Here’s how I’d start investing before the ISA deadline with just £300!

Our writer explains what he would do if he could spare a few hundred pounds now and wanted to start investing for the first time.

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Every year the deadline for contributing to a Stocks and Shares ISA rolls around at the start of April. A lot of seasoned investors add money to their ISA before that deadline. Meanwhile, others who are wondering whether they should start investing have a choice about whether to make the move – or let another opportunity pass them by.

If I had never invested before and wanted to start investing now with a few hundred pounds, here is how I would do it.

Starting where you are

Before I get into the nuts and bolts, let me explain why I would start where I was, even if I had only a few hundred pounds to invest.

Waiting until I had more money to start investing could mean I end up just kicking the ball down the road year after year, potentially missing out on some brilliant market opportunities while I dithered.

If I was to make beginner’s mistakes – an unpleasant but educative reality for many of us – I would rather do it with a smaller than larger sum in my ISA!

Please note that tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in future. The content in this article is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to be, neither does it constitute, any form of tax advice.

Choosing the best ISA for me

Not all investors are made the same – and neither are Stocks and Shares ISAs.

That is why, before I was to start investing, I would figure out what ISA seemed the most appropriate for me.

I would open it and put my £300 into it before the coming deadline next month, even if I did not yet have a clear idea of how I might end up investing it.

Finding shares to buy

When it came to looking for shares to buy, I would keep things simple.

Like legendary billionaire investor Warren Buffett, I would limit my search to businesses I felt I understood and whose commercial potential I could therefore assess.

But I am not just looking for great businesses. I am looking for great investments.

That means buying into the right business, but also at the right price. A common mistake people make when they start investing is not paying enough attention to share valuation when hunting for shares to buy.

With  more money to invest, I would spread my risk by diversifying across different shares. Guess what? With £300 I would do exactly the same!

I might spread the money over two to three different shares. Another way to improve my diversification would be by buying into investment trusts that themselves held diversified portfolios.

Buying into enduring businesses

An example of the sort of share I would buy if I had money to spare would be Unilever (LSE: ULVR).

The consumer goods giant operates in a market with massive customer demand I think is likely to endure. Thanks to its stable of premium brands like Magnum and Dove, Unilever is able to charge a higher price than unbranded rivals and also build customer loyalty.

That approach can have hiccoughs. If the economy is weak, consumers may trade down to supermarkets’ own-label products. That could hurt revenues and profits at Unilever.

But Unilever’s proven business model has been consistently profitable. Its dividend yield is 3.9%.

With a price-to-earnings ratio of 16, the valuation strikes me not as a bargain, but reasonable.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

C Ruane has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Unilever Plc. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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