scratch-mark

Stash: An Opportunity Cost Calculator On Your Phone That Makes You Money

This is one of the coolest app tools that has crossed my space in a while. You’ll see I’ve added it to the sidebar because it’s worthy of being there and I’ll explain exactly why.

Yes, I blog mostly about Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrency these days and have set up a Patreon to do that formally. But, some of you, for reasons that are your own, aren’t quite ready for that. But everyone ought to save. Many of you have 401K and variants, IRAs, savings accounts, and brokerage accounts.

Here’s a brokerage account for your smartphone where virtually no investment is too small. Think of it as linking your piggy bank —or in my case, a milk bottle—to a brokerage account with about 30 Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)—from aggressive  and volatile to money market—to choose from. You can even invest in silly “socially responsible” stuff if you like. It’s under the “I Believe” tab. 🙂

If you might rather have the $5 you would have spent on a small popcorn at the theater go to a Warren Buffet Fund instead? There’s an app for that, right in your pocket. A robotics fund? Yeah, that too.

…And this is really the genius behind the app. Giving you the motivation combined with the ease to make opportunity cost decisions on the spot and execute them on the spot. From the link:

Opportunity cost refers to a benefit that a person could have received, but gave up, to take another course of action. Stated differently, an opportunity cost represents an alternative given up when a decision is made. This cost is, therefore, most relevant for two mutually exclusive events. In investing, it is the difference in return between a chosen investment and one that is necessarily passed up.

Or, in this context, the difference in return between a chosen investment and a sunk consumable cost that is passed up.

I stashed $16.50 yesterday from the time I signed up. There are two ways to do this:

  1. Forego something entirely. Like, you walk into a Starbucks, look at the price for that Ultra-Venti-Concoction and assess your tradeoff.
  2. Go for something less costly and Stash the difference.

I did it both ways yesterday. Two things I gave up entirely and Stashed instead. One was having a cocktail before dinner. $7 Stashed. The other was that I would have normally had the ribeye for $29. I went for the pork porterhouse at $24 instead. Another $5 Stashed.

You can do this on the fly, throughout the day, then the app will roll these all up into a single ACH transfer from your linked bank account.

Do you see how this could accumulate? I estimate that just based on a single day, I’ll probably Stash $300 or more per month that would have otherwise gone for stuff I didn’t really need, and that Stash is working for me in actual investments.

Now, here’s another aspect that will apply to some of you more than others. Do you have a social network? Well, once you hit the link and sign up, either via your desktop or iOS or Android phone, you can then share it, and when people sign up with that link, this is what happens.

  • They get $5 free to invest
  • You get $5 free to invest
  • When three people have signed up and they and you have received $30 total from that, Stash gives you a $35 bonus
  • From then on, for every 2 people that sign up, y’all get the $20 from that, and you get a $20 bonus.

So, I made an easy and quick $80 in under 24 hours, all OPM, but all from Stash and in fact, the 5 people who signed up got $25 combined themselves. Nobody lost out. Those funds, as well as the $20 I added myself for a total of $100, is in three funds: an aggressive growth, an aggressive R/E, and Sage-from-Omaha ETFs.

Going forward, I have it set up to do an auto $10 into the aggressive growth fund every week, and $10 deposit into Stash weekly that I’ll distribute manually based on senses at the time.

So have at it. Start turning some of your silly, worthless, go-nowhere spending into long-term gains.

Get savvy.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

11 Comments

  1. Richard Nikoley on October 25, 2017 at 14:30

    jose candelario asks:

    Any brokerage fees in your transactions? Any mutual funds? Can I invest more than $5?

    • Richard Nikoley on October 25, 2017 at 14:31

      I think it’s just the $1 per month fee to Stash, up until like $5k investment where it goes to a %.



    • Richard Nikoley on October 25, 2017 at 14:31

      Resurgent adds:

      There is a similar app that is very very popular in the far east. Singapore/Indonesia/Malaysia etc.



  2. Richard Nikoley on October 25, 2017 at 14:32

    foliovision says:

    Cool app, Richard. One to save your money instead of steal your money. Very nice.

    What’s the vig on your saving app?

    • Richard Nikoley on October 25, 2017 at 14:32

      Hey Alec. These are all ETFs, so just a very tight bid/ask spread. Nothing like buying a load mutual fund, and super quick to get in and out of.

      Stash does take a $1 per month service fee, which is pretty inconsequential once you’ve built to over a few hundred dollars. I like how it’s fixed.



  3. Richard Nikoley on October 25, 2017 at 14:32

    fearless says:

    Smart. This is pretty much how I bought my Bitcoin over time. If I skipped coffee and brought a home made lunch to work I’d put $15 or $20 into Bitcoin.

    I would have just had boiled potatoes and eggs instead of the rib eye though and stashed $26 because I am a miserable old bastard. Fuck restaurants. I only go once a year for an old friend’s birthday. When they die, I will go no more.

  4. Richard Nikoley on October 25, 2017 at 14:33

    fearless says:

    Speaking of financial innovation, I have always wondered if it would be possible to set up a tontine based on Bitcoin. This would avoid some blocks getting lost forever when their owner dies without passing on the security information to their heirs. It could be automated such that if an account is inactive for a period of time (1 to 10 years, say) then the balance is redistributed to remaining members on a pro rata basis according to the surviving members balances. Thoughts?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/09/28/this-sleazy-and-totally-illegal-savings-scheme-may-be-the-future-of-retirement/?sw_bypass=true&utm_term=.205f538a3744

    • Richard Nikoley on October 25, 2017 at 14:33

      I think it’s a fabulous idea. It’s somewhat akin to discounting a life insurance policy and sending birthday and Christmas cards, hoping it’s returned to sender. 🙂

      Also, I’d encourage everyone to keep any substantial crypto holdings in a paper wallet (Google around, they’re easy to set up…MyEtherWallet is ridiculously easy), in a ziplock or water-proof laminate, in a bolted down fire safe and either make sure an heir or two know of it. Alternatively, you can set up an estate attorney as an executor and they’ll know what to do.



  5. John on October 26, 2017 at 08:04

    I guess I’ll choose aggressive. Why not make the small money the exciting money?

  6. […] week I told you about Stash, a great little phone app that allows you to forego extraneous purchases on a micro level and […]

  7. John on October 27, 2017 at 11:01

    If you jump a curb leaving a parking lot with a $6 fee, think in the card afterward “is that $6 more for Stash?”

    Certainly not me an hour ago.

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