and put it in a savings account to cover emergencies that may pop up between now and the next tax refund. But what fun is that? It’s just $100 and if that crispy Benjamin is going to make or break your bank account, you got bigger financial problems than we thought and should probably read one of our other articles discussing how to save money.
Since that $100 isn’t going to make you rich and even one share of Apple or Google stock is too expensive for you to buy, let’s discuss alternate ways you could spend it to make more money, help your career, or make yourself happier.
Make Money Online
Believe it or not, $100 is enough to start a home-based business and make money online. When I say home-based business, I’m not talking about crappy direct marketing companies like Avon, Amway, Herbalife, or Mary Kay. Really, who wants to hit up their family and friends for money, especially when you’re trying to sell overpriced organic shampoo or ant killer?
The best ways to make money from home include freelancing (writing, editing, social media management), becoming a virtual assistant or personal concierge, starting your own YouTube channel, selling home-made arts and crafts on Etsy, Amazon, and eBay, or offering tutoring services in your area.
If you want to make money online and have a passion for writing or expressing yourself through other mediums (film, video, song, dance, etc.), blogging may be the best outlet for your entrepreneurial spirit. Starting a blog and making money is easier and cheaper than it’s ever been. A domain costs less than $10 per year and hosting is about $5 per month, but the real cost is your time because you won’t become an overnight millionaire.
Fortunately for you, passion, talent and dedication are quickly noticed in the blogosphere and if you truly offer your readers value in terms of a good resource or technology, you will quickly garner a cult-like following.
Help Your Career, Invest in a Hobby
While hobbies such as golfing, tennis, wine tasting and playing guitar in a band may seem frivolous or expensive, they can provide much-needed relaxation, help build self-confidence, and offer the opportunity to even help your career. If you want to build a relationship with your boss, sharing a passion may be one of the best ways to extend your rapport beyond the confines of the office.
And don’t underestimate the importance of excelling at your hobby – many people associate the athleticism, focus, and/or skills required to be multi-talented with the ability to perform professionally as well. Although golf clubs aren’t cheap, start with one and master your technique. The same goes for a tennis racket, instrument, or any other equipment you may need to get started in a particular hobby.
There are other ways you can invest in your career as well. We all know that the business world isn’t just about how good you are at something, it’s also about who you know and if you can play the part. There are networking conferences, seminars and alumni mixers in every major city. Pay the $20 cover charge, have a couple drinks and get to know other professionals.
You never know where you’ll meet an entrepreneur with the next great idea or get offered the job that will change your life. Building relationships is important in every industry and career, so don’t wait till you start a job search or need a reference. No one wants to feel like they are being used.
Lastly, do you feel embarrassed every time you put on your business suit or have to call in late because your car broke down? Maybe you’ve been putting off buying a pair of dress shoes, shirt and tie? Or you’ve been skipping repairs for the car that helps you commute to work?
Looking and acting professional are essential to furthering your career, not just getting the job during an interview. As much as we hate to admit it, appearances do matter, and exceeding expectations in every way will help your career.
Finally, the moment most of you have been waiting for: fun things to buy for under 100 dollars.
1. Inflatable Beer Pong Table
- Price: $59.95
- Description: Pool parties are a great way to make new friends and every party with 20-somethings has at least one guy and girl who want to play beer pong. Save yourself the mess and get a beer pong table for your pool.
2. Brass Knuckles Taser
- Price: $44.95
- Description: 950,000-volt taser fitted like brass knuckles. Just don’t be an idiot and bring it into the pool while you are playing beer pong – you won’t have any more friends, literally.
3. Whiskey Stones
- Price: $19.99
- Description: No whiskey drinker likes their drink watered down with ice cubes, so use whiskey stones to chill your alcohol while keeping the original flavor. This would probably make a great gift for your boss, assuming he is a whiskey drinker. Beware – do not gift this to your boss if he is a recovering alcoholic.
4. iPhone Case / Money Clip
- Price: $16.99
- Description: Convenient and practical, but don’t lose it or you are in double-trouble.
5. Snowboard Bottle Rack
- Price: $78.00
- Description: Snowboard bottle racks are great additions to any bachelor pad. Hand-made from real snowboards, the rack is perfect for wine, hard liquor, beer, and soda.
6. Altec Lansing Mini Speaker System
- Price: $29.95
- Description: Small enough to fit almost anywhere but big enough to provide a powerful sound system, this mini speaker system is compatible with all iPods and iPhones.
7. Touch Screen Texting Gloves
- Price: $3.99
- Description: Don’t freeze your hands and fingers anymore, these fully washable gloves are made of a special conductive material to help you answer calls and text in the cold.
8. Inflatable Outdoor Beach Back Pillow
- Price: $19.99
- Description: Now you can actually read and study at the beach like you tell your parents you do. This inflatable outdoor beach back pillow comes with a ground sheet and offers back-support for your reading comfort as well as the option to sleep.
What To Buy With 100 Dollars
There are lots of ways to spend $100, but the trick is to make sure you get value for your money. Before rushing out to the store, think about the best ways to spend that extra money so after it’s gone, you still have something to show for your investment. If you are still unsure about what to buy with 100 dollars, just keep it in your wallet as motivation to keep saving.
If you can save $100 each month without significantly changing your lifestyle, try increasing your monthly savings to $500 or $1,000 and imagine the investment opportunities you could have after a few years.