The promise: Offers customizable, themed portfolios of up to 30 stocks.
Available on: Website, iPhone
Motif lets you invest in a very narrow sector -- say, clean tech or companies tied to the housing rebound -- using one of 90 themed portfolios. The site requires a $250 minimum and charges a commission of $9.95 per portfolio.
You wouldn't want to use Motif for your retirement fund, but it's a fun way to invest your mad money if you play the market. The service could also be a good introduction to investing for novices, says MIT finance professor Andrew Lo.
If there's an extra $10,000 in your budget, consider investing in low-cost index funds, buying a reliable used car or taking a European river cruise.