Cookie Policy

We use cookies on our website and have placed these on your computer. By continuing to use our website you consent to this. For more information, including how to change your cookie settings and to disable our non-essential Google Analytics cookies, please refer to our Cookie Policy. If you do not wish to be reminded of this on each visit, please use the close button.

Five surprising times you can invest money in your spare time

November 2017

Tags: First Time Investors

We all have those ‘dead’ times of day, when we are waiting for someone, carrying out a mundane task, or sitting on a train or bus.

While many of us use these times to browse Twitter or update our Facebook status, you could use some of these moments to improve your financial situation, leaving you better off at the end of the month.

Here are some of the surprising times you could use to gain a little financial uplift, and how you could do it.


While you are cleaning your teeth

It takes just two minutes morning and evening to keep the dentist happy, but you could be putting your mind to financial goals at the same time.

Research from National Savings & Investments suggests that those of us who are clear about what we are saving our money for are most likely to hit a goal, whether it is a short term one, like money for a new car, or a long term one such as a prosperous retirement.

Research from American bank TD suggests that those of us who visualise our financial goals are less anxious about budgeting than those who do not, and those who picture their achievements are more satisfied with their financial health.

"Images connect us more immediately and emotionally to our personal and financial goals, and to our setting and achieving them. Also images help us in our thinking and moving toward these goals," said psychologist Barbara Nusbaum of the research. "I'm not surprised that people who imagine or picture their goals are better at budgeting and saving, and that these activities in themselves provide a sense of well-being."

Log in to your account    Sign up for an account


Before you go to bed

Taking your wallet or purse from a pocket before you go to bed is a ritual for many, but why not take the time to clear it out before you pick it up again the next morning?

Remove any old receipts from your wallet, and flick quickly through the cards that you have in it. By removing loyalty cards you no longer use and any unused credit cards, you will be able to see more clearly what methods you have for paying for things.

Once your wallet is more pared down, you can check you are using the right cards for the right things - a credit card with a good rewards programme for spending - as long as you pay it off at the end of the month, or a debit card for keeping control of your cash.

If you find cards in your wallet that you no longer use, it is worth cancelling them as they show up on your credit report.

Log in to your account    Sign up for an account


On the train to work

With most high street banks now offering an app that allows you to control your finances from your phone, your train journey could be a good time to keep in touch with your finances.

Pretty much every app allows you to check your bank balance, and many will allow you to manage direct debits and standing orders as well. Checking your bank balance at the end of the month and transferring any extra into an investment account before payday could create a nest egg for the future without you noticing, while regularly checking your balance could prevent you from paying unnecessary overdraft fees.

Log in to your account    Sign up for an account


In your lunch hour

Twenty minutes at your desk might not sound like a time when you can make much of a difference, but there are plenty of financial tasks you can accomplish with a sandwich in one hand. Use a financial comparison site such as or to find a cash ISA with a better rate, or, given the low rates on cash at present, use the time to switch your cash ISAs to an investment product. Setting up a direct debit from your current account of just £50 a month into an investment ISA could help building a savings pot for the future.

Once you’ve got the ISA set up, you could use some of your lunch breaks to catch up on investment news, helping you to decide where to invest next.

Log in to your account    Sign up for an account


While waiting for an appointment

Instead of flicking through the magazines at the doctor’s, dentist or opticians, make sure your own magazine subscriptions aren’t sucking away at your bank balance.

Try downloading Bean, a free app that will analyse your bank accounts for subscriptions and other recurring payments such as gym memberships. If you don’t want them, you can tell Bean to cancel them for you with a click of the app - potentially saving hundreds of pounds a year. Bean is still in beta testing, but you can sign up to get it here

Log in to your account 

You can start investing today through any of our account options:

Dealing Account

Access a wide range of global investments in this flexible, unrestricted account.

Find out more

Stocks and Shares ISA

Take advantage of tax free investing with our Stocks and Shares ISA today.

Find out more

Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)

From great value to best-in-class, access the SIPP to suit your needs through our extensive network of providers.

Find out more

I've still got questions!

We’re on hand to help at our Customer Experience Centre on 0345 0700 720

Selftrade does not provide investment advice. This article is the authors view and is not the view or opinion of Selftrade and Selftrade accepts no liability for any loss caused as a result of the use of this information. The opinions expressed are those of the author at the time of writing and should not be interpreted as investment advice.

The value of investments can fall as well as rise and any income from them is not guaranteed and you may get back less than you invested. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. We do not provide advice or make recommendations about investments. If you have any doubts about the suitability of an investment, you should seek advice from a suitably qualified professional adviser.

If you have a Stocks and Shares ISA, make sure you get the best value for your investments. We are ranked top for price on large portfolios (Platforum, 2018).

Open an account today and we’ll cover any transfer fees up to £100.*

*T&Cs apply.

Open a Stocks & Shares ISA

Find out more