4 smart things to do with an extra $50, according to financial planners

savings emergency fundGleb Leeonov/Strelka Institute/FlickrIt can be just as smart to spend $50 as it is to save it.Gleb Leeonov/Strelka Institute/Flickr

  • You have $50 to spare - what should you do with it?
  • $50 may seem like pocket change to some, but it can turn into a lot more if you put it to smart use.
  • You should either put it in an emergency fund, deduct it from your paycheck, spend it on investment apps, or invest it in personal finance resources like books, according to the experts.

Some money is better than no money.

If you can afford to spare $50, don't treat it like loose change. While it may not seem like a lot, it can go a long way if used wisely.

So should you save it or spend it? Turns out, both are good options, according to experts.

Here, they share the smartest things you can do with $50. 

1. Tuck it away for a rainy day

Rich Ramassini, certified financial planner (CFP) and director of strategy and sales performance at PNC Investments, recommends using $50 to build up your emergency fund. 

About 40% of US adults don't have enough savings to cover a $400 emergency, according to a Federal Reserve report. "Once your emergency fund reaches the level of three to six months of expenses, the focus can shift to reducing debt and saving for the future," Ramassini said.

Read more: I'm a financial planner - here are the best pieces of advice I can give you about what to do with your cash

Resist the urge to build your emergency fund in your everyday checking or savings account. Andrew Westlin, CFP at Betterment, previously told Business Insider it's best kept separate from your daily bank account - like in a high-yield savings account at Ally or another bank with a strong interest rate - so you're not tempted to dip into it regularly.

2. Deduct it from your paycheck

It's easier to kick your savings into high gear if you never see the money in the first place.

"Get $50 automatically deducted from each paycheck into an account of your choice - savings, emergency fund, investing app, etc.," Matthew Schulte, CFP and head of financial planning at eMoney Advisor, told Business Insider. "For most people with bi-weekly paychecks, that's more than a grand that you'll end up saving or investing without even thinking about it."

"You can go through $50 in your pocket pretty quickly, so why not put it somewhere else if you have some breathing room in your budget," he said.

3. Spend it monthly on investment apps

It takes money to make money.

"$50 can be quite hard to save, but it is also very easy to spend, so why not spend it on something that will save you more money in the long run," Rob Webber, founder & CEO of MoneySavingPro.com, told Business Insider.

For a small fee a month, spare change investment apps "are a brilliant way of saving for a rainy day without any of the hard work," he said.

Read more: The 5 best apps to start investing with little money

Acorns rounds up your purchases and puts aside the spare change as you go about your day and automatically invests it in diversified portfolios constructed by experts. Meanwhile, Digit analyzes your checking account and moves small amounts to your savings based on your personal spending. 

4. Invest in resources that will make you more money savvy 

Also consider spending that $50 on another type of investment - resources that will enhance your personal finance knowledge, which will make you more wealthy at the end of the day.

Jeremy Straub, CEO of Coastal Wealth, recommends buying the board game Cashflow created by Robert Kiyosaki, the author of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad."

"It will teach you how to understand how to build passive income, save, and run a good financial life," Straub told Business Insider. Personal finance books will do the same.

Straub recommends buying a used versions of the following four books:

  • "How to Win Friends and Influence People," by Dale Carnegie, whose courses investor Warren Buffett called the best education he ever received;
  • "The Daily Stoic" by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, about how a stoic philosophy can lead to a fruitful life;
  • "Vagabonding" by Rolf Potts, on how to live on less, travel more, and value experiences over things;
  • "Think and Grow Rich" by Napolean Hill, a classic book about acquiring wealth.

For more reading material, Schulte recommends buying the first six-month subscription to to an investment newsletter. Fidelity Investor is a great resource that focuses on investing with mutual funds for $100 per year, he said.

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